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How Dr Pongri revolutionized C.O.E Hong

A couple of years ago, Nigeria’s Minister of Education officially revealed at a ministerial press briefing to mark the International Literacy Day celebration, that as…

A couple of years ago, Nigeria’s Minister of Education officially revealed at a ministerial press briefing to mark the International Literacy Day celebration, that as at that period, Global Monitoring Report still puts the figure of the country’s adult illiterates at 35 million.  To all discerning minds, it will be a miracle to cut this figure considerably in a short span of time, taking into account the persistent and  seemingly insurmountable rot in the sector.
To compound the problem, some cynics still hold the opinion that, this figure cited above may be conservative, having not factored in the many illiterate teachers who can neither read the affidavit which they had earlier sworn to and signed, nor write and pass the examinations which they had set for their students.
Thankfully, Dr Johnson Haniel Pongri, Provost College of Education Hong, Adamawa State, was perceptive enough to grasp the import and gravity of the sorry state of education in this part of the country. When he assumed leadership of the college on acting capacity in October 2010, he was well prepared. Through the acting period which lasted till April 2013, before he was formally appointed substantively for a period of five years in the first instance, Dr. Pongri took over the wheel of the college’s vehicle with a defined destination in focus.
At the time he took over the reins of power in the college, the state of things ranging from quality of impacting knowledge to students, to the structural development of facilities in the area were not encouraging. The confidence of the academic and non-academic staff of the institution had drastically waned, which almost resulted in most of them preferring to either embark on other private practices and or trade at their duty posts, rather than doing the job they were formally hired to do.
The development was a cause for worry to both the state government and management of the college. In his characteristic way of handling such terrible situations, the Provost in consultation with management of the college swiftly set in motion, measures to revive the dwindling trend.
Buoyed by his strong commitment to the provision of a qualitative education, he equipped the institution with the necessary tools and equipments such as furnishing of lecture halls with collapsible seats and writing pads with a total seating capacity for over 2,000 students. This is in addition to building of an e-library, procurement of computers/computer tables, constructed micro-teaching laboratory in partnership with the National Commission for Colleges of Education/TETFUND. Others are new dormitories for both male and female students. To aid students, academic and non-academic staffs, a 30 seater bus, Hilux pick-up van among other vehicles were procured during the period under review.
Like every endeavour of the Provost, the institution’s purpose is gradually being achieved and beneficiaries among whom are the students and staff are already counting their gains. Very transparent and noticeable are these achievements that his (Provosts) contemporaries in the neighbouring states and indeed the federal government have started taking special interest in his exemplary leadership and in transforming the college to its present status, as against what obtained, when College of Education, Hong, was referred to as a glorified secondary school.
On human resource development, the college in the last four years under Dr. Pongri’s watch, promoted 89 senior staff, 80 intermediate and junior staff and sent 36 senior staff and six intermediate and junior ones for various development courses within the state and across the country.
The achievements enumerated above attracted to the college by the Provost are just to mention a few. They were made possible through his incisive and wider worldview posture. From this vantage position, Dr. Pongri reflected on the challenges of the institution, using his amiable disposition of diplomacy and extension of friendly hand of good virtues with especially the Tertiary Education Trust Fund which majorly contributed towards the development of the college to its present status.
The larger community of Hong, where this institution is cited and indeed Adamawa State, has every cause to thank God for the appointment of Dr. Pongri to head this institution. He has piloted the affairs of the college with dexterity that the stinking order optimized by reckless impunity which held sway in the past, has given way to the current refreshing breath of fresh air of development.
While appreciating contributions made to the college by TETFUND, NCEE among other corporate bodies, authorities of the state government is hereby appealed to, for the construction of a befitting road from the main gate of the college permanent site, right through the main campus, as well as provision of water for the college. The construction of the road and provision of potable water will ensure a conducive atmosphere for students as they pursue their academic careers with utmost zeal.
There is only one word suitable to qualify what is currently going on in the College of Education, Hong, under the able leadership of Dr. Johnson Haniel Pongri – REVOLUTION. And Revolution, the world over, apart from their often bloody colouration, presupposes radical changes for the better. As such, the industrial revolution which swept through Western Europe from 1750 to the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 in the Soviet Russia, were all geared towards improving the living standards of inhabitants of these lands.
Perhaps that is why students of C.OE Hong in the last four years are reported to have been counting their blessings because of the ripple effect of a befitting learning environment under the current dispensation.
Edward Wabundani, an Abuja-based journalist can be reached on [email protected]

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