The Federal Polytechnic Ede, Osun state was last Friday thrown into total confusion over the cancellation of the Dual Award programme of the institution.
Students on the programme from the two collaborating schools, Ilori College of Education, Ede and Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun stormed the Federal Polytechnic Ede after news filtered in that the programme designed to award them National Diploma and National Certificate of Education after four semesters had been cancelled by the Management of the polytechnic.
In their hundreds, the students laid siege on the Administration Block of the polytechnic, damaging windows and doors, while threatening to burn down the building unless the Management decision, that now left them in the cooler, was reversed.
The students went on rampage following the release of a letter dated 16th December, 2020 titled, “Cancellation of Dual Award programme” and signed by Alhaji T. Agboola, Registrar of the institution, cancelling the programme with fiat.
The letter reads thus: “Sequel to the decision of the Academic Board in its meeting held on 25th November, 2020, members of the Polytechnic community are hereby informed that the Dual Award programme hitherto run by the Polytechnic in conjunction with M8 GLOBAL KNOW NETWORK LTD has been outrightly cancelled and as such the Polytechnic is no longer involved in the running of the Dual Award programme.”
TELL investigations revealed that the Academic Board of the Polytechnic had frowned at the illegality of the programme claiming that the Rector of the institution did not enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with both Colleges of Education nor seek the approval of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the Academic Board before mounting the Dual Award programme.
At its meeting held on 11th December, 2020, the Academic Board of the polytechnic suspended the Rector as its chairman over what it described as flagrant abuse of office and his utter disregard for the directive of the NBTE on the illegality of the Dual Award programme.
A senior officer at the Osun State College of Education Ila-Orangun who spoke to TELL on the basis of anonymity confirmed that no Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the institution and Federal Polytechnic Ede on the running of the Dual Award programme.
Dr. Ajitoni Amusan, Chairman, Committee of Deans of the institution, attributed the suspension of the Rector, Dr. John Taiwo Akolawole, as the chairman of the Academic Board to his failure to listen to members of the Board and his running the affairs of the school like an autocrat and sole administrator.
In a letter dated 14th December, 2020 addressed to the Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Federal Polytechnic Ede chapter and signed by the Deans of the five schools in the institution, representatives of Head of Departments, Academic Staff (Technical), Academic Staff (Academic) and Chief Lecturers, they averred that the Rector was suspended for his lack of respect for the NBTE and the Academic Board itself.
According to the Board, it passed a vote of no confidence on the Rector, “as a result of his flagrant disregard to the Academic Board decision to uphold National Board for Technical Education’s directive pronounced by Dr. M.A. Kazaure, the former Executive Secretary, on Wednesday, 16 September, 2020 in respect of a programme called Dual Award which awards both ND and NCE certificates after four semesters.”
For members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) Federal Polytechnic, Ede chapter, the disbanded programme from its inception in 2018 has been shrouded in, “lots of controversies, manipulations, conspiracy and unethical practices.”
Adekunle Masopa, chairman, ASUP Federal Polytechnic Ede chapter, said that everything about the programme was done with impunity and clear disregard for rules and regulations of the institution.
In his submission on the Dual Award programme, Masopa averred that a purported approval for the programme was a ruse. “the purported approval did not emanate from the office of the Registrar of the Polytechnic, who doubles as the Secretary to the Academic Board and saddled with such responsibility. The MOU in existence was hurriedly signed in August 2020 when the Union (ASUP) raised issues on the matter.” He revealed.
He also alluded to financial misappropriation of funds generated from the programme as, according to him, “no proceed from the programme is recorded so far in the coffers of the Polytechnic or the TSA.”
Masopa observed that despite the positions of the Academic Board of the polytechnic and the NBTE on the illegality of the programme, the Rector and his Management went ahead to change the nomenclature of the Dual Award programme and commenced examinations for students on 9th of December.
As things stand now, the fate of over a thousand students who enrolled for the programme now hangs in the balance.
It is clear that last Friday’s disruption of activities at the Federal Polytechnic Ede by enraged students who felt used and abandoned, after payment of huge fees, by collaborators under the Dual Award programme will definitely not be the last until a means is devised to accommodate their interest.