A cross section of attendees at 31st -38th combined convocation at Plateau State Polytechnic.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – The Plateau State Polytechnic, risks being denied access to the Central Admission Processing System, CAPS, if the National Board of Technical Education, NBTE is not invited for an accreditation exercise in the institution before the end of July 2022.

It was gathered that graduates from four Departments namely; Banking and Finance; Hospitality Management; Leisure and Tourism as well as Social Development which have been on the status of interim accreditation have been denied entry for the one-year mandatory National Youths Service Corps until the Departments meet up the accreditation requirements.

The Rector of the institution, Bldr. John Dawam disclosed on Friday during the 31st-38th combined convocation ceremony for the 2013/2014 to 2020/2021 academic sessions where he had in attendance, the State Governor, Simon Lalong, and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Engr. Abdullahi Sule is an alumnus.

Bldr. Dawam who highlighted the successes recorded in the institution since inception also reeled out the myriads of challenges facing it which included lack of adequate hostel accommodation, lack of manpower, outstanding salaries of part-time staff, poor road network, and landscaping in the two campuses of the institution, among others.

He commended the contributions of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, and its former Executive Secretary, Professor Suleiman Bogoro in addressing the infrastructural need of the institution but lamented the high cost of securing the institution from criminal elements who pose security challenges and appealed to the State government and other stakeholders to intervene.

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According to him, “… Insecurity of lives and property in the institution has been a thing of concern, throughout our stay as Management staff, about six cases of kidnapping of staff and students of the Polytechnic by the Fulani herdsmen/bandits have been recorded.This could be attributed to the general security challenges and the porous nature of the boundaries of the Polytechnic…

“The cost of engaging and maintaining the security personnel and vigilante group which rests on the institution is enormous and may not be sustained for long. The building of a parameter block wall fence is considered a more sustainable measure to curb the incessant menace of kidnapping and trespass by the Fulani herdsmen.

“This will also forestall a foreseeable clash between the students and the herdsmen which may lead to wanton destruction of property and loss of lives in the near future… May I appeal to the government and stakeholders present here to wade into this matter to protect the institution.”

On other challenges face, the Rector added, “They include, a wide manpower gap, resource inspection, accreditation and re-accreditation of programmes, outstanding salaries of part-time staff, mining and farming activities on the campuses, the challenge of funding a technical institution, lack of adequate hostel accommodation as well as decaying facilities which need renovation.”

However, Governo Lalong and his Nasarawa State counterpart Engr. Sule made commitments to pay more attention to technical education which is the bedrock of entrepreneurship, job creation, and productivity.

Lalong who is the Visitor to the Polytechnic said the convocation was delayed due to various challenges and directed that henceforth, all Government tertiary institutions must work hard to hold convocation ceremonies at the end of each academic year to build confidence, maintain standards, and motivate the graduands to pursue their careers with zeal and contribute to the development of the State and nation at large.

He said “Our Government has demonstrated its belief in skill-based education that stimulates entrepreneurship and human capital development. It is our conviction that there are no better legacy qualifications for upcoming generations than giving them an education that goes beyond paper qualifications…

“I challenge you to step out of this institution with the mindset of entrepreneurs and job creators rather than job seekers and applicants. You are all aware that white-collar jobs are very scarce and the Government is finding it difficult to meet its obligations to existing employees. This has made white-collar employment extremely difficult and even less fashionable. The focus today is entrepreneurship, innovation, and skill development…”

Governor Sule who studied Mechanical Engineering at the institution and chaired the occasion said he was proud to have passed through the Polytechnic as one of its first students where his love for technical education developed and grew.

He recalled the good times he had in the State and appealed to those causing trouble in Plateau and other parts of the country to desist because “such actions have denied the younger generation the beauty, serenity, and attraction that Plateau State and its good people offer to the world.”

The Commissioner for Higher Education, Dan Hirkop solicited help from philanthropists and appealed that “A state of emergency be declared in all tertiary institutions in the State.”

Chairman of the Governing Council of the institution, Misand koom Kevin Kwaplong apologized to the students for the delay in holding the convocation and charged them to be good ambassadors of the institution.