Member representing Ogoja State Constituency and Majority Leader of the 9th Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, today, presented the bill seeking to amend the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) establishment act, while highlighting the major areas the said amendment bill proposes to cover.
Presenting the bill, titled: “University of Cross River State Bill 2019”, Rt. Hon. Odey mentioned that, aside the name of the institution which the bill seeks to modify, other areas of focus for the new bill are on the courses offered by the institution and the mode of its administration by lecturers and administrative staff.
Odey noted that the current status of the state versity as a “university of technology” limits its from offering courses pertaining to medical, agricultural, educational, arts and humanities fields. He informed that some of the non-technological courses offered by the institution, especially Education, will be lost in no distant time as the Nigerian University Council (NUC) has, recently enacted a policy which restricts higher institutions from offering courses outside their scope of bid.
Odey went further to assert that Agricultural courses offered in the Obubra campus; Medical and Managerial courses offered in the Ogoja campus and others, will all be lost when this said new policy of NUC is implemented by next year, even as he informed that, during the last accreditation exercise, the department of Mass Communication had to change its name to department of Information & Technology before it could scale through the exercise. However, he proposed that, none of those courses currently offered by the school would be lost if the university changes its status from a “university of technology” to a conventional university, like many others.
The Rt. Honourable also stated that with the proposed new status of a conventional university, the institution can secure accreditation to offer courses like, Law, Medicine and Surgery, and other related courses in medical, management and agricultural fields. This, Hon. Peter said will not only broaden the scope of the institution, but, will also create employment and gainful engagement for Cross Riverians.
He also informed that, the more broad an institution is, the more support it stands to enjoy from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET-Fund) programme of the Federal Government.
The House Leader said the proposed ‘University of Cross River State’ (UNICROSS) will maintain the four(4) campuses currently operated by CRUTECH, moreso, he said, the Yala campus will be centre for all Medical-related courses; the Ogoja campus will carter for all Arts and Humanities-related courses; the Obubra campus will take care of all Agricultural-related courses; and, the Calabar South campus will strictly provide for only Engineering-related courses.
In a chat with CrossRiverDaily after the presentation, Odey said that another area of focus for the said amendment will be on the discipline of lecturers to curtail sorting and ‘sex for grades’ menace currently alleged to be on top-spot in the institution. He also told CrossRiverDaily that funding for the proposed restructuring was available as he has consulted with the Executive arm of government, the school, and other relevant authorities.
Contributing to the bill were; Rt. Hon. Itam Abang of Boki 1; Rt. Hon. Hilary Bisong of Boki 11; Rt. Hon. Ephraim Okon of Calabar South 1; Rt. Hon. Nelson Ofem of Yakurr 1; Hon. Edward Ajang of Bekwarra; Hon. Godwin Akwaji of Obudu; Hon. Cynthia Nkasi of Yala 11; Rt. Hon. Regina Anyogo of Yala 1; and, Rt. Hon. Ogbor Ogbor of Biase.
All the contributors spoke in favour of the bill, except Rt. Hon. Friday Okpechi of Obubra 1 and Hon. Francis Asuquo who spoke against the bill, arguing that the bill and its proposed focus was not necessary but rather, a step-up in the school’s standard while still maintaining the name was what was necessary at this point.
*Read Rt. Hon. Okpechi and Hon. Asuquo’s debate against the bill on: “Rt. Hon. Friday Okpechi Leads Debate Against CRUTECH Amendment Bill”
After all the debate, the bill was read a second time and then recommended to the House Committee on Education to be reported back to the Floor of the House in two weeks.