Twenty-one years after its creation, the Nasarawa State Government owned Isa Mustapha Agwai Polytechnic (IMAP), is set to run engineering courses that will confer on the institution the true status of a polytechnic.
Rector of the polytechnic, Mrs. Justina Kotso, disclosed this when she led an accreditation team from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), on a courtesy call on Governor Abdullahi Sule, at the Government House, on Tuesday.
Presenting the NBTE team before the governor, Mrs. Kotso expressed happiness that 21 years after IMAP was established, engineering courses are being considered for accreditation.
While describing Engineer Sule as an education friendly governor, the rector recounted how he frowned at the idea of a polytechnic without accreditation in technical courses, following which the governor took it upon himself to rigorously pursue accreditation for engineering courses.
The rector assured the governor that adequate arrangements have been put in place, in line with the due process to invite the NBTE for accreditation exercise.
Leader of the NBTE accreditation team, Dr. Koko Hatim, commended Engineer Sule, being a professional engineer who has practiced for over four decades, for his drive to develop skills and vocations in the teeming youths of the state, in order for them to be gainfully employed.
Dr. Hatim explained that over 80 staff of the NBTE are in the state to carry out accreditation for programmes in sciences, environmental sciences, engineering, technology, management sciences, arts and communication, with the total number of courses to be accredited numbering about 20.
He noted that since its establishment twenty-one years ago, there has been no engineering programme, appreciating the Engineer Sule administration for undertaking to ensure that IMAP assumes the full status of a polytechnic.
Dr. Hatim said NBTE is on resource inspection for the engineering courses while other courses are for accreditation and verification.
He equally commended the Nasarawa State Government for establishing the vocational institute adjacent to the polytechnic, especially considering that the NBTE already saw the need for the government to tilt towards technical and vocational manpower, particularly engineering and related areas, in order to meet its manpower needs.
Dr. Hatim suggested for the inclusion of courses such as computer engineering, mecatronic engineering, autotronic engineering, renewable energy, weilding and fabrication, as well as mining technology, which are key to the state’s manpower development.
For the technical colleges in the state, he disclosed that the NBTE has introduced the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQ), a competency based qualification that recognises non formal sector education into a formal certification process, which will afford students of technical schools to graduate with dual qualifications.
Dr. Hatim said they were in Nasarawa State to carry out the accreditation exercise because the state government is up to date in the payment of staff salaries at the IMAP, stressing that NBTE has made it categorical that it will not visit states owing staff backlog of salaries or other issues of welfare.
He therefore commended the Nasarawa State Government for being up to date in the payment of salaries, as well as welfare of workers.
Responding, Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said with commercial agriculture coming into the state, which when fully operational, will make the state the biggest producer of sugar in Africa, there is every need to train people to be fed into the emerging industries.
Being a trained engineer, as well as fellow of both the Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Nigerian Society of Engineers, the governor said he could not afford to sit back while the state owns a polytechnic without technical education.
Engineer Sule welcomed the idea of the NBTE establishing the NSQ, stressing that his administration is working towards commissioning the Lafia Technical Institute, which will run courses such as electrical installation, fitter machinist, weilding, automechanics, fabrication, carpentery, air-conditioning and refrigeration.
Others are agricultural mechanization and radio mechanics.
The governor urged the rector of the polytechnic to give her best and to ensure that it’s during her period that the Isa Mustapha Agwai Polytechnic become truly a polytechnic.
He assured the visiting NBTE officails that the state government will make all the necessary corrections towards making IMAP a true polytechnic.