Polytechnic And University Graduates Should Be On Par — Student Leaders

ASUP COEASUThe Student Union Government Presidents of two Lagos based polytechnics, YABATECH and LASPOTECH, Babajide Salvado and Abdulkareem Yusuf, have explained why the students are in support of the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).

The student leaders were guests on Channels Television youth programme, Rubbin’ Minds, where they explained that majority of the points for which their lecturers are agitating affect the students directly.

Mr Salvado of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) decried the imbalance in the manner in which the Nigerian Government and the media gave more attention to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) during their 5-month strike in 2013, failing to give same to the Polytechnic lecturers since their struggles started in January 2014.

He also laid emphasis on the bureaucratic bottlenecks that had bedevilled the growth and development of polytechnic education for many years.

He noted that the students belief that the Polytechnic lecturers’ demands were genuine. Although he admitted that emphasis had been laid on the lecturers’ monetary demands as it concerns the payment of their arrears.

The dichotomy between the Polytechnics and the universities also came to the fore as the students insisted that there should be no reason for graduates from polytechnics and colleges of education to be treated as inferior to their counterparts from the universities.

There had been arguments in many quarters that the entry requirements of students into the universities have always been higher than what obtains in the other institutions with lower cut-off marks and as such their products could not be at par.

The student leaders unanimously condemned the view. Yusuf claimed that many Polytechnic students scored as high as the university cut-off marks and still were not offered admission into a university due to factors beyond them. Citing his school, the Lagos State Polytechnic as example, he noted that Nigerian polytechnics can boast of many intelligent products who would comfortably compete with university graduates.

Salvado also added that the students were ready to have the cut-off mark for all tertiary institutions set at parity if the discrepancies would be the basis for considering polytechnics as inferior to universities, as he was also sure that they had the technical edge in their competencies.

The Student Union Government President of the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Olusola Ogunnowo, whose lecturers under the aegis of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, have also been part of the industrial action, added that the reforms in the education sector have shown that being a teacher would no more be seen as an alternative career.

He revealed that many of his colleagues were in school not as a way out of having failed to make it into other institutions but as a form of fulfilment of their dreams to be teachers. He added that there were graduates of universities who were back in their schools in order to get certification for their dream to become lecturers, a process he claimed showed the seriousness and importance of the Colleges of Education.

The over 6 months old strike had been experiencing challenges with some schools in different parts of the country pulling out; a development that the student leaders condemned. They claimed that the disunity among the ASUP and COEASU was a product of selfishness and pursuit of personal interests.

Salvado also had tough words for the national leadership of the National Association Nigerian Students (NANS) for having failed to make a statement in solidarity with the plight of the students and their lecturers in the polytechnics and colleges of education.

He noted that the President of the NANS had been at the National Conference supposedly to represent the youth and there has been no mention of how to develop Nigerian education since the conference started.

They called on the Nigerian Government to change its attitude towards education, especially the polytechnics and colleges of education.

Nigerian Graduates Are Employable – HR Consultant

Jessica-Akano-Emmanuel-TarfaContrary to some employers’ views that Nigerian fresh graduates are not employable, a Human Resources consultant with Doheney Services, Jessica Akano, says they are employable, blaming employers for not giving them the opportunity to prove their worth.

She said that companies in Nigeria were fond of specifying certain number of year’s job experience for people they intend to employ, thereby making it difficult for fresh graduates to come in.

“How would they know that they should be skilled in one particular area when they have not been given the opportunity to work?” she questioned.

“There are credible graduates out there but some companies do not go out of their way to employ the services of Human Resources firms to help get credible candidates. They are out there but are the companies willing to go out there and get them?”

In his own opinion, the Chief Executive Officer of Conceptual Strategy, Emmanuel Tarfa, stressed that the government was not doing enough to improve the standard of Education.

He pointed out that the lack of infrastructure – power and internet penetration – was also taking its toll on the quality of research that an individual could carry out to improve himself.

“If the environment and the system are not conducive, there is no way a student will be able to study well,” he said.

However, he said that in consulting, it was difficult to get skilled people, looking at the required skill sets – strategic thinking, problem solving, elements of business analysis, being conversant with local and external environment. 

“These are not the things you take out of a university. So many graduates do things that they should not do but they think that it is strategic. It is difficult for us because we have to train them.”

On how the standard of Nigerian graduates could be improved, he said that “Nigeria is 12 years away from fixing its educational system”.

“We only need an intervention at this point. It is almost like a state of emergency. I see the things and my heart bleeds about it. I am glad that you are raising the issue now because we have so many young Nigerians that are graduate and without job and if things continue that way we will have crisis”.

He suggested that the government should revamp the educational system in Nigeria by getting private companies to focus more on training people in practical skills.

Activists Push For Quick Passage Of Tobacco Control Bill

Olamide-Egbeyelo-Philip-JakporThe Lagos State government in southwest Nigeria has enacted a law that prohibits tobacco smoking in public places – buses, schools and medical centres – to protect non-smokers from, ‘second-hand smoke’ that could lead to health issues.

But a spokesman for a group called ERA, Philip Jakpor, and Project Manager, Tobacco Control, Olamide Egbeyelo, stressed that they would continue to push for a 100 per cent smoke-free public places.

The Lagos State law stipulates penalties for persons who violate this law.

The National Assembly is considering two bills on tobacco smoking. They focus on smoking in public places and will also seek to make tobacco companies display graphic warnings.

Egbeyelo called on Nigerians to support the tobacco campaign to ensure that the bill was passed soon.

The Lagos State law sets aside places for smokers to smoke but the Bill before the National Assembly, National Tobacco Control Bill, will domesticate the tobacco control treaty signed by Nigeria in 2004 and ratified in 2005.

Mr Philip said that the passage of the bill was taking time, as millions of Nigerians who do not smoke still face health risks.

“The tobacco smoke they inhale is hazardous to their health and the government should do something about it to reduce the risk,” he said.

He stressed the need for public enlightenment to ensure that people would be aware of what the law stipulates.


Being a judge on Naija Got Talent made me happy — Kate Henshaw

Popular Nollywood actress Kate Henshaw recently spoke on her excitement as a judge on the ongoing reality show ‘Naija Got Talent’.

The Nollywood actress also spoke about the challenges of being a judge and why she took the offer.

According to Kate “When I started I didn’t know what to expect, I was so excited and also nervous but it’s been an emotional journey”.

She also added “Acting alone will not keep you, there are some dry seasons that last for long so you just have to eat”.

The Calabar born actress added that she is versatile.

Rubbing Minds: Looking at Nollywood through generations

Watch today’s episode of Rubbing Minds on Channels Television. In this edition of the show, host Chude Jideonwo looks at Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry, through the generations.

Guests include veteran actress and film producer Joke Silva who shares her wealth of knowledge of the industry. She is joined by TV/radio presenter Omoye Uzamure and actress Lala Akinjodu.

Rubbing Minds also makes Oscar predictions. Guests, Emem Ema, Joy Bewaji, Chris Ihidero join Akinjodu on the set of Rubbing minds and they have Osars on their minds.

Watch, enjoy, join the conversation and don’t miss the next episode. Photo from the set below:

(L-R) Chris Ihidero, film producer; Lala Akindoju, actress; Joke Silva, actress/film producer; Joy Bewaji; Chude Jideonwo, host; Emem Ema; Omoye Uzamure, TV/Radio presenter