‘Baze Univer­sity en­rolls fewer stu­dents per lec­turer’

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - By Mis­bahu Bashir

Pro-Chan­cel­lor of Baze Univer­sity, Abuja, Sen­a­tor Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, ex­plains in this in­ter­view the mea­sures taken by the in­sti­tu­tion to at­tend to stu­dents’ wel­fare. How will you ex­plain the aca­demic stand­ing of this univer­sity?

I will say it is the best in Nige­ria. We ad­mit qual­i­fied peo­ple ir­re­spec­tive of state of ori­gin and catch­ment area. I have no power nor does any mem­ber of the Board of Trustee or man­age­ment to in­flu­ence the ad­mis­sion of any­body if they are not qual­i­fied. The aca­demic con­tents are up-to­date and meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. We ad­here strictly to the Na­tional Univer­si­ties Com­mis­sion (NUC) yard­sticks and re­main at the same speed with the best in­ter­na­tional con­tent.

The univer­sity has also in­stalled mod­ern teach­ing and learn­ing fa­cil­i­ties in lec­ture halls, in­clud­ing pro­jec­tors, desk­tops and other au­dio­vi­sual in­struc­tional ma­te­ri­als di­rectly linked to the in­ter­net. There are Closed Cir­cuit Tele­vi­sion (CCTV) cam­eras in the school en­vi­ron­ment with which we mon­i­tor move­ments as well as bio­met­ric at­ten­dance de­vices for stu­dents.

The univer­sity ad­ver­tises for lec­tur­ers, screen them and em­ploy the best. One other is­sue is that our stu­dents re­main anony­mous dur­ing in-class tests and other ex­am­i­na­tions. No names were writ­ten on the an­swer scripts; fin­ger print­ing is be­ing used and the re­sults were drawn af­ter con­fer­ence mark­ing. The univer­sity en­sures that lec­tur­ers do not mark scripts be­yond their lim­its un­like public univer­si­ties where a lec­turer marks over a thou­sand ex­ams scripts. Lec­tur­ers are not al­lowed to sell pam­phlets and hand­books to stu­dents and the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween lec­tur­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors and stu­dents is strictly mon­i­tored and up till now there has not been any in­ci­dence of ha­rass­ment. We have ex­ter­nal examiners from the UK who come here to mod­er­ate the pa­pers and we also send scripts of small cour­ses to UK for mod­er­a­tion. These lec­tur­ers are from the top 100 univer­si­ties in the world. We mon­i­tored the first grad­u­ates we had that ob­tained first class de­grees in their schools abroad where they did their post­grad­u­ate stud­ies. They were all in the first class cadre like­wise those in the 2.1 and 2.2 classes. We have signed an MoU with the Univer­sity of Westminster in UK and our stu­dents can go there and study for a se­mes­ter or two and trans­fer their cred­its here. So, I am sat­is­fied with the grad­u­ates the univer­sity is pro­duc­ing.

How have you been able to meet the re­quire­ments of the NUC?

Not just have we met the guid­ing prin­ci­ples but we have ex­ceeded what we are re­quired to do. We have com­plied with reg­u­la­tions on stu­dent-fac­ulty ra­tio; in fact we have fewer stu­dents for ev­ery one lec­turer. There are enough reader seat­ing spa­ces and brand new books in the li­braries in ad­di­tion to elec­tronic jour­nals pro­vided.

In terms of stu­dents’ well­be­ing, the univer­sity of­fers a spe­cial so­cial wel­fare sys­tem for stu­dents. We en­sure steady elec­tric­ity sup­ply and de­pend mainly on the na­tional grid be­cause it will be ex­pen­sive to in­de­pen­dently gen­er­ate power. There was no public wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem here and the univer­sity had to de­vice ef­fi­cient means of pro­vid­ing safe wa­ter through pip­ing. Enough bore­holes were pro­vided by the univer­sity to en­sure un­in­ter­rupted sup­ply. There were 22 bore­holes at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in the univer­sity; some of them have so­lar pow­ered pumps. We also use gen­er­a­tors to pump wa­ter. It is in­ter­est­ing to know that the univer­sity pro­vides en­hanced se­cu­rity ser­vice with no ma­jor in­ci­dence since in­cep­tion. We have dou­ble con­crete/wire perime­ter fenc­ing sys­tem for ob­vi­ous pro­tec­tive mea­sure and a K9 squad in-be­tween. The univer­sity’s team of 150 se­cu­rity of­fi­cers is headed by a re­tired colonel who has a re­tired cap­tain as sec­ond in com­mand. There is a se­cu­rity con­sul­tant that han­dles their train­ing, uni­form and equip­ment. The CCTV’s record video im­ages for 60 days and they can be viewed on the in­ter­net.

The univer­sity pro­vided five restau­rants on the cam­pus that serves dif­fer­ent meals and there were ad­e­quate sport fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing a soc­cer sta­dium, bas­ket­ball, squash, bad­minton and vol­ley­ball courts as well as other pop­u­lar team sports such as hockey and snooker. The wel­fare of our stu­dents is of para­mount im­por­tance to us and we have not recorded any case on cultism or ha­rass­ment. We don’t al­low al­co­hol on cam­pus and we have adopted an ef­fi­cient way of re­solv­ing con­flicts among the stu­dents.

One way of keep­ing peace on cam­pus is by screen­ing stu­dents on trans­fer and dur­ing ad­mis­sions which we al­ways do. The univer­sity also ran­domly screens stu­dents for drugs and mete out ap­pro­pri­ate pun­ish­ments to those found guilty of any of­fences.

The univer­sity con­ducted her sec­ond grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony re­cently, is there any ma­jor im­prove­ment?

We grad­u­ated 64 stu­dents last year out of which nine had first class de­grees but in this year a to­tal of 203 stu­dents grad­u­ated from the univer­sity and 11 of them ob­tained first class de­grees. In terms of the num­ber of stu­dents, we did bet­ter this year and the fam­i­lies of the grad­u­at­ing stu­dents were ac­tu­ally happy with the per­for­mance of their chil­dren.

The NUC had ap­proved four fac­ul­ties for the univer­sity namely; Ap­plied Sciences and Com­put­ing, Law, En­gi­neer­ing and So­cial and Man­age­ment Sciences. Work on the es­tab­lish­ment of two more fac­ul­ties, En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences and Med­i­cal and Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Sciences was 90 per cent com­plete. Equip­ment for in­stal­la­tion in the new build­ings will be ar­riv­ing Nige­ria from China in a lit­tle while. We have be­gun ap­point­ment of co­or­di­na­tors for the fac­ul­ties. The univer­sity has ap­plied for post grad­u­ate stud­ies and awaits the re­sponse of the NUC.

There were al­le­ga­tions that pri­vate univer­si­ties do not pay at­ten­tion to the in­tel­lec­tual ca­pa­bil­i­ties of stu­dents…

That is ab­so­lutely un­true; in fact we have gone to the ex­tent of of­fer­ing schol­ar­ships for ex­cep­tion­ally bright stu­dents who have not got the means to go to univer­si­ties. We also iden­tify bright stu­dents and give them tu­ition free ses­sion and sup­port them to at­tend in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences as well as rec­om­mend them for fur­ther recog­ni­tion.

Sen­a­tor Datti Baba-Ahmed

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