By NBF News

The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, has said that the Federal Government is not happy with the prevailing situation at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria where 50 graduates are produced annually.

The Minister explained that the dream of the government for the institution is the production of at least 1500 graduates annually. 'The attainment of this objection requires huge investment in equipment, facilities and expertise which, under the sole funding arrangement by government cannot be achieved.'

Princess Oduah while debunking the rumour going round that the government is planning to privatize NCAT said 'the position of government is that there is an urgent need for NCAT to have collaboration/affiliation with reputable aviation training Institutes outside the nation's shores under a partnership arrangement that will boost the college's capacity to produce adequate and highly qualified manpower for the aviation industry and even for export of locally trained experts.'

Oduah added that under the planned collaborative arrangement, the foreign partners are expected to provide skilled manpower, training equipment and funds for the expansion of infrastructure and other facilities in the college.

'Moreover, the partnership would provide opportunity for exchange programmes for students in the college and the foreign aviation training institute(s). This will not only expose the students more to the industry's international best practice, but more so achieve synergy in Course Content with the foreign technical partners.'

The Minister who spoke through her Special Adviser on Media, Joe Obi, said 'It is also not true, as is being widely insinuated that any collaborative partnership with foreign institutes would automatically jerk up the tuition fees beyond the reach of the ordinary Nigerian or that Nigerian student applicants will be disadvantage in the admission policy.

'To the contrary, the prevailing tuition fees would be maintained as government would not abdicate its regulatory responsibilities. The economies of volume through higher student intake would more than make up for the desire to raise tuition fees.

Joe Obi explained that the admission policy of the institution will further be liberalized and made more transparent to give every Nigerian student intending to pursue a course of study at NCAT equal opportunity.

'The present arrangement whereby admission policy is dictated by exigencies of quota system as a result of space constraint will no longer subsist as expanded facilities would give room for more student intake. The overall benefit to the industry and the nation will be increased qualified manpower for both local and foreign consumption'