WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE VICE CHANCELLOR
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
All praise is due to Allah (SWT) who has made it possible for us to assemble here this morning.
As the Chief host and Vice-Chancellor of Al-Qalam University Katsina, I am particularly humbled and highly honoured by your presence. In fact, at the planning stage, the Management was apprehensive about whether the parents would turn up. However, contrary to over expectations, you have reacted positively to our invitation. Apart from replying “YES for Attendance”, a lot of parents placed personal calls to reaffirm and assure us that they would turn up.
I am personally touched by the demonstration of your interest in your children and your desire to identify with the goals of the University.
To start with, I wish to crave the indulgence of those of us who are here for the first to give a run-down on the history of Al-Qalam University Katsina.
The idea of establishing an Islamic University in Nigeria was conceived immediately after the commissioning ceremony of the Islamic University in Niger Republic established by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The Niamey Islamic University commenced studies in 1987 and that gave more impetus to the Nigerian Muslims to crave for a similar University in Nigeria.
Al-Qalam University Katsina, formally Katsina University, Katsina came into being in January 2005 consequent upon a license given by the National Universities Commission. A time-table drawn by the Academic Advisory Committee ensured the take-off of academic activities in October, 2005 with students in four academic Departments namely: Arabic, Computer Science, English and Islamic Studies. The main distinguishing feature between the Al-Qalam University Katsina and other conventional universities is in the conduct of moral and academic regulations expected to raise an educated, morally sound and Allah fearing society which is the pride of any community or nation. The University is designed to specialize in Humanities and Sciences. On June 20, 2014, approval of change of name to Al-Qalam University was obtained.
Having explained the story of the establishment of the University, it is pertinent for this august gathering to note that:
In the last three years, Al-Qalam University has, with gratitude to Almighty Allah, grown beyond expectations. This rapid development is due, primarily to the programmes expansion from four Departments in two Colleges to twelve Departments in four Colleges.
However, as is normal in every setting, the phenomenal growth is accompanied by daunting challenges. The greatest among these challenges is how to carry the students along to embrace the changes in their academic activities.
The Management has the responsibility to formulate rules and regulations and set norms for the attainment of the University objectives.
To attain the set objectives, it is imperative for the Management to involve stakeholders and the closest and most ideal partners-in-progress are the parents, notable philanthropists and senior citizens in the country and beyond.
Thus, the Parent-Management Forum and Committee of friends’ interactive setting can boost the students’ development as they become workable partners in the educational arena.
An Assembly of Parent –Management Forum and Committee of Friends of the University, will enable effective communication between the students, their parents, the stakeholders and the University authority. It will build an ideal relationship needed for achieving the set goal and create objectives for academic progress and behaviour.
In addition, the Assembly will easily enable information to be gathered about the students in the educational environment, where, why and how help is needed by the university and the parents for the sake of the students and the benefit of the three parties.
The Assembly will also give way to the formulation of a Plan of Action, which aims to correct unwanted behaviours, improve students’ performance and make their scholastic experience better.
When and where the university and families form a community group to work together to support learning, the students tend to do better in academics and morals.
It is also important to note the rise in student population sequel to the programmes expansion from four (4) courses (2005-2013) to twenty two programmes (22) from 2013 to date.
The total number of new intakes in 2012/2013 when we were running four programmes was 492, and in 2013/2014 when the programmes increased by eighteen, the population was 945, which rose to 1,058 in 2014/2015 and 2,140 in 2015/16. Thus from a total population of 800 in 2012/2013, we now have 4,635 number of students in 2015/2016 session.
The rise in admissions implied a corresponding increase in expenditure. From a modest N46million total expenses in 2013, the University spent N387million in 2014 and N451million in 2015.
This is because more personnel and materials were needed to provided and were in fact provided to a certain limit.
I also wish to further crave your indulgence to draw your attention to the fact that the tuition fees for the past three years was pegged at N150,000 for Humanities and N180,000 for Sciences by the University Board.
From the foregoing, it is apparent that the University needs help in order to be able to provide relative facilities for the students.
Apart from the 10 blocks of 4 classrooms each and 3 Science laboratories donated at a cost of N1billion by the Chancellor, Alhaji Aminu Alhassan Dantata, the University had not been able to provide additional lecture area and facilities.
The Management consequently sent a fact-finding team to sister Islamic Universities to learn how they are coping.
As a growing University willing to achieve a top position in National and International ranking, we are compelled by convention to train and retrain staff, both at home and abroad from our meager resources.
In the last five years, the Management had sponsored sixteen academic staff for second and terminal degrees. In 2015/2016 alone, fourteen staff- mostly from Sciences are in various countries all over the world pursuing their terminal degrees. They are the assets needed by the University to be able to move forward and ensure academic standard.
We visited Crescent University, Abeokuta and Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin among others. These two institutions had in place Parent and Stakeholders Forum, which is managed by the Parents and representatives of the Management on the body.
It is pertinent to cite examples of tertiary institutions that bring parent and management together:
1. The Parent-Management Forum of Crescent University, Abeokuta at various times donated twenty (20) sets of computers and built a standard cafeteria, while the Chairman of the forum personally donated an x-ray building to the University clinic. The Chairman’s remarks at the occasion summed it all: “This forum is an opportunity for parents to contribute their quota to further development of the University”.
2. Highlights of Parent-Management Forum at Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin.
1) Dress code and Ethical Behaviour Committee.
2) Hostel at N100,000.00 per bed space mandatory for all students
3) All students are to undergo Drug test as agreed by the Forum.
Projects by Parent-Management Forum:
i. University Auditorium
ii. University Clinic Building
iii. Modern X-Ray Machine/Clinic
iv. Student Cafeteria
v. Student Centre
vi. Shopping Mall
vii. 33,000 litre water storage tank and stand.
viii. Student Market Place
ix. Interlock landscaping around the whole main Campus.
x. Four (4) 32- seater Coaster buses for students transportation
xi. ATM Machine in the Campus.
3. For what it termed the “UI Project”, the Management of University of Ibadan organised a Parents-Stakeholders Forum on 7th June, 2016 to resolve the problems of light and water, which led to the closure of the institution sequel to students protest.
4. On Tuesday, 16th February, 2016 the parents of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti organised a town hall meeting, which persuaded the founder of the University from prosecuting some students who were involved in vandalism at the University a week earlier. During its Convocation Ceremony last month, prizes in cash of Ninety Million Naira were distributed to deserving students. The fund was raised by the Parents.
5. At Federal, College of Education, Katsina the influence of a parent in the Stakeholders forum of the institution led to the complete renovation of four blocks of two-storey hostels at a cost of N35m by the then Governor of Katsina State, Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua. Similarly, another member of the forum pressed a button, which resulted in the provision of a giant generator for the supply of electricity to the College Library and two female hostels. All these happened between 2003 and 2007.
The Board may wish to note that Afe Babalola University, Al-Hikmah University and Crescent University charge and average of N450,000 to N1Million Tuition fees, yet the Parents and other stakeholders see the need to further contribute to and support the development of these Universities.
From the above, it can be said that time is ripe for the establishment of such a body at Al-Qalam University, Katsina.
Why Al-Qalam University Katsina needs the parent interventions.
1. Moral problems
The students especially the Female students are our constant headache as far as accommodation is concerned. Most of them either rented houses on their own or abandon their beds places to live outside. In fact, the University spent about N25million to hire a decent accommodation connected to the University’s dedicated electricity line.
To further overcome this challenge, the Management has now made it mandatory for all students to live in the hostels. We provide adequate security for all the students. We are therefore soliciting for investment in hostel, on Build, Operate and Transfer basis.
2. To dissuade students from drug abuse tendencies, the NDLEA and a Committee will start to carry out drug tests on all the students especially freshers before their admission is confirmed.
3. Lecture Halls.
There is acute shortage of classrooms and furniture. Large lecture halls are seriously needed to cater for the growing number of students.
4. Access roads and landscaping
The University has only one tarred road from the gate to the Senate, we need more roads and general land scalping.
5. Water supply
The University depends on only one water tanker to serve four hostels and the whole campus water needs. A backup water tanker is essential.
For the purpose of the above interventions, among others, we wish to propose the Formation of an Assembly of Parent-Management Forum and Committee of Friends, Al-Qalam University Katsina.
Each parent will contribute an agreed sum for his son/daughter, to be domiciled in an account name dedicated to the Assembly and to be managed by the executives, which will be elected/nominated by the parents who are present here today. Four representatives of students- one each from the four Colleges will also serve on the executive, so as to carry the students along in all decisions.
Distinguished parents, this is our story, this is our grief and this is our prayer to you please.
I thank you all.
May Allah (SWT) reward our efforts (Amin)
والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Prof. Shehu Garki Ado (Wazirin Garki)
To download Letter to Parent from Parent-Management Forum Click here