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#collegesafety | COE Gidan Waya has framework to protect staff, students — Provost

Alexander Kure is a professor of Comparative Literature with over 30 years of experience in teaching and research. He was appointed Provost, Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kaduna in 2018. In this interview, he speaks on milestones recorded and measures to protect its students and staff amidst insecurity.

what are the milestones you recorded since you took over as provost over three years ago?

The college, since its inception a little over 40 years ago, has had its share of different leaderships. For me, coming in as provost presented an opportunity to contribute to the growth of the institution and one key thing I did was consultation with past provosts and their experiences proved to be an eye-opener.

I was briefed on issues ranging from deep tribal and religious sentiments, lazy academic culture, financial extortion of students, cultic tendencies amongst students as well as pervasive desire to generally breach rules and procedures by students and staff.

We have encouraged staff development and urged more to seek study fellowship; hence the number has risen astronomically and added value to the institution. The college has established a study centre in Jagindi and has concluded arrangements to commence academic activities at Kufana, Zonkwa and Saminaka areas of the state.

We have achieved NUC accreditation of all B.Ed programmes and based on a recent JAMB rating, the college stood as the second most sought after college of education in Nigeria.

With the new Management Information System (MIS), we have information on every student and staff on our database. We have made sure productivity is encouraged by ensuring harmonization and prompt promotion of staff.

On assumption of office, I discovered that many contractors had abandoned sites of key projects and decided to appeal to them to return and ensure completion. This is because TETFund does not fund new contracts when there are backlogs of undelivered projects.

 You were recently awarded by NANS as the most outstanding provost, what prompted this?

Perhaps they were overwhelmed by certain measures we took that had direct impact on the students. In the aspect of students/management relationships, cordiality has been established.

In line with our desire to ensure standards are maintained, we adopted zero tolerance for examination misconduct and other forms of misconduct and we took cognizance of the economic difficulties and stopped unnecessary charges meted to students such as costs of field trips and other forms of extortions.

A policy is now on the ground that for any lecturer to prepare handouts, they must seek clearance and approval from management as recommended by the academic board. Similarly, we have greatly improved the release of results and certificates as before now, many complained of not knowing their academic status after graduating. Before now, students were made to write exams without knowing the results of the three previous semesters.

Also, to ensure a sustainable relationship with the outside communities, we were able to set a special committee called ‘Friends of the College Committee,’ chaired by the District Head of Gidan Waya and consists of members of security agencies, the business community, youth leaders as well as religious and traditional leaders. Others are nominated staff, members of the Student Union Government and our in-house staff joint unions.

 The school is located in an area where there are security challenges, how are you able to secure lives and property in the college?

Security is everybody’s challenge considering the present trend in all parts of the country. We have been able to establish a robust framework with the security agencies. We are very mindful that the college could be a target in terms of a security breach, which is why we have made arrangements and have been provided with soldiers that are positioned inside the institution to curb any insecurity.

The presence of the Operation Safe Haven Base in front of the college has been very helpful. Recently, due to efforts of the state government, our in-house security has received a boost as we are partnering with a private security outfit that will inject modern techniques into the security system of the college.

The ‘Friends of the College Committee’ which we have constituted also keeps watch of activities in the area and advises the college accordingly.

What are the major challenges faced by the college in recent times?

The college itself could be said to be a collective challenge as it has been a herculean task achieving desired results due to several reasons that include paucity of funds. The road network to the college is an eyesore; coming into the institution during the rainy season and dry season is a challenge; the sight does not depict an academic environment.

The non-completion of renovation work on students’ hostels is another challenge and so all our students stay off campus which makes landlords exploit them and it exposes students to rape, armed robbery as well as cultism and drugs.

The non-completion of the college fence has also created an avenue for intruders to gain access into the college and cause damage.

Another problem is the non-completion of certain projects by contractors and these have not only made the college lag behind in terms of infrastructural development but made its growth slow.

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