Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The students of Metallurgical Training Institute (MTI), Onitsha, Anambra State, have commended the Federal Government for intervention to checkmate erosion that wreaked havoc in the institute and the provision of facilities. They said before now any time it rained, water from Nkpor would converge on the school destroying sports field, roads and offices.
Two of the students, Ekene Obika and Bernadette Okoye, expressed happiness on the intervention of government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, who provided fund for the re-channeling of the flood.
“We had a serious erosion problem, there was a collapsed tunnel that came from Nkpor and pass through expressway to our school. In 2015, the tunnel collapsed and we almost lost four blocks of hostels.
“Anytime it rained anywhere we were, we stayed there. We could not go out or come into the institute until after three hours the rain had subsided. The erosion destroyed our sports field, roads, some offices and workshops.
“But today it is over, it has been controlled. We commended government also for the provision of modern equipment and other facilities, rehabilitation of our roads, hostels and provision of solar energy to our workshops.”
The institute, which is under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, was established to train low and middle level manpower for steel and allied industries. Over 4,700 students have been trained between 1984 and till date.
The students lamented that despite the innovation and transformation brought by the present management of the institute, the bottleneck is the law establishing it. They emphasised the need to expedite action on the revalidation of accreditation of courses by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and prepare others that were not accredited for the exercise.
They noted that graduates of the institute are having some challenges to gain admission to further their studies in the polytechnics or universities. They appealed to NBTE to reconsider accrediting more courses in addition to the earlier ones accredited to continue the award of ND certificate. They also appealed to the ministry to send a draft bill to the National Assembly for speedy passage of the bill establishing the institute.
Its Director/Chief Executive, Mr Bode Fakuade said efforts were on to revalidate the accreditation of the ND programmes, stating that NBTE would visit the institute any moment from now for accreditation of courses.
He also said the ministry is working to ensure that the law establishing the institute is passed. He added that the draft has been sent to the Ministry of Justice for onward transmission to the Federal Executive Council and for passage by the the National Assembly:
“Over time we discovered that the people we trained, 90 per cent are young people. After their training many of them may not want to establish their own outfit or work for anybody, they may want to further their education. They have been doing so, going to polytechnics or universities through direct entry. A lot of them have gone for higher studies in other institutions.
“The infrastructural development the institute witnessed within four years of my administration, has not been witnessed since inception. You see our roads, solar power for our workshops so that we can work when there is no public power supply.
“We are doing a total rehabilitation of our students hostel. German brought our equipment 35 years ago. Some of them are old, obsolete that we can no longer maintain them. Government through our capital projects is bringing in modern equipment.
“Then we are training our staff on some of these new equipment. Staff don’t know how to operate them, now we are sending our workers on training to learn how to operate the machine and the training cut across all the sections of the institute like account, administration, training, works e.t.c.”