W3vina.COM Free Wordpress Themes Joomla Templates Best Wordpress Themes Premium Wordpress Themes Top Best Wordpress Themes 2012

SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu College of Education Technical (ECRET): A Rot Overdue For Overhaul

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – It might well turn out to be the case of the recent Enugu State government-ordering the.probe of the State owned Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), and the unsavoury findings of that enquiry is a pattern of the decadence to which State-owned higher institutions of learning have degenerated into. 

“I could be wrong and by no means implying or recommending a blanket inquest into the goings-on in our educational institutions, whether higher or lower or intermediary, albeit necessary.

My proposition in this direction could have an air of justification going by the rot that has ravaged another State-owned higher institution of learning in all its ramifications for over one decade now and which is growing more cancerous by the day, making that institution as it stands today an unmitigated disaster, a mere whitened sepulcher and a cesspool of corruption and impunity. 

I am referring to the Enugu State College of Education Technical. Maybe the word rot doesn’t quite reflect the true level of decadence in ESCET. If rot appears to more correctly connote a problem on the surface which may not need an emergency.

 If that is so, then I guess that what is happening in ESCET is not simply a rot but a rot in the bone marrow that requires an emergency surgical operation to save the patient from imminent fatality.

“When will Paul come over to Macedonia and help us?” has been the desperate and despondent groan of the school’s labour unions whose members have been crying and dying in silence, in a vain hope of the State government’s intervention to cleanse the Augean stable that ESCET has turned to be all these years, as some inside sources allege , with the intentional connivance of some top government officials and politicians in the corridors of power who profit from the sorry scheme of things.

The mess ravaging ESCET for years now have manifested in several forms, some of the major ones being the indiscriminate and irregular appointment of both academic and non-academic staff, including casual workers, ghost workers, part-time workers, without following due process thereby compromising quality competence and professional integrity and violating the governing law, policy and other legal instruments for running the College.

A recent typical case in point was the appointment of a person who is only a Lecturer 1 and who studied religion without a certificate or educational background in education as a substantive Provost in a College of Education (Technical). Besides grossly falling short of qualification and experience, how can she be in-charge and earn the respect of higher ranking senior lecturers, principal lecturers and chief lecturers in the College? Which is clearly a square peg in a round hole and unheard of in a tertiary institution.

Another glaring case of this appointment racket was a recent illegitimate recruitment of over 100 teaching and non-teaching staff which was not necessitated by staff need, and not based on the approved NCCE Standard/Student-Lecturer Ratio.

 Apart from not following due process as stipulated by law, the recruitment was said to have been done without formal State Government approval and therefore without additional salary subvention, an illegality that has compounded the institution’s financial crisis, reaching the crisis point today where the staff are currently owed seven months salary arrears and other entitlements.

The situation has led to the death of some of the staff, many can no longer pay their children’s school fees while some have lost their children to death due to lack of finance to access medical care.

Going by the law of the institution, only the Governing Council has the power to recruit staff which must be subject to approval from the State Government and which must follow due process.

The question then remains: on what documented processes and procedure should the employment stand? No such document is available in any file anywhere in ESCET. The illegitimate/valueless “staff” should therefore be removed forthwith.

Certainly, this is a joke taken too far with the only Enugu State-owned basic teacher education institution offering the much needed technical/vocational education courses by setting the stage for mediocrity and half-baked teachers for our schools, with its far-reaching repercussions on our children and our leaders of tomorrow.

Another glaring form of impunity and corruption raging in ESCET is the massive diversion of internally generated revenue to private pockets, translating to the absence or improper record of revenue and expenditure and manipulated internal and external financial audit reports. Worse still, there has not been any routine/annual financial audit for years until now that the current college Bursar is proceeding on terminal leave, having served out his disreputable four-year first tenure.

Similar financial heist and self-dealing have also rocked the Federal Government’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) interventions in the College whereby TETFund capital projects are hijacked by greedy politicians in connivance with top officials of the college, with some of the projects eventually abandoned and those completed not built in line with College Master Plan. Interestingly, a contract for this year’s (2023) capital intervention of over N380 million plus has just been awarded without following due process and the money literally shared among a dubious contractor, a top official of the College and some insiders in TETFund.

 With these underhand deals, there is palpable danger of TETFund blacklisting ESCET the College as the agency will without doubt discover the rots going on in the College with respect to its various intervention funds.

With all these unscrupulous goings-on, the College NCE, Degree and PDE programmes have remained long overdue for accreditation, signaling an imminent clamp down on these programmes by the regulatory bodies and which, if done, would mark the final doom of the College as well as be a huge embarrassment to the State Government.

As part of the financial impropriety going on in ESCET, the authorities have adopted a discriminatory policy in the allocation of TETFUND intervention funds whereby uninformed academic staff are enjoying TETFUND intervention at will and indiscriminately while the old staff with confirmation letters are excluded from the interventions.

Another reprehensible development in the College is the failure of the management to remit money paid by the staff as mortgage loan to the appropriate unit (FMBN) while money contributed by staff to their Cooperative Society reportedly amounting to a whooping N42 million is also criminally withheld by the College principal officers. It is suspected the same thing applies to tax money deducted from staff salaries that is supposed to be remitted to the government purse.

One of the major factors that enhanced moral, financial and administrative decadence in ESCET was the gross negligence to duty exhibited by the immediate past administration in Enugu State, in particular the former Governor as the Visitor to the College, as well as the former Commissioner of education and the House Committee on Education as there was complete absence of supervision/oversight functions by the State functionaries, thereby giving the College management a blank cheque to do whatever they liked without let or hinder. All eyes are now on Governor Peter Mbah who takes over as the College Visitor. 

Interestingly, during his campaign visit to the College before the elections, he had promised the staff to look into their problems within three months of being sworn in as Governor. Now he is six months plus in office.

All this while, the College labour unions have restrained from embarking on industrial action, in the hope that the governor will soon come to their rescue. 

A meeting between the governor’s Chief of Staff and the labour unions have not yielded any dividend as the Chief of Staff has been foot-dragging on his promise he made to the unions after receiving their submission for almost two months now, raising the suspicion that some “powerful” politicians who sponsored some of the newly recruited illegitimate staff are putting pressure on the Chief of Staff to adopt a slow motion or no motion at all in addressing messy state of affairs in ESCET.

True or not, the ESCET debacle calls for the urgent attention and intervention of a higher government authority, specifically the Secretary to the State government, in concert with the Commissioner for Education, more so in the absence of College Governing Council for some time, thus allowing the ESCET management more time to continue their havoc on the system.

One thing is clear and evident. With the massive fraud going on in ESCET, if the visitation panel recently set up by the present administration to look into some alleged infractions in IMT found the institution on a drip, a similar panel of ESCET will certainly find the college on oxygen. 

That underscores the level of impunity going on. The bottom line is obvious: An investigative panel is long overdue for ESCET to properly diagnose the various forms of disease rampaging the fledgling body and apply urgent surgical operation to rescue, resuscitate and restore integrity, law, order and good governance in the depraved institute.

This is a promise made by Governor Peter Mbah. All eyes are on him to keep his promise and reclaim ESCET for the future of our children. 

Written by Ignatius Okpara, African Examiner, Enugu 

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=91419

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Zenith bank



Classified Ads

Like us on Facebook

advertise with us