Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Provost of the Federal College of Education, Okene, Kogi State, Dr. Usman Hassan, has said his top priority to move the institution forward is to provide adequate welfare to staff and students of the over 44 years institution as well as embark on meaningful legacy projects.
He told Daily Sun that he has set in motion necessary machinery to address all the lingering challenges including financial and academic related issues: “In spite of the lean resources, critical policy decisions have been taken to stabilise the system with quick interventions in academic programmes.
“To provide affordable cheap, but qualitative education to people, we established Schools of Adult and Non-Formal Education and the School of Early Childhood Care and Primary Education. We created additional academic directorates and restructured the existing ones for greater efficiency and service delivery.
“In the last two years, our policy trust is driven on honesty, transparency, accountability and in compliance with the rule of law. We have also ensured open-door policy, staff inclusiveness and regular consultations with all stakeholders and unions on policy formulation and implementation processes. Our administrative machinery is driven by the committee system, as most staff are opportune to serve on one committee or the other.
“We were able to attract some Tetfund projects. These are the building for Early Childhood Care, Primary, Adult and Non-Formal Education, with external works nearing completion. We embarked on the construction of twin 200-seater auditorium and block of eight classrooms both nearing completion.
“We have attracted construction of administrative building; expected to bring an end to the lingering problem of acute office accommodation confronting our non-teaching staff, most especially, the administrative officers and enhance productive capacities in service delivery.
“Other project interventions include erection of 45 solar powered street lights; drilling of two solar powered boreholes and accessories, one each in male and female hostels; drilling of one motorised borehole in the staff quarters; asphalt overlay on about 1.2km stretch of road network and donation of three tricycle motor bikes.
“We have carried out the rehabilitation of the Main Campus and staff quarters and overhead tanks. These initiatives have made considerable impact on the wellbeing of our students and staff. Discussions are at advanced stage to benefit from Dangote Foundation for hostel construction and rehabilitation. One of the cardinal focuses is staff development. While the sponsorship of academic staff is driven by Tetfund, the non-teaching staff are locally sponsored. Over 123 staff are sponsored for further studies.
“Students’ welfare has remained a critical part of our development agenda. We have continued to ensure that the College environment is made conducive and well secured for teaching and learning. Provision of basic amenities such as water and electricity are never compromised. In addition, drugs and other medical facilities are provided to cater for health challenges of our students and staff.
“The student friendly policy has made it a matter of priority to open up the college and make education easily accessible to the students and prospective students alike by charging low fees. Federal College of education, Okene, remains the cheapest in terms of fees, when compared to other sister colleges in Nigeria.
“Recently, we went into collaboration with an organisation to provide empowerment facilities and training to members of the immediate and larger community in the Central Senatorial District of the state. In the same vein, employment opportunities and other forms of assistance, are been provided for the immediate community, which include, the extension of medical services to member of the immediate community.”