BY AUSTIN OYIBODE
The Delta state commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, on Wednesday gave reasons why the state government took decision to convert three institutions in the state to university status.
It was a cheery news on Tuesday when the report broke out that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had forwarded executive bills to the state house of assembly to convert and upgrade the three institutions to full fledged university status.
The schools are college of education, Agbor now to be state university of education, Ozoro polytechnic now to be state university of science and technology and Anwai campus of the Delta state university to be upgraded to university of science and agriculture.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, Professor Muoboghare told journalists that the state government put many issues into consideration before arriving at the decision of upgrading the institutions.
He started his explanation with the polytechnic in Ozoro. According to him, the polytechnics are unable to cope with the influx of students seeking admission yearly. He added that the federal government is tactically phasing out the Higher National Diploma (HND) from the system.
He said at the implementation of the policy which the states will definitely key into, the polys will be left to produce only National Diploma holders who would thereafter move to the university to complete their programme.
Muoboghare, who sat alongside the commissioner for information, Charles Aniagwu, said that is why the state decided to upgrade one of the polys to a university status. Hence, Ozoro was chosen for that purpose.
For the colleges of education in the state, they are three in number. He revealed that in all the three colleges of education in the state, there are only 2888 students in all with a total wage bill for workers to the tune of N457million monthly.
He felt disturbed that for a mere 2888 students in all the three colleges, a whopping N457mollion is paid to 1895 workers. This is put at the ratio of 1:1.5 student. He said this ratio shows one staff is employed to take care of 1.5student.
He described such development as a waste of scarce resources. He added that for the fact that the lecturers do not have much work in the hand, they go into affiliation with other universities and teaching their students whereas the state government pays them salaries.
Muoboghare said it is becoming glaring that students do no longer value the NCE programme. He told journalists that when the colleges were established years, they boasted of 5000 students in each of the campuses, but very unfortunately the interest for the NCE has waned.
He added that the state government is now paying N457milion for lecturers to teach empty halls, while the state government still builds structures in the schools.
Muoboghare said to attract students into education institution, it became necessary to upgrade one of the colleges of education to the status of the state university of education.
He made a comparison of a nearby state university that has a total population of 14,000 students but pays N250million as monthly salary to staff. He said Delta is spending N457million to pay salary for 1895 workers in the three colleges to take care of 2888 students, while that state is paying N250million to take care of 14,000 students.
He said in the 2019/2020 session, over 25,000 candidates took DELSU as first choice, noting that of the number, 22,000 were qualified to write the Post UTME. But only 4500 were admitted, leaving others to return home.
Muoboghare further explained that there is a policy of the federal government where admission is systematically skewed towards the sciences as the world is going more digital and scientific.
He insisted that the new university of science and technology is a way of producing more scientists who will be useful for the state.
For Anwai campus of the DELSU, he said the institution is an eyesore, noting that he tactically avoids taking his visitors to the school, except people of Delta state. He said the school is not fitting to be in a state capital.
For him, the state government decided to establish these institutions “because we want to put our money where we can get dividends, not necessarily money but quality graduates”