Ex-Perm Sec Decries Poor Leadership in Education Sector

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Uchechukwu Nnaike

A former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, has attributed some of the challenges in the country’s education sector to poor leadership.

Nwaobiala made this known at the send-off ceremony in honour of the Principal, Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC) Yaba, Lagos, Rev. Chris Ugorji, as he retires after 35 years of service in the ministry.
Nwaobiala, regretted that “square pegs” are often put in “round holes” called on the federal government to carefully choose the person that will replace Ugorji as the principal of the school so as to sustain the developmental projects and transformation process at the school.

Ugorji, who assumed duty as the principal in August 2014, said before he assumed duty, the college was mainly for the training of craftsmen and artisans, thus students were regarded as drop-outs who could not do well in academics.

“The general environmental situation may have unconsciously affected the students in so many ways that made them see themselves as second fiddles in comparison with their counterparts… In spite of efforts of previous administrations, FSTC Yaba was still predominantly known for students’ truancy, dirty environment, poor infrastructure and poor dressing, to mention but a few.”

On his achievements, he said he improved discipline and cleanliness, adding that 40 waste bins were bought and spread at strategic places in the college and consequently, the college premises has maintained cleanliness effortlessly.

He said to project a positive impression about the college, a new and befitting school gate was constructed, while iron chairs and tables were constructed to avail students the comfort of sitting properly in the dining and develop proper dining culture.

He stressed that the administration placed high premium on the welfare of students and balanced words with action towards ensuring that issues concerning them are taken seriously. Thus the management constructed JS1 block with nine classrooms and convenient facilities; hostels and classrooms were renovated to make them more conducive for students’ usage; overhaul technical workshops.

In terms of co-curricular activities, the principal said he encouraged students to participate in co-curricular activities within and outside the college.

Other achievements include training workshops for teachers; construction of a block of three classrooms and a large staff room from the college’s IGR; two bore holes were sunk to improve water supply in the entire school compound and the principal quarter; the school secured a 220KVA generator, 6/6 MBPS internet access and light signage in partnership with Vodacom Business Africa. Also, in collaboration with Cisco International, the Internet of Everything Centre was launched to provide basic internet solution to the college community.

In spite of the achievements, Ugorji said the school is still faced with challenges like inadequate hostel accommodation, regularisation of part-time teacher, staff accommodation, students’ dining hall, inadequate power supply, among others.

On the future of the college, he said: “The future is worth taking a hold of today. FSTC Yaba is at a pedestal that if driven upon the wheels of continuation in good governance/administration, no other science and technical college (federal or state) will be able to match us.”