ASCETA slashes school fees by 50% for Aro students, Provost re-appointed for second term in office, sets fresh agenda

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The Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu – ASCETA –has announced the slashing of school fees by 50% for all intending students of Arochukwu origin. 

The decision was conveyed through a letter dated January 7, 2020, from the institution’s Registrar, Mr. Ikechukwu Odoemelam, which was addressed to the Chairman, Nzuko Aro home branch.

The letter reads:

“I write to inform you that at the last Academic Board meeting of the Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu, it was decided that all intending students of Arochukwu origin who shall apply to this College for admission will have a rebate of 50% in the area of school fees starting from 2019/2020 academic year. This is part of the College’s Social Responsibility towards its host community.”

The letter added, however, that the intending student must have the requisite qualification if admission must be offered.

While requesting the dissemination of this piece of information, the college authorities also sought the cooperation of the Nzuko Aro leadership and the entire Aro community “to give ASCETA the foothold it deserves.  

Meanwhile, the Abia State government has re-appointed the Provost of the College, Dr. Philips Nto for a second term in office.

Below is Dr Nto’s address to the staff of the College, following his re-appointment:

May I, first and foremost thank God Almighty whose benevolence and mercy has made it possible for us to be gathered today. 

I am especially grateful to His Excellency, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu for reposing so much confidence in me by re-appointing me for a second tenure. I also thank the State Executive Council, the Governing Council and other great minds who found us worthy for this second missionary journey. 

As you are aware, St. Paul, the zealous servant of Christ was sent on many second missionary journeys, not because he failed in the first instance, but because, he needed to reach many more people who were in desperate need of salvation.

Before I go further, let me place on record my immense appreciation to all of you who made it possible for me to serve out the first tenure of four years with all its trials and triumphs. I am particularly grateful to the security and cleaning staff and the staff of office the Provost who sacrificed so much to ensure the smooth running of the College. I am also grateful to those whose constant criticisms and even petitions kept me on my toes, reminding me that to whom much is given, much is expected.

My beloved colleagues, I bear no grudge against anybody. Because I am human, I may have offended some of you. If through my actions or even inactions, you felt hurt, please forgive me. But I must state here, that I NEVER DELIBERATELY set out to hurt anybody. Everything I did or said was just to advance the interest of the College. For those who set out to undermine me as a person, but ended up sabotaging the College, you have the opportunity to make amends. Our collective interest is ASCETA. We should always bear that in mind.

The past four years were eventful for me as a person and for the College. Even if the Governor did not graciously re-appoint me, I would still have gone back to Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike a much fulfilled man. There is no job that has challenged my intellect and administrative skill like that of being the Provost of ASCETA in the last four years. The experience remains invaluable and indelible. I agree with those who have observed that I am now more matured, thanks to the job. Although my immediate family has talked of how I have aged suddenly, I am happy being back in your midst.

But being back comes with huge responsibilities. If we want results, we must do things differently. We can’t be doing the same things all the time and expect a different result. It is unfortunate that majority of us are not committed to the resuscitation of this College. Some of us see ASCETA as a salary centre and nothing more. That flawed attitude must change. 

A lecturer who has no student to teach, automatically has no job. We don’t expect the government to pay our salaries and still provide us with students. That lethargic attitude must change.

Consequently, there is going to be a radical change both in our orientation and administrative style. From today, it is the duty of every staff to think out ways of increasing students’ enrolment. Like mentioned earlier, we don’t have any business here, if we don’t have students. There is going to be restructuring of top academic staff including directors, deans and heads of department. Every position in ASCETA must now be earned. The idea of entitlement based on basic considerations must go. We must work hard for every position we seek.

To ensure that ASCETA is brought back to its feet once again, we shall in the next four years pay close attention to the following: 

(1) Infrastructure development (2) Capacity Building of Staff (3) Students’ enrolment. (4) Academic Development including National Universities Commission accreditation for degree programmes. (5) Sports development and (6) Development of more programmes.

I am happy to inform you that a committee has already developed a template for the implementation of the aforementioned policies as a means of driving the new ASCETA. About three of us are being sponsored abroad for training in capacity building. As soon as they are back, they will train others. This is an academic environment and every staff should leverage on the opportunities to improve himself/herself whether you are in academics or non-academics.

In the last four years, we have collaborated with Tetfund to change the face of ASCETA. Even our critics have acknowledged that the College is no longer a glorified secondary school. We shall do more. It is our vision to ensure that every school in this College is given a befitting building (edifice). Likewise, we shall soon commence work on the internal roads to further boost the landscape of the College.

Understandably, we cannot talk of a aesthetics of the College without the human beings working here. What happened last year was a necessary surgical operation undertaken to save the College from collapse. The Governor through the Hon Commissioner for Finance has assured us of prompt and regular release of our subventions henceforth. Apart from the regular payment of salary (with new minimum wage, which we were the first to pay), we have commenced efforts at ensuring that the College is formally scheduled to ensure that our staff receive pensions when they retire. Efforts are also on to ensure that the entitlements of disengaged staff are paid. I don’t want to mention names of those who wrote petitions and carried out protests that stalled the payment last year. Let us please be careful the way we handle matters so as not to hurt ourselves ultimately.

My assurance to all of us today is that I will do everything within my powers and available resources to ensure that our welfare is given utmost priority. My charge is for us to reciprocate the gesture of the governor by working extra hard to realize his vison for this College. For those of us who hail from this part of the State, we don’t have a choice but to make ASCETA work. The destiny of this College is intertwined with our own destiny. A flourishing ASCETA will automatically lead to our economic prosperity.

May I therefore commend our host community, Arochukwu for realizing this point I have made. Many prominent sons and daughters of this great kingdom have taken it upon themselves to intervene on our behalf. I remain indebted to all of you. I salute the Traditional Rulers of Arochukwu Kingdom, the Town Union and others who wish this College well. I believe that our collective effort will surely lead to the reinvention of this great institution.

Finally, let me commend our students for their patience in the face of some daunting challenges.

Things are surely going to be better. With our programme of sports development, you will turn out to be the best among the best. Continue to shun cultism and examination malpractice. You have a rare opportunity of leaving here to be employers of labour. Remain focussed. Be resourceful. Above all, be goal driven.

It is good to be back. We all must work harder.

Thank you and God bless you.

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