Kadpoly is set to restore 80% of de-accredited courses – Rector - Abiodun Lambaba Blog



Friday, 20 July 2018

Kadpoly is set to restore 80% of de-accredited courses – Rector

You are coming back to Kaduna Polytechnic for the second time. Are you on a special mission?

I am a former staff of Kaduna Polytechnic, in the 1980s, and I spent almost eight years of my career in this polytechnic and then served in another polytechnic in Nasarawa State as rector from year 2000 to 2004. But Kaduna Polytechnic is very dear to all of us. It’s the oldest polytechnic in the whole of Northern Nigeria; it has the largest number of departments, students and staff than any other. Unfortunately in the past couple of years, it was virtually living in its past glory; things went down seriously, even the academic standards went down. We also lost almost 80 percent accreditation, infrastructure got dilapidated, indebtedness increased and so many other challenges.
I came in last year October, though we are not yet in the Promised Land, but surely I think we are moving gradually in trying to re-engineer and re-invent the polytechnic so as to bring back its past glory in our own little way.
 You said about 80 percent of courses are de-accredited. How?
Yes, now we are trying to get ready for another accreditation, hopefully in the last quarter of this year. Though it involves a lot of spending really, but the finances are coming in trickles, and we are doing our best so that those 80 percent of our courses would fully comeback on stream. What led to the loss of accreditation was simply because the previous leaders were not really spending money to upgrade the laboratories and to provide other necessary facilities for the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to come and inspect. So they kept delaying for several years until it got worse - to the extent that we lost 80 percent of our courses and if care is not taken NBTE can pronounce that our diplomas are no longer recognized. So we are doing our best to solve this problem. 
Now we have met up to 75 per cent of the accreditation requirements, what remains is just about 25 per cent in terms of the facilities and the workshops in the laboratories and offices, and in the next three months, we shall be ready to invite NBTE for accreditation exercise.
 You also mentioned earlier that the institution was heavily indebted. How much debt are we talking about?
The debt from small contracts was N650 million accumulated over 13 years by several rectors who refused to pay throughout their tenures and we also met about 15 court cases on ground. Vehicles of the polytechnic were being impounded, and so on and so forth. But we have resolved quite a number of them; some are still ongoing but we hope to resolve them soon, especially if our financial situation improves.
Unfortunately, the budget is not helping us in this area, because the overhead is still getting smaller and smaller and there is no provision for IGR and we have already made a promise to students that we shall not increase school fees.
 You recently said students’ hostels were not conducive in a learning environment. What is the situation now?
 The hostels have improved a little; not to the level we want due to the issue of funding. Unfortunately, the Federal Government has taken a position on students’ hostels: that it will not give any grant to repair, rehabilitate or to build new ones. The government is leaving the issue of hostels basically to the private sector for development. That is the policy of government now but these hostels we are talking about were built several decades ago and it is very necessary for us to have students in a conducive environment for learning. 
So the hostels have improved but we are expecting major interventions from the northern state governors in the rehabilitation process. We have got General Abdulsalam Abubakar on board, he has written to all the 19 northern state governors and he has made the appeal for them to help bring back the polytechnic to what it used to be. 
Some administrative reforms were made recently in the polytechnic. Can you shed more light on them?
 We introduced a new unit called the Policy and Transparency Unit (PTU). That is our innovation. The policy is trying to look into how to improve the system of the polytechnic; how to check corruption, both financial and academic corruption which has eaten deep into the fabric of the polytechnic and other institutions of higher learning across Nigeria. 
With the effort of the PTU, we have been able to put up software that allows every income of the polytechnic to be visible to every stakeholder, including leaders of the unions, members of the governing council while others can also now monitor what we are getting and how we are spending it, so that the flow of financial information will be available to everybody. 
The unit has also been able to checkmate examination malpractices, under which we have discovered a lot of malpractices going on in the school. Lecturers including heads of departments collecting money from students and allowing them to have their scripts back after the exam so as to copy from the marking scheme in order to have an ‘A’ grade.
In fact, one head of department has already been suspended for that and he is being investigated and his case will go to the governing council soon. We have also got other cases that the unit is investigating at the moment including certificate forgery. This is happening not only in Kaduna Polytechnic but there are people in other places who are experts in forging certificates from anywhere in the world. They use computer technology to scan and change the names. 
We have got two staff already on suspension because of that while the matter is being investigated and may eventually involve the police. If you cannot ensure the sanctity of exams, then there is no need to even run a school and if anybody can get a certificate without attending the polytechnic, then, we will become a laughing stock and we will be endangering the society by allowing such persons to infiltrate the society.  
At the moment, we are starting a project here in Kaduna polytechnic, called the Centre for Technology Development (CTD) where the academia and industry can interact to solve our own technological problems and challenges in the industry.
Besides that, we have other laboratory services under the CTD which will handle analytical services across the country. Now, we also intend to under the fabrication section to work with Panteka (a raw material market close to the polytechnic) as partners. We will first of all upgrade the skills of the people in Panteka using the national vocation skill programme so that we can certify them for their skills. When we certify them, we will get them to build plants for us; so that we can outsource heavy vessels and tanks to Panteka.
 How soon will the polytechnic be upgraded to a university?
What the Federal Government needs to do is to convert universities to polytechnics so that they will become practical oriented to solve issues on ground. You will see a university graduate who is an electrical engineer but who cannot fix ordinary wiring in his house. 
Government should stop establishing new universities, but more polytechnics. An engineer is trained to do design, but who does the implementation of the design into reality, who does the fabrication and installation of plants, is it not the technologist? So, we need more technologists than engineers. 

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