The Taraba State Polytechnic, Suntai, like most other tertiary institutions, has suffered infrastructural deficit over the years, with staff, including the rector of the polytechnic, inhabiting offices that mostly did not have conveniences, while the school often looked like an abandoned community secondary school.
In the last few years, however, intervention from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), under the administration of Dr. Ayuba Abarshi as rector, the school has witnessed infrastructural transformation. With the intervention of TETFund, the polytechnic now has more befitting and conducive buildings for teaching and learning.
Until recently, the main office block of the polytechnic was an eyesore, providing office spaces without conveniences. However, with funds from the TETFund, the administration has provided decent and befitting offices for lecturers and other staff of the polytechnic.
Director of works of the school, Mr. Samuel, told our correspondent that “the situation was actually bad. In most cases, we had to rush home in the middle of the day to go and use the convenience at home or the public convenience. Because the offices were also very small, we had to stockpile documents and other things so much such that the offices were simply chocking. It was a hell working under those conditions back then.
“With the provision of these new offices now, there are times I simply work till late in the night without even realizing how late it is. The offices now are habitable, spacious, decent and comfortable. It has also greatly increased our productivity to a very large extent”.
Mr. Terfa Kunde, a student of the polytechnic who graduated a few years ago, told our correspondent that the lecture rooms were more like cages than lecture rooms.
He said, “One of the major problems we had in the school was lecture rooms. They were just so small and disorganized and so poorly ventilated that each lecture was nearly a nightmare. The last time I went to the school, I saw that they now have new lecture halls and have even renovated most of the old ones. I think that will have great impact on teaching and learning now.”
The new science and environmental buildings, the technical workshop, the farm house, and other structures have not only ensured sufficient space for learning and administrative work but have also largely increased the general ambience of the school.
More than 30 staff of the school recently completed their doctorate degrees, while several are still training. Even more have been sponsored for master’s degrees and several seminars and workshops have been organized by the school to train and retrain the lecturers on new trends in the teaching profession and other areas.
This is aimed at ensuring that the staff remains in tune with emerging trends and contemporary developments in their respective fields.
Over the years, the school perimeter has remained completely porous allowing encroachment from the surrounding villages and unhindered trespassing on the property. Students have been reportedly attacked right on campus and some female students raped.
To address the challenge, the school recently completed the construction of about ten kilometers perimeter fence around the school with about four gates for ease of access by the school community. Since the completion of the perimeter fence with the gates manned by security personnel, there has been no reported case of attack on students on the campus.
Currently, the school is undergoing the construction of a three hundred bed space female hostels sponsored by TETFund.
According to Miss Juliet Ibrahim, who is a student of the polytechnic, the hostel is a major plus as accommodation has remained a major challenge especially from students coming outside the state.
“It is always very difficult to get accommodation around here and even when you do, it is still very expensive. So if the school is able to provide accommodation on campus for most of the students, the pressure on accommodation outside will be eased to some extent. In any case, it is more convenient to stay in school and enjoy other benefits such as light and power and the relative security the campus offers.’’
According to the rector of the school Dr. Abarshi “the management and board of the school actually sat and decided that there was need to upgrade the school in all ramifications. Consequently we set out to do all we could give the scarce resources. Fortunately, the TETFund has been of tremendous help. They have funded most of the projects on both campuses and that has drastically changed the outlook of the institution.
“However, this is a work in progress and there is still so much to be done. We have some ongoing projects and others that we are still hoping to secure funding to execute. In the end, our ultimate aim is to make sure that we position the school to provide the best learning environment and experience for our students and make teaching and working a pleasant experience for our staff. We just want to be among the leading polytechnics in the country and beyond.’’