The Delta state Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare, on Wednesday, gave reasons why the state government took the decision to convert three institutions in the state to university status.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had on Tuesday forwarded executive bills to the State House of Assembly to convert and upgrade three institutions in the state to full-fledged universities 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.
Briefing newsmen on Wednesday, Muoboghare said that the state government put many issues into consideration before arriving at the decision of upgrading the institutions.
Starting with polytechnic in Ozoro, Muoboghare said the polytechnic is 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 adding that 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.
For the three colleges of education in the state, the Higher Education Commissioner revealed that in the three colleges there are only 2888 students with a total wage bill for workers to the tune of N457million monthly.
According to him, the whopping N457mollion is paid to 1895 workers at the ratio of one staff to 1.5 students.
He described such development as a waste of scarce resources saying that the since lecturers do not have much work in their hands, 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 disclosing that when the colleges were established years back, they could boast 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 colleges of education, it became necessary to upgrade one of them 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 whereas Delta is spending N457million to pay salary for 1895 workers in the three colleges to take care of 2888 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 and not fitting to be in a state capital noting that he tactically avoids taking his visitors to the school, except people of Delta state.
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”.
Meanwhile, Muoboghare has said that the new universities forwarded to the State House of Assembly by the governor will begin in the 2021/2022 academic session.
He disclosed that a dress code will be recommended for all students saying the National and Higher National Diploma students and the current NCE students will be allowed to complete their programme while the fresh students will start the degree programme in the next academic session.