Rector, Marvel Institute of Management and Technology (MIMTECH), Kuchikawu, in neighbouring Nasarawa state, Dr. Augustine Onah, in this chat with GODWIN TYONONGU, reveals how God used him to establish the Institute to assist the people
How it all started It was a vision given to me by God Himself. When I sought God for what to do to enhance the development of people, I heard Him talking to me vividly that I should establish an institution to train people, so that after their graduation, they would be self-employed. Today, a lot of people depend on government for employment and the space is saturated. So, we thought of doing something diff erently; that was what gave birth to MIMTECH in 2011. After graduation, they can be on their own and even become employers of labour instead of carrying about fi les to offi ces, seeking white collar jobs.
It is good to teach someone how to catch fi sh than to give him fi sh; when you don’t have fi sh to always give, you have not helped that person. Progress so far In Nigeria, you can attest to the fact that it’s not easy for a private institution to exist when you can’t access loans easily. But God on our side, I have not got loans. Anything you are doing, you have to commit it in the Lord and once you make God number one, the vision becomes easy to execute. Th ere are challenges on the part of fi nance, students’ enrolment, etc, more especially that the courses we are running are ICT programmes and a lot of people are yet to embrace the programme; they prefer business administration, accounting, philosophy and all that. But we believe that we will get there, even though the start point is rough; we are creating awareness on how to come about this programmes.
We are doing adverts, radio jingles, newspaper publications (and Blueprint is helping us in this regard), fl iers and other means possible. Relationship with relevant govt agencies It has been a wonderful relationship. NBTE is the agency that regulates both the private and state institutions. Even when they came for the accreditation of courses, they were amazed by what they saw on ground; the representative of the ministry of education, representative of NBTE, late Engr. Adekunle, members of the visitation team, member of the governing council of the institution Mr. Okoro were all present on August 22, 2013, when NBTE came for approval/resource inspection. Accreditation was given to courses in ICT programmes, including multi-media.
How we got approval timely was because we were determined and focused; we ensured that we achieved our objective and understood the philosophy of accreditation. When you know where you are going and you are focused, you get there; that was one of the reasons for our timely accreditation by NBTE. Th ere are others we started with, but up till now, they have not got it. Public response Th eir response has been encouraging at any time; it’s diffi cult but by the time you create awareness, there will be great progress.
NBTE is sending students through JAMB to us. Relationship with host community On the day of accreditation, the Chief of Kuchikawu was in attendance and he made a remarkable statement that he welcomed the Institute to the area. We should look for a land within the area for hostel that, he will assist; he encouraged us to do fl iers and that, he would assist to advertise the school. Th at he is happy seeing the people working with him being educated; he is a member of the Institute’s Governing Council.
HND programmes We are not running HND yet because it’s an innovative institution. Th e students do come out with National Diploma (ND). Innovative institution is designed by the federal government through the NBTE to do something diff erent from the conventional ways of education. Instead of people reading commercial courses to queue for employment in the labour market, the federal government came up by introducing the innovative institutions so that when you’re trained, you will not have to wait on government for jobs.
You can dismantle computers; you can see them training people in this fi eld. ICT is one of the lucrative industries now, especially soft ware engineering, multi-media engineering, security, etc. Th at is just innovative enterprise. Some of the times you hear that our graduates are not skillful; they are well-equipped to be with the skills to be employable. Th is can make you to become an employer of labor if our graduates had acquired skills they won’t be looking for jobs; that is how other countries are growing.
Th e new government policy is Economic Recovery Plan (ERP). Most of the problem is unemployment. In Germany, when you go to school, as you’re studying for degree, you’re allowed to choose a trade to learn. Admission procedure We source admission through personal advertisements and JAMB as well as through some through students who sell the idea to their mates. Advice to youths Many of our youths are being misguided. Th ere’s this proverb in my language that a road is straight because it has somebody guiding it, but the river bends because nobody is guiding it. My boy of nine years told me he wants to be an engineer, today, give him any small thing, he will couple it. So, why are we wasting our time?
But I thank God for the life of this administration. For the fi rst time in our budget, education got N500 billion. All we need is just the political will on the part of our leaders: the judiciary, legislature and the executive. Nigeria will get to the Promised Land. Th ey should try to encourage the private institutions by providing enabling environment for them to key into the visions of government.