Education in general and higher education in particular have for centuries formed the bedrock upon which progress has been made in all other sectors.
As human capital is imperative for over all development of the society, higher education is an investment in human capital required for this development. Tilak(2003) identified higher education as the hub of rapid industrialization by providing workforce with professional, technical and managerial skills. He wrote that in the present context of transformation of nations into knowledge economies and knowledge societies, higher education provides not just educational workers, but knowledge workers to the growth of the economy. It creates attitudes and makes possible attitudinal changes necessary for the socialization of the individuals and the modernization and overall transformation of the societies and perhaps the most important contribution of tertiary education lies in its creation, absorption and dissemination of knowledge through teaching and research. Higher education helps in formation of strong nation state. It allows people to enjoy an enhanced life of mind offering the wider society both cultural and political benefits (Task Force, 2000:37) in Tilak, (2003:3).
Nigeria has a quantum of untapped human and material resources. It is through tertiary education and in turn Polytechnic education, that its extractive, rejuvenative and regulative capabilities can be exploited.
Mark Twain once said: “To be good is noble but to show others how to be good is nobler”.
Essentially, the role of tertiary education is not only to be good, but also to show others (students, government and society) how to be good.
John Davis, the President of Humber Polytechnic in Canada in 2007 defined a polytechnic as “a multi-disciplinary institution of higher education which emphasizes connections with working life and economic development. It offers an applied approach to technical and professional education. In addition, it carries out research and development that supports working life and economic development and is geared to the industrial structure of the region”.
Functionally, Polytechnics should accomplish the above goals through teaching, researches, and development of programmes. IN addition, it should maintain minimum educational standards, disseminate existing and new information, pursue service to the community and act as a storehouse of knowledge.
While we admit that tertiary education in general and particularly the Polytechnics have the task of producing high and medium level manpower and imbuing its recipients with the intellectual and physical skills, necessary for the individual’s personal equipment and national development, we contend that Universities have been turning out thousands of graduates who are incidentally roaming the streets, a long way off from being self reliant and definitely un-equipped for national development. That is where Polytechnic education distinguishes itself through the production of practically oriented and educated human beings.
On the part of teaching staff, there is the believe that most of them are distracted from their primary assignments of teaching, research, and supervision pf student’s research, and are made to dissipate energy confronting official neglect and what they termed as wrong-headed policies (Olukoju, 2002)
Apart from these, there are problems of funding, student enrolment, staffing and materials/facilities that have constituted management problems to Nigerian Polytechnics.
Students on their part experience great stress and rigors in getting registered after admission, getting supervisors, paying various fees, getting accommodation, securing adequate attention of their supervisors, applying for remarking when they feel marked-down, graduating within given time frame, being completely dependent on the lecturer for what they get as knowledge.
Most of these problems are traceable to factors internal to the Polytechnics. Therefore, a question mark is placed on the quality of the management of most Polytechnics that put them in a grossly disadvantageous position in the increasing competitive and globalized world, where sister institutions all over the world with diverse strategic ICT and E-education management techniques are canvassing for patronage by potential students of all nationalities.
The 21st century developments therefore pose challenges to Nigerian Polytechnics with regard to quality management and goal attainment. Because I believe that leadership and management are critical contributory factors to success in research, teaching and development. With good leadership, the Polytechnic will create knowledge and wealth. A good leadership will also be adaptive to behavior requirement necessary to support increasingly diverse student body and to develop retention strategies that encourage students to not only complete their studies but also contribute meaningfully in this era.
Our administration has these conceptual brief behind its mind in tackling the problems of Federal Polytechnics Oko. Our attention is focused on the following mission:
Apart from income from the Federal government, which is not often sufficient, we shall intensify efforts on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). We shall extend our funding sources to International Organizations, Agencies, Corporate Organizations and prominent individuals within and outside the country and within the extent permissible by the laws establishing the Institution.
The present administration has been great in restoring sanity in project planning and implementation as well as administration of the institution. We shall attempt to tremendously improve on what is on the ground. Apart from ensuring the completion of on-going projects, we shall embark on the following:
Polytechnic Hotels and International Conference Center
The Hotels and International Conference center shall host both local and international conferences as well as local social events like weddings, and other meetings that do not detract from the objectives of the institution. The center shall be built through public-private partnerships and managed by a third party to ensure its profitability and regular maintenance. It is going to be fully commercialized and will generate a lot of revenue for the institution. It is going to be a center with tourist beauty.
We shall build an Auditorium as well as seminar rooms that compete with what is obtainable abroad for meetings and academic events. Such places will be equipped with communication facilities and central air conditioners.
Wireless Internet facility/ Virtual Library
The whole Polytechnic shall have wireless internet facilities for teaching and research. Students must be taught with projectors and power point programmes. Such facilities make teaching and learning easier. The polytechnic Web site, if it exists at all, shall be regularly maintained and enriched. Every student must pass through the Polytechnic ICT center and hold its certificate to graduate. Our staff and students must be ICT compliant.
The whole polytechnic shall have wireless internet facilities for teaching and research. Students must be taught with projectors and power point programmes. Such facilities make teaching and learning easier. The polytechnic Web site, if it exists at all, shall be regularly maintained and enriched. Every student must pass through the Polytechnic ICT center and hold its certificate to graduate. Our staff and students must be ICT compliant.
Apart from establishing an international Library, Virtual Library must be one of my first priorities. The institution will link up with data banks of other institutions abroad to enable our students’ access their libraries.
We shall develop a comprehensive approach to what we call citizen journalism. This can be done through internet and use of electronic devices such as phone cameras, U-tube and camcorders.
This will help reporting system by not just students of Mass Communication but also the entire students. Internationally, virtual reporting and journalism is taking the place of analogue system of journalism and political communication. YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos. YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employee of PayPa. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc for $1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google.
The company is based in San Bruno, California, and use Adobe Flash Video technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, although media corporations including CBS, the BBC, UMG and other organizations offer some of their material via the site, as part of the YouTube partnership program. Unregistered users can watch the videos, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Videos that are considered to contain potentially offensive content are available only to registered users over the age of 18. We shall make arrangements with Nigerians in Diaspora to procure laptop computers for our students perhaps to tune of about N10,000. Yes we can!
With this, it is easy to use interface, YouTube made it possible for anyone who could use a computer to post a video that millions of people could watch within a few minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube has turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of Internet culture.
YouTube was awarded a 2008 George Foster Peadody Award and cited for being “a ‘Speakers’ Corner,’ where Internet users can upload, view and share clips, in an ever-expanding archive-cum-bulletin board that both embodies and promotes democracy.
We shall liaise with our people and publishers both at home and abroad for book donations, to complement these efforts, the institution shall import container load of books and journals on annual basis. The library must be rich with books to complement that of virtual library. As stated earlier on we shall establish the best virtual library in Africa.
International Conferences and Linkage Programmes
We shall encourage local and international linkages. The polytechnic shall create an international linkage center to be manned by full time staff. Lecturers shall be encouraged to attend both local and international conferences as well as workshops. The benefits of these need not be overemphasized. We shall be involved in academic image laundering to brush off the dirt of the past and place the institution on the map through sustained academic activities and standards.
As an environmentally sensitive administration, we shall create a Directorate of Environment Management Sustenance and Enforcement. Conveniences must be created at every nook and cranny of the institution for both staff and students.
Human Resource Development
Our administration will arrange for regular staff training and re-training and will encourage workshops and conferences that are designed to improve the working skills and ability of both academic and non-academic staff of the Polytechnic.
Peace and Conflicts
We shall set up machinery for peace and conflict resolution. Such arrangement will help to create harmony among staff and between staff and management. The unit shall be headed by a regular staff.
No human organization can thrive in atmosphere of indiscipline. There must be strict adherence to rules and regulations as well as staff conditions of service. Our administration shall be fair to all but firm to its rules and regulations. Considering the battered image of the Polytechnic over the years discipline on both staff and students must be a number one priority. We will put to a stop any form of harassment, exploitation, extortion, late coming to work and submission of results. Examinations must be as scared as they supposed to be.
Cultism and Examination malpractices
We shall re-double our efforts in this regard and ensure that such ugly monsters are severely dealt with whenever and wherever they re-surface. Pre-emptive measures shall be also adopted to nip the activities of cultist on bud before they surface.
We shall accord high priority to students’ welfare. Our students will be given unionized forum to vent their feelings through a democratic process. Some ways of getting students on board are by providing for them, making the staff teach their courses, looking into issues of accommodation, and providing enough classrooms where they are deficient.
We shall introduce Work Aid programme to help indigent students to obtain education.
One thing every staff values is regular payment of salaries. Salaries will be paid on the 26th of every month. We shall work out a formula for sustenance and make sure that we did not renegade on this promise. Our policy shall be that every staff must have an office space to him or her. Every staff office must be made comfortable with air conditioner, desktop computers with internet connections and a refrigerator. Staff offices must meet with international standards. Staff offices are second homes and staff must feel as such. There will be regular interactive sessions with staff and students.
The Polytechnic health center must be properly equipped both for regular treatment of staff and students and emergency cases.
Skill Acquisition Centre
We shall establish a skill acquisition center where students will learn basic skills such as carpentry, wood making and polishing, cabinet and still chairs, welding, barbing, hair dressing, pot and ceramic making, vehicle repairs, driving of both cars and heavy machines, house wiring, House and Car painting, plumbing, block molding, Sewing, developing POP for houses, aluminum designs and fittings, computer repairs and maintenance etc. In doing this we shall liaise with such centers as Center for Adaptation of Technology and offer such establishments across the country and some other African countries.
Relationship with Host Community
Cordial relationship with the host community is a sine qua non for co-existence. Community relationship with the institution must be improved upon. The institution must also meet up with its social responsibilities and genuinely incorporate the resident community and its dominant actors as serious stakeholders in the success and management of the institution.
Relationship with Government
The Polytechnic is a Federal government institution. One best way of relating with government of both state and federal is by living up its responsibilities by carrying our programme that promote the Federal government objective of setting up the institution.
The institution shall liaise with the private sector and well meaning individuals to make provisions that will yield dividends to the institution.
Information and Communication Technologies(ICTs)
As we stated before, there must be an ICT Center, which shall be established through Public Partnership. The Center will have at least 500 students seated at a time. Students shall be made to pass through this center before graduation. Such students that pass through the center will be certificated.
Cordial relationship will be cultivated with the Governing Council. We shall work hand in hand with it for the upliftment of the status of the institution as well as project planning and implementation.
Activities of the Labour Union shall be encouraged within the confines of the law. Our administration will encourage constructive unionism and carry labour along in management process.
The Security Outfit shall be strengthened to be in good position to protect the lives of staff, students and properties of the institution. The Security personnel shall be undergoing training and retraining to enable them prevent crimes before they are committed.
Sports and Social Development
Our Administration shall promote and encourage our young men and women for active life through sports promotion. We shall also participate actively in all NIPOGA Games. In this regard, we shall also liaise with the private sector to promote sports development.
Due process must be followed in financial administration. This will help transparency and accountability. If the system is transparent and accountable, it will go a long way in the development of the institution. We must adhere strictly to institutions financial regulations.
Public Relations and Image Laundering
We must engage in serious image laundering. A situation where certificates of this institution are rejected by other higher institutions and job employers is not acceptable. This will be accomplished through standard setting and more importantly discipline on the part of staff and students. The institution must go back to number one in terms of academic performance and excellence.