We spend half a billion naira monthly to run three colleges of education – Delta higher education commissioner
Dayo Lazarus Asaba
Delta State Higher Education Commissioner, Prof Patrick Muoboghare Wednesday revealed how the state government spends nearly half a billion naira monthly to run its three colleges of education with a students population of less than 2,000.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had Tuesday sent an executive bill to the State House of Assembly for the upgrade of three higher institutions to university status; the state polytechnic, Ozoro, College of Education, Agbor and Delta State University Campus, Anwai-Asaba.
Addressing Journalists on the justification for the upgrade of the three tertiary institutions to universities, Prof Muoboghare, said government could no longer afford to progress on the spending, which he regarded as wasteful expenditure.
Besides, he explained that the state deemed it necessary to cue behind the federal government’s policy to phase out the Higher National Diploma (HND) programme.
In this regard, the Higher Education Commissioner disclosed that the existing two Polytechnics (Oghara and Ogwashi-Uku) and the School of Marine Technology in Burutu would only award National Diploma (ND) certificates.
“We asked ourselves the question, can we afford to spend so much on these four Institutions just for the ND programme? And when a student has gotten the ND, where is he progressing to?
“Before now, the student will progress to the HND programme and that is why we decided that one of the Polytechnics should be upgraded to the status of the University of Science and Technology”.
“As at today, the focus of the Dr. Okowa’s government is to have Technical Colleges in all the local governments of Delta State after tantalizing these children with technical skills, they would not want to stop there knowing Deltans for who they are, they want to progress.
“So, naturally, there is a Polytechnic for them to go for their ND. Now, because you cannot go beyond the ND and you know that these children were going for the ND initially because they would proceed for HND.
“Since there is no HND, let us have a University of Science and Technology for them. This is why we took that decision”, Prof. Muoboghare stressed.
Giving breakdown of students and staff strength of the three Colleges of Education in contrast with the collosal monthly expenditure, Prof Muoboghare said:
“As we speak, the total number of students enrolled in the NCE programmes from NCE Year 1 to NCE Year 3 in Agbor, Warri and Mosogar put together is 2, 888 students.
“And the total monthly expenditures of Delta State on these three Colleges of Education that has 2, 888 students is N457 million per month for a total staff strength of about 1, 893.
“This gives a staff/student ratio of 1:1.5 students to a staff. To us that is wasteful expenditure”, the commissioner quipped, noting that nowadays, students are no longer interested in the NCE programmes.
Prof Muoboghare alluded to a neighbouring state’s university with students population strength of over 14, 000 but the state commits a monthly expenditure of N250 million while Delta has a student strength of 2, 888 at the NCE level with salary wage bill of N457 million.
He stressed that the government was inadvertently wasting the sum of N457 million on empty lecture halls.
“The alternative is to shut them down but certainly we will not shut them down. If we upgrade one to a university status and then the other two will run their programmes then those NCE students will know that they have somewhere to aspire to for their degree programmes.
That informed why we decided to upgrade one of the Colleges of Education to a University of Education”, he emphasised.