Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu, Provost, Dr Philip Nto, has explained that part of the plans to upgrade the institution to a university of education was to boost students’ enrollment which, according to him, is grossly poor.
The Provost who made the explanation at a press conference after conducting newsmen round the on-going infrastructure upgrade in the institution, regretted that the preference for university degree over National Certificate of Education (NCE) had drastically affected students’ enrollment in the college.
He expressed optimism that when the Bill which had already gone for public hearing, was eventually passed into law, student population which has now diminished, would improve.
He, further, said that the university when approved, was structured to operate under Public Private Partnership, PPP, so that it would not have to depend solely on funding by Government.
The Provost said the institution decided to establish Centre for Continuing Education to help train people interested in certificate course in various vocations such as welding, fashion design, hair dressing, etc.
Dr Nto who said he had erected 15 quality buildings since he came on board in the last seven years, lauded the management of TetFUND for its numerous assistance to the institution.
He recalled that TetFUND had prior to his arrival, blacklisted the College following the breach of TetFUND rules by this predecessor who did not satisfactorily deploy funds from the agency.
“It may be surprising how I achieved all these within seven years only while the College has lasted for over 30 years staying in the old buildings donated at inception.
“It’s only through God. Initially I didn’t want to come here after serving as Commissioner for Finance. I nearly rejected the appointment but when the Governor told me he would want me to come and solve a problem here, I decided to come.”
He said some people had thought the Governor sent him to his village to retire him but thanked God for the huge infrastructural strides recorded under his watch.
The former Finance Commissioner said that he also leveraged on his contacts and exposure to explore opportunity to attract funds to the College, disclosing that he had attracted special grant from the Federal Ministry of Education for the building of a befitting entrance gate to the institution.
He debunked allegations by some detractors that projects executed in the institution were substandard, explaining that there is no way they will access new funds from TetFUND without utilizing the previous fund according to specifications.
Dr Nto who would soon be completing his second tenure as Provost vowed to sustain the on-going infrastructural revolution to reposition the College.