Iam an insider: I was a
student here, grew through the rank and file, became a lecturer, held different positions, sometimes as Head of Department (HOD), then Director in the school, and finally, now, the Acting Provost.
“So, I am part and parcel of this college. I know everything about this institution, hence, my focus is to ensure that I put in place policies aimed at improving the academic profile of the institution.
These were the words of the Acting Provost of Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Dr Nnamdi Amadi.
In an exclusive interview with The Tide, Dr Amadi who is the second internally generated head of the school, explained that his goal of improving the academic profile of the college and ensuring that it is reckoned with in terms of excellence was achievable.
The key challenge, he said is provision of necessary facilities like well equipped classrooms, laboratories and hostels among others, stressing that they were the core problems facing the school, which his administration must strive to overcome inorder to attain excellence. According to him, this would ensure that all the programmes and courses in the institution attain accreditation.
Towards ensuring that the school attains that required excellence, he said, every other aspects have been fine-tuned to make it easier for the school to forge ahead.
“It is going to be easy because in this institution, we work as a family. All hands are on deck to ensure that we achieve our aim: the Bursary, Academic Planning and every other Departments as well as staff and students work closely towards taking the institution to an enviable height”, he explained.
Beyond these challenges, Dr Amadi acknowledged the importance of finance in executing and or putting in place necessary facilities which are criteria for the programmes in the school to be accredited.
“Already, there are excruciating challenges which we have in this college. The major challenge is to ensure that all our courses are accredited, because without accreditation, the certificates we award may amount to nothing since accreditation is what gives meaning to the certificates.
Accreditation, the Acting Provost explained, passes through various stages: It starts with the school putting in place necessary facilities before inviting the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to undertake an assessment visit. This is followed by another visit during which provisional or full accreditation is given to programmes depending on state of facilities available.
From 2014 when the NBTE accorded a provisional accreditation status to three programmes, out of eleven in the college, he said, efforts to improve on the facilities in the school have been near impossible due to the fact that management of the school had to rely on only Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), which he said, is barely enough to provide other equally necessary services in running the school.
Such services, according to him, include provision of essential services such as water and light, security, payment of casual staff and the day-to-day running of the school.
Consequently, the college now faces the possibility of not only losing the provisional accreditation given to three of its programmes, but also not having a chance of the remaining eight programmes being accredited.
“By now, we are supposed to call on NBTE for full accreditation to those programmes we have already gotten provisional accreditation, and, possibly, get accreditation for Higher National Diploma (HND).
“But because of lack of finance, we have not been able to secure full accreditation for these other ones we have gotten. As I talk to you now, we are almost at the verge of losing the accreditation we have gotten”, he lamented.
A cursory look at facilities on ground in the campus reveals that accommodation for instance, is far below the over 4,000 students that require to be accommodated in the campus.
What the college has as a library and laboratory could at best go for a rickety arrangement to fulfil all righteousness.
This is by far below modern standard in which institutions now compete in such fields as e-library and the most equipped laboratories suitable to dispense what is required of a modern college of health sciences and technology.
Some of the students who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed personal fears regarding the status of their certificates if their programmes are not accredited by NBTE.
“The implication is that whatever we are struggling for, the pains we are going through in order to have a certificate will amount to nothing if our certificates cannot be recognised when we go to seek for job.
“This is why we are appealing to the government to please come to our aid by doing the needful so that programmes in this school can be accredited by the relevant authorities”, some of the students expressed pleaded.
Dr Amadi explained further that although several efforts have been made to present the challenges of the school to the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike since his assumption of office in May, 2015, the political situation had made it difficult.
“But now that the Supreme Court has upheld his election, I believe that as a Governor that listens to the plight of his people, he is going to attend to the challenges”, he said.
He expressed fears over the worst case scenario should the NBTE withdraw the provisional accreditation given the three programme of the college and the possibility, of not accrediting any other programme.
“If we lose accreditation for those programmes, it means we are going back to the starting point.
“For us to regain the accreditation, it means we have to go back to the basics to provide those facilities, and it will be terrible.
“Moreso, it will also lead to a kind of retrenchment, because if we do not have money to sustain some of the programmes, definitely, we will step some of the programmes down.
“When we do this, lecturers who teach those programmes both part time and full time, will have to leave as well, and this will add to the unemployment situation in the state”, he said.
ASUP Hails Legislation To Abolish HND/Degree Dichotomy
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), has applauded Senate’s passage of a bill seeking to remove the dichotomy between Higher National Diploma (HND) and bachelor’s degree.
Mr Remi Ajiboye, ASUP Chairman of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos State, told Journalists on Thursday that the dichotomy ought not be there at all.
Ajiboye expressed delight at the passage of the bill, describing it as a welcome development.
“ I do not understand the basis for the dichotomy in the first place; if the dichotomy is now scrapped, it is a welcome development,” Ajiboye said.
A former National President of ASUP, Mr Chibuzo Asomugha, said that the passage of the bill was a right step in the right direction.
He said that the focus should be on the capabilities of certificate holders.
Asomugha said that removal of the dichotomy would require revisiting the curriculum of the HND programme to address any lapses.
“Itis a good development, I actually facilitate Sen. Ayo Akinyelure; his passion and tenacity really paid off at last; congratulations also to our HND holders.
“It is a long-time struggle.
He urged that the quality of education in polytechnics should justify the gesture.
Mr Nureni Yekini, Coordinator, ASUP, Zone C, (South West), also hailed the Senate for the action.
He said that the development would make HND graduates happier.
Yekini said that it was not fair for polytechnic graduates to be discriminated against.
According to him, HND graduates passed through a more rigorous process than bachelor’s degree holders.
“We thank God that the Senate has finally passed the bill; they (senators) are doing well.
“In fact, our polytechnic graduates will be happy hearing this.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ayo Akinyelure, passed the third reading on the floor of the Senate at plenary, last Wednesday while Ahmad Kaita, Senate Committee Chairman on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, presented his report and all the amended six clauses were approved by the Senate.
TETFUND Seeks Innovation To Fast-Track National Development
The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, says there is a need to nationalise innovation and technology to fast-track the much-needed national development.
Bogoro said this while speaking at the seventh School of Postgraduate Studies Annual lecture (2019/2020) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) last Thursday.
According to him, the mileage attained by the most great economies today is tied to the huge investments on technology and innovations.
“We need to think and act fast in investing in our universities and other tertiary institutions toward that direction.
“If we should do things right, the frustrations that have hung over our institutions, especially the universities, will disappear.
“On our part, we shall continue to support research works and innovations in our tertiary institutions as this is what drives national development,” he said.
The executive secretary lamented that the traditional appropriation funding window for public universities in the country had failed the nation.
Bogoro noted that for universities to effectively carry out their mandate of teaching, research and community development, there must be enhanced funding.
“The dwindling revenue in the country has posed serious threat to these institutions and therefore, emphasises the need for us to do more in driving and supporting research and development.
“The out of the box innovative option of funding our public univers*ities as negotiated and secured by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, after four painful years of negotiation, is considered as the saving grace in the sustainability and improved ranking of our universities.
“Most of the interventions carried out so far on our tertiary institutions of higher learning as can be seen in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education have been carried out by the TETFund.
“Having said this too, I will say there is also the need to shore up the content components of these institutions from about 15 per cent to 33 per cent,” he said.
According to him, after the commitment of huge Tetfund intervention funds in improving basic physical infrastructure in these public universities and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, there can be a paradigm shift from physical structures to mainly content components.
He noted that areas such as research, academic staff training and development, library development and other areas could also be considered.
The TETFund boss who was the guest lecturer commended UNILAG for its research efforts, noting that it had rightfully earned its place as one of Africa’s best in that space.
”Universty of Lagos is the best performer on the National Research Fund grant. They have been very persistent and I want to say that the quality of leadership in this university has made all these possible.
“It takes a serious academic to believe in research and go ahead to win grants. We will continue to support focused leadership in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education,” Bogoro said.
Earlier in his address, the Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the primary objective of the institution was to provide academic and research programmes.
Ogundipe noted that these programmes were geared toward meeting the high-level needs for knowledge, skills and capacity development in Nigeria and the world at large.
He said the school had since grown in leaps and bounds with more than 15,000 registered students on its various programmes for the session.
According to him, out of the figure, over 8,000 students are expected to graduate at the upcoming convocation ceremony in July.
“This is turning our institution into a postgraduate university in line with the expectation of the Federal Government first generation universities.
“No doubt, financing in Nigeria is a daunting task. It is a major factor for the recurring decimal of industrial actions and closure of our ivory towers. It has charged educational administrators to evolve strategies of generating additional funds.
“ Pursuit of qualitative education at the postgraduate level remains a financial burden that requires collective responsibility of all stakeholders. This is a pursuit that the TETFund has demonstrated.
“Permit me to remark that the TETFund has been of immense benefit to lecturers, researchers and graduate students at the University of Lagos.
“It has provided and maintained some facilities for us. A typical example is the University Scholars’ Suites, which has been very useful in accommodating visiting scholars to the university.
“This has aided our partnerships and our research and training efforts, with co-institutions in Nigeria and overseas among other benefits,” Ogundipe said.
He added that recently, TETFund signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) that would train 17 academic staff nominees from UNILAG outside the country.
“The University of Lagos was chosen as a virtual hub for the programme,” he said.
In his remark, Chairman of the occasion, Dr Ernest Ndukwe stressed the need for the private sector and education institutions to work together for mutual benefits.
“It is when the private sector practitioners recognise the importance and benefits of research that they finance research,” he said.
According to Ndukwe who is also the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, innovation is directly related to the adequacy of its available trained manpower resources.
“This is why the government and public sector and other international fund agencies and some private organisations are traditionally funding education and research,” he added.
He, however, said there was a need for universities to be look for ways to expand on other funding opportunities for research due to dwindling resources of government in recent times
Earlier, the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies of the university, Prof. Alabi Soneye, said while higher education remained a paramount source of knowledge, qualitative research remained the veritable tool in the development and advancement of society.
According to him, the mirage of challenges bedevilling sustainable development may not cease in a hurry if inadequate funding continued to impede qualitative higher education and in-depth researches. (NAN)
Ndoma-Egba Pledges Support For UNICAL
Former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, has pledged sustained support to the administration of the University of Calabar to ensure the institution continues to stand out as a centre of excellence in the country.
Senator Ndoma-Egba made the pledge during a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Florence Obi in her office in Calabar.
According to the former Senate Leader, who is also the immediate past Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, since its establishment in 1973, the institution has been contributing significantly to man-power development in the country, hence the need for continued support to maintain the status quo.
Describing the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Florence Obi as a well-bred academic whose administration has witnessed great transformation within a short time in office, Senator Ndoma-Egba expressed confidence that the Vice Chancellor would continue to introduce innovations that would place the university in an enviable position in the country.
Responding, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Florence Obi, who is the first female and the eleventh Vice Chancellor of the university, expressed appreciation for the visit, pointing out that the institution will explore areas of partnership with the former Senate Leader for the overall development of the university.
She further commended Senator Ndoma-Egba for erecting a building for the Law Faculty in the school.
By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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