Two months into the shutdown of the public universities following a strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Nigerian government on Tuesday announced the establishment of three new polytechnics.
The federal ministry of education, in a statement by its director of press, Ben Goong, said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the three polytechnics to be located in Kabo, Kano State; Umunnoechi, Abia State, and Orogun, Delta State.
The proliferation of poorly-funded public tertiary institutions has been of concern to lecturers and other workers in existing ones.
The announcement comes amidst industrial action by lecturers and other university’ workers’ unions under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions (NASU). The non-academic workers’ strike entered its third week on Monday while the ASUU strike has been on for about two months.
The announcement is also coming at a time stakeholders in the education sector, and particularly the workers’ unions, have continued to kick against what they described as proliferation of tertiary institutions in the country.
They said the existing academic institutions are poorly funded, and faulted what they termed politicisation of education in the country.
A significant part of the grievances of the workers’ unions of universities, polytechnics and colleges of education is the frequency with which the Nigerian government at both the federal and state levels establish new academic institutions.
They said the new institutions are established without adequate planning and evidence of sustainability strategies.
Tuesday’s statement said the establishment of the new institutions is in line with the determination of the Buhari-led administration to make tertiary education more accessible to young Nigerians.
The statement added that the new institutions are to commence academic activities in October 2022.
“This brings to thirty six (36) the number of federal polytechnics in the country. All states of the federation now have one federal polytechnic each,” the statement reads in part.