Kaduna Polytech­nic, chart­ing a new course

Sunday Trust - - VIEW POINT - Auwal S. An­war wrote from Tafawa Balewa Way, Kaduna, and can be reached at: auwal­san­[email protected]

Ex­actly one year ago, the story of Kaduna Polytech­nic was that of a higher in­sti­tu­tion of learn­ing in its most try­ing mo­ment. It was a case of per­pet­u­ally dis­torted aca­demic cal­en­dar, dis­ori­ented staff and dis­lodged stu­dents. It was barely hold­ing on with di­lap­i­dated and de­cayed phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture.

This should not have been the sit­u­a­tion of Kaduna Polytech­nic, which is the pi­o­neer tech­nol­ogy in­sti­tu­tion in north­ern Nige­ria, es­tab­lished in 1956 (as Kaduna Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute). This is a Polytech­nic with more than 160 PhD hold­ers. It has more equip­ment in its en­gi­neer­ing de­part­ment than many Nige­rian poly­tech­nics put to­gether.

But with the com­ing of Prof. Idris Bu­gaje, who was the im­me­di­ate past Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Na­tional Re­search In­sti­tute for Chem­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy and a for­mer Rec­tor of the Fed­eral Polytech­nic Nasarawa, things have changed for the bet­ter.

In the face of th­ese daunt­ing chal­lenges, the new Rec­tor, Idris Bu­gaje went about the task with un­com­mon de­ter­mi­na­tion and zeal. He quickly en­gaged the aca­demic staff, met some of their needs and promised to ad­dress the rest as sit­u­a­tion im­proved. He was able to con­vince them that they were his prime part­ners in the fu­ture of the polytech­nic, de­scrib­ing them as ‘the con­science’ of the sys­tem.

Bu­gaje tack­led the is­sue of stag­na­tion by pro­mot­ing all those that sat­is­fied the pro­mo­tion cri­te­ria. Some had been on the same level for more than 10 years. Some had not been con­firmed for more than 20 years! One year later, Bu­gaje has pro­moted more than 1100 staff of Kaduna Polytech­nic.

To in­sti­tute the cul­ture of fi­nan­cial ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency, he em­ployed a fi­nan­cial so­lu­tions tech­nol­ogy that mon­i­tors all funds in­flow and out­flow for the polytech­nic. This in­for­ma­tion is made avail­able to all key stake­hold­ers in real time. This elim­i­nated the cul­ture of ru­mours about the fi­nan­cial stand­ing of the polytech­nic with re­sul­tant san­ity and pro­pri­ety in the de­mands of all or­gans of the in­sti­tute.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion in­sti­tuted a zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy for aca­demic and fi­nan­cial cor­rup­tion and chased them with un­bri­dled drive. The is­sues of ex­tor­tion, sex­ual ha­rass­ment and crim­i­nal­ity were en­gaged tact­fully and ef­fec­tively.

Bu­gaje de­cen­tral­ized pow­ers from the Rec­tor’s of­fice to al­low for de­ci­sion­mak­ing closer to the root of prob­lems. With the de­cen­tral­iza­tion, the Rec­tor is now able to have a finer, neater grip of the in­ter­nal mech­a­nisms while ad­e­quately ex­plor­ing ex­ter­nal sec­tors for the de­vel­op­ment of the Polytech­nic.

This ap­proach al­lowed the Man­age­ment to re­as­sure TETFund such that TETFund re­leased some of the out­stand­ing al­lo­ca­tions. The Man­age­ment was able to con­vince some par­tic­i­pants in the pri­vate sec­tor to part­ner with it in pro­vid­ing so­lu­tions for the di­lap­i­dated ac­com­mo­da­tion in­fra­struc­ture, such that a Pub­lic Pri­vate Part­ner­ship has just been signed to pro­vide be­fit­ting ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties on the cam­puses.

Other col­lab­o­ra­tions with uni­ver­si­ties in Malaysia and In­dia were en­tered into to up­grade the qual­ity of train­ing and re­search out­puts of the polytech­nic. Re­cently, Kaduna Polytech­nic and ABU Zaria agreed to jointly run de­gree pro­grammes in eight core dis­ci­plines that in­cluded en­gi­neer­ing and ar­chi­tec­ture.

Be­yond this, Bu­gaje has in­tro­duced a new Cen­tre for Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment (CTD) in the guise of those ob­tained in the ad­vanced world. The Cen­tre aims to bring to­gether the academia, the in­dus­try and the pri­vate sec­tor to pro­vide tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tions for de­vel­op­ment.

In just one year, the new ad­min­is­tra­tion of Kaduna Polytech­nic has re­mod­elled the in­ner work­ing mech­a­nisms as well as the out­look of the in­sti­tu­tion. It has rein­vented the busi­ness arm of the polytech­nic, the Kad­poly Con­sult Lim­ited, into a prof­itable ven­ture. It has also pro­duced the first strate­gic plan doc­u­ment that will chart the course for de­vel­op­ment span­ning the Year 2018 to 2023 with all stake­hold­ers on board.

Th­ese are some of the div­i­dends that are be­ing re­ceived by Kaduna Polytech­nic as it en­ters a new vista that will surely help it to re­claim its prime sta­tus in the pro­vi­sion of qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion in Nige­ria.

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