The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has given 56 newly approved private institutions licences to operate.
The institutions consist of 20 private polytechnics, four Colleges of Health Sciences and Technology and 32 Innovation Enterprise Institutions (IEIs).
Adamu, who was represented by Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, gave the licences to the proprietors in Abuja on Monday.
He said the approval was based on the government’s determination to produce the critical mass of skilled manpower that would engender sustainable national development.
According to him, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institution is one of the 10 pillars in the Ministerial Strategic Plan tagged Education for Change.
“The government is working hard to reposition the economy to a knowledge-based economy, which to a large extent is dependent on the skills of the workforce.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the state of technical and vocational education in Nigeria requires very urgent and decisive action to reposition it for Nigeria’s technological take-off.
“The shortage of skilled manpower across all sectors of the Nigerian economy coupled with the challenge of expanding access to accommodate the teeming Nigerian youths cannot be overemphasised.
“This makes it imperative for the private sector participation in tertiary education management and administration.
“To date, government has approved 56 private polytechnics, 152 Innovation Enterprise Institutions and 84 Vocational Enterprise Institutions (VEIs) spread across the nooks and corners of Nigeria.’’
The minister said the challenge of skills gap prompted the government to establish VEIs and IEIs in 2007 in a bid to impart the necessary skills to drive the wheel of progress and development.
He added that the private sector driven institutions had contributed in no small measure to bridging the gaps and open access to education.
“These are institutions that provide skills that translate into inventions, services, products, innovations and best practices that make significant contributions to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
The minister, therefore, urged proprietors of the institutions to strive towards establishing progress-oriented and globally competitive institutions to actualise the envisioned change agenda.
Meanwhile, the proprietor of Bartholomew College of Health Technology, Shao, Kwara State, Bartholomew Owoicho, said there was a need for the establishment of new institutions to fill the educational gaps.
Owoicho, who commended the federal government for the license, said the new institutions would work to attain best practices in the country.
“The institutions established today will help groom technical students to be well equipped both in theory and practical. There must be global competitions within the whole of Africa and proprietors will make sure the institutions are the best in Africa.
“After training the students in these institutions, the government will be able to employ them and send them to health institutions (where) they can practice what they have been taught. It could also be an avenue for them to establish their own health institution on their own thereby creating jobs for themselves and others.’’
He noted that the college which started since 2007 was given the approval to commence its National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in 2015 but received the licence now.
Also, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Masa’udu Kazaure, said the board was working to eradicate the proliferation of illegal institutions in the country.
Mr Kazaure called on the proprietors of the institutions to abide by the mandate of the institutions, saying it is illegal for any approved institution to operate satellite campuses and study centres.