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How we keep cultism at bay – Rector, Gateway Polytechnic

Posted by By DAMIETE BRAIDE and EVELYN ENUJIOKE on 2008/06/10 | Views: 2583 |

How we keep cultism at bay – Rector, Gateway Polytechnic

As a way of curbing cultism in tertiary institutions, Professor Godwin, Ejodame, Rector of Gateway Polytechnic, Igbesa, Ogun State has suggested that students should be counseled by school authorities.

As a way of curbing cultism in tertiary institutions, Professor Godwin, Ejodame, Rector of Gateway Polytechnic, Igbesa, Ogun State has suggested that students should be counseled by school authorities.

In an interview with Daily Sun during the school’s matriculation ceremony, recently, Ejodame added that engaging them constructively would also be helpful.
He also spoke about his challenges, students and the host community, curbing examination malpractice, future plans among other issues.

Journey so far
Once you are a teacher, you are always a teacher, I also happen to be a pioneer of other institutions. This is not the first institution I have been to, I helped to pioneer the then Ogun State Polytechnic, which is now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in 1979. There, I established the School of Architecture and Town Planning. I also moved to the then Bendel State University, Ekpoma, now Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma.

I thank God that after the master plan of the institution, through my then company, Egbo and Associates, I had to move in to the school to set up the School of Architecture. I can recall that in 1979, I started the journey in Ogun State and in 2008 I am back to Ogun State through the establishment of this polytechnic by the State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.

I took up the mantle to nurse the school again from the pioneering stage and one of the departments here is architecture. We are hoping that out of the nine departments, we would get accreditation from the National Board for Technical Education. We are essientially Information Technology (IT) based polytechnic. Every professional course that is taught here is interwoven with IT system. We have a backup vsat system and we are 24 hours online where our students can register for professional courses. We have more lecturers now to take the students in the various courses offered here.

Funding of Gateway Polytechnic
We inherited the Government Science and Technical College structure which has been moved to another site and we met these structures on ground that you can see and we have been coping with what we have. The state government has given us funds for the restructuring of more buildings and equipped them with computers and other items.

Students and the host community
The relationship is very cordial. This institution is established on a non-residential basis. (off-campus), which means that the students live in the town. The host community has been very peaceful and immediately they made rooms and buildings available for the students. They live in total harmony and over 800 students that we have live in the host community. There has not been any report of any clash or friction between the students and the host community.

Hitherto, these structures on ground were the government owned technical college institution and generally, the buildings were not plastered, some of them were leaking because they were not roofed, there were no windows. The first thing was the physical challenge of infrastructure. The second one was that we had to recruit both academic and non-academic staff to take off from a zero point to a level that we are today. Basically, Igbesa is the end of the road here, being divided by the swamp and river between Lagos and Ogun State. The same road that you would use in entering the state is the same road that you would use while going out, so that is another challenge.

Even the place is close to Lagos, you have to come in through Agbara or Sango Ota to get to this place. Since there was no tertiary institution then, it was basically difficult for them to live to expectation of the tertiary institution within a community. We started as if we were too much but right now, we have been able to fit in with the support of the Oba, chiefs and other stakeholders in the community. Also, since the institution is situated at Igbesa, and it is meant for the five local senatorial district, the four other local government are far from here, so we have been working very hard to ensure that we let them know that the institution belongs to all of them.

Curbing examination malpractice
The two examinations that we have held so far, and because of my knowledge in the university system, the examination questions were ready well on time even before the commencement of the examination. For example, if the students are to answer seven questions in the examination, the lecturers would give me 14 questions and I would have to choose seven questions for the examination, which the lecturer does not know. I would then type the questions myself and give it to the students in the examination hall. It is difficult and tight for them to have access to the examination questions.

Since most of the professional courses are done online, the students are looking at their questions on the computer, the next student does not have the time to look at the other student’s work because if a student should waste time, the computer would shut down at the end of the stipulated time for the examination. So a student cannot help the other student because he does not have sufficient time to teach the next student. Also, in a hall various students with different courses would sit side-by-side and there is no time for them to assist one another.

We have warned the students against cultism, hooliganism and other vices during their matriculation oath in the school. Since the polytechnic is relatively small in number now, I know all the parents of all the students and the students very well. Some of them are surprised that I know their first names, and I educate them on what it is to be focused in life, and they should not waste any time which has made them to know what they are expected to do.

Since polytechnic and IT programmes are expensive, students have come to know that the earlier they pay attention to why they are in school, the better for them.
I believe that cultism is for the idle ones, and some of them have lost out in other schools, so they want to come in and lure younger ones into it. And since developing the mind is very important, I am hoping that all schools of learning should find time to counsel students against cultism and God will give them the grace to avoid it. When students are engaged constructively, cultism would be reduced

Education in Nigeria
With the number of universities springing up, it is not enough which means that our population is growing. There would always be more universities, more polytechnics, technical colleges coming up. Curriculum should be revised, so that we do not have the old curriculum still being used. We are in the jet age, so the curriculum should be looked into. Equipment in schools should be upgraded and government should fund tertiary institutions in the country. Also the owners of tertiary institutions should adopt a holistic approach. Then also, conditions should be met so that there would be no strike by lecturers and students so that the normal academic calender would not be disrupted.

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