BY GODWIN OGHRE, Sapele
As the standard of education continues to nove dive from the primary, secondary to tertiary level, it will come as cheering news to Nigerians that there is a tertiary institution – a university, that is doing every thing within its power not to toe this line of decay.
A visit to Western Delta University, in the heart of Oghara, Delta State – a private university attests to this. The university is one of a kind in Nigeria. It is situated on a 113 acres of land, serene environment that can enhance accelerated learning.
The school has a 74 highly selected erudite academic staff, 100 non-academic staff and about 600 mixed students who so far have met the standard of admission and learning of the institution. To its credit, the institution would graduate its first batch of students this year.
The university was granted provisional license in May 2007 and started academic activities in April, 2008. Just recently, some of its courses were accredited by the National University Commission(NUC).
These are courses are rare courses because they are not offered in most universities in the country. The courses are Hotel and Tourism and Environmental Science offered in the Colleges of Social and Management Studies and Natural and Applied Sciences respectively. In all, 12 courses which also spread to both Colleges have been approved by the NUC.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor P.G. Hugbo is a pharmacist. He is assisted in the administration of the institution by veterans in other disciplines who are sold out to make the institution a citadel conducive for learning.
One striking and remarkable aspect of WDU is its course accreditation. When the University authority presented its 12 courses to a team of 19 erudite professors who represented the NUC during the course accreditation exercise, the team accredited all 12 courses, a rare feat in the history of courses accreditation by NUC in Nigeria.
As a result of the serious and high level academic and research work going on in the school, the students have performed creditably well in external examinations and contests. Many of them have won scholarships by some prominent individuals, corporate bodies, and from some state governments.
When this writer called at the school recently to unravel the mystery behind the high performance of students at this time when war and indiscipline are hallmarls in many institutions of higher learning in the country, the revelations were amazing.
According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. P.G. Hugbo, a seasoned lecturer and has taught in various universities in and outside the country before he retired and was later called to head WDU, the university board gave him and his team, free hand to operate without unnecessary encumbrances, hence they are able to take necessary decisions, be it academic, administrative or financial decisions, promptly and effectively, which in turn impacted positively on the growth of the institution in the last four years.
He is particularly grateful to the ownership of the university and the university board and the Pro-chancellor, Professor Andrew Onokeroraye, who himself was a one time vice chancellor of the University of Benin for their cooperation.
The registrar of WDU, Mr. G.O. Egbri aslo shares the VC’s view that the cooperation of the university board and the pro-chancellor has helped to impact on the speedy growth of the academic and administrative activities.
Mr. Moses Osamede, Head of Students affairs informed that it is the institution’s tradition each year to grant one best academic student from each of the two colleges, tuition free every year.
Adding that the school has not given room for the formation of student union government or any other form of student unionism. Also there are no ASUU or NASUU or similar unions in the school. He also said that the senate of WDU has banned the sale of hand-outs by lecturers.
According to Dr. Josiah Ughotomo, the school’s Director of Academic Planning, students performance is high because there are enough teaching aids and the lecturers are qualified. Added to this is the fact that they are well paid so. The school’s Chief Accountant, Chief Egborobi Francis attested to this.
According to him,the school management fares well because it is allowed free access to work. He further stated that both the school management and the school’s bank co-operate very well such that there is a record of the staff list with the bank.
The staff he said are paid based on the days they put in duty which is know to the school authority and the bank. This is the first Institution of learning in Nigeria to operate this system.
Barrister Christopher Efebuzor, is the school’s Acting Liberian. According to him, the school has modest but balance collection of books. He said the school’s collection is modest because it has between 3000 to 4000 volumes with about 300 journals published mainly in Africa, and a number of foreign journals. He also said the school collection is balance because all the courses run in the school are ably supported with adequate number of books and journals.
He said the school has a good collection of encyclopedia, subject dictionaries, government publications, publications of international organisations and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN publications.
The school’s library, according to the Liberian, is also open for use to the public under the school’s library policy called “reference service”between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm on Saturdays. Books are however not lent to outsiders, although, they can enjoy the Selected Dissemination of Information service (SDI) which is also a policy of the school library.