By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Following its emergence as one of the higher institutions in Nigeria benefitting from the Federal Governmentâ€™s Special Intervention Funds the management of the 100-year-old Federal School of Surveying, Oyo has pledged to take the delivery of digital surveying education to higher level.
According to the Rector of the Monotechnic, Surveyor Mohammed Bello Abubakar, the institution is set to conclude a partnership arrangement with the International Training Centre in Netherland as a wayÂ of enhancing the training of both staff and students in Surveying and Geoinformatics, adding that the forging of working relationship with foreign partners is to complement the enviable record of the school which has graduated over 1,500 students in digital surveying.
Speaking at the 19th graduation ceremony of the school which coincided with its centenary anniversary, Abubakar disclosed that the school successfully developed the digital curricula which changed the delivery of analogue surveying education to digital one, adding that these curricula had been adopted by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for all polytechnics across the country offering Surveying and Geoinformatics.
It was in recognition of this feat, says the rector, that informed NBTE to commission the school as the centre for the training of lecturers from other polytechnics in the digital technology as part of the train-the-trainers programme, explaining that the school is the only institution in Nigeria where its programmes at ND, HND and Post-HND in Surveying and Geoinformatics have been fully accredited by the NBTE and Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SURCON).
Considering the fact that the school is the pioneer in surveying education in Nigeria having been founded on July 1, 1908, and was also chosen by the Federal Government as the arrow-head for modernising surveying in the country, its selection as one of the beneficiary institutions of governmentâ€™s special intervention funds did not come as a surprise to many people.
As a fallout of this intervention, the NBTE has made available to the school equipment worth N148,00,000 and has organised various training programmes for its staff, including the entrepreneurship development courses both in Nigeria and Benin Republic. The Education Trust Fund has, in addition, sponsored the construction of some buildings in the school and also made some equipment available to it.
Some of these equipment, says the rector, include Total Station of various types which are used for surveying and geoinformatics, Total Scan, Global Positioning System (GPS), an equipment available only at the school and Kaduna Polytechnic.
Abubakar, however, disclosed that since surveying training is grounded in practicals and projects, and with the fact that the equipment is capital intensive, there is the need for government to jerk up the capital grants to the school.
He says: â€œGovernment has actually been trying in terms of capital allocation to the school but the school still needs higher allocation. This year, N55 million was released to us as capital grants but we will be okay if N300m capital grant is given to us.
This is so because surveying equipment is capital intensive. We donâ€™t have enough lecture theatres, workshops, laboratories and staff offices for both academic and non-teaching staff. We need more field vehicles because surveying involves practical and field work.â€
He explained that a 33 KVA generator, bought from the schoolâ€™s internally generated revenue and savings from its overhead, will be installed this month, adding that the school expects to have a 500 KVA generator by next year.
The Minister of Works, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Hassan Muhammed Lawal, commended the school for the role which it has played in the development of the survey profession in the country and in the entire West African sub-region in the last 100 years of its existence.
Lawal, who is the visitor to the institution says: â€œA century in the life of an institution certainly calls for celebration.
Todayâ€™s graduation ceremony involving 800 graduands is a concrete proof that the modernisation of surveying education at all levels namely the Technician, Technologist and professional levels in this school has reached enviable heights.â€
He continued: â€œTo underscore the critical role of surveying in our nationâ€™s infrastructuralÂ development, government would continue to support the Federal School of Surveying, Oyo and re-position it for the production of technically sound manpower necessary to drive our physical development forward.â€
â€œI am happy to announce that the negotiations for the re-introduction of the NYSC scheme for HND graduates of this school have reached a very high level and appropriate authorities will inform us of the positive developments on the issue in due course.
Also, to streamline the process of admission, beginning from this academic session, all admissions into the National Diploma Surveying programme of this school would be conducted through the Monotechnic/Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Examinations organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board, JAMB. These measures are meant to enhance the status of the school and impact positively on the training of surveyors.â€
Prof. Akin Mabogunje also spoke glowingly about the modernisation of delivery surveying education in the school. In his centenary lecture titled: â€œSurveying and Geoinformatics in National Development: Reflections on 100 years of The Federal School of Surveying,â€ Mabogunje says of developments in the school: â€œIn recent years, it has gone on to enhance its curriculum by promoting digital surveying or geoinformatics and offering a postgraduate diploma in Geographic Information Systems.
Clearly, over the last 100 years, the school has made quite remarkable strides in its development as a centre of excellence for the land surveying profession.â€
He, however, expects that the school will re-define its objectives and goals beyond topographic mapping and ad-hoc cadastral surveys as it enters its second century of existence.
â€œIt will see its role as one of engaging in a comprehensive cadastral survey to garner and provide more detailed spatial and geo-referenced information both of the physical and the human geography of the century,â€ adding that it will join in harnessing the enormous opportunities that could accrue from making such information available to the governments, the international community, the private sector and the generality of the Nigerian population,â€ says Mabogunje.