Upgrading a college
•Prof. Mba outlines the steps he is taking to turn Federal College
of Education, Eha Amufu, into a degree-awarding institution
By Sunday Ani (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When Prof. Benjamin Ndubuisi Mba took over, in 2010, as the Provost of the Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State, a lot of things were not right at the school. The security situation was so porous that students cult groups terrorized the college community at will.
Female students were at the mercy of some randy lecturers, who made it a tradition to sleep with whichever female student they wanted. In short, sex-for-marks was a popular slogan. Internal road network was completely absent and the college was at the mercy of flood whenever it rained. The college lacked structure so much that most people referred to it as a ‘glorified secondary school.’ Most staff of the college lived outside Eha-Amufu and that made Prof. Mba vow to deliver befitting staff quarters.
Seven years after assuming office, the story has changed. When our reporter visited the school recently, there were lots of positive changes. When asked to comment on his achievements in the past seven years, the Professor of Agriculture said the horse is a prominent icon on the college logo and that on his assumption of office, he saw that the horse was limping but promised that by the grace of God, he would make it gallop.
He revealed that one of the things he has been able to do is to ensure that the college is upgraded to a degree-awarding institution. “I can tell you that we are almost there because of our affiliation with the University of Nigeria,” he said. “It is our hope that by next session, we will have some degree students coming here; we are working towards it.”
On what he did to address the absence of structures at his assumption, he said: “We have two new lecture theatres; one houses 750 students and the other 350. The 750 capacity building is now our Computer-Based Test (CBT) Centre, where we have about 500 computers or work stations. Last year was our first time of having JAMB exams here and they were quite impressed. Since then, the continuous assessment in this college has been done through computers. It is very well welcomed by the students and the staff because marking time, loss of scripts and all that have been eliminated or drastically reduced. We also have the main administration block which is almost being completed. We are hoping that it will soon be completed. The only problem we have is that it is a capital project and you know what has happened to Nigeria and so the thing is not coming as planned.
“Most of our other buildings are Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) projects. Right now, we have a 100 capacity lecture theatre and we are hoping that within the next six months, it will be completed. There is a new primary education building, where we house a lot of education people; it is a storey-building and it is almost completed.”
He has also been able to tackle the problem of access internal roads and that of students/lecture relationship with regard to sex-for-marks in the college. He regards the last as one of his greatest achievements as he was in March conferred with the title of Exam Ethics Chief Marshal by the Exam Ethics International for curtailing not only exam malpractices but also female students’ sexual molestation by male lecturers. He said: “When we get any report about a lecturer molesting students, we go to the lecturer involved and talk with him. Since we have not exposed them, that strategy has helped greatly because some have thanked us and promised never to engage in such acts again.”
He said the college is collaborating with an American university to understudy how to effectively make use of distance teaching service. “We have collaboration with the ICT University Batinrudge, Louisiana, United States and it is a very robust one,” he said. “They said our school is the first teacher institution they are collaborating with and what they are doing is that they have trained our staff, so that they can do this distance teaching. Five of our staff has started training the first batch of 60 staff. With this, lecturers can still deliver their lectures when they travel and it is time for their lecture. All they need to do is to log in with android phone or some gadget that has such capacity and they begin to teach their students.
“We are also hoping that with the robust things that we are developing, we can be allowed to expand e-teaching just like some universities do. That is our dream. Our internet capability has been multiplied by 10. It is our aim that any student that graduates from this college will be computer-literate.”
He is tackling not just the staff development but also students’ and staff accommodation. Speaking on his efforts to solve the students’ accommodation problem, he said: “We have built one new hostel that will accommodate up to 200 students but that is still not enough. We have PPP arrangement that has not taken place; in fact we have almost gotten all the permissions. What we need is to sign an agreement. They will build for us a hostel that will house about 500 students and also staff quarters.”.