‘Polytechnics should focus more on developing skills for Nigeria’s technological advancement’
Dr. Woye Olaniran is the outgoing rector of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree. In this chat with Tribune Education, he offers his thoughts on the educational advancement of Nigeria generally and how Nigerian polytechnics can stand out among their peers in Africa.
Based on your personal experience as an educational administrator in Nigerian tertiary institution, how would you describe the situation of education in Nigeria?
Going through the situation in Nigeria in the last two decades, I cannot categorically say that Nigeria’s education is deteriorating because of the advancement of technology, information and communication technology in particular. Nigerian students have developed themselves in great measures. I could say that our students have gone digital, hence digitization has made learning and teaching easy. I don’t belong to the school of thought that would say our education is deteriorating.
What of morals and discipline?
From my personal experience, I don’t believe that Nigerian students are morally corrupt compared to other parts of the world. Though there are some deviants in the society, considering the levels of moral rehabilitation centres, churches, mosques and other centers in Nigeria, the level of criminality among youths has abated.
As the outgoing rector of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, in what area of youth development and rehabilitation will you say you have succeeded in the last 11 months?
In the first instance, I want to thank God and the governor of Osun State, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, for giving me the opportunity to administer the institution. It really made my dream a reality. As a pastor and preacher of the word of God, one of my goals in life is to impact discipline and inculcate morals into the lives of the youths. This was the first achievement I made when I was appointed as the rector of the institution. The first thing I did was to establish a dress code for my students. Abnormal dressings were put off in the institution, while the leaders of the students’ union were taken to Badagry, Lagos State, for leadership training. They were taught how to become good leaders in life and how they could live a successful life.
Apart from this, what would you recall as your major achievements in the institution which you would want other chief executive officers to learn from?
I thank God that I consolidated on my predecessor’s achievements. I was able to improve the polytechnic in all spheres. I started with renovation and upgrading of the Polytechnic Health Centre which was vandalized during a students’ protest last year; while a brand new ambulance was also purchased. Another clinic was created in Iree town to enable students have access to uninterrupted medical attention. A fleet of cars (nine in number) was also purchased for deans and directors of the institution and some other members of management, while I ensured that there was regular supply of electricity in the school to enable effective practicals in our workshop’s and studios. New roads were opened in both campuses, while existing roads were constantly graded. Studios and workshops were also stocked with relevant equipments
My greatest achievement is the successful accreditation which we had in January this year. I am happy to inform you that all the 14 programmes that we presented to the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) were fully accredited. This is a sterling achievement in the annals of history of the polytechnic. This was successful as a result of the state-of-the-art equipment in our studios and workshops.
Besides this, I initiated the construction of a power house to accommodate a 500kva generator which had been lying fallow to ease the problem of power supply to the Koko campus of the polytechnic. In the area of sports, with the help of my management team, we rehabilitated and re-grassed the football pitch and we also opened up two practicing pitches, one in each campus, while my students also won 16 medals at the 2020 NIPOGA in Ilorin early this year. I also stocked some of the classrooms with 1000 units of collapsible seats and tables.
As a result of my quest for intellectual development, I organized capacity building training workshops in information technology, e-learning and teaching and website design for all the academic staff members.
In order to facilitate effective information dissemination and corporate building of the institution, I created a Directorate of Media, Public Relations and Protocol as well as Alumni Liaison Office in the polytechnic.
To what would you attribute these achievements?
Well, these couldn’t have been possible without the support of my management team, most especially members of the top management. Apart from this, I operated an open door policy; my doors were opened for all members of staff for series of advice, comments and remarks. This really assisted me a lot.
What advice would you like to give your successor based on your experience in office?
I have no advice rather than to enjoin him to operate an open door administration. That is how he can succeed without any crisis in the polytechnic. I thank God that I did not witness any crisis either from the students or from the staff unions. My tenure was crisis-free because welfare of staff and students was given a place of priority.
I also wish to advise him to look for a way of improving on the internally generated revenue of the school, so that he would be able to make his mark on the infrastructural development of the polytechnic.
What is your advice for Nigerian polytechnics?
Polytechnics are established to be technology-oriented; to produce tools and man-power for our technological-based industries. They should, therefore, be focused on the training of their students in this direction. They should improve on their vocational and technical trainings so that their products could be employers of labour rather than job seekers. This is what my polytechnic is doing. I am happy to let you know that between September and December 2019, 722 youths were trained from across Osun State in my polytechnic for various vocational skills through the National Directorate of Employments through the YESSO initiative. This went a long way at improving the quality of lives of these youths. If Nigerian polytechnics can imbibe these types of skills, poverty and unemployment would be alleviated in the country.
FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE