‘Why people are troop­ing into Fed Univer­sity Kashere’ Pro­fes­sor Mo­hammed Kabiru Farouk

Is the Vice Chan­cel­lor of the Federal Univer­sity, Kashere, in Gombe State. In this in­ter­view, he speaks on the chal­lenges fac­ing the new federal uni­ver­si­ties and he can­vases for ad­e­quate fund­ing for the in­sti­tu­tions to meet their needs, among other is­sues

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - From Adamu Saleh, Gombe

What have you achieved in three years as Vice Chan­cel­lor of the Federal Univer­sity Kashere?

We thank God and our pro­pri­etors as well as our staff for the ac­com­plish­ments that we have reg­is­tered in the last three years. We in­her­ited a sec­ondary school with few di­lap­i­dated struc­tures on the ground but grad­u­ally, we have im­proved its sta­tus. We had to do a mas­sive in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment work to up­grade the sta­tus of the school. There were only about 10 build­ings, but now we have about 20 build­ings. It is be­cause of these great ac­com­plish­ments that we are able to com­mence aca­demic ac­tiv­i­ties in Au­gust 2012. Sec­ondly, we are able to re­cruit high qual­ity staff, both aca­demic and non aca­demic, com­pris­ing se­nior and ju­nior staff. It was very chal­leng­ing but we are able to em­ploy large num­ber of ju­nior aca­demic staff and, over the years, we have been strug­gling to em­ploy more se­nior aca­demic staff. I can say be­tween 2013 and 2014 we have been able to at­tract more pro­fes­sors, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sors, se­nior lec­tur­ers and lec­tur­ers one and we will con­tinue like that. As of to­day, we have spon­sored 12 of our aca­demic staff for PhD pro­grammes within Nigeria and abroad, cour­tesy of the funds we have re­ceived from the Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion Trust Fund for aca­demic staff train­ing and de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme. And 41 ju­nior aca­demic staffers were also spon­sored for masters’ de­grees pro­grammes in Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties. In the next three to four years, most of these staff will come back with ad­vanced de­grees and will, there­fore, be­gin to as­sume more se­nior po­si­tions in the fac­ul­ties and de­part­ments. This staff de­vel­op­ment and train­ing will con­tinue an­nu­ally. We have so far ad­mit­ted about 1,400 stu­dents and we held our third ma­tric­u­la­tion cer­e­mony on Thurs­day, 10 April 2014. We are pleased with the aca­demic per­for­mance of our stu­dents as well as their so­cial and char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment. We also pay at­ten­tion to the wel­fare of our staff and stu­dents. For ex­am­ple, all our stu­dents in the first two years were liv­ing in cam­pus but be­cause of the in­crease in stu­dents’ pop­u­la­tion this year we could not ac­com­mo­date them all. Cur­rently, we have three stu­dents’ hos­tels un­der con­struc­tion. We are an­tic­i­pat­ing that by the end of this year, we will have at least about 600 bed spa­ces for our stu­dents. Other on­go­ing projects funded by the Federal Govern­ment through the TETFUND in­clude, the two stu­dents’ hos­tels, the ad­min­is­tra­tive blocks, ICT cen­tre, li­brary build­ing and two fac­ulty build­ings. Still on the ICT, we have es­tab­lished an e-reg­is­tra­tion por­tal. Our stu­dents can now reg­is­ter on­line, wher­ever they are in the world, and at any time. Lec­tur­ers and other staff can also ac­cess their records or the stu­dents’ records. This has stream­lined our reg­is­tra­tion ex­er­cise. We have also in­vested heav­ily in procur­ing high qual­ity equip­ment for our lab­o­ra­to­ries in bi­ol­ogy, chem­istry and physics de­part­ments and also in the de­vel­op­ment of our li­brary. We have pro­cured in­for­ma­tion re­sources, in­clud­ing books, jour­nals and other ma­te­ri­als for the li­brary. We have also es­tab­lished e-li­brary….for ex­am­ple, in the depart­ment of eco­nom­ics and de­vel­op­ment stud­ies, we es­tab­lished an econo­met­ric lab­o­ra­tory, while in ge­og­ra­phy we es­tab­lished metro­log­i­cal cen­tre. We have also made stride in our in­ter­na­tional link­ages; we have signed MoU with three in­ter­na­tional uni­ver­si­tiesFlorida In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity in the United States, Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury in New Zealand as well as Lin­coln Univer­sity also in New Zealand. We will con­tinue to es­tab­lish­ing con­tacts with other in­sti­tu­tions around the world, so that we can main­tain, im­ple­ment and en­hance our in­ter­na­tional ex­change pro­grammes. We have ap­proved to send four of our staff abroad; three to Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury, New Zealand and one to Lin­coln Univer­sity for their PhD pro­grammes and, even­tu­ally, we will do staff ex­changes, col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search and other part­ner­ship as con­tained in the MoU.

Your univer­sity is wit­ness­ing in­flux of both aca­demics and non aca­demic staff from other in­sti­tu­tions. What is re­spon­si­ble for that?

I think people are be­ing at­tracted to Federal Univer­sity, Kashere cer­tainly be­cause of the mis­sion of the univer­sity and in­cen­tive pack­ages we put in place. The man­age­ment also suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment where both staff and stu­dents are be­ing sup­ported to pur­sue their schol­arly ac­tiv­i­ties. Our pol­icy here is that ev­ery sin­gle staff of the univer­sity will at­tend, at least, one con­fer­ence, sem­i­nar or work­shop in a year and for aca­demic staff and se­nior nonaca­demic staff we spon­sor them for in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences….I think that is why people are troop­ing into the Federal Univer­sity Kashere.

In­ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture, in­se­cu­rity and un­sta­ble aca­demic cal­en­dar are some of the ma­jor prob­lems fac­ing ed­u­ca­tion. How do you cope with these prob­lems?

Cer­tainly, as a new univer­sity we need additional in­fra­struc­ture. One of our chal­lenges here in Kashere is the in­ad­e­quacy or short­age of class­rooms but the man­age­ment is plan­ning for the con­struc­tion of lec­ture theatre and additional class­rooms to ac­com­mo­date our grow­ing stu­dents’ pop­u­la­tion. Through our TETFUND nor­mal in­ter­ven­tion we have planned to build 500-seat ca­pac­ity lec­ture theatre. We have also pro­posed, through our needs as­sess­ment al­lo­ca­tion, to build 250-seat ca­pac­ity lec­ture theatre and additional class­rooms. We started in 2011 with two fac­ul­ties; sci­ence and hu­man­i­ties, man­age­ment and so­cial sci­ences and added fac­ul­ties of ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture in 2013. We are cur­rently of­fer­ing about 33 de­gree pro­grammes in 19 de­part­ments in the four fac­ul­ties.

How do you achieve that de­spite the chal­lenges of fund­ing?

We are grate­ful to the Federal Govern­ment for the funds we have re­ceived in 2011 through the TETFUND. We ini­tially re­ceived N1.5bn as take-off grant and then an­other N2­bil­lion for ex­e­cu­tion of projects and an­other N1.2bil­lion for the con­struc­tion of stu­dents’ hos­tels. But as we are grow­ing, we need additional build­ings and other fa­cil­i­ties. Presently, we don’t have staff quar­ters and we don’t have the money to con­struct it. Our cap­i­tal al­lo­ca­tion from the federal budget is also grossly in­ad­e­quate. Apart from re­ceiv­ing very small al­lo­ca­tion, we don’t re­ceive 100% of those al­lo­ca­tions ev­ery year, so that is our ma­jor chal­lenge at present. Our over­head fund­ing is also grossly in­ad­e­quate, es­pe­cially with grow­ing stu­dents’ pop­u­la­tion. The univer­sity has es­tab­lished a con­sul­tancy unit through which we will gen­er­ate additional funds that can be used to meet some of our op­er­a­tional needs.

What is your next plan for the univer­sity?

We want to con­tinue to im­ple­ment the first phase of our aca­demic de­vel­op­ment plan. So, right now, we are in phase one and it is a 25-year pro­gramme to be im­ple­mented in five phases, we are hop­ing to com­plete it by 2016. In phase two, we are go­ing to add fac­ulty of law and sep­a­rate the man­age­ment sci­ences from fac­ulty of hu­man­i­ties. We will also es­tab­lish a post­grad­u­ate school. This year, we will es­tab­lish school of gen­eral and pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies and cen­tre for en­trepreneur­ship stud­ies. We are grate­ful to the Federal Govern­ment, Gombe State Govern­ment and all the lo­cal gov­ern­ments in the state as well as our lo­cal com­mu­nity and tra­di­tional rulers for their sup­ports. We are solic­it­ing for fi­nan­cial sup­port from wealthy in­di­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies, civic or­gan­i­sa­tions and other stake­hold­ers. We also want govern­ment to im­prove its fund­ing so that we can im­prove in our ser­vice de­liv­ery.

Pro­fes­sor Mo­hammed Kabiru Farouk

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