Mixed Reactions Trail Establishment Of New Varsities In Lagos

Kunle Adelabu

Mr Babajide Sanwo – Olu, Governor, Lagos State and Mr Tokunbo Wahab, Special Adviser on Education.

The establishment of the Lagos State University of Science & Technology (LASUSUTECH)/ (LASTECH) and Lagos State University of Education (LASUED), has continued to generate mixed reactions with some stakeholders welcoming the developments while others expressed reservations.

The two new Universities were created from the trio of Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED) and Michael Otedola College of Education (MOCOED), after the Governor of Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo – Olu signed the bills into laws last week.

Meanwhile, there are others also saying that LASPOTECH should have been made a Technical University. This same position was also canvassed by the former LASPOTECH Rector, Mr Ayodeji Iginla.

Stakeholders and residents spoke with THE IMPACT on the new developments.

Comrade Semiu Akinlawon Fasasi, former Chairman, Non – Academic Staff Union (NASU), described the establishment of the two Universities as a huge blessing and great opportunity for the state.

“The signing of these bills that converted the Lagos State Polytechnic to a University of Technology and AOCOED and MOCOPED to a University of Education, is a huge blessing to the entire citizenry of Lagos State”, he said.

“Happening now is the greatest opportunity that must not be missed!

“I want to congratulate the Lagos State Government, particularly the Governor, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, the Special Adviser on Education (SAE) – Tokunbo Wahab, the Speaker of the LAHA, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa and the Commissioner for Justice -Adeniji Kazeem, for making this happen during their time.

“No doubts, the enviable harmony enjoyed by the Executive arm of the State Government with the other arms of the Government for this purpose is laudable! Congratulations to all of you once again!”, he said.

The union leader, who said that establishment of additional Universities in the state is long overdue, also added that the two newly created institutions will address the issue of inadequate admission in Lagos.

“Having said this, the need for additional State-owned Universities in Lagos State is long overdue considering the pressure on LASU – the only State-owned University then in the area of admissions and capacity for a cosmopolitan State like Lagos. Noting that Lagos is a microcosm of the very huge Nigeria!”, he said.

“Now, the various students of the Polytechnic and Colleges of Education will now have capacity to upgrade their graduands to Bachelor of Science (BSc.) and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) respectively”.

He said that the new development will also provide staff in the affected institutions the huge opportunities to upgrade their academic status.

“No doubt, this development provides very huge opportunities for all existing staff of the prior institutions and prospective staff of the new institutions. The existing staff will have their nomenclature upgraded and many new staff will come on board with a lot of opportunities for the State and their host communities. I could remember, my likes were engaged by LASPOTECH as a result of the upgrade of the institution from LACOSTEC to LASPOTECH”, he recalled.

“It’s crystal clear that the opportunities offered by these new Universities are golden and a good legacy bequeathed by the Sanwo-Olu administration that will be cherished by Lagosians now and in the future. I say bravo to all that made it happened!”, Fasasi said.

President of the Ikorodu Heroes, a social and development platform, Mr Seun Elesho, while welcoming the idea as a good one, charged that the government should liaise with private sector organisations in funding the institutions.

He called for the upgrading of some of the Technical Colleges in the state to Polytechnics.

“Good one, but I think there should  be a year-long funding plan that will be signed and sealed that would involve private sector players such that the University would not be by name alone but by the quality it delivers”, he suggested.

“In addition, some of our technical colleges should be upgraded to a proper polytechnic which will only offer technical studies”, he said.

“Our new University should not be involved in courses like business studies, accounting, marketing, etc.”

A former student of LASPOTECH, Mr Hassan Temidayo, said that the Polytechnic should have been transformed to a Technical University while also expressing his fear about the capacity of the state government to fund three Universities at same time.

“They should rather had transformed it (LASPOTECH) into Technical University that Ghana Polytechnics were converted to. Lagos is too sophisticated not to be innovative”, he said.

“Tetfund is the only saving grace for LASPOTECH before now because it is not being properly funded by the state and now, three Universities will have to struggle for the single slot meant for Lagos State.

“Run LASU well first, then, you can create more universities.

“We need more technical schools to fill the gap of middle level manpower. Education should not be a subject of politics”, he said.

Mr Godwin Olaoluwa Oke, an Economist and Public Analyst, while also commending the developments, said that education and engineering courses in LASU should be moved to the two newly established institutions.

He also was of the view that lecturers in the existing institutions should be allowed time to upgrade their skills to be fit into the new Universities.

“The setting up of the specialised institutions is a good idea. It will bridge the knowledge gap in the technical and teaching institutions. It will also be a veritable connection between town and gown”, Godwin said.

“However, if this idea is to be effective, the faculties of education and engineering in LASU should be collapsed into the newly set up specialised institutions. Also, the existing lecturers in the Polytechnic and College of Education should be allowed a period of time to upgrade their skills.

“No doubt, this policy will increase the University admission space for students. Also, it will create jobs for our teeming youths”.

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