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Provost hails TETFund intervention in infrastructure development

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Dr Philip Nto, the Provost, Abia State College of Education (Tech), Arochukwu, has hailed the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for tackling infrastructure deficit in the nation’s higher institutions.

Nto said TETFund had made tremendous impact in the upgrade of teaching equipment and physical infrastructure development in the nation’s higher institutions.

He said this on Thursday when he took newsmen on a guided tour of TETFund projects at different stages of completion in the college.

He said: “TETFund has done very well in our institutions of higher learning.
“Without TETFund, most institutions would be overgrown with weeds and taken over by lizards and all kinds of rodents.”

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Nto, however, expressed the need for TETFund to allow authorities of benefitting institutions to decide the projects to execute with its funds, depending on their priorities.

According to him, our college has other areas of priority, aside from the ongoing TETFund intervention projects.
Some of them include a 500-student capacity library, started in 2018 and completed in 2020 and 350-student capacity College Auditorium, completed in 2018 with the 2014, 2015 and 2016 merged TETFund intervention.

The provost said he started and completed the School of Science Education, furnished and equipped with gymnasiums for Health and Physical Education students.

Others are the School of Arts and Social Sciences with ICT-equipped (magic board) classrooms.
The rest were the new Office of the Provost, renovation of the old Provost Office for the Registrar/Bursar and an international Virtual Conference Room.

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The provost also said that on assumption of office in 2016, he borrowed money to complete the School of Vocational Studies but the project was abandoned at the 10 per cent implementation stage during the administration of Dr Christian Nwanmuo and later blacklisted by TETFund in 2013.

He listed some of the challenges faced by the college to include the failure by past regimes to issue certificates to graduates since its 30 years of existence.

Others included the lack of accreditation of its programmes for 13 years and security threats, which got worse with the rape of three students in their hostel.

“I inherited a college that was overgrown with weeds and almost dead, waiting for a provost that would come to conduct its funeral.
“The staff members were ill-motivated and the curriculum of the college was poor,” Nto said.
He said that as soon as he assumed office, he reversed the ugly situation, got the college hooked onto the national grid, cleared and fumigated the entire premises.

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He also said that he had succeeded in issuing certificates to graduates between 1991 and 2018, and organised the first matriculation ceremony for the college.
The provost further disclosed that he secured accreditation for 20 academic programmes for the college, with only two pending.

He also got the college curriculum upgraded to make skill acquisition a compulsory programme for every student, irrespective of one’s course of study.
He thanked Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu for sponsoring 85 students in different skill acquisition programmes in the School of Vocational Studies.

According to him, the college would soon get affiliated to Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike and Abia State University, Uturu for the award of degrees, adding that he had opened satellite campuses at Umuahia and Aba and closed down the existing ones because of poor standard.

[Also Read] TETFund praised for bridging funding gap in tertiary education

The provost said he inherited a student population of 300 but hoped to take it to 3000 with the innovations being put in place.

He admitted that the college was owing arrears of salaries to workers because of dwindling revenue and irregular subventions.
Nto used the forum to react to a petition alleging that he diverted the school’s TETFund-sponsored soundproof generator to himself.

He described the allegation by an Umuahia-based legal practitioner, Mr Jude Nwokoro, as baseless and cheap blackmail.
He said the facility was being taken for repairs when the petitioner instigated some boys in the area to impound it, in spite of the copious evidence by the school driver conveying it.
He challenged Nwokoro to address his petition to appropriate anti-graft agencies of government, if he was convinced his allegation had merit.

By Leo Okachie

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