Students: This’ll lift state’s health education, bolster our morale
It will reposition, help to expand our curriculum –Provost
Towards enhanced quality health education provision, and boost production of middle level manpower for the health sector in Ogun State, the government has taken a major step to leapfrog the sector. OLU FEMI ADEDIRAN reports
After years of delay and failed promises owing to political intrigues and maneuverings, the much orchestrated upgrading of Ogun State College of Health Technology (OSCOHTECH) in Ilese, Ijebu- Ode to Ogun State Polytechnic of Health and Allied Sciences, Ilese- Ijebu has become a reality. This is as the state government re-emphasised the urgent need for a standard health technology institution in the state, and to leverage on repositioning the existing college of Health Technology so as to deepen the production of efficient manpower for the health sector development. Thus, it was jubilation galore for the people of Ogun State, and particularly the Ilese community, as the college, which had in the last 47 years operated as a college under the state’s Ministry of Health was rearticulated and transmuted to a full-fledged polytechnic.
The college was established on September 28, 1976 during the Military Administration of Col. Saidu Balogun as a school under the Ministry of Health with the primary objective of training and grooming middle level manpower for the delivery of qualitative primary healthcare for the state. Before its upgrading, the college investigations showed it had been bedeviled with several challenges ranging from inadequate funding, and low student enrolment to encroachment on the institution’s land by land grabbers, among others. As the oldest tertiary institution in the state, OSCOHTECH achieved its new feat and status, when Governor Dapo Abiodun a few weeks announced the conversion of the college to a polytechnic status.
Investigations by New Telegraph indicated that the upgrading came four years after the state House of Assembly had passed a Bill, seeking to upgrade the college to a polytechnic. The Bill, titled: “Ogun State College of Health Technology (Amendment) Law, 2018,” among other issues sought to alter the name of the institution from Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu to Ogun State Polytechnic of Health and Allied Sciences, Ilese-Ijebu. But, the dream to actualise the bill, which hitherto suffered some setbacks on the floor of the House and due to lack of deliberate action and political will on the part of the Governor to accent the Bill, did not come into reality until official pronouncement of Governor Abiodun. Though the college was said to have assumed a status of a polytechnic since the year 2006, as pronounced then by former Governor of the state, Otunba Olugbenga Daniel, nothing was done since either to upgrade or rename the college to its present status. However, findings also revealed that the institution, based on the Bill, had in the past few years awarded and offered National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes in health related disciplines.
Meanwhile, the governor’s announcement of the upgrading of the college, it was learnt, followed persistent appeals by notable indigenes of Ilese town, including the monarch of the community, the Elese of Ilese- Ijebu, Oba Oluremi Obayomi, to the governor to sign the bill upgrading the college into law. The monarch during one of the school’s events had argued that the upgrade of the college would enable the institution to draw funds from the Federal Government through the Tertiary education Trust Fund (TETFund), which according to him, would result in significant reduction in the school fees paid by the students, as well as increase enrolment into the college that has hitherto been confronted with crisis of low subscription of students. While the upgrading of the college was received with momentous joy and accolade by people of the community and Ogun State in general, the monarch on behalf of the people lauded the Governor Abiodun-led administration for rising up to the challenges confronting the college towards boosting education of the students. Despite this, the monarch, however, appealed to the state government to come to the aid of the community to halt the encroachment on the institution’s land by land grabbers.
Changing of status
Meanwhile, the upgrading of OSCOHTECH to a polytechnic, education pundits pointed out, has readily brought to five the number of state-owned polytechnics in the Gateway State. The state-owned polytechnics in Ogun State (with the highest number of universities, polytechnics and other allied institutions (public and private), are Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta; Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic (AAPOLY); Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade Isara Ode-Remo, Ogun State; Ogun State Institute of Technology in Igbesa; and D.S. Adegbenro ICT Polytechnic, Itori-Ewekoro. Prior to the official announcement of the conversion of the college to polytechnic by Governor Abiodun, the college, according to the management, has been running programmes and awarding degrees in affiliation with the Kwara State University (KWASU). Established in 1976 as a School under a Department of the Ministry of Health, the college under the KWASU affiliation, awards and runs degree programmes in Environmental Health, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Health Information Management, and other health technology related fields.
With the primary objective of training middle level manpower for the delivery of primary healthcare services for the state towards improving the state’s primary healthcare delivery system, the college at inception became the single largest producer of primary healthcare workers that accounting for over 90 per cent of the total health manpower needs of the 20 local government areas of the state.
Though the college had since surpassed its mandates of producing quality healthcare workers for primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities and other healthcare delivery systems not only for the state, its products have also continued to serve the neighbouring states and federal health institutions. However, the college, which opened its doors to 41 pioneer students in 1976 in two academic programmes, 47 years later now, offers 11 academic programmes, which are all approved and accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and other professional accreditation bodies at National Diploma and Higher National Diploma levels.
History was, however, made on February 15, 2023, when the college, as pronounced by the state governor, changed its status to become a full-fledged polytechnic. It was learnt that Governor Abiodun had during his electioneering campaign tour of Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of the state addressed the students of the college, while in the process the students availed themselves the opportunity of the engagement with the governor to represent the matter and their request for the upgrading and renaming of the college.
The governor, who was said to have granted the students’ demand, therefore promised that with its new status, the state government would soon appoint a substantive Rector for the polytechnic. While officially announcing the upgrade of the college, the governor reiterated the need for the establishment of a standard health technology institution with the state-ofthe- art facilities and equipment for the state, saying that the college’s contribution to the primary healthcare system of the state over the years spurred the state government to convert the college to a polytechnic status.
Therefore, the governor restated his administration’s commitment and determination to reposition the institution, reiterating that he would continue to support the development of education in the state through provision of adequate funding and availability of resources for the sector in order to deliver and perform optimally. The governor said: “I, Prince Adedapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State, hereby pronounce that this institution, formerly called Ogun State College of Health Technology is hereby upgraded and renamed Ogun State Polytechnic of Health and Allied Sciences. “This institution will now begin to occupy its pride of place among the comity of polytechnics and other tertiary institutions in the country. I want to congratulate you (students) on this elevation, and I want to assure you that very soon, you will have a substantive Rector for the polytechnic. “I am making that pronouncement today, the 15th of February 2023, and I am the only one that can come here and make such an announcement; others can come here and make empty promises.” To address the infrastructure and developmental needs of the school and community in general, the governor also assured the students and the community that construction work would commence on the internal road network of the institution in the next one week. Besides, he promised that the Ilese Road, which was recently re-awarded by his administration, would soon be completed.
“I want to apologise for the deplorable condition of this road, but as you can see that work has already started on the road. I have re-awarded that contract to a reputable contractor and very soon, you will see this road wearing a new look. “I am also aware of the situation of your internal roads, I have instructed the Commissioner for Works to come here immediately, within the next one week and begin work on the internal road network,” Abiodun stated.
The Provost of the college, Dr. Abiodun Oladunjoye, however, described the upgrading and renaming of the college as the towering achievement for the institution in its existence. According to him, the upgrading would not only increase the admission quota of the institution, boost enrolment and attract quality lecturers, but also put the institution on the world map. Oladunjoye said: “Let me first correct the people on the upgrading. What is being done now is the renaming of the college. The college had assumed a status of a polytechnic since 2006, as pronounced then by the former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Justus Olugbenga Daniel.
“So, our amiable Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has now pronounced our several years’ request for a change of the college’s name to Ogun State Polytechnic of Health and Allied Sciences, Ilese-Ijebu on 15th of February, 2023. “The renaming of the college to a polytechnic will reposition the institution and also help the management to expand our curriculum, as well as position it well among other polytechnics in this country. Also, it will now enable us to access TETFund grants that we have for several years been denied the benefits and opportunities because of the ambiguity in properly determining our status as a polytechnic.
“We are expecting a lot from the state government in order for us to feel the positive impact of the upgrading and renaming of the college; especially in the areas of construction of the institution’s internal access road networks, infrastructural upliftment and increase in the monthly subventions to the institution. “Though the governor has directed the state Ministry of Works to commence construction work on the internal access road network, we believe he will attend to other areas of our needs as quickly as possible.” However, the students led by the President of the institution’s Student Union, Rafiu Olawale Rilwan, commended the governor for the upgrading and renaming of the college, saying that the decision of the governor to upgrade the college has further reinforced the government’s commitment to provide qualitative health education in the state, as well as bolster the students’ morale.
“The entire students’ body of the institution as well as the management is highly delighted and elated over this development. We really appreciate His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun for the wonderful thing he has done for us; but we also appeal to the governor to fulfill the remaining promises he made to the entire students of Ogun State Polytechnic of Health and Allied Science, especially for the reconstruction of the access road connecting the institution,” Rafiu said.