The Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu has restructured its operations, expanding its academic programmes from two to seven, the Rector, Dr. John Emaimo, disclosed recently.
The institution which hitherto ran only two academic programmes – Dental Technology and Dental Therapy – now runs seven academic programmes which include the outstanding HND programmes as well as four undergraduate degree programmes recently approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to be run in affiliation with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The NUC approval was part of the process seeking to transform the College into a university following the enactment of the Act of the National Assembly which came into force in 2017 with provisions empowering the College to run undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma programmes.
Established in 1955 in Lagos by the Ordinance of the Queen of England, the institution was relocated to Enugu in 1982 and has sustained a culture of excellence since then.
A statement issued by Mr. Omololu Ogunmade, Head, Public Relations of the institution, stated that the approval has changed the status of the College from its previous position as a monotechnic, awarding only National and Higher National Diplomas in Dental Technology and Therapy.
According to the statement, the approval also included the expansion of the College academic programmes to be run in collaboration with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
The Institution has produced well seasoned dental professionals and earned recognitions both at the local and international levels.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with CHIOMA JUMBO, the Rector disclosed the plans of the College to move to a bigger location soon in Obeagu, Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
UGAMATV gathered that the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) as well as several other legal documents on the hectares of land had been signed by both the community and the Institution.
Below are excerpts of the interview with the Rector:
CAN WE MEET YOU SIR?
My name is John Emaimo, the Rector of the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy in Enugu State.
WHAT IS THIS INSTITUTION ALL ABOUT?
This institution specialises in training higher institution students in medical and health programmes.
The Federal College of Dental Technology and and Therapy, Enugu is one of the foremost institutions established during the British era by the Nigerian government.
It has been going from strength to strength and maintaining excellence in the training of specialised health care workers in the country.
WHAT LEGACY DO YOU HOPE TO LEAVE IN THE SANDS OF TIME?
As far as the present management is concerned, we hope to move the College to the highest level of any category of federal institution in Nigeria.
We will ensure that the College competes favourably with other institutions of its nature and leave in the sands of time the footprints of excellence and improve the general health service delivery in Nigeria and Africa at large.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS INSTITUTION HAS BEEN GIVEN THE GO- AHEAD TO RUN DEGREES PROGRAMMES. HAVE YOU ADDED MORE COURSES TO WHAT YOU USED TO HAVE?
When the present management took over in 2016, the College was offering only two programmes – Dental Therapy and Dental Technology at ND and HND levels.
But we believed that with the structure and the manpower available, the institution should do more. We then looked for a way to improve on what we met on ground.
The management reached out to the relevant authorities with suggestions that we wanted the school to become a degree awarding institution and that was granted.
Based on this, since 2017, we have had the full mandate of the federal government as contained in Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy (Establishment) Act, 2017, to pursue degree programmes.
The mandate stated that the institution should award degrees in Dental Technology, Dental Therapy and other related disciplines.
The mandate is not to expressly proceed and begin to award degrees. What actually leads to the award of degrees is the fallout of the component and structure of an institution such as the man power, the capacity of lecturers, the research centres and laboratories, among others.
The management has also observed some inadequacies in some areas and are working on it.
As part of efforts to address the inadequacies, we are affiliating with the Federal University of Technology in Owerri as they specialise in training and awarding degrees.
Our collaboration with the university led to the invitation of the NUC to the College so that they could look at the status quo and take stock of available resources and facilities.
The College has also increased the courses being offered from two to seven.
THIS COLLEGE PRODUCED FACE MASKS, VENTILATORS AND HAND SANITIZERS. HOW DID YOU ATTAIN THIS FEAT?
The institution is scientific in nature. So, when the Coronavirus came, we set up a committee to look at what we could do to fight the virus.
The management tasked the committee, in accordance with the task of the Federal Ministry of Health, to contribute to efforts being made for the prevention of the spread of coronavirus. The first thing we did was to look at the primary aspect of it which was the production of facemasks and hand sanitizers. Then, we moved to the production of ventilators.Experts were also invited to take a look at what we had done so far and give us their opinion. We are still working on the ventilators and we hope to achieve the ISOS certification for testing. So, for now, we avoid needless publicity till we achieve all that.
TWO OF YOUR EX STUDENTS WERE AMONG THE 110 CORPS MEMBERS RECOGNISED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR AUTOMATIC EMPLOYMENT AND SCHOLARSHIP UP TO THE DOCTORATE LEVEL IN ANY NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY OF THEIR CHOICE. HOW DID THAT NEWS COME TO YOU?
We were happy and we have been producing award winners beyond Nigeria. This institution produced the first set of students that set up the College of Health Technology in the University of South Africa and three of them are professors now.
We keep the dream of excellence alive and the scholarships offered our products from first degree to the doctorate level mean a lot to us.
THE INSTITUTION IS MAKING PLANS TO MOVE TO OBEAGU. HOW ARE YOU PURSUING THAT?
The institution was built to offer two courses and now that we have been given the go-ahead to run degree programmes and create more courses, there is a need for expansion.
Last year, we started a progressive move with the people of Obeagu and they have been forthcoming. We are not abandoning the current structures but Obeagu is our current dream.
The plan in 1955 and that of 2020 can never be the same. The school was built in 1955 and there is a need for improvement and expansion.
IS THERE ANY OPPOSITION TO THE PLANNED RELOCATION OF THE SCHOOL TO OBEAGU?
We are going to a place where there is vast land. So, there is no opposition. A lot of universities started somewhere and had to move when they got bigger.
Anyone who wants to oppose us should provide a large piece of land. The people of Obeagu welcomed us very well because they knew how the presence of the school would improve the community. This is a window of advancement and improvement for them.