By Uchechukwu Nnaike
As part of efforts to alleviate the accommodation challenge of the Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC) Yaba, Lagos, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has completed and donated a 1,200-capacity female hostel to the school.
The hostel, which was completed within 15 months, was recently inaugurated alongside other projects like: 500 units of two-in-one classroom furniture; 700 units of students’ individualised furniture; and general staff room.
Speaking at the event, the PTA Chairperson, Mrs. Oby Igwilo, said the hostel was built because the school is one of the federal unity colleges situated within the heart of Lagos with an increasing student population every session in addition to the inherent challenge of hostel accommodation and struggle for bed space.
“Recognising that we are face with this growing hostel accommodation problem, our former Principal, Mrs. Magdalen Nwankwo and her team presented this need already translated into a 1,200 bed space for our students to the association.”
She said the project received accelerated and steady progress under the current school management. “Our Director Principal, Rev. Chris Ugorji, who has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to the parents through his transformatory prowess in the lives of our students endeared himself to the parents and the college community and by his uncommon commitment has made the work much easier.”
While highlighting the contributions of the association towards the provision of a conducive learning environment in the school, Igwilo said “the importance of education in a child’s life cannot be overemphasised, we were propelled to embark on this laudable task in spite of all the challenges because we have seen that education in Nigeria can no longer be left in the hands of the federal government alone.”
In his remarks, the Minster of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, said the speed with which the project was prove that there is progress and harmony between the college management and all stakeholders.
“As expected, these projects will bring soccour to the college and alleviate the stress of parents particularly in the area of securing a healthy and conducive learning environment for staff and students. Thus the onus is on the management, staff and students to ensure that these facilities are well preserved and maintained so that future generations will have reasons to look back and thank all who contributed towards these achievements.”
While commending the PTA for embarking on the project, the minister said, “this type of collaboration is what the ministry is expecting from the PTA of all the other federal unity colleges not uncalled for acrimony between college managemaent and PTAs, where there is peace there will be progress.”
While reiterating that the Federal Ministry of Education owns and runs the unity colleges, Anwukah regretted that the PTA, which started as a good thing metamorphosed into a trade union thereby holding the administrations of unity colleges to ransom.
He hinted that the ministry is trying to again look at the MoU between the PTA and the colleges to streamline the relationship.
On his part, the Principal, Rev. Chris Ugorji, highlighted some of the achievements of his administration that assumed duty in August 2014. Despite the achievements, he said the college is still faced with “some very stubborn challenges that require heavy funding if we are to fundamentally revolutionise the institution’s corporate image.”
Some of the challenges he said are: densely populated classrooms due to inadequate classrooms; inadequate hostel accommodation; science laboratory is small and grossly inadequate compared to the number of students offering science subjects in external examinations, among other issues.