PROJECT TOPIC-EMPLOYERS AND POLYTECHNIC GRADUATES ASSESSMENT OF POLYTECHNIC ENGINEERING STATES OF NIGERIA
Background of’ the Study
Education is viewed universally as an important tool in the overall development of a nation. It occupies a highly important place in most plans for socio-economic and technological development. According to Jones ( 1 975). [he education sector is important as a supplier of the trained manpower that is a pre-requisite for accomplishment of other development + goals. The skilled human resources being produced by the education process is very important for achieving National goals and aspirations. No country can rise above the quality of its human resources. Moreover, the hture prosperity of a country is tied to the quality of the human resources of that country (Emmaline Furthermore, a
indispensable in convert , 1989) country’s human resources are considered as ing other resources to the use and benefit of the peoplc. How well a country develops and employs its human resources is said to be fundamental in what the country will accomplish~ as a nation (Ojo, Aderinto and Fashoyin, 1986). Similarly, Babangida (1 992) pointed out that the availability of a well- trained workforce is a prerequisite for the attainment of enhanced efficiency in the implen~entationo f government policies and programmes. However, Jones (1975) had observed that many developing countries including Nigeria directed their efforts towards the realization of quantitative goals for education while neglecting tht: qualitative goals. It is perhaps in connection with the observation of Jones
above that Kwe~ide( 1998) called for improve~ento f the quality of liuman resources in Sub-Saharan Africa. He suggested that sustainable socioeconomic development should rest on an abundant skilled and efficient labor force, which in turn must rest on appropriate and quality education.
Specifically, in the case of Nigeria, the education system was the product of the Britisli education system, which then. mainly prepared its products lix white-collar jobs. However, the current National Policy on Education emphasized the acquisition of appropriate skills and the development of mental, physical and social abilities and competencies to enable individual to contribute to the development of his society(Federa1 Republic of Nigeria (FRN) 1998).
The National policy on education identified Polytechnic education as one aspect of tertiary education with the following specific goals (FRN, 1998: 34-35): (a) Provide full-time or part-time courses of instruction and training in engineering, other technologies, applie sciences, business and management, leading to the production of trained manpower.
(b) Provide the teclinical knowledge and skills necessary for agricul tural, industrial. commercial and economic development of Nigeria (c) Give raining and impart the necessary skills for the production of technicians, technologists and other skilled
personnel who shall be enterprising and self-reliant.
(d) Train people who can apply scientific knowledge to solve environs~parental nobler~sf or the convenience of man; and (e) Give exposure on professional studies in the technologies.
Given the above goals, therefore, polytechnic education is very important to sociology-economic and technological development of Nigeria.
There are currently 57 polytechnics in Nigeria(see Appendix A), 01′ which 17 are owned by the Federal government, 33 by the states and seven are privately owned (Sani-Ango, 2003). In the North Eastern states, however, there are seven polytechnics, of which the federal government owns three, four are owned by the state (see appendix B). Nigerian
polytecl~nics offered multi-post secondary technical education programmed, leading to the award of mainly National Diploma( ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND), in over 55 fields, among which are the engineering programmes. (NBTE, 2002) There arc currently 10 engineering technology progranmes in Nigerian polytechnic education system. These programmes include: Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical/ Electronic Engineering, Foundry Technology, Irrigation Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgy, MiningIMineral Resources Engineering, Petroleum Engineering Technology, Welding and Fabrication Engineering Tech~lology (NBTE, 1997) as outlined under engineering technology in Appendix C.
All polytechnics are expected as a mater of National expediency to offer the three core engineering prograninles of Civil, Electrical/Electroiiics and Mechanical, in order to support the needs o*f industries in Nigeria (Yabani 1990). Of the 57 polytechnics in Nigeria, only 22 offer Civil engineering, while 24 of the polytechnics offer Microelectronics engineering and 18 ofler Mechanical engineering programmed (NBTE, 1997).
Graduates of the three core-engineering programmed, that is those who completed the National Diploma in the three engineering programmes are expected to function as competent skilled personnel to meet the needs o f employers during employment. The employers who are supervisors of graduates of the polyteclmic engineering programmes in the employing establishments also expect highly skilled and adaptable personnel from the polytechnic engineering programmes who can fit appropriate job positions with requisite technical and affective skills needed for employment.
The need for polytechnics to prepare relevant and well-trained personnel for employers 01′ labour is of paran~ount importance for enhancement ot socioeconomic and technological advancement of Nigeria. Furthermore the changing needs and often unpredictable nature of the labour market due to the rate of changes in socio economics sphere including technology and
businesses (Kwende (1998) necessitate the acquisition of new skills by polytechnic graduates if the graduates are to be “shaped”, to adapt and fit into the present needs of employers. For example, a survey in Lagos by Ogbecliie, (1 998) seems to give credence to the need for improved quality of training in technical institutions especially in the basic engineering skills, fault diagnosis, machine repair, basic workshop practices, right usc
of lools, and computer skills. It is perhaps for the above reasons that Ogbechie, pointed out that some employers for example the Shell Petroleum Development company, NEPA, NITEL, and NNPC set-up training schools and embarked on re-training of graduates before integrating them into their systems.
Considering the importance of polytechnic engineering personnel (technicians and technologists) to the Nigerian economy in general and especially in eiisuring the smooth and contiiiuous operation of industries, ir is incumbent upon the polytechnics and employers to ensure that engineering technicians and technologists are being properly trained. Efforts being made by the polytechnic at producing relevant skilled pcrwnliel for employers of labour in Nigeria are seemingly being constrained by many factors, such as: inadequate educational facilities, poor quality of teaching staff, poor curriculum design ( Okoro 1993); lack 01′ teaching aids and infrastructural facilities (Bamgbose 2000); admissions of large number of unqualified candidates, overcrowded classroom~laboratories.in adequate coverage of practical work (Abubakar
2000); inadequate linkage of education programmables to industries (UNESCO 1998b).
The seeming continuous production of incapable or irrelevant personnel ill polvtechnic cngincering programmes, that do not meet the requirements of employers will not augur well for Nigeria’s technological advancement.
It becomes necessary therefore; to aniline the polytechnic engineering programme5 bis-a-vis the technical skilled personnel needs of employers, with a view to improving the programmed and ensuring that present and even future need