By Akanji Ibrahim
Technical education is incontrovertibly key to the technological growth and development of any country. Especially, in a country like Nigeria where whose economy mainstay is exposed to high volatility and places the country on consistent foreign exchange risk which has saw our naira fluctuate, often time devalued as a result of the global competitiveness of oil prices.
No doubt, Nigeria is blessed with abundance of natural resources, apart from petroleum. There is however huge technological advancement gaps to optimally tap into these great economic potentials of the country, notwithstanding the over hundred polytechnics in Nigeria, whose mandate is to train people to be technically equipped to manufacture and maintain varying degree of technology for Nigeria’s socioeconomic advancement.
While many of the polytechnics that are established to provide technical education have been regrettably relegated to the background by various factors over the years, the barely five year old Federal Polytechnic Ile Oluji is setting the pace for renewed hope for technical education in Nigeria, under the Rectorship of Professor Emmanuel Adedayo Fasakin.
Established by Nigerian Government by a Presidential pronouncement in July 2014, the polytechnic effectively took off in April, 2015. However, the takeoff grant from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for the polytechnic was not released until February 2018. But against all odds, the Polytechnic took off on facilities donated to it, for use as temporary Administrative Office Complex. The facility was renovated and equipped through donations from the Government of Ondo State, private organizations, Ile-Oluji Community, friends and well-wishers within and outside Ondo State. Which made it possible for The Federal Polytechnic, Ile Oluji secured The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Institutional Accreditation in 2016 thus certifying the Polytechnic fit for the delivery of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).
Since the establishment of the Polytechnic, the Management of the polytechnic has continued to trail the blaze of revamping technical education in Nigeria, by providing physical infrastructure, deploying 21st century compliant digital resources and best of human capital in its pursuit to attain world class teaching and learning of technical education, capable of turning around our national fortune if the spate at which the polytechnic kicks off is sustainably managed.
How leadership of the flying baby polytechnic judiciously and efficiently utilized inadequate resources at its disposal to build critical infrastructures has since attracted applause from far and near, suffice to this was the singling out of the Federal Polytechnic, Ile Oluji to benefit from the TETFund Zonal Intervention Fund in 2018 and also, one of the three (3) institutions awarded the 2017 Special High Impact Fund in 2018.
Other critical intervention funds to the Polytechnic includes the 2017 Zonal Intervention fund, 2017 High Impact Intervention fund and 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Normal Interventions.
The track record of the judicious utilization of TETFund intervention funds by the polytechnic continues to win for it patronage of the agency.
In less than five (5) years of operations, Federal Polytechnic, Ile Oluji now runs a total of twelve (12) accredited Academic programmes in National Diploma; Accountancy, Agricultural Technology, Architecture and Architectural Technology, Civil Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Cooperative Economics, Business Administration and Management, Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Fisheries Technology, Science Laboratory Technology, and Statistics. This is made possible through the resilience and visionary leadership of the polytechnic under the Rectorship of Prof. E. A. Emmanuel.
Deviating from the theoretical teaching of technical education, which often deprives Nigerian polytechnic students opportunity of practical exposure which is the hallmark of technical education, the Federal Polytechnic Ile Oluji exposes its students to state of the art equipments, machinery and tools, under the tutelage of shrewd and experienced instructors. The icing on the cake here is that, the polytechnic is preparing its graduate for self sufficiency that comes with the mastery of technological exposure and advancement.
The polytechnic has poultry with hundreds of birds, as well as fish ponds, all of which are products of students practical. In its pragmatic efforts to give back to its host community by harnessing its economic potential \ within its short period of existence, the Federal Polytechnic, Ile Oluji has trained young indigenes of Ile Oluji on modern commercial farming techniques themed The Federal Polytechnic Ile Oluji Agripreneurship Initiative.
The polytechnic has an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre with no fewer than five hundred and forty (540) computer systems, with updated software for varying categories of students; computer science, statistics, architecture and engineering among others.
Beyond the practical training the polytechnic students are exposed to, they are also privileged to learn the use of ICT and digital facilities in basic and advanced practical operations, as the case may be. Undergraduates of the polytechnic recants the sweet experiences of learning the use of computer applications such as the Autocard, SPSS, Eviews, Stata amongst others, which is seldom found in even some of Nigerian polytechnics, not even for Higher National Diploma Students.
Given the magnitude of investment at the Federal Polytechnic, Ile Oluji and the commitment of the leadership of the institution to raise the bar of technical education in Nigeria, it is safe to say all hope is not lost on us as a country striving to tap from its wealth within. All it requires is make a model out of the technological construction site in Ile-Oluji Federal Polytechnic for others to take the queue.