Recently, Kano State Polytechnic received a delegation from Malaysia in preparation for takeoff of degree programmes by the institution. Where are you now?
You are talking of Universiti Utara Malaysia (Northern University of Malaysia), which is a public university in Malaysia. They are our partners in education. I visited them three months ago and they returned the visit. During their visit, they assessed the schools that we will start Masters and PhD programmes and they visited our facilities, including the libraries, computer classes and other classes. They talked to the students and also talked to the lecturers.
They came up with a very good result that shows that our infrastructure fits what they are looking for. And today, I’m on my way to Malaysia again to finally sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them. As you are aware, there are seven areas that we are going to start Masters and PhD programmes. These areas include but are not limited to Accountancy, Public and Business Administration, Marketing, Purchasing and Supply and Banking and Finance.
We are going to have two types of Masters degrees, that is one without research in which a student will only attend classes and graduate in any of these seven areas I mentioned, and there is the other with research, which will be different from the first one. The two are 14 in number.
Then the next one is the doctorate degree programme in the same seven areas that I have mentioned earlier. Seven plus 14 will give you 21, so we are hoping to start post graduate programmes in 14 academic areas in the School of Management Studies this September, Insha Allah.
As I have said, I’m on my way to go and finalize the affiliation agreement between the Kano State Polytechnic and Universiti Utara Malaysia.
Then we are also starting bachelor degrees in our School of Technology in five new academic areas of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Electronics Engineering, Building and Fabrication, Woodwork and Metal Work. So if you add these five with the 21 post graduate programmes I mentioned earlier, you will have a total of 26 new degree programmes coming to the Kano State Polytechnic.
We did this because we know it is the best thing to do to the educational system in the state. We did this to uplift the educational system of the state and to uplift the people of Kano State, because when you bring new programmes like this you uplift the general level of education in the state. So it is a win-win situation for the people of the state, the school and the state government under the leadership of Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.
You said the delegation was satisfied with what they saw in your schools, did you put new structures in place to accommodate the new programmes?
As you are aware, we are in the middle of reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Kano State Polytechnic in general, starting with the central administration. The next building we started renovating is the School of Management Studies. At the same time we are also doing a lot of renovation in the School of Technology. When you go to the School of Technology it is now a brand new building with offices of the staff having a new look and very happy lecturers, students and management.
And we have not completed the projects yet, the bottom line is we are trying to make Kano State Polytechnic the best polytechnic in the country in all aspects. Take for example the School of Technology, we have changed the school and it is clear that even a blind man can attest to that. I have two more challenges after the reconstruction and the rehabilitation of these buildings.
What do you mean by that?
I have antiquated buildings used as laboratories because they are not just outdated, they should be used in museums. What I’m trying to do is to equip these laboratories to the state-of-the-art, which can be able to compete with any institution. Because if you want to compete you need a lot of things not just buildings.
Last week, I was in Abuja where I received an intervention fund of N42 million given to Kano State Polytechnic by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), we are going to put it into the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
After Mechanical Engineering, then I will move to the next department as we intend to do it step-by-step. And as I’m doing that, our staff are sent on training. Right now I have 18 academic and non-academic staff of Kano State Polytechnic who enrolled as PhD students in this school. They have already applied in the proposed Postgraduate School and because the university in Malaysia is very generous to us they cut one-third of the tuition fees for our students.
When will the programmes take off?
They will take off in September. As I have told you, I’m going to Malaysia to finalize because all what we need to do is between now and August.
How many students do you intend to enroll?
At least a 1,000 because students are eager to start, for now we have application for Masters. Though for now, the admission is not open to outsiders as the affiliation is not officially completed until I go to Malaysia and finally sign it with the Univerisiti Utara Malaysia Vice Chancellor, Professor Dato Mohammed Mustafa Ishak. So after that has been concluded we will start in September, when the universities in Malaysia start their academic year. Don’t forget that these degrees are international degrees, so for the PhD students, they will spend one year here using our facilities and our staff, then they will go to Malaysia and do the rest of the programme and come back home and start to teach our students.
Who is going to sponsor their study abroad?
Right now I have spoken to the Commissioner for Higher Education about these staff. In fact we did not only speak with him, we have also written to him for support. Secondly, I will take all their applications to the TETFUND in Abuja, we have an office there which is supporting tertiary institutions financially. So, I’m looking both for the state and the federal government support. Whichever I get first Alhamdulillah, but what I know is that these are my staff and I’m not going to let them down. I will do all it takes to get them scholarship to take this golden opportunity.
Do you intend to accommodate the students?
That is the next direction we are talking about. We don’t have students’ hostels in the School of Technology, School of Management Studies and School of General Studies. This thinking is already in the pipeline, I’m already talking to the banks and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that may be able to put up those buildings for us.
I don’t want to bother Kano State government, we have to reach out, involve others, because I think it is a mistake to rely so much on government. Even though the present administration is doing a lot we need to give it space to breathe.