Why Kaduna Federal Cooperative College Should Be Upgraded To Varsity – Provost

Hajiya Aisha Ismail Ishaq, is the Provost of the Federal Cooperative College, Kaduna. In this interview with Arabella star magazine she bears her mind  why the College should be upgraded to first Cooperative University in Nigeria and other related challenges facing the College.

Briefly tell us who you are?

Well, my name is Hajiya Ismail Ishaq, I am the Provost of the Federal Cooperative College, Kaduna.

It has been 3-years since your appointment as provost of this great Institution. How will you asses your stewardship?

The last three years has been challenging but exciting at the same time. Having worked here for almost 20-years, I know the terrain and the challenges facing the college better than most.
I will say there is nothing new; the environment and the staff are people that I know and all these have made running the institution pretty easier for me.

What was your first assignment as you assumed office as Provost of the College?

The first thing I did was to to sit-down with the management staff and draw out a templates to see how the school will progress.
I made sure each management staff has his own schedule in order to have effective learning environment for our own Students.
My major challenge is how to coordinate and ensure things work perfectly. Being a leader in an environment where you have people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds is not easy, particularly when you want to bring them together, you must use wisdom.
As the name implies cooperative, you have to unite them together before you will achieve progress and peace and I think we have been able to achieve that.

What has been your administration’s relationship with staff, students and the host community?

My relationship with staff management and host communities is quiet cordial. For the host communities if not for this Covid-19, anytime we have matriculation or any event the traditional leaders, companies and other stakeholders are always in the College to celebrate with us.
Even when we have issues of insecurity, we discuss and proffer solution to them together. And as for students, we don’t have any issues with them.

Insecurity has become a major challenge threatening effective quality education in many higher Institutions in Northern Nigeria, has that affected the college’s enrolment?

With God by our side we’ve never experienced any security threats. I think we are the only college around this environment that strictly adhere to its academic calendar.
So, we try to ensure secure our place by deboarding the students and engaging the Army, Police alongside our internal security who are working tirelessly to ensure a peaceful environment for our students.

What’s your call to government in respect of interventions, capacity building of staff and infrastructure?

Unfortunately, we are a mono-technic, we are not under the purview of TET-Fund, according to the law. But with or without TETFUND, we are surviving.
The National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture are doing their best in responding to some of the challenges facing the college, especially in the area of funding.
We have so many needs in terms of infrastructure, but it cannot be met all at once.
If for instance, we have need for 10 capital projects, what happens is that if two or three capital projects are executed this year, the following year three more projects are executed and it continues like that until all 10 projects are carried out.

What’s the total number of students in the College?

You know we are under NBTE, so they normally give us a target for each course, we call it carrying capacity. So, each course has it own carrying capacity.
For the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma we have 240 students and for this new courses Banking and Finance and Computer science we’re just starting we have 80 and 60.
But presently we are waiting for the NBTE to inspect the College because we want to have new courses as other sister colleges are having.
So, we are expecting them anytime soon, after which they will now approve the new courses.

We have 3- Cooperative Colleges in Nigeria, how would you assess your college’s performance?

Ibadan is the oldest but in terms of Infrastructure and producing quality students, I think we are fairing better. If the NBTE will allow us I think we can have more than 5,000 Students but they will not allow us because it is based on carrying capacity.
We normally aks some of the students who don’t get admission here to seek admission in other cooperative colleges but they will tell you if its not Kaduna, they are not going anywhere.

What are your challenges?

The carrying capacity is the major challenge. We want to be able to enrol more number of students because the Kaduna College caters for the 19 Northern States including the Federal capital.
You will see about 1000 students buying forms but we cannot give admission to more than the carrying capacity which is just about 200.

What’s your call to the Federal Government?

We are calling on the Government to establish a resource centre were the students and the host communities will benefit.
Staffing is also a major problem because majority of them are either corpers or casual staff and we pay them from our Internal generated revenue.
Only one third of the lecturers are permanent staff but the rest are part time lecturers.
If Government employs more staff for us that will help us to utilize our IGR for other things. If we get the required staff that will also help to boost the learning system of the college.

How can you rate the performance of the students in your school?

We produce the best economic and management students who are virtually everywhere. For example, there is no bank in Kaduna and other parts of the Country that you will not find our students.
If you talk of Agric bank that’s the major one. Our students are also in the Para-Military, the Arm Forces and the National Assembly as well.
I am not praising myself or our college but believe you me many bank managers call us and then write to us to commend our ex students working with them.

On a final note what legacy do you intend to Leave?

Well, i will first of all say i thank God for everything. This is my third year as a provost and i won’t tell you that i have a very big challenge that makes me have sleepless nights.
I want whoever will succesed me to try and do better than I am doing.
I want to leave a good legacy. As the college is number one out of the three in the country, I want it to become the first cooperative university in Nigeria in future.
When i visited Tanzania, i saw a Cooperative University and I felt like bringing it to Kaduna.
But with the government putting emphasis on agriculture and enterpreneurship we will get there. In fact, we have an enterpreneurship department where we equip students with skills.
So, without Government’s jobs our students can try something for themselves. Some are even becoming job providers instead of job seekers, so they will not be idle waiting for government employment because they have a skill they can use to get something.
If the Cooperative college is upgraded to a higher level, maybe a University, there is going to be more employment. Another appeal i want to make to the government is that even if it’s not possible for us to captured under TEDFUND, let there be another fund that will cater for agric colleges.
Already it is in the pipeline, so when this agric colleges fund is there at least it will augment the government funding.
Thank you very much.

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