SPECIAL REPORT: Inside story of abandoned, deserted 42-year-old college in Osun
On Monday, October 7th, aggrieved students of the College of Health Technology situated in Imelu-Ilesa shut down the entire college till further notice.
Apart from the terrible state of facilities at the 42-year-old College of Health Technology, no fewer than three departments have not been accredited for years, they do not mobilise HND graduates for NYSC and graduates of health technician leave school yearly with unvalidated results.
APAGUNPOTE OLAYIMIKA CHOCOMILO reports:
The entire Osun State College of Health Technology, Ilesa is an eyesore; completely irritating and extremely terrible. Apart from the administrative building (former school library), there is no single structure in the college that befits even prisoners of law in the 42-year-old institution.
Inside the 42-year-old College, there are sad and untold tales at every section of the school. At present, there is no functional public toilet in the school but there are extremely dirty, unhygienic and disease prone clusters of four dilapidated buildings with four rooms each female students use as toilets yet most students make use of open defecation and there are visible litters of caked faeces and used toilet papers in the supposed “College of Health Technology“.
WITHIN NIGERIA reporter, who visited the school, saw the four deserted public toilets. They are not far to the department of environmental sanitation. Apparently, the toilets have suffered neglect, with fresh and caked human faeces and toilet papers scrambling for space within their surroundings.
There are two sources of water supply in the college. A faulty hand-pump borehole neglected to ruins for years and a well connected to storex stand is located beside the mosque, it belongs to the mosque. No halls of residence for students and the life of any student can not be guaranteed nor property, WITHIN NIGERIA gathered.
There are heaps of wastes every 100metres and offensive odor comes out of the obviously overgrown bushes, a courtesy of the open defecation in the state college of health technology. Apart from two classrooms in department of dental therapy, other buildings are seriously appealing for new coat of paints while the “supposed hall of the 42-year-old college” needs serious renovation or possibly new construction.
Inspite of all these sad narratives, students are forced to pay heavily just to learn under this despicable situation characterised by creaky, dangerous and run-down facilities.
“The college is not fit for primary school students and that students who later become health officials graduate from this college makes sane ones sad. This is bad and students having no other option or alternative make it worse. A college is in such deplorable state yet billions were once channelled to build mega schools across the state,” said Akinola, a rather sad student of the college.
Osun State College of Health Technology was established in 1977 to train health personnels in order to increase the strength of middle level manpower in the Health Care Industry. Both past and present tutors worked relentlessly at the temporary site between 1977 and 1985 when the College moved to her present and permanent site in January, 1985. The College’s highest ruling authority is the ministry of health.
Students pay the sum of #10,000 as acceptance fee. Indigenous fresh students pay #25,000 while Non-indigenous fresh students pay #40,000 as tuition. Students also pay the sum of #35,700 as general fees (Sport fee, ID card, uniform, matriculation fee, internet services and travels), among others. Students also pay some fees but depends on the department or course of study ranging from #23,000 – #47,500.
However, this is not the only college where students pay tuition and other bogus fees yet there is little or nothing to show for it. Students have complained bitterly about the despicable state of the college and decided to change the gear of struggle after years of persuading the government and management of the college to do the needful.
No fewer than three departments have not been accredited out of seven departments in the college yet students pay tuition and other attached fees to the college’s purse on yearly basis. Non-mobilisation of HND graduates for NYSC, prompt payment of salary, provision of adequate facilities for smooth runnings of the college as revealed by Comrade Ogunsakin Oluwafemi, the Students’ Union President of the college.
BEYOND RUNNING COST
Apart from tuition and other general fees students pay, WITHIN NIGERIA learnt that the college makes money via other means, such as satellite campuses, subvention from state government, grants and others. There are speculations that the college makes money from agriculture and other purposes due to the large expanse of land.
NON-ACCREDITATION OF COURSES
There are seven departments in the college and they are namely; Dental Health, Medical Laboratory Science, Pharmacy Department, Environmental Health, General Studies, Community Health and Health Information Management. Out of these seven departments, only four departments have been accredited while the remaining three; Dental therapy, Environmental Health (HND) and Health technicians have not been accredited yet they produce graduates every year as revealed by the Students Union President.
While reacting to the issue of non-accreditation of courses, Ogunsakin Oluwafemi, a student of Dental Therapy and the Students’ Union President of the college spoke with WITHIN NIGERIA reporter and expressed his dissatisfaction about the deplorable state of the college.
“The accreditation of DENTAL THERAPY DEPARTMENT was part of the things that made students to go on rampage on 29th January 2018 and till this moment the accreditation has not been done which is so much detriment and injurious to our future as dental therapy student.
“In the year 2018 after our 200L second semester examination, we were sent to clinic field to have clinical experience and we were rejected by dental therapists at our various clinical stations because the course hasn’t been accredited in the college.
“College management told us about a well equipped dental clinic in FACULTY OF DENTISTRY, OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE IFE which we can use to secure accreditation pending the time the school will get her own facility.
“They later told us that they will sign MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING with OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, FACULTY OF DENTISTRY in May but sadly, they have done nothing and there is no progressive report on the signing of memorandum of understanding.
Oluwafemi told WITHIN NIGERIA that, “Students resolved to lock up the school so that government and school management can wake up to responsibility before our destines are totally ruined. It is sad that our 42-year-old college have not accredited two HND courses (Environmental Health Technology and Dental Therapy) despite the fact that the college is supervised and controlled by the ministry of health in the state.
“I engaged the school for 10months before embarking on a protest on Monday 7th October, 2019 but they did not attend to our demands. A dental therapist in training is entitled to a year internship and NYSC after the completion of the 4 year program.
“However, if the course has not been accredited by the National Association of Dental Therapist Board of Nigeria, students will not be able to embark on internship nor mobilised for youth service. Top officials of the college know all these yet they kept quiet, he added.
There are two departments in the college offering HND courses namely Dental Therapy and Environmental Health Technology but graduates of these departments do not partake in the National Youths Service Commission (NYSC).
WITHIN NIGERIA reporter gathered that “in the year 2000, the College sent 24 Higher National Diploma graduates of Environmental Health Technology for the National Youth Service (N.Y.S.C), while six others got Exemption Certificate having passed the age of 30 years at their course completion.
Oluwafemi further added that the Environmental Health Technology which is a 4 year program and has suffered NBTE accreditation for more than 15 years till date. Graduates of environmental health technology of osun state college of health technology, Ilesa have lost so many employment opportunities due to the fact that they were not mobilised for NYSC.
“Although the management of the college told students of ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH TECHNOLOGY who were eligble for NYSC that the college will sign a memorandum of understanding with Kwara State College of Health Technology, Offa, students became angry after months of promise without any significant step.
DEPLORABLE STATE OF COLLEGE FACILITIES
You can not trek 30metres without seeing something ridiculous or structures in deplorable state, WITHIN NIGERIA gathered. Although there is no single tarred road inside the college but it is also characterised with scanty dilapidated buildings, insufficient broken furnitures, no visible drainage, runoffs and artificial dams in form of potholes in classrooms. There is no water supply in the college and students go into bushes to ease themselves.
WITHIN NIGERIA reporter visited the public toilets provided by the college management for students to use. Nothing makes one cry harder than seeing the ridiculous state of thr toilets in a health college. There were hemps of waste; used papers, nylons, toilet tissues and baked feaces could be seen on the ground.
While reacting to the deplorable state of facilities in the college, the Students’ Union President of the college complained bitterly about the woeful state of facilities in the college.
“The institution is seriously lagging in term of infrastructural developments such as lecture rooms and halls, toilets, street lights on campus, well equipped library, road network and other facilities that’s needed for effective learning and acquisition of skills, he lamented.
The Vice-President of Environmental health technology department, Fatugbiyele Micheal also expressed his concerns about NYSC mobilisation and canvassed for the construction of more classrooms that would contain both fresh and returning students. The college should provide a standard laboratory that will enhance, improve and facilitate learning, he said.
Students who bore their mind to WITHIN NIGERIA either chose not to mention their names or use only their first name for fear of victimisation.
A 400-level student who identified himself as Taiwo lamented about the state of the college. “I do not know why they have closed this college. I think toilet and poor public hygiene should be the least problem facing a college of health technology but unfortunately, it is one of the major problems facing the college, he said
A 300-level student of Pharmacy who identified herself as Elizabeth expressed her dissatisfaction about insufficient classrooms and infrastructural decay.
“Atleast you are now inside the college, look around and conclude in your mind if this genuinely depicts the true state of a college. Attimes, we shift lectures as a result of insufficient classrooms. That is more crazy and demeaning, she told WITHIN NIGERIA reporter.
WITHIN NIGERIA met with Hannah, a student of medical laboratory technician who seems to have lost all hopes or probably accepted her fate.
“As for me, I can not wait to leave this college because I am simply tired of everything. If you complain from today till eternity, they will not proffer solutions rather give filmsy excuses. I never wanted to come down here but I had no choice after several trials into the university, hannah said.
WITHIN NIGERIA reporter spoke with the Dean of Students Affairs via telephone but he told our reporter that he is not in the best position to speak on the matter. He said that there is no public relations officer in the college after our reporter demanded for the contacts of the college PRO.
Attempts by WITHIN NIGERIA to speak with the Provost of the college, Dr. Fritz Mobolaji Olaoye were futile as he continues to reject WITHIN NIGERIA reporter calls till the time of filing this report.
Nonetheless, WITHIN NIGERIA contacted the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Osun state who heads the ministry that supervises the affairs of the college.
Kayode Adegoke told WITHIN NIGERIA that together with the management, students leader and representatives of the ministry of health, they have met with the speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye who hails from the same town that hosted the college and the discussion they had was successful.
“We resolved that the school should be autonomous. If the college is independent, it would be able to cater for her responsibility. The autonomy bill has passed through the first reading and students have resumed into proper school activities and steps to resolve all issues raised are in progress, he said.
The Permanent Secretary told WITHIN NIGERIA that he is presently attending a retreat in Ada. “I am presently in Ada for a retreat. The network is very poor so I would not be able to spend more time with you but I will link you up with the Provost of the college for further details. As at the time of filing this report, the or provost of the college did not pick WITHIN NIGERIA reporter calls.
Nonetheless, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Osun State axis, confirmed the deplorable state of the college, non-accreditation of courses and other issues facing the 42-year-old college.
The chairman of the association, Comrade Castro told WITHIN NIGERIA that the association has contributed her quote in bringing meaningful solutions to the college but nothing significant has been done to resolve this.
The institution needs to be closed till it worths the name, college of health and autonomy should be granted to the school so that it can have independent governing council that would see to its affairs, he said.