Category: Campus Life
Published on 15 September 2015
Students Affairs Divission
Education and educating people is in the real sense a lifelong project in the life of not only the individual involved, but also that of the society within which the individual lives.
In general terms, education involves both formal and informal aspects. The more formal aspects include teaching/learning in a classroom, laboratory, studio etc settings depending on the peculiarities of a given subject area or discipline and usually with a planned curricula.
The informal aspects involve everything outside the formal aspects. Anything we learn anew including especially through socialization as a member of society. In fact, education is daily living; it is a way of life. It is a culture itself.
This brings to mind that succinct definition of culture given by Kroeber (1953, P.12) as “the mass of learned and transmitted…habits, techniques, ideas and values and the behavior they induce”, and that of Taylor (1891, P.36) as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, customs, and any other capabilities and habits learnt by man as a member of society.”
The critical irreducible element is therefore learning whether in a formal or in an informal way. Consequently, whenever learning takes place, education has equally taken place.
In reality, there is no watertight division between formal education and the informal aspects of education. Sometimes, we find that even within formal education settings there are informal aspects. Those who pursue the informal aspects along with the formal become complete products while those who are strictly concerned only with what is written out in the curricula end up as defective products.
Most tertiary institutions are as concerned with the formal aspects as much as they are with the informal. This explains why the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, , awards certificates not just on the basis of excellent learning of what is contained in the curricular, but also on significant extra curricula which has to do with character, thus the magic words “Worthy in Character and Learning” boldly written on the certificates issued to graduates of most tertiary institutions.
Incidentally, most aspects of the informal education and the extra-curricular activities of students fall on the laps of the Student Affairs Department, usually charged with or expected to perform functions which regularly fall under the following heading:
- Orientation for Fresh Student
- Hostel Accommodation
- Hostel Services and Management
- Students’ Associations
- Student Union Government
- Student Union Government Elections
- Counseling and Career Services
- Special services for Students with Special Needs
- Regulations and protection of students’ rights
- Students’ disciplinary matters
- Security of Life and Property
Orientation for Fresh Students
At MAUTECH, the department usually charged with the duty of organizing orientation for fresh students is Students Affairs. At MAUTECH the content of the orientation indicate the University’s central concern to ensure that their fresh students are not only assisted to get familiar with their new environment but more importantly doing this essentially within the framework of inculcating the vision and the mission statements as well as the core values of the university into their fresh students using the philosophy of “catch them young”.
The task of doing so is usually enormous ranging from identifying appropriate resource persons, determining the most appropriate time, arranging venue(s), mobilizing the students for the program, to assessing the impact of the program on the fresh students.
One of the most important services delivered by the Student Affairs Department is arranging and providing not only acceptable but affordable accommodation. This is a duty of an outstanding importance especially to the first students who, in most cases, are complete ‘strangers’ in the environment.
Although in respect to Federal Institutions, there is an open awareness of the Federal Government withdrawal of its financial support to hostel and hostel support services, MAUTECH realizes that any institution that absolutely seizes to care about where students live, may produce intelligent/academically sound young people but certainly of questionable character, for when students live where they will, they also learn behave how they will.
Living in hostels is one of the most effective ways of helping students especially new ones to begin their journey towards the goal of imbibing the ‘university culture’ and it is this culture that wholly transforms the student from what he or she is, to what he or she and the society expects them to become at the end of the learning period that spans their training in the University.
The easiest way to get around this huge task especially in a thick populated institution is to make access to accommodation electronic and online. From experience, this reduces a lot of pressure and frustrations on the part of both the liaison staff of the department, and the students themselves.
In addition to the advantage of reducing pressure on both staff and students, electronic registration ensures that no student registers without paying fees. It also helps the students as those who are tempted to use their fees for some other things and end up ring into crisis later when the game is up are saved from day one that temptation. Electronic/online registration also ensure easy management of timelines for registration.
Hostel Services and Management
Once the student checks into the accommodation provided for them, the next most important thing is to ensure that the student gets basic services such as water, electricity, clean environment etc.
For quite a long time, the environment in which our students were living was in a deplorable state. Although it may not be said that we have already reached our destination with respect to the environment which our students now live, it is clear that there has been tremendous improvement in the students halls of residence and the general environment of our students. In particular, this administration has done the following in its effort to continuously improve the classroom, hostel and sports facilities available to our students:
- Upgrading the roof of over 15 halls of residence for the first time in 30 years.
- Reconstructions of toilet facilities in students hostels.
- Provision of water inside the hostels as opposed to outside surface tanks.
- Replacement of windows and windows nettings.
- Landscaping of both student academic and residential areas.
- State of the art sports facilities including a sports Stadium with Tartan tracks, an Olympic-size swimming pool, squash courts and hall, hockey and cricket pitches etc.
With these facilities and many other improvements in the University including a standard library and ICT facility the academic relationship between the students and the administration is quite cordial.
Apart from the above, there are many issues involved in managing a collection of young, and in some cases undiscerning and exuberant people. Youngsters generally begin their lives with people whom they share consanguine ties.
Consequently, living in the institution’s hostel may be for many the first time they are living outside the confines of their family homes and with those they share no consanguine ties.
Ensuring that students live not only tolerantly and harmoniously, but equally with a convivial mindset is a great task and the first step towards achieving this is by having a code of conduct on how to conduct one’s affairs within the hostel, referred to as the Hostel Regulation. This is the main responsibility of the Student Affairs department and Student Affairs staff working in the hostels as Hall Supervisors, Porters, etc.
In the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, the highest ranking staff of the department in each hostel is called the Hall Supervisor. This person is in charge of the day to day rMAUTECHing and routine management of the hostel. He or she is assisted by other staff who may also be Hall Supervisors, but are usually of lower ranks, then trailed by the Porters, Cleaners and Messengers.
In addition to these staff, there is a hall government in each hall made of student officials, the head of which is called the Head Governor, with his/her team who assist greatly in organizing students and in the regular enforcement of hall regulations.
Given the level of care which the University believes the students need, there is also a staff of the institution, which is usually an academic staff, called a Hall Warden who is appointed by the head of the institution. This nomination is made by the recommendation of the Dean and is then put in charge of the hall. The Hall Warden has an office in the hostel where he/she is expected to come in at regular intervals to know the state of affairs within that particular hall.
The duties of the Hall Warden are generally:
- Liaising with all service departments in the University of ensure that adequate services are rendered to students residing in the Hall.
- Developing of suitable programs that will give students in the Hall the opportunity for growth and development through sound scholarship, intra-mural sports and leadership activities.
- Development of adequate code of conduct for students living in the Hall, and enforcing it.
- Offering general and/or specific advice to the Hall Government in matters of welfare of students in the Hall.
- Educating students in the Hall on the rules, regulations and policy of the University.
- Performing other functions as may, from time and time, be delegated to him/her by the Vice-Chancellor.
A Hall Warden is expected to hold meetings with students resident in the Hall at least twice a semester.
One of the ways of helping students to appreciate the advantages of living and working together in society is to encourage them to associate with themselves and thus form associations. These associations are of many varieties and background. Some are based on communities, local governments or on states of origin. Others are of cultural, religious and social origins, going beyond consanguine and ancestral boundaries.
Many of these associations contribute meaningfully to the development of leadership and team spirit among the students. However, due to the tendency in some students to step beyond bounds, there is usually a requirement that any group of students seeking to form themselves into a group must first apply to the Students Affairs, seeking permission to be registered and to be allowed to carry out their activities within the University.
During this application the students are required to list their proposed officers and membership, or even membership criterion of the association, including naming a staff adviser who would have accepted the responsibility of ensuring the said association will operate within the rules and regulations of the University if registered.
The Security Department is also requested to carry out a security check on the proposed officers and members of the association. If they are given a clean bill by the security, the Student Affairs will then register the association. This process keeps out secret associations (Secret Cults), who may not want to disclose their officers, membership and internal activities, being their basic hallmarks.
All student associations are required to obtain clearance from Student Affairs and Security departments before they can gold any activity on campus. This is important as some of the associations organize activities which though not illegal, are capable of undermining the security situation in the University within a particular period.