During the preparations for the Third National Development Plan, 1975-80, the objectives for education were stated as follows:
- To expand facilities for education aimed at equalizing individual access to education throughout the country;
- To reform the content of general education to make it more responsive to the socio-economic needs of the country;
- To make an impact in the areas of technological education so as to meet the growing needs of the economy;
- To consolidate and develop the nation's system of higher education in response to the economy's manpower needs;
- To streamline and strengthen the machinery for educational development in the country; and
- To rationalize the financing of education with a view to making the educational system more adequate and efficient.
The Federal Government also identified the acute shortage of technical manpower as a major constraint towards the execution of the development plan. In response to this, government in 1972 established the then National Science and Technology Development Agency (which later metamorphosed to Federal Ministry of Science and Technology) which set up a Working Committee on Scientific and Technical Manpower and Science Education. The Committee produced a report on middle-level technical manpower and their training. Some of the Committee's recommendations included the following:
- in order to have a nationally accepted standard in technical education, there should be a harmonization of the entry qualifications and diploma standards throughout the nation;
- in order to eliminate the non-uniformity in terminal diplomas issued by existing colleges of technology, there should be a national certificate in technical education;
- in order to attract the right kind of staff to the technical colleges (now polytechnics) there should be a harmonization of technical staff standards including staff structure, remuneration and conditions of service;
- in view of the fact that courses in many technical fields from which the Development Plans need to draw manpower at the middle-level are not provided for in our existing colleges, there should be expansion of the courses and facilities in these colleges; and new colleges should take into account the required courses in planning their programmes;
- in view of the gaps in the admission capacity and actual enrolment for the existing courses in the technical colleges (now polytechnics) there should be full utilization of these facilities through a review of the admissions policy, including part-time admissions, and massive awards of technical scholarships;
- in order to encourage more enrolment in technical courses, more avenues for practical experience for newly qualified trainees, should be created; this can be achieved through immediate employment of the trainees in public and private industries using, if necessary, the facilities of the Industrial Training Fund.
- The Committee further recommended that a National Board for Technical Education be created which should be charged with the implementation of its recommendations.
The Federal Government established the National Board for Technical Education by Act 9 of January 1977. In August, 1985 and January 1993 respectively, the Federal Government enacted Act 16 (Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act) and Act 9 (Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) (Amendment) Act). With these Acts, the functions of the Board were extended to include accreditation of academic programmes in all Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) institutions. Act No.9 of 1st January 1993 further empowered the Board to recommend the establishment of private Polytechnics and Monotechnics in Nigeria.
Functions of the Board
The functions of the Board are derived from:
· Act No. 9 of 11th January, 1977
· Education/National Minimum Standard and Establishment of Institution Act No. 16 of August 1985 and
· Amendments Act No. 9 of 1993.
The functions of the Board as contained in its enabling Decree 9 of 1977 are as follows:
· advise the Federal Government on, and co-ordinate all aspects of technical and vocational education falling outside the universities;
· determine, after consultation with such other bodies, the skilled manpower needs of the country in the industrial, commercial and other relevant fields......;
· ……….in particular to prepare periodic master plans for the balancedand coordinated development of polytechnics and such plans shall include;
o the general programmes to be pursued by polytechnics in order to maximize the use of available facilities and avoid unnecessary duplication;
o recommendations for the establishment and location of new polytechnics.
· inquire into and advise the Federal Government on the financial needs, both recurrent and capital, of polytechnics and other technical institutions;
· receive block grants from the Federal Government and allocate them to polytechnics in accordance with such formula as may be laid down by the Federal Executive Council;
· act as the agency for channeling all external aid to polytechnics in Nigeria;
· advise on, and take steps to harmonise entry requirements and duration of courses at technical institutions;
The recent acts extended the functions of NBTE to include:
the establishment and maintenance of minimum standards in polytechnics and other technical institutions in the Federation,
- accreditation of academic programmes in all technical and vocational education (TVE) institutions for the purpose of award of national certificates and diplomas and other similar awards