Professor Santaya Kela is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Kachere, Gombe State. In this interview with Peter Uzoho, he spoke on his appointment, the fight against crime in the institution; the problem of education in the country and how to make Nigerian graduates employable, among others
How has it been since your appointment?
Well, it has been interesting and this is something that I have done about 10 years ago. Before I became the Deputy Vice Chancellor, I had already done the job because I was Director of Academic Planning. The challenges are there but I am trying to overcome everything in the schedule of duty and so on, as well as assisting the Vice Chancellor whenever he is away and making input that will lead to improvement in the academic standard of the university.
Some people allege that such appointments these days are done not following the rules, but on favouritism. What is your take on this?
Well, in my own case, the appointment was made by the former Vice Chancellor, and was presented to the Senate along with one other person then; votes were cast and at the end I emerged the winner. When the case was presented to the last council and there was submission by some members of council that the former Vice Chancellor tenure was almost ending so there was no point for him to appoint DVCs but the former Vice Chancellor insisted that he would continue with services of the Deputy Vice Chancellors he had elected. So, when the present Vice Chancellor came in, the issue came up in the council as matters arising but council noted that everything followed due process and went ahead to confirm my appointment.
Some people now say that the university system appear to be losing its essence following reports of sexual harassment and sex-for-mark going on in the system; how would react to that?
Well, sexual harassment is rampant not only in the university system but all over; it is unfortunate. Those doing that are people not really mature because as human beings we should not keep harassing students or colleagues. But we have been doing our best to enlighten people; liaising with the religious leaders, telling the students that they should not allow themselves to be harassed. In fact, it is sad but I think the mature and disciplined ones are really working hard to curtail these bad habits.
If you are made a Minister of Education today what should be the first step you will take to move the sector forward?
Well, I would first of all examine the quality of education in the country, both primary and secondary and the lapses that we currently have within the system. I will try to address them and then work on measures that will move the educational system forward because education in a nation is the backbone of the nation. So, a country that has people that are well educated will develop far better than countries with poor education. The community will be enlightened and all the militancy we are contending with today will be checked with proper education.
It is alleged that the policy on education is not really addressing the educational needs of the country? What is your take?
Well, not that it is not addressing the educational needs of the country; I think it is the implementation that is the problem. The implementation may not be proper, coupled with our dubious attitude. That is why it appears the education policy is not okay.
Do you believe the standard of Nigerian education is falling?
The standard is high but the only thing is that the commitment from the stakeholders is what is bringing the standard to question. If you observe the curriculum, it is very standard in accordance with the world class education, but it is the attitude of the people, the implementation and commitment that are the real challenge. The commitment is not there and you know also that being the era of Information Communication Technology (ICT), there’s the need for internet, coupled with the world economic recession that has made it very difficult for us to have the necessary facilities to make teaching and learning somehow easier and enjoyable.
How in your own opinion can we make Nigerian graduates employable?
If we infuse entrepreneurship into the curriculum of the different institutions in this country, then we would make a head way, and once that is done people will know that once they acquire education, at least, they will truly be employed and make a living out of their education background.