Since its establishment in 1920, starting with the School of Survey established by the British colonialists which was later upgraded to Kaduna Technical Institute in 1956, Kaduna Polytechnic has undergone series of development and challenges in its century of existence.
The polytechnic now operates a collegiate system comprising six colleges: Science and Technology, Engineering, Technical and Vocational Education, Environmental Studies, Business and Management Studies and Social Studies and Social Sciences, with each college headed by a dean as provided for by the 2019 Amended Polytechnic Act.
Since its inception, there have been myriad of challenges relating to dearth of infrastructure, withdrawal of accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), peace and stability of the academic environment and neglect of staff welfare, among others.
Under Prof Idris Muhammad Bugaje, who was appointed as Rector in 2017, the polytechnic’s present administration has made unprecedented footprints yet attained by previous administrations.
In many areas, with the active support of the polytechnic’s 6th Governing Council under the Chairmanship of Alhaji Yusuf Hassan, Prof Bugaje has recovered the glory of the polytechnic by ensuring that about 85 per cent of programmes that lost accreditation in the past had by December 2019, 95 of the affected programmes had regained full accreditation status, with only few cases still awaiting final reviews towards attaining full accreditation status.
In addressing the decaying infrastructure that has been the bane of the school, the Bugaje-led administration carried out aggressive programmes aimed at renovating decaying infrastructure as well as building new ones for improved conditions for learning. The repairs of road networks, drainages and walkways on the main campus was done through an intervention from the Federal Ministry of Works, while that of the College of Environmental Studies were done through intervention from the ecological fund.
On the main campus, a new road leading to the new Main Gate has been named Mal Adamu Adamu Road. The repairs of blocked drainages have also assisted to stop perennial flooding, just as the new walkways in both campuses are wearing new looks.
Academic and administrative buildings have not been left out by the present leadership of the polytechnic. Against this backdrop of the old structures handed over by the British in 1968, the long years of neglect and disrepair seems to have come to an end with the Bugaje administration renovating and providing furniture for a conducive environment for both staff and students. The major repairs done in almost all buildings by the administration include among others, academic and administrative blocks as well as building of new offices for staff.
The Bugaje administration has scored high points in the area of human capacity development. Since 2017 when he came on board, no less than 115 staff have enjoyed different forms of training, both within the country and outside through the sponsorship of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). In addition, 70 staff have been sponsored for masters degrees while 54 for doctorate within the same period. In order to enhance the staff strength and fill in vacancies of staff that have retired or left the institution about 130 new staff were employed within the period.
Worried by low morale of staff, the polytechnic authority promoted no less than 1,774 staff and further confirmed the appointments of 1,000 polytechnic workers.
Under this same administration, 10 staff of the polytechnic underwent training in India on railway engineering technology. Not only were various workshops organised for staff, the polytechnic went into collaboration with sister institutions that led to the signing of 27 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) agreements.
Through the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), the Panteka Certificate Upgrade Intervention was formed. Towards this, the polytechnic recruited road side artisans of various crafts: electrical/electronics, woodwork (carpentry), metal/mechanical, tailoring (fashion design) and others. They were offered admission into relevant programmes based on their papers. This is in line with advanced economies of the world that match practicals with theory.
Under the leadership of Bugaje, the provision of working tools to enhance performance was one of his top priorities. Not only were desks, tables and chairs provided, he ensured that these offices were fixed with air conditioners. Laptops were purchased for staff in order to enhance their efficiency in the discharge of their responsibilities.
The measures aimed at providing improved conditions for staff did not end within the precincts of academic and classroom environment. Under the watch of the current administration, no fewer than 37 dilapidated flats and 11 boys’ quarters were renovated.
The school also obtained an operating license to air the Kaduna Polytechnic FM Campus Radio named Spider FM Radio. It was commissioned in February 2019 and has gone a long way in advancing learning, entertainment and other social services through broadcasting to the polytechnic and host communities.
The introduction of B.Sc/B.Eng degree programmes in seven courses was also one of the achievements of Prof Bugaje administration. The courses are: Architecture, Building, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Urban and Regional Planning.
Taking advantage of Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Polytechnic embarked on renovations of school hostels and further drilled 13 solar powered boreholes across the various hostels for water supply. The school also purchased 1,000 mattresses for students and procured vehicles for official use.
Apart from the procurement of a bus to ease inter-campus movement for students, the polytechnic also introduced the Tertiary Institutions Social Insurance Progamme (TISHIP) policy for students.
Before the inauguration of the present leadership, the Polytechnic had about 58 court cases and litigations. The Bugaje administration has resolved about 54 of these cases, with only four remaining still in the process of final resolution.
In recognition of the need to enhance the revenue profile of the school, the polytechnic leadership broadened the frontiers for increased revenue generation through the revitalisation of KadPoly Microfinance Bank Ltd, KadPoly Consult Nigeria Ltd and introduction of revenue generating ventures by KadPoly Consult such as Industry and Paint Factory, among others. The school was also involved in consultancy jobs with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
Since assuming office in 2017, the footprints of Prof Bugaje have left no one in doubt that he has turned the fortunes of Kaduna Polytechnic into the envy of all.
Onoja, a public commentator, writes from Abuja