Last week on these pages we carried a report on an NIIT student Mr Adebola Aremu who alleged that his institution was cheating the Nigerian students by teaching them with outdated curriculum.
The institution reacted that it was a lie and revealed that the student in question was just at the beginning stage of his programmme which makes his accusation more of premature since he has not crossed the elementary stage of the course he enrolled for.
Besides, the institution also provided written evidence that Aremu’s course mates had given a clean bill of health to their course curriculum.
The defence touched a sour point in Aremu who stormed Vanguard premises again at the weekend, saying that if the institution depended on a purported written approval of some helpless students and fail to address the fundamental issues in his protest, he would head to the court to seek justice. Here, we present the encounter with Aremu.
Last week you told us your frustrations with an alleged outdated curriculum the NIIT was teaching you with but the institution says you are jumping the gun because you are a beginner?
…And you believed them?
It doesn’t matter what I believe here, but if you are just beginning, how can you know more than your teacher?
Okay, lets take it from the beginning.
I enrolled in February 2009 after a batch that started in January the same year. However, I made the enquiries in 2008. Now would you say that somebody who enrolled for a two year course since February 2009 is still a new student in September 2010?
What course did you enrol for?.
When I enrolled, I told them that I wanted a course that would fetch me a Bsc in IT and they told me that DNIIT will fetch me an advanced diploma in IT which would give me an opportunity to enter into one of their affiliate Universities for a year course that would give me a degree.
At the DNIIT level, you signed an agreement to study with the Curriculum?
Actually, there was an agreement but the curriculum was not written on that paper. Even the curriculum they later gave me only said that Microsoft office would be used but did not specify that it was going to be outdated. If I knew, trust that I would not have agreed to be admitted into NIIT.
I learnt that the courses run in quarters. How many do you have in your course?
In the whole of the diploma that I am studying, there are ten different quarters. I have done four, when we were about to do the fifth quarter, they could not provide us books, and that was not the first time. Sometimes it takes NIIT more than two months before they could provide us with books.
How much are you paying for that course?
I am paying N550,500 for the course. But because of my parents’ earning power, I am paying in instalments.
What were you doing before you enrolled in NIIT ?
I finished secondary school in 2002 and immediately I left school, I did some other exams to improve myself although some did not go well. It was after all these that one of my Dad’s friends advised me to go for computer school. I enrolled for a certain computer school on my street and did desktop publishing there. That experience developed my thirst for IT .
I later worked in some places as computer engineer and did some exams. From there I found out that with a deep knowledge in IT, I could unlock the secret codes of wealth as well as adding value to my country.
It was at this point that enquires brought me to the doorsteps of NIIT. Coincidentally, on my first day there, the lady that attended to me, Ms Tolu, told me that by the time I enrolled at NIIT, I would be fully employment ready like the normal University students who before they are through with their university courses would come for industrial training for a year in the institution.
So when did all these aluta against the institution develop?
Bros, this is not aluta, at all. Its just that we Nigerians are too comfortable even when we are being cheated and I have decided that enough is enough.
I am running a risk but I know that somebody must let the world know about this injustice and I don’t care what it costs me as long as at the end of the day Nigerians get what others are getting.
Now imagine that I enrolled in 2009 and an IT training institution is teaching me with Microsoft Office 2002? What happened to office 2003 and 2007 or are we saying that a training institute should not comply with the dynamism nature of Information Technology?
When you talk about finding out that your curriculum was outdated, how did you actually get to know?
As a student of NIIT, there is what they used to give us called Web Key.
They told us that web Key will enable us access to interact with fellow NIIT students worldwide, online to help enhance our learning. But unfortunately the web key was not working and on my own, I went on facebook, searched for NIIT group and joined. With the curiosity to find out if what NIIT was giving us was the same they offer in other countries, I posted a question requesting that somebody from NIIT in India, the institution’s headquarters, should please reply.
Immediately one guy who was running my course replied and as we were chatting, he expressed surprised that the curriculum we were using here was outdated. I have printed the chat conversation and would also give to you if you want it.
When you found out why didn’t you withdraw?
When we were through with the first quarter, I went to my centre Head and asked him why they were using this outdated version to teach us. He explained that it was normal to build us up since they were moving from the lower version to the higher version. . So, I kept silent until we entered the third quarter, and now still found out that the version we were been taught was fully outdated.
By fourth quarter, I still found out that what they were still teaching was the same, I drew the attention of my colleagues and other people and they agreed we should protest it. When we met one of the management executives, he explained that we Nigerians do not really know the value of IT and that even if we are taught the right curriculum, we do not have platform to evaluate our work. Unknown to them, I recorded the conversation and I can play it for you.
Apart from coming here and other newspaper houses what else have you done?
Before I came here the first day, I have written a letter to the management of NIIT warning that if they fail to address the problem, we will go on a protest with placards to NTA. They called but instead of addressing the issue, they threatened us to sign a letter that we were satisfied with what they were teaching us. I refused to sign. I suspect that they may have deceived some of my colleagues to sign the letter promising them some incentives they would not fulfil at the end of the day.
That is the document according to your report, they are parading but that is not the issue. Even if they buy every student to give them clean bill of health, I will go to court to seek justice. Although, I am waiting for the outcome of a scheduled meeting between us with the Citizens Mediation Centre on Wednesday (today).
You took them to Citizens Mediation Centre?
Like I told you the other time, I have reported them to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information, Citizens Mediation Centre, Ministry of Justice and I am not relenting until justice is seen to be done