KUW ON THE FAST LANE OF TRANSFORMATION
IN THIS PIECE, JETHRO YERGA WRITES ON PROF SUNDAY PAUL BAKO’S INNOVATIVE DRIVES THAT IS TRANSFORMING KWARARAFA UNIVERSITY INTO AN INSTITUTION OF CHOICE.
Kwararafa University Wukari, a private university situated in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State is gradually taking its rightful place in the comity of universities in Nigeria following the demonstration of unprecedented innovative drives of the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Sunday Paul Bako.
Since assumption of office in September 2017, Professor Sunday Paul Bako has not left any stone unturned towards ensuring that he revived the almost lost glory of the university and place it in an enviable position in the midst of other similar universities operating in Nigeria.
Accordingly, apart from ensuring that promotions in the university are up to date, Processor Paul Bako has also done everything possible to administer discipline in the university. Previously, there were issues about staff breaking rules of service in the institution as a result of their desperations. The Vice Chancellor in his innovative drives has put to an end all such nefarious attitudes by ensuring that he gives adequate attention to staff warefare to prevent staff from indulging in such activities.
It is pertinent to mention that before 2017, there were situations that salaries were paid in the institution only twice a year. The Vice Chancellor on assumption of office adopted numerous strategies through which the issue is gradually taming down.
Revealing some of the strategies the school has adopted to overcome some of the challenges facing the university, Professor Sunday Bako told Worldview Magazine team during a recent interview in the school that:
“When I came on board in September, 2017 there were about four hundred and fifty students on ground and among the students, those that were actually paying feel were just about one hundred and eighty and that was not telling well on the staff members as regard their morale. The school was not having enough to take care of their depressed situations.
“Some staff members were leaving the system. Those who managed to be around were forced to engage in some orthodox practices some of which were criminal in nature. From these orthodox practices, a lot of them spent a lot of their times outside the university doing their private businesses to enable them survive, concomitantly, giving less and less time to the students who were around.
“To overcome this, we set up committees to enhance student intake called Admission Guide Committee. We set a target for ourselves towards getting at least four hundred new students into the system every year and in 2018 we achieved beyond that as about 520 new students joined the university. We tried to sustain it in 2019 and 2020.
“This permitted us in the 2019 and 2020 to get more funds from the students’ fees and improve our staff ware fare in terms of salary payment, though we had a slack in the following years, because of the crises between Tiv and Jukun in the community. About 50 percent of our students come from the Tiv extractions, when the crisis ensued; they were discouraged and left the university. The situation affected the school income and by implication the staff warefare. But we are not resting on our oars to see that we sustain this drive”. He narrated.
Professor Sunday Paul Bako has also bring revolution in the way and manner examinations and results are been handled in the school.
“When I came, there were issues with academics and results of examinations. Even when students finished their exams, they would not have their results. There were about three or four years of results in areas.
“As a result of this, our students had no way to go anywhere either for Youth Service or even for an employment outside the university. This brought about feelings of depression and dissatisfaction within the community among students and their guardians at home. Everybody was disappointed to the extent that some students were running away from the university.
“And Kwararafa University being a non-government funded university where a significant percent of its income comes from the fee that the students paid, I felt that it was a very critical place to start from”. He stated.
The Vice Chancellor therefore, developed some silent strategies and principles that kept lecturers on check and within one year, precisely in 2018, all pending results were processed and released to the students.
Under his leadership, the university has received unprecedented attention from different partners and organizations. In this regard, Kwararafa University can now boast of a facility used for collection of data for the training of staff, especially those of the Geography and other Science courses which was donated by Nigeria Mythological Agency (NIMA).
There is also an equipped Digital Job Development Centre which was donated by the National Information Development Centre (NIDC) to train students on diffusion of Information Communication Technology (ICT) Skills in the university and also a Motorized Borehole donated by MORIS, an oil company, to enable the school powered its Botanical Garden and the Library among many other interventions by government and non-governmental organizations.
Furthermore, the university has received some cash grants from the State Government to support its activities in 2019. It also received a donation of a brand new 36 seater bus worth 54 million naira in the market from an individual who does not want his name in print, among others.
With these giant steps taken by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Sunday Bako, the university is already on the right path towards competing with all the similar universities in Nigeria in no distant time.
However, being a private university which derives more than 70 percent of its revenue from parents and guardians of the students, the entire university community must be attracted to this noble course in order to help the Vice Chancellor navigate the university to the most desirable coast.
No wonder he made a call.
“My call to the community is to increase in participation. Let more and more of well to do individuals and members of this community, their relatives and friends who are around here stepped up in their level of participation. They should come in. Even if they are not bringing cash, there are many students who are indigenes, who don’t have money to go to school. They can sponsor them in the university. By paying their school fees, they are helping the school in a way.
“They can also come in and build structures. We have 115 hectares of land lying empty. They can just come and indicate interest and we will give them a space to execute their project. They are free to come along with even their engineers, accountants and designers if at all they did not believe in us. All we need is their contributions”. He stated.