The Rector, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Engr. Obafemi Omokungbe, says plans are underway to start new programmes in agriculture in the institution.
This, according to him, is a prelude to the transformation of the Department of Agriculture Technology to a School of Agriculture, in the Epe campus of the institution.
Omokungbe gave the hint during an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.
He said that the aim was to equip students with the right mentality about agriculture, its place in national development and for self reliance.
“We have a Department of Agriculture Technology, but there are plans by the college to start up new programmes in agriculture, so that it could stand on its own, as a School of Agriculture, in Epe.
“This School of Agriculture that we are proposing to establish, is to further expand the horizon of the place, so that students that would be taught about large scale farming will gain.
“And of course, we are also working hard to have affiliations with some corporate bodies to ensure it kicks off on a sound footing, as well as for its sustainability.
“Some of them have already visited the campus and said they needed to also test the soil, and that is underway as we speak.
“I hope that their planned intervention will yield good fruits,” he said.
The rector said that the college had large acres of land at the Epe campus, noting that it was ready to partner stakeholders who were interested in using part of it for various agricultural purposes.
“This will help us expose our students more to agricultural practices, so that by the time the graduate, they are already well-equiped and can decide to go into full scale farming, on their own.
“It will also help in checking the issue of food scarcity. I am hopeful that before the end of my tenure, we will achieve this,” he said.
He said that the Epe campus of the college was playing host to the School of Technical Education, Department of Bio-Environmental Engineering, Department of Leisure and Tourism, as well as the Department of Agricultural Technology.
Omokungbe said that about eight new courses had been introduced under his watch in the college.
He said the development was part of reasons why the college had maintained its steady growth.
The rector said the institution had remained relevant in the development of manpower in the various sectors of the country’s economy.
“When we came in, our main focus was to, at least, re- accredit all the programmes that were expired and virtually all of them were expired.
“And so, we did most of the re-accreditation, and this was done in 2019.
“There were also those that were to be due for accreditation in 2020. But because of the COVID-19, we could not get them re- accredited.
“Of course, the better part of 2021, there was this protocol of no gathering or social distancing.
“Most of the things were done online, so, now, we are doing those ones that were supposedly due in 2020.
“The delay is not intentional; we have been doing that since this year,” he said.
Omokungbe said that within the past few years, management of the college had introduced new programmes that were due for resource inspection, by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
He listed Industrial Mathematics (ND, Full Time), Bio-Technology (HND, Full Time) Photography (ND, Full Time) and Railway Engineering (ND,Full Time) as some of the new programmes.
Printing Technology (ND, Full Time) Pharmaceutical Technology (ND, Full Time) and Mineral and Petroleum Engineering, completed the list.
The rector said that the college was also working hard to get accreditation for ND Entrepreneurship, an entirely new programme.
According to him, this is in fulfilment of the country’s quest for skills acquisition and entrepreneurial development.
“You know our mandate is largely skills development and entrepreneurship.
“So, I feel it is only logical to have a full fledged Department of Entrepreneurship, and if you look at all this holistically, you will discover that we have about 10 newly introduced courses, in the last four years,” he said.
He said that the college management was excited about the giant strides, especially as the TETfund for 2021 had been invested in that regard, that is, the equipment for the re-accreditation of the programmes.
“Council has also given its approval to more funds to attend to these programmes,” Omokungbe said.