MEMORANDUM ON A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNICS ACT (CAP F17, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004),

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MEMORANDUM ON A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNICS ACT (CAP F17, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004),
Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TetFund, began Public Hearing on the Federal Polytechnics Act amendment Bill 2016 and Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act amendment Bill 2016.
According to the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, “the Bill seeks to realign the laws of the polytechnics to suit technical education in the country’’.
Saraki,who was represented by the Chief Whip, Sen. Olusola Adeyeye (APC-Osun) said, “It also seeks to strengthen polytechnics and ensure stability in the polytechnics”.
He said that with the right structures in place, polytechnic education would take Nigeria to its technological height and would also help improve quality of education.
Bellow is the Presentation by the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, NIMechE, a Division of Nigerian Society of Engineers at the Hearing.
MEMORANDUM ON A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNICS ACT (CAP F17, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004), 
THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTION OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS,
National Engineering Centre Lagos Annex, 1, Engineering Close, Victoria Island, Lagos State
Email: info@nimeche.org
The Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions & Tetfund,
National Assembly Complex,
Abuja.
Dear Sir,
MEMORANDUM ON A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNICS ACT (CAP F17, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004), TO REVIEW THE RETIREMENT AGE OF STAFF OF FEDERAL POLYTECHNICS, HARMONIZE THE TENURE OF THE OFFICE OF THE RECTOR AND OTHER PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNICS IN NIGERIA AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS.
Please. find attached a memorandum on the above subject matter submitted by the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE) for your consideration as our contribution to the scheduled public hearing.
Kindly, accept the assurance of our highest esteem,
Yours faithfully,
Engr. Dr. Robinson I. Ejilah, FNIMechE 
Deputy National Chairman.
Executive Summary.
The Nigerian Polytechnic system is a product of the British Technical Education system. It no doubt means well for the different economies of the world as it provides the relevant middle level manpower to drive the economies of nations. However, in view of the recent strides made in  industrial automation technology, modern factories have not only become more knowledge-driven, but also,  the flow of highly-skilled and competitive labour across national borders has become less restrictive, and in high demand.
To keep pace with this fast changing reality in Europe, it became expedient to; harmonize qualifications obtained from one country to apply for jobs -or a course of study- in another, increase compatibility between education systems to ease the movement of students and job seekers within nations, and lastly, help to make European Universities and Colleges more competitive and attractive to the rest of the world. This process which commenced in June, 1999 – fondly referred to as the Bologna reforms – has changed the face of educational systems and training in Europe for good and consequently, saw to the upgrading of erstwhile Polytechnics in Britain and other European countries into degree awarding institutions.
To this effect, Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics and similar institutions of higher education in countries, like Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Turkey, have been accredited to award academic degrees and doctorates. At present, a number of Polytechnics providing higher education in Europe are simply a result of a formal upgrading from their original and historical role as intermediate technical education schools.
In the wake of the prospects of engineering practice across the borders of 48 economic countries of Asia Africa, and the Pacific for Nigerian Engineers, the call to reposition the Nigerian Polytechnic system to; enhance the quality and relevance of learning and teaching,, fostering employability of graduates throughout their working lives, making our systems more inclusive and ensuring global competiveness cannot come at a better time than now.
However, it is in the light of the above that NIMechE wish to make the following submissions for inclusion in the bill for an act to amend the Federal Polytechnics Act (CAP F17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004).  Our submission comes under “Subsection 2(1)a. Functions of Each Polytechnics” and the amendment sought are presented in italicized form in Subsection 2(1)b and Subsection 2(1)c respectively.
Submission: 
 
2. Amendment to Section 2(1) of the Principal Act
Section 2(1) (a) of the Principal Act is amended by substituting for the existing as follows:
2. Functions of each polytechnic
(1) The functions of each polytechnic shall be-
(a) To provide full-time or part-time courses of instruction and training to produce middle and high level manpower –
(i) in technology, applied science, commerce and management; and
(ii) in such other fields of applied learning relevant to the needs of the development of Nigeria in the areas of industrial and agricultural production and distribution and for research in the development and adaptation of techniques as the Council may from time to time determine;
“(b).Subject to subsection 2(1) (a), the Polytechnic may –
(i) with the approval of the Council, confer any degree (i.e. B.Tech; M.Tech; PhD); and
(ii) confer any diploma and certificate,
(iii) confer honorary fellowship of the institution, as it may consider expedient.
(c) Subject to subsection 2(1) (a) the Polytechnic shall not confer a degree, diploma or certificate upon any person unless such person has –
(i) attended, as a student thereof, the Polytechnic for such period, and satisfied such other requirements; and
(ii) attained the standard of proficiency in an examination or other test, as determined by the Academic Board.”
The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE) is of the view that the Nigerian Polytechnic system is in dire need of repositioning for the following specific reasons.
i. The philosophy behind the establishment of polytechnics world over has evolved over the years to meet the demand of an increasing automated industry. Hence, the need to improve the knowledge based proficiency of Nigerian polytechnic graduands by tapping from the relevant domains of learning (i.e. improve their psychomotor and cognitive abilities) to drive the industrial sector of the 21st century.
ii. In our desire to assuage the negative perception held against polytechnic education by the Nigerian public, there is need to rightly reposition the institutions into centres of technological and entrepreneurial excellence, thereby making them more attractive to teeming number of Nigerian youths seeking tertiary education.
iii. This discouraging perception (i.e. with reference to ii above) has caused several hundreds of Nigerian Polytechnic Engineering graduates to migrate from their primary status as ‘Engineering Technologist’ to the ‘Engineer’s’ cadre for better social recognition and earnings. This trend can only be reversed by the inclusion of the contents being proposed here-in for the amendment bill.
iv. Compelling evidence coming out of the JAMB office in recent years shows that only about 35% of the number of candidates – from the 1.6-1.7 million that registered for UTME – was offered provisional admission to study in Nigerian public universities. Hence, upgrading and repositioning the federal polytechnics to award degrees will ameliorate the challenges posed by the  over-stretching of existing  facilities  and carrying capacities of Nigerian public universities, rather than establishing new federal universities without adequate funding for infrastructure and manpower.
v. The passage of this very important amendment bill into law, will once and for all, remove the discriminatory wedge between the Polytechnic HND certificate and the University degree, and the associated fall-outs caused by discrepancies in work placement (such as; inequality in salary grade levels, promotion bars etc), unemployment, and low self esteem of polytechnic graduates.
vi. The bill would also consequently curb the tide of migration of competent, highly qualified and under-utilized academic personnel from the Nigerian Polytechnics to the Universities, on the account of the absence of higher degree research and supervision activities.
vii. In the light of the recent admittance of the Council for the Regulation of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) into the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP) – a body comprising of 48 economic countries of Asia and the Pacific, seeking to forge intra and inter regional cooperation for engineering accreditation and mobility of certified engineering personnel within and across Africa, Asia and the Pacific is likely to open up boundless opportunities for employment and wealth creation. Hence, global competiveness in engineering practice could only be achieved through quality engineering education and training, which in part, this bill also seeks to address.
Conclusion.
Lastly, we wish to sincerely thank the Distinguished Chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institution & Tetfund, We also wish to specially applaud Senator Ali Wakili representing Bauchi South Senatorial District for bringing the bill before the 8th Senate. The efforts of other stakeholders must be commended for making their submission at this very important public hearing
For those who dont know, you can read the Full Federal Polytechnic ACT HERE
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