National University Commission (NUC) on Resource Verification of Students' Facilities
by – Chioma Ike
As part of its duties to ensure good quality welfare package and comfortability of students in Nigerian Tertiary institutions, a three-man team of the National Universities Commission (NUC) paid a Resource Visit to Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State on Monday, July 8, 2019, to verify the students’ facilities. In his remarks, the NUC Team Leader, Prof. Zakari Mohammed stated that FUTO is lucky to be among the Universities selected by NUC to be assessed. He added that FUTO was chosen because of her numerous achievements and its seen as a role model to other Universities. He listed ten key areas to be assessed which include: Counselling and Human Resource Development Centre; Health Services; Accommodation; Entrepreneurship Study Centre; Supporting and Recreational facilities; General University Sanitation & Landscape; Admissions, Examinations & Result; Communication’s Support for indigent & Brilliant Students and Registration of Students. He solicited for cooperation and support for a smooth and successful verification exercise.
In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Eze, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. J.S. Orebiyi commended NUC for selecting FUTO to be assessed and verified. He assured them that despite the hard economic state of the country and TSA, FUTO is trying her best to cater for her students. He explained that FUTO has a well-equipped clinic, a functional counselling Unit, and an established Entrepreneurship Centre. On accommodation, he stated that more than 80% of the students who need accommodation are adequately taken care of, and two new hostel buildings are almost completed. Adding that, the FUTO women group – FUTOWA – is also building a new hostel for female students. Sanitation wise, FUTO has a new committee on sanitation and wastage which cater for sanitation. He assured the NUC Team that there is a free flow of information between the students and Management. FUTO has in place some communication facilities utilized to get feedback from students.
The Vice-Chancellor also created a twitter forum where the students assess and give feedback on their lecturers, which are analyzed and handled accordingly. Concerning exams & results, Prof. Eze stated that FUTO is near perfection because semester results are promptly published six weeks after each exam. He assured them that FUTO is set on the right track in achieving perfection in all the areas NUC mentioned.
At the end of the verification exercise, the NUC Team Leader, Prof. Zakari Mohammed expressed satisfaction over the success of the exercise and the maximum cooperation they received from the University Management. However, they made a few observations.
The Counselling and Human Development Centre need to be relocated to a bigger and more secluded area, to provide privacy for the users, while the unit’s staff require further training to boost their capacities. Prof. Mohammed said his team is highly impressed with the Health Services and feels that the clinic “is run more like a hospital than a clinic”. Advising that the record files need to be relocated from the entrance to another place, for proper and tidy record documentation as the current location gives a negative impression about the clinic.
He also commended the Entrepreneurship Study Centre for decorating his team member, Mrs Loretta Anchor, with one of their hand-made female accessories and said the place is well equipped and fantastic. He, however, expressed concerns over the encroachment of FUTO Land, which negatively affects the sports utility and called on the Vice-Chancellor to take a harder action to ensure the recovering of the land. He also urged the Quality Assurance unit to adequately ensure that every unit in the university discharges their duties as supposed. Prof. Mohammed said that urgent attention should be given to the physically challenged customers for easy access to the University facilities.
He commended the Library for the contemporary services they offer and urged the University Librarian to harness and improve on those services. He called on the Management to ensure a 24 – hour power supply to the Library, suggesting that the University can use the TET Fund to install a solar energy power source to the Library. Concluding, Prof. Mohammed said everything was okay and NUC is satisfied with what they saw.
Reacting to some of the observations made by the NUC Team, The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Francis Chukwuemeka Eze said that the Director, Physical Planning & Development (PP&D) Unit has already been mandated to inspect and map out areas to be landmarked. The PP&D Unit has also been requested to ensure every new structure in the University is physically challenged compliant and old buildings will be modified to suit them. On the issue of land encroachment, the vice-chancellor explained that FUTO has explored many options to recover FUTO land to no avail. But he is certain that FUTO will continue to explore other avenues until victory is achieved.
Speaking further, the vice-chancellor said the Entrepreneurship centre will be relocated to a bigger building because a philanthropist has indicated interest to build. On the power supply for the Library, Professor Francis C. Eze said that regrettably, the 18-hour out of 24-hour daily power supply promised to FUTO by the Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN) has not been fulfilled. FUTO will, therefore, seek ways to install a solar energy source of power for the Library.
Concluding, he said he believes that with their findings, more resources will be allotted to FUTO, which will facilitate the solution to some of the issues raised. He prayed for their journey mercies as they return to Abuja and presented them with FUTO Souvenirs.
Present at the meeting were Principal officers, Engr. I. J. Okeke, Director, Physical, Planning and Development, Prof. J. N. Alinonu, Dean, Student Affairs, Prof. C. E. Orji, Director, Student Affairs Unit, Prof. J. S. Iwueze Director, Academic Planning, Prof. Zakari Mohammed, Team Leader, NUC, Mrs. Loretta N. Achor, Deputy Director, Inspection and Monitoring, NUC, and Mr. Emmanuel Alakija, DSSS, NUC.