The Rector, Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, John Emaimo, pushed for the Federal College of Dental Technology (Establishment) Act of 2017, which empowers the institution to award degrees and postgraduate degrees. In February, the College got approval to run four undergraduate degree programmes in affiliation with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). In this interview with KOFOWOROLA BELO-OSAGIE, Emaimo speaks on the progress made so far.
Can you tell us about Federal College of Dental Technology And Therapy?
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 specialises in training students in medical and health programmes.
What legacy do you hope to leave on the sands of time?
As far as the management is concerned, we hope to move the College to the highest level of any category of federal higher institution in Nigeria.
We will ensure that the college competes favourably with other institutions of its kind and leave in the sands of time the footprints of excellence and improve the general health service delivery in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The College has been given the go- ahead to run degrees programmes. Have you added more programmes?
When the management took over in 2016, the college was offering only two programmes – Dental Therapy and Dental Technology at National Diploma 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 manpower, the capacity of lecturers, the research centres and laboratories, among others.
The management has also observed some inadequacies in some areas and is 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 the HND level from two to seven.
The college produced face masks, ventilators and hand sanitizers. How did you do this?
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 to prevent 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.
Two of your graduates were among the 110 corps members given automatic employment and scholarship up to the doctorate level in any Nigerian university. How do you feel about it?
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.
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