By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
RECENTLY, the management of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos played host to an Education Trust Fund team led by Dr. Hafiz Abubakar which came to examine the projects slated for special intervention as the first higher institution in Nigeria has been selected as one of the12 focal institutions to benefit from the N47bn FG/ETF special intervention fund.
While presenting the project proposals to the ETF visitation team, the Rector of the College, Mr. Olubunmi Owoso explained that the challenges which face the institution presently, like inadequate spaces and services, inadequate modern laboratory and workshop equipment in a number of programmes and poor conditions of the roadsÂ inform the identification of the collegeâ€™sÂ project proposals for the special intervention.
Top on the long list is procurement of laboratory/workshop equipment for polymer technology, civil engineering, food process technology, computer technology and the entrepreneurship development, the cost estimate of which Owoso put at N305m.
This project, he said, is designed to upgrade and modernise facilities for skills acquisition, particularly in programmes that the college already has a comparative advantage and strength to become a centre of excellence.
AS ICT has been incorporated as an essential component of all curricula in the college, Yabatech is proposing to utilise N100m on equipping ten central computer laboratories, with two of these located each in the School of Engineering, Environmental Studies, Science and Technology and one in each of the Schools of Arts, Design/Printing and Management/Business Studies.
The other projects which Yabatech proposed to the ETF Visitation team is procurement and deployment of interactive teaching and learning platforms for each of 100 model lecture rooms, spread across all departments and provision of e-books, audio-visual/multimedia equipment and furniture in the library, estimated to cost N100m and N50m respectively.
These two projects, says Owoso, were selected for intervention because they will certainly complement and optimise the installation of modern teaching/learning environment and facilities
The most expensive project being proposed for the Federal Government by the management of Yabatech is the construction of a 10-floor building complex estimated to cost N725m. This project is to provideÂ administrative offices, staff offices, seminar rooms, studios and lecture rooms.
Owoso, whose second term as rector will be expiring towards the end of this year, justifies the need for this gigantic building project thus, â€œYaba College of Technology has the smallest land area of 16 hectares for its over 15,000 students and 2,000 staff compared to all other government-owned higher educational institutions. The problem of inadequate space has become so acute that every department in the college had to â€œpartitionâ€ a good number of classrooms and laboratories to provide staff offices.â€
He further disclosed to the ETF team that the problem of inadequate space informed the overturn of a project earlier approved for a sport gymansium in 2001 to the construction of a 5-floor complex for classrooms and staff offices in 2004, adding that these problems were highlighted in the Federal Government white paper that was recently released on the 2004 visitation panel report.
The completion and provision of additional four floors library building complex, to cost N350m, is yet another project proposal of the college.
Owoso said that the initial design for the college library was to provide eight floors in two phases, explaining that since the completion and commissioning of the first phase of four floors in 1988 the second phase has not taken off because of fund constraints.
The actualisation of these two projects, says the Rector, will free the â€œpartitionedâ€ space for many classrooms and laboratories, which will enable the college to provide greater access for the production of technical manpower for the economy.
Other projects earmarked for special intervention are repairs/renovation/enhancement of physical structures and fittings in existing laboratories, classrooms and lecture theatres to cost N120m and renovation in existing studentsâ€™ hostels with a cost estimate of N40m.
The Chairman, Governing Council of the College, Elder Joju Fadairo said that the choice of the projects proposed for the special intervention is guided by the goals of Vision 20:2020, the 7-Point Agenda of the Federal Government, the Millennium Development Goals as well as the road map for the Nigerian Education sector recently unveiled by the Federal Ministry of Education.