Proprietors of private polytechnics in the country have appealed to the federal government to as a matter of urgency, reopen polytechnics shut down in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

The owners of private polytechnics operating under the aegis of Association of Proprietors of Private Polytechnics in Nigeria (APPPN), in a statement on Thursday, through their National President, Dr Moses Adeyemi, disagreed with lecturers that tertiary institutions should remain closed to activities, due to COVID-19.

Recall that university lecturers and their polytechnic colleagues operating under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), respectively, had declared that schools in the country should not be reopened for now.

ASUP and ASUU had stated that the population of students in public tertiary institutions are too large to be allowed for social distancing in line with COVID-19 management protocols.

But reacting to the positions of the two lecturer bodies, the APPPN said it doubted their sincerities.

“APPPN doubts the sincerity of ASUU and ASUP in this regard,” it said.

APPPN said COVID-19 had exposed admission fraud in public tertiary institutions.

“The regulatory bodies, National University Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) access facilities before granting approval to offer a program and do not also authorize admission above the carrying capacity of the Institutions based of its facilities.

“Admissions into Nigerian tertiary Institutions are also regulated by Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) who do not allow admission above carrying capacity approved by NUC or NBTE.

“The question now is: how did these Institutions come about the extra-large classes?”

Continuing, the APPPN said: “We don’t believe that there are different standards for private Institutions. Private Polytechnic admits within its capacity and most of us don’t have enough students because the public Institutions hoard the students during JAMB admission. The number of students in private polytechnics allows for social distancing.

“Measures has been put in place for the safe return of students to campus. The return of students to campus will help Polytechnics contribute towards combating the pandemic. You cannot close technological Institutions that supposed to be assisting in required technology for controlling the disease.”