Yaba College of Technology, (...first and is still the best) started as Yaba Technical Institute, which took over all the activities of Yaba Higher College following the recommendation of the Elliot Commission on higher education in West Africa. The Yaba Higher College was closed down, and the students were moved to form the nucleus of the University College, Ibadan in 1948.The nation’s first Technical Institute, Yaba Technical Institute started day and evening classes in October 1947. On September 23, 1963, Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the then Governor-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, renamed the Yaba Technical Institute as Yaba College of Technology on the occasion of the official opening of the Engineering Block donated by Shell-British Petroleum.
The change in name was in anticipation of the dynamic role the College was to play in the production of technical manpower for the economic and social development of Nigeria. In the words of Dr. Azikiwe, “Yaba College of Technology is at the forefront of the overall programme for streamlining our technical education to meet the needs of Nigeria”. This change of name became a catalyst that threw up the need for autonomy for the College. Thus, the first step taken was the constitution of an Advisory Board in 1964 by the Minister of Education to help the College in its challenging path to the future.
The quest for autonomy for the College finally came to a head in 1969 with the approval of the autonomy and the promulgation of Degree 23 of 1969, “Yaba College of Technology Decree 1969”. which granted it the mandate to provide full-time and part-time courses of instruction and training in technology, applied science, commerce and management, agricultural production and distribution; and for research. This decree represented a major step towards the development of the College. It is significant to note that Yaba College of Technology was the only College offering Higher Diploma courses in Nigeria till 1979 when the Federal Polytechnics act 1979
Yaba College of Technology is the first higher institution in Nigeria to establish a Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, with linkages with the world of commerce and industry. The centre offers compulsory courses which must be taken by all students throughout their stay in the College. There is a Quality Assurance Unit in the College which monitors the quality of academic service delivery. The Applied Research and Technology Innovation (ARTI) Unit was established to promote research and linkages with private sector organizations for the exploitation and use of research. ARTI also assists to promote linkages between students of Yabatech and students of other institutions especially in the area of research.
Free medical service is provided at the Medical Centre, which is open 24/7. Sports facilities are provided at the sport complex which is located at the centre of the campus. The College has won the Nigeria Polytechnic Games Association five times out of sixteen editions of the competition. The College has a second campus at Epe, this campus is home to the Department of Agricultural Technology, Agric and Bio Engineering, Leisure & Tourism, School of Technical Education and Michael Otedola Information and Communication Centre.
The College is currently headed by Engineer Obafemi O. Omokungbe, the Rector. He is the first alumnus of the institution to be appointed Rector. He succeeded Dr. Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, on March 6, 2018 who completed her tenure in December 10, 2017. The name was changed to Federal Polytechnic Yaba in 1979, but changed to the current one in 1980. The over 70 years old Institution has been headed by a number of Indigenous Principal and Rectors:
Dr E.A Akinleye - Principal (1970-1975)
Mr G.M Okufi - Rector (1975-1985)
Dr Philip Adegbile - Rector (1985-1993)
Mrs F.A Odugbesan - Rector (1993-2001)
Mr Olubunmi Owoso - Rector (2001-2009)
Dr(Mrs) M.K Ladipo - Rector (2009-2017)
Engr. Obafemi Owoseni Omokungbe - Incumbent Rector
Yaba College of Technology has eight schools and thirty-four academic departments with a total of seventy accredited programmes, across ND,HND and Post-HND levels. The College also offers certificate courses.
YABATECH offers B.Sc (Ed) courses in Technical and Vocational Education, Postgraduate Diplomas in Engineering, Urban & Regional Planning. The programmes are run in conjunction with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Federal University of Technology, Akure. The student population which is made up of both full-time and part-time students is in the range of 15,000, while the staff strength is 2063.
In April 2015, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) approved five new courses for Yaba College of Technology. The courses are Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication, Banking and Finance, Metallurgy Engineering, National Diploma in Welding and Fabrication and Public Administration. In June 2019, Yaba College of Technology made the move to partner with a leading Nigerian security solutions company to design and implement a
Security Management Certification Programme.
According to the duo, the programme targets individuals, who desire to be modern security managers and those in active security employment or planning to venture into the security industry from managerial levels. Speaking at an event organised recently by the institutions to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Director, Yabatech Consult Limited, Uduak Inyang-Udoh, said the collaboration would bridge the knowledge gap in attaining global security standards. The College also has a functioning radio station YCT RADIO 89.3FM. The radio station was established to serve as a training ground for mass communication students and future broadcasters.