Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today-Malcolm X.
The above quote by one of the greatest human rights activists that ever walked the face of the earth succinctly captures the commitments and vision of the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu in the area of education. Indeed, since coming into office, it has been one groundbreaking move after the other for his administration in the education sector.
Whilst the giants strides so far taken in the sector are too numerous to count, it is noteworthy that the latest, being the conversion of two of the state’s tertiary institutions, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and Lagos State Polytechnic to universities, duly approved by the National Universities Commission, NUC is not just epochal, but a move that will forever etch the name of the governor and his team on the sand of time.
Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education will become Lagos State University of Education with centres in Ijanikin and Epe and Lagos State Polytechnic will become Lagos State University of Science and Technology, Ikorodu. Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, which was formerly called Lagos State College of Education, was established in 1958 as a Grade III teacher training college, while Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), previously known as the Lagos State College of Science and Technology (LACOSTECH), was founded in 1977 with the promulgation of the Lagos State Edict No. 1 of 1978 which gave the College its legal existence with retroactive effect from June 1977.
For a fact, one has to commend the thoughtfulness of the men Sanwoolu has chosen to pilot the affairs of the state with him, especially his Special Adviser on Education, Tokunbo Wahab whose office was saddled with the responsibilities of midwifing the project.
With the elevation of the two institutions to universities, one of the major areas of concern for years which the move will help to address is the university/polytechnic dichotomy. Although there have been several moves to abolish the dichotomy, up to the National Assembly level, it is a known fact that the expected parity between BSc and HND certificate holders is far from being achieved as it is. For example, in the Civil Service, the entry-level for graduates with Bachelor’s degrees is salary Grade Level 8, while that of HND is Grade Level 7, in some instances GL 6. Initially, in some security and paramilitary services, a Bachelor’s degree holder is a commissioned officer, while an HND holder is placed on an inspectorate cadre. An HND graduate doesn’t go higher than GL 13 (jam bar), while a BSc graduate has no limit.
According to Governor Sanwoolu, getting approval for two new universities at a time is not being over ambitious but because it is what the people yearn for.
‘’For instance, there are thousands of private and public primary and secondary schools in Lagos that requires the services of teachers in mathematics, science and other subjects. This is what the University of Education will provide. We have a ready-made market for the people that will graduate from these institutions. We are therefore, on the right track in terms of host community relationships and other stakeholders,” he added.