Our emphasis is on entrepreneurial education, practical skills acquisition – Rector
From GODDY OSUJI, Abakiliki
The Rector of ESTAC Institute of Technology, Enugu, Chuks Igboanugo, has said that the institute will produce graduates who can compete with their counterparts elsewhere in the world.
This it hopes to do by providing the undergraduates with professional training and entrepreneurial skills that can positively impact on Nigeria’s technological development.
Addressing the matriculating students recently, Igboanugo revealed that the institute aims to be one of the foremost vocational and entrepreneurial centres in Nigeria, if not the world, that promotes and produces knowledgeable, skilled and innovative Nigerian graduates that are self-reliant.
He, therefore, urged the students to make the best out of their stay in the institute.
“That great future you dream of starts now,” he said. “It starts with you imbibing the virtues that sages throughout history have laid emphasis on and those virtues are not far-fetched; you shouldn’t stop only at wishing to succeed; you need to work at it.
Hard work and persistence produce success while truancy produces failure and shame.” Igboanugo advised the students to be familiar with the handbook and to focus on studying which is actually their primary goal in ESTAC.
“Greatness lies within you all, but you must work at bringing out those potentials,” he admonished. “The great future awaits those that are willing to burn the midnight oil, get their hands in the mud, with every perseverance and determination needed until they hit their target.
Those are the ones ESTAC will be proud of, those are the ones your families will be proud of, those are the ones the society will be proud of and especially those are the ones the Almighty God will be proud of. Our aspiration is to ensure we provide an enabling environment for the production of the manpower that would serve Nigeria in a globalized world.”
While disclosing that the institute is expanding its academic programmes to accommodate other disciplines of Environmental Studies like Architecture, Estate Management, Town Planning and Civil Engineering, he maintained that, “in all the studies so far, emphasis is placed on entrepreneurial and practical skills acquisition to enable one function independently, which is needed now so as to reduce the level of unemployed graduates in the country.”
The strength of the institute, he said, lies in the fact that it trains youths at three “Hs” of development: head, heart and hand. The matriculating students, he said, are privileged to attain those three levels of development because it is a mission-based school that seeks the total development of students.
Urging students to be of good behaviour, he said: “If you are a First Class brain without character, nobody can entrust you with great responsibilities.
Therefore, you should add virtue to your learning and draw close to God so that He will give you the grace to overcome the temptations of youths on their way to greatness.” He advised parents to continue to exercise the necessary control over their wards and not to abandon them to the school. He admonished them to ask questions and try to watch out for unusual or deviant behaviour when they are with them.
By so doing, he noted, they would be in a position to detect and redeem redeemable cases. On his challenges as the administrator, Igboanugo noted that, “because it is a new school, we are facing issues in the area of finance which has affected us in engaging the right lecturers that we can pay; you know if you have the right money you have the right teaching staff.
Though the lecturers we have here are trying, there could be some improvement if we have the funds needed to have more lecturers and they will have the enabling environment to expose the students the more. There are things we want to put in place that will help to improve their tactical approach but because of inadequate funds, we were unable to provide this needed equipment.
“So far, it is God all the way that has made it possible for us to move ahead. We try to relate with some banks but unfortunately they see us as a land that has not been harnessed and as a result, they are finding it difficult to do business with us.
But we are hoping that one day the institution will become the technological citadel of learning in the state. So far so good, we are forging ahead to see that the ambition of the school is carried on. I must confess that the staff are putting in their best, not minding that they are not paid commensurately as expected, as is the case with such other institutions.
Yet, they are giving their best, seeing it as a service to humanity.” Rev. Francis Ojukwu who took the students on a retreat, before the day of matriculation, said that his interaction with them showed that they were prepared to embrace technological education.
“The passion I have is to teach students entrepreneurial skills and to make them always understand that we can work independently of government and also to create employment for other people.
The interaction I had with them and their lecturers reveals that the institute is doing well and meeting up the standard.” The institute which has its motto as “thinking globally and acting locally”, was initially registered as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with the Corporate Affairs Corporation to tackle environmental challenges faced by the inhabitants of Enugu as well as to address issues bordering on human capital development.
But it was its attempt to address these issues that gave birth to Environmental Sustainability Thinking and Action Centre (ESTAC) Institute of Technology which has become a household name today in technological development.
It has produced many technologically-skilled Nigerians who are occupying strategic positions in some reputable companies across the country.