Partnering ICPC for transparency and fiscal discipline in tertiary institutions’ administration (2)
CONTINUED FROM TUESDAY 10/11/2015
Set against the background that it took almost a week to mobilise less than 250 students using the resources of a sister university, the fact that this College succeeded in mobilising over 1200 students within five hours speaks volume of the state of our IT infrastructure and its significance.
Digital security: Given the current spate of insecurity in the country, we are fully aware and conscious of the security threats that daily stare us in the face. Cases of cultism, raping, kidnapping, stealing, harassment, molestation and bullying perpetrated by some of our students have been reported. Apart from the traditional methods of dealing with these vices such as arrests, investigation and prosecution, innovative, creative and practical approaches are urgently required to address our security challenges. Management has therefore adopted an innovative approach of curtailing the activities of our criminally minded students, we have developed a special database for suspected cultists and our criminally minded students and have been taking their biometric information.
The implication is that once a student is tagged as a suspect, this information will be displayed at all police / military formations, airports, banks, passport / licensing offices and anywhere where biometric information is required.
In addition, CCTV cameras have been deployed in strategic places on campus and our Counselling Centre is being empowered to provide counselling services for this category of students. Once, we are convinced that a suspected cultist has publicly renounced his or her membership of such an unlawful organisation and turned a new leaf, his or her name would be taken off the database so that he or she can enjoy normal life once again. Rest assured that this new semester will witness the deployment of more additional digital security devices for effective policing on campus. Appropriate dress code and the wearing of approved means of identification would also be fully enforced.
Relationship with the unions
I must place on record the wonderful understanding, maturity and cooperation that I have received from all our unions. For instance, we have been paying the arrears of promotion and other staff entitlements in batches subject to the availability of funds because the total arrears of promotions and annual increments which we are yet to receive from the federal government since the 2011/2012 promotion exercise is over N69 million. Again, we have just succeeded in paying the final tranche of the 2014 learned conference allowance which has been due since last year, and finally, the first tranche of the Teaching Practice allowance was only paid last Monday, three weeks after the commencement of the exercise. Ordinarily payment of TP allowance should have been made before the commencement of the exercise. Thus, I cannot but appreciate and reciprocate your gentlemanly understanding of our present financial predicament by redoubling my commitment to making your welfare my topmost priority.
Prudence and integrity
From the outset, I have made it known that the culture of profligacy and impunity in financial matters, which unfortunately has permeated the fabric of all sectors of our national life, would not be encouraged during my tenure. I have always advocated, encouraged and applauded prudence in money matters so much that I oftentimes have denied myself statutory rights for the good of the College. Instances to support this assertion are actually very rife but particularly, upon assumption, I was told that I could spend up to three months in the hotel so that the College would have enough time to complete the renovation and furnishing of the Provost Lodge.
However, in a rare demonstration of prudence and exemplary leadership, especially when I realized the heavy financial implications of hotel accommodation, I decided to move into the Provost’s Lodge in its unfurnished state, after spending just one week in the hotel. The Provost Lodge is still yet to be furnished. Similarly, on several occasions I have had to reduce my approved official allowances as well as that of my Management Team. Even as Chief Executive, I have refrained from flying business class in all my local flights in order to save money, and I have never taken a kobo from this college for all my international trips.
Given our avowed zero tolerance for corruption, I am happy to announce that the National Anti-Corruption Institute has recently chosen our College as a zonal centre in the south west for the dissemination of government’s anti-corruption agenda. Indeed, ICPC will be coming for the inauguration of the members of the College Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit this November. It is high time that we start feeling the impact of ACTU because it is better and cheaper to prevent corruption than to prosecute offenders. Let me reiterate the fact that Management’s commitment to maintaining integrity is non-negotiable.
New partnership with corporate organisations and development partners
A major policy thrust of this administration is to re-define of our relationship with corporate organisations, contractors and service providers. This category of stakeholders have more often than not feasted on the College for the profits they can make without looking back thereby neglecting to perform their corporate social responsibilities (CSR). Several overtures to get friendly with Management so that this socially irresponsible behaviour could continue have been stoutly rebuffed by this administration.
I am happy to inform this distinguished gathering that the new orientation has started yielding positive dividends. A few examples will suffice; Abytech Ventures, a major contractor with the College was told in clear terms that the only way to justify its 15 year relationship and continued partnership with the College would be for the company to fulfill its CSR. Abytech immediately responded by donating 300 pieces of classroom furniture worth N5.6 million naira to the College. DMG Consultant donated half a million naira and Ayomidele Ventures gave us N250,000 to support the planned beautification and landscaping of the campus.
Kapital Insurance donated 15 computers. ECOBANK has deployed two ATM machines on campus and the ATM plaza of Zenith Bank is nearing completion. Furthermore ECOBANK has just delivered the first batch of the 100 laptops it promised for the use of the College Academic Board members and the bank has also just submitted a letter of intent to finance the construction of students hostels and staff quarters under a BOT framework. An alumnus of the College, Dr. Oladokun Olatunde also single-handedly donated a library to the Department of History to mark his fiftieth birthday early this year.
According to Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, all investors must decide whether they want to be future makers or future takers. You are a future taker when all you are interested in is to find a way to compromise Management so that you can maximise profit. You are a future maker when you fulfil your corporate social responsibility and give back to the community some of the profits you have made.
Still on public private partnerships, I took over the mantle of leadership with the mindset to depart from the overdependence on government for funding. I have endeavoured to woo investors from home and abroad to invest in our College and provide the much-needed infrastructures. Hostels development and additional staff quarters are major areas where we have ventured. There have been series of meetings and consultations with companies interested in such ventures. It is our hope that the results of the many meetings that have produced three MoUs already will soon begin to materialise.
International partnership and global outreach
At its inception in 1964, our College benefitted immensely from linkages and international collaborations from such agencies such as UNESCO as well as the Ohio State University International Co-operation Administration Project. We are presently exploring new possibilities for international partnership with the World Bank, USAID and other agencies and institutions around the world.
We have added a touch of global academic refinement in our approach to governance. We have leveraged on our international connections and goodwill to garner international support for the development of the institution. In a bid to making Adeyemi a global institution and a point of reference for excellent teacher education, I have also exploited my international professional connections and warm relationships with Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, Franklin University, Columbus and Indiana Purdue University, Indianapolis, etc., to create a partnership between these institutions and our great College.
The primary goal of these latest efforts is to create a robust international student and staff exchange programme as well as the acquisition of American degrees at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels under ‘a split site’ arrangement. International partnership with foreign institutions has the tendency of placing our institution on the global map. Such global acclaim bring awareness, intellectual exchange and many mutual benefits to the partner institutions.
Thus, from the University of Birmingham, the College has appointed Insa Nolte, as Visiting Research Professor to Adeyemi College of Education. Just some few weeks back, an international workshop, sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom took place on this campus. Many of our academic staff warmly participated and benefitted from the workshop. It was the first of its type in any College of Education in Nigeria.
Prof. Bessie House-Soremekun, an African-American Professor from Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) Indianapolis, USA was also recently appointed as Visiting Research Professor to our institution. She was in the College last July and succeeded in presenting two seminars before her departure. She is presently trying to facilitate the speedy processing of our grant application with our partner institution, Ohio State University. It is also gladdening to note that one of the most brilliant young Africanist scholars in the United Kingdom, Dr Rebecca Jones, will be visiting the College this month to present a special seminar and interact with our colleagues on possible areas of academic collaboration.
From 13-15 December 2015, the campus will be agog to welcome Africans living in the diaspora from all over the world. This is because we have just been granted the right to host the 2015 African Diaspora Conference courtesy of the US-based African Innovation Institute and our own Green Institute. The proposed conference which has Prof. Byron Price of the City University of New York as keynote speaker will further facilitate the realisation of our vision for global exposure and partnership, research opportunities in diasporan and developmental studies, funding from USAID and World Bank Diaspora Programmes, academic collaboration and staff exchange programmes, enrolment of our colleagues in the Africa Diaspora Fellowship programme and the launch of the Mara Mentors and Diaspora Entreprenuership Centre in conjunction with Adeyemi College of Education and other global partners.
Synthetic phonics training programme for ACE lecturers
Fifthy of our academic staff would be selected to participate in the implementation of a special international training scheme with SUBEB to improve the teaching and learning of literacy skills of primary school pupils in south west Nigeria using the world renown synthetic phonics methodology. By so doing, our college is set to join the league of University of Uyo, University of Calabar, Federal College of Education, Osiele and Tai Solarin University of Education,that have earlier benefitted from this scheme. The Programme will be co-funded by Jolly Learning of the United Kingdom. Since literacy is interdisciplinary, all our lecturers can participate in this. It is not at all restricted to English or language.
Scientists are welcome as are creative artists. In addition, further training would be provided in research, monitoring, evaluation and current research advances in the developed world. All the data that would be gathered during the monitoring exercise would also be made available to the lecturers for paper writing and publication. This scheme represents a green area for lecturers because Jolly Phonics training has now been made compulsory in all states of the federation. I wish to appreciate the immediate past HOD of the Department of English, Mr Clinton Adebiyi who linked us with Dr Eshiet of Jolly Phonics in the United Kingdom.
ACE scholars making waves in the international arena
It is important to acknowledge the efforts of some of our scholars who have done us proud in the international arena. The quality and originality of the doctoral thesis of Dr Bridget Itunu Awosika of the Department of Home Economics has started receiving international acclaim in the US and the United Kingdom. Just last week Prof Ann O’Hear indicated her interest to keep a copy of the textile materials that she used for her PhD in the folder on O’Hear Collection at the University of Leeds International Textiles Archive. Dr. Awosika is also to be named as a major research source in the public online record and on the section dealing with research carried out by non- University of Leeds academics on the Leeds University website. All these will also be available at the University of Hull under the Ann O’Hear’s digital collections. Housed in St Wilfred’s Chapel on the Western Campus of the University of Leeds, the purpose of the archive is to collect, preserve and document textiles and related items from many of the textile producing areas of the world for the benefit of scholars, researchers and the general public.
Dr. Omotola Babajide has recently been admitted as a member the prestigious Climate Reality Leadership Corps under the chairmanship of former US Vice President Al Gore after undergoing a week-long training in Miami, Florida between September and October 2015.While in the US, she also ably participated and represented the College well in the series of discussions that are ongoing between our College and Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio (CSU) regarding the floating of a split site M.Ed programme in education that will be awarded by CSU.
During the Fourth Annual Green Campuses Conference recently held at the University of Western Cape in South Africa from June 28-July 2nd 2015, Miss Adenike Akinsemolu of the Department of Integrated Science and Initiator of our Green Campus Initiative bagged two international awards for the College, namely, the Distinguished Green Award (Silver Category) for Green Campus Activities and Gold Category Award for the Best New Comer in 2015.
She also recently won the Nigeria Energy Award because of her advocacy for renewable energy and was consequently appointed as a member of the National Steering Committee of Nigeria Sustainable Energy Group (NSEG) under the Ministry of Power and Steel.
Similarly, Mr. Adenegan is presently working with Douglas Butler of the United Kingdom on the modalities for organising an Autograph training programme for our staff in the Department of Mathematics and its allied disciplines. Autograph is a dynamic, interactive, informative and educative scientific and mathematical tool for teaching and learning basic mathematical concepts which will be very useful for both teachers in practice, teachers in training and lecturers. As at today in Nigeria, no institution or school uses autograph in teaching.
Update on our $30million World Bank/USAID grant proposal
The World Bank/USAID has been involved in supporting select higher institutions devoted to the teaching of agricultural education in Africa. The ultimate objective is to turn such tertiary institutions into the agricultural hubs of their respective regions.
This initiative has been successfully carried out in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Between 19th and 20th November 2014, negotiations and preliminary talks between the Provost, Dr Collins Awosika of the Centre for International Development Assistance, Hanover Park, Illinois, on the one hand and World Bank/USAID representatives as well as the proposed US partnering institution, Ohio State University, on the other, commenced in Chicago and Ohio respectively.
At the end of the talks, Adeyemi College of Education was asked to prepare and submit a proposal for a $30 million agricultural development assistance grant. In order to produce a winning proposal, Council approved the appointment Prof. Femi Balogun as a consultant. His choice was informed by his impressive credentials as a foremost Professor of Agriculture with one of the best commercial farms in the country and for being one of the most successful vice-chancellors in the history of the Nigerian university system. As a renowned agriculturist, he has also won several international research grants and academic awards.
He headed a team of agricultural experts made up of six other prominent Professors to package a proposal which was submitted to our partnering institution, Ohio State University. The proposal was adjudged ‘very good’ and the second round of meetings in the US took place last August between the project facilitators and the Provost. A four-man team from Ohio State University is scheduled to arrive on campus before the end of the month to inspect our facilities and assess our state of readiness to judiciously utilise the grant.
Sustaining a stable academic calendar
Since inception of this administration, I have been able to ensure, against all odds, that the academic calendar remains undisrupted. It has always been my mantra, in line with global standards, that the hallmark of an educational institution is the sanctity of the academic calendar. In spite of the soaring population of students in the College, this administration has successfully managed them.
In January, 2015, the college matriculated about 7,386 students for the merged 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 academic sessions. The introduction of such a large number into a population usually has serious disruptive social implications but with tact, wisdom and the cooperation of several staff and students we were able to successfully complete the 2014/2015 academic session without any major disruption of the academic calendar.
Acquisition of 13 brand new vehicles
A leadership that is devoid of selflessness and personal sacrifice is not worth the exalted office that it occupies. In view of the critical financial situation of the college, it is noteworthy that for more than six months the Provost could not be provided with a befitting official vehicle. He was driven around in a branded Hilux pick up vehicle.
Eventually, when it was time to purchase a befitting vehicle for the office of the Provost, Management merely deposited the sum of N13 million naira which could have been used to purchase just one vehicle, under a vehicle-leasing arrangement with ECOBANK as part financing.
Invariably, we succeeded in bringing in 13 brand new vehicles for the use of Chairman of Council, the Provost and other Principal Officers, Deans of Schools and a bus for our students. This was upon Management’s observation that Deans had no official vehicles and the Principal Officers’ vehicles were old and needed replacement. These cars have provided a certain degree of ease and comfort to Management, dignified the exalted offices of the beneficiaries and boosted the corporate image of the college. Plans are underway to extend this goodwill to our directors in due course.
Staff assessment, promotion, training and other welfare issues
Staff promotions and assessments have also been accorded high priority by this administration. Management has strictly been guided by fairness, objectivity and transparency in the discharge of this very important assignment. We have shown compassion and supported both staff and students with health challenges by offering prompt support. This administration has focused much on the development of human capacity since humans are at the core of any development.
Investing in the training of teaching and non-teaching staff has been of paramount importance. I have ensured that staff applications for TETFUND sponsorship and other such endeavours were treated with utmost urgency. Over ten of our colleagues have obtained their PhDs since I came on board and more than 20 other colleagues are presently pursuing their doctorates, some in Nigerian universities and others in foreign institutions. Scores of our staff both teaching and non-teaching have been sponsored to attend workshops, professional meetings and seminars since the inception of this administration.
Deployment of alternative sources of energy
A major challenge that I have been battling with since the past one year is the erratic power supply and the exorbitant cost of providing electricity via our numerous petrol and diesel generators. The college spends over 100 million naira annually for the provision of electricity. This figure excludes the amount spent on buying these generators and the costs of their maintenance. It is an eyesore that virtually every office has a generator and more are still requesting. The noise as well as air pollution that we are subjected to on a daily basis has become worrisome and unbearable.
In the new year, Management has resolved to explore alternative sources of energy, especially solar and biomass from the massive waste dump along Laje Road. Specifically, we have visited and will be partnering with the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, for the deployment of sustainable energy solution across campus.
The Lugar Center for Renewable Energy develops integrated renewable energy solutions, and has a strong focus on applications suitable for college campuses, rural remote villages, factories, and farms
Our preliminary discussions with the staff of the centre have been very encouraging and the major areas of interests are solar, waste-to-energy (WTE) and biomass plus gasification. In the interim, we will be starting with a pilot scheme at the Health Centre and some of our hostels. Apart from building local capacity, by deploying renewable energy across campus, other institution of higher learning would see the need to embrace alternative energy and recognize ACE’s leadership in establishing such a capability.
Entrepreneurial and vocational education
Institutions of higher learning in the developed world have for long been actively engaged in facilitating the employability of their graduates by establishing Career Services Units providing invaluable support to their students. Such a Unit will create opportunities for Skills and Entrepreneurial development, New Venture Creation, Linkages with Employers, work experience and part time work which will be highly relevant in the Nigerian environment as a possible tool for stemming the growing trend of graduate unemployment.
With the implementation of this kind of initiative, Adeyemi College of Education stands in a unique position to enhance the employability of its graduates. The Unit will assist in building relationships with employers of labour, the College will become more attractive to prospective students and the unit will enhance the setting up of viable businesses within our catchment area thus improving the economic viability of the host community and setting the pace for other Nigerian higher institutions to follow. In order to realise this objective the College has received a proposal for the setting up of this unit from a UK-based consulting outfit with the active involvement of the University of Newcastle at Upon Tyne. We have also submitted a proposal to TETFUND for N500,000 million special intervention fund to establish a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Skills Acquisition.
Demonstration nursery and secondary schools
I wish to salute the Management and staff of our Demonstration schools for the high quality products they have been churning out over the years. Impressed with this lofty achievement,
• Ogen, a professor of History, is the Provost, Adeyemi
College of Education, Ondo