Professor Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri is the Rector of the Delta State Polytechnic, Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area. He is a Professor of Mass Communication. In this interview after the 21st matriculation ceremony of the polytechnic, he speaks on efforts to make the institution an innovation hub, the moves to generate its energy internally and other initiatives. Excerpts:
By Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha
THIS is your first matriculation ceremony as Rector of this school, how would you describe the ceremony?
In the first place I consider myself very privileged to have officiated this and the ceremony is a wonderful one; very successful, a lot of students came out, parents, staff, it is a wonderful one.
What do you want to do differently as a Rector?
We will create an innovation hub, centre for research and develop creativity, come up with innovation. If you look at the Chinese, they have several polytechnics; each of the polytechnics comes out with an innovation that is mass produced and marketed, that is what we want to do, not just producing employees, not just producing entrepreneurs, we want to produce producers of goods that could be sold worldwide.
You talked about plans to generate power internally, how do you intend to go about this?
There is a high powered council or team that is already working to explore alternative sources of energy, namely solar energy, wind energy and we are exploring the River Ethiope that is just nearby so we want to use these sources of alternative energy which can produce almost 70 per cent of the energy need of this institution.
What is your advice to parents in assisting their children in their academic pursuits?
Parents should be number one role models, they should tutor the students on morality. Secondly, they should pay their fees, take care of them in school, they should cater for them sufficiently in a way that they will not be looking at alternative source of funds which will be a deviation from societally approved ones such as 419, stealing, drug peddling, prostitution and all that but they can be tutored to actually be engaged as students to look for sources of money from jobs like cleaning, students even do okada riding sometimes. Outside this country students do a lot of work within the campus we have student drivers and riders and all that, nothing is wrong with that, there is dignity in labour if they don’t do that which is criminal.
You have been here for a while now, what have you been able to inject into the institution?
I can’t be the judge in my own case, I can’t appraise myself but you can ask from others, but if there is one thing I want to say, it is the internationalization of this institution and we have been placing this institution on the international platform and we are encouraging staff and students to engage in international activities, travel outside this country, scholarship is number one, you go round see for yourself. “What measures have you put in place to check examination malpractice and cultism in the school?
“There is already an existing structure that I met for checking examination malpractice and it is effective; we are only maintaining that. I can tell you we have zero tolerance for examination malpractice and examination malpractice is minimal. Cultism, if anything happens in this country now we have left the global village, we are now in the global palm not even in the global room, whatever happens anywhere, you will know immediately. Do you read of cult crisis in our institution? The answer is no. There is zero cult activity to the best of our knowledge.
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