By Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
From what many people mockingly referred to as a “glorified community secondary school”, Taraba State Polytechnic Suntai has experienced tremendous evolution in terms of physical infrastructure, standard of teaching and learning, quality of Lecturers, discipline and quality as well as number of students and has caved an envious niche for itself.
Taraba State Polytechnic Suntai was initiated of the then Military administration of Capt. A. Afolahan but it was the Jolly Nyame administration that would later put in place all the necessary machinery for its take off. The Edict establishing the school was later signed into law in 1994 by the then Military administrator of the state Col. Yohanna Dickson. The State House of Assembly later amended the Edict into law and it came into enforcement on the 16th of December, 2011.
The School was established to full-time Courses of instructions and training in technology, science, Commerce, humanities and other such fields of learning relevant to the needs of the community as the council may determine from time to time and to provide courses of inservice training, workshops and seminars for members of the public and private sectors.
Over the years, the Polytechnic continued to function with grossly dilapidated infrastructure and to operate more like a community secondary school with government providing too little resources for any significant growth.
In the last few years, however, the school has been deliberately repositioned as a model Polytechnic where it’s graduates are excelling in various Universities across the country and those working have become the delight of most employees, including the Taraba State government.
Until the coming on board of the current Provost of the Polytechnic Dr Ayuba Abarshi, the school’s main administrative block was an eyesore. However, the school now has a standard administrative block beffiting of a higher institution. One of the graduates of the Polytechnic Mr John Israel Bobuin told our Correspondent that he felt ashame of inviting his friends from outside the state to visit him in school due to the poor infrastructure in the school that made it look like a local secondary school.
However, within the last few years, the management of the school have been able to collaborate with TETFUND and other relevant bodies to secure the construction and procurement of equipment for school of Engineering Technology complex that is now in use.
According to the Director of works at the Polytechnic, the school have also witnessed the construction of one storey academic staff block at Suntai campus, construction of 200 capacity female students hostel which is currently ongoing, the rehabilitation of 600 capacity auditorium, and rehabilitation of one block of lecture hall with four offices.
Other projects include construction of main entrance gate house and 2350 metre perimeter fence with Three Mini gate houses, construction of 3.2 Kilometers Perimeter Fence and Gate House with 2 Campus Gateways which is ongoing, procurement of water tanker and two tractors and a Toyota Hilux Van, among several others.
The school also boasts of one of the best Statistics Laboratory in the country with several computers and softwares that have made the learning of statistics a lot more interesting for the students of the school and even other from other schools in the state as well as researchers.
Until recently, the school campuses both in Jalingo and Suntai had not perimeter fence. This meant that there was uncontrolled access to the school including students hostels by outsiders. Cases of rape and theft were almost a daily occurrence. However, with the construction of perimeter fences on all the campuses and rejigging of the security structure of the school, students now live in relative safety.
Quality of learning
Most of the Lecturers have also been given scholarship through the TETFUND to further their education both in Nigeria and abroad. The management has made training and retraining of lecturers a top priority.
This has drastically affected the quality of teaching and learning positively. For two consecutive years, students of the Polytechnic bagged the prestigious Northeast Festival of Literature, Culture and Creativity Awards by coming too.
During the last convocation of the Taraba State University, one of the best graduating students, who bagged a First-class Degree in Mathematics Mr John Israel Bobuin was a product of the State Polytechnic. He is just one of many other students of the Polytechnic who are excelling in other schools of higher learning across the country and in various fields of work.
In close collaboration with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the school is engaged in various schemes that encourages entrepreneural advancement of both the students and other artisans in the community.
The school is currently championing the training of Artisans in various fields through the NBTE such that in the end, they will be independently certified in line with global standards. This and many more policy involvements of the school have made it an entrepreneur hub and a darling institution in the state and beyond.
Taraba State Polytechnic Suntai started in the most humble form imaginable. Over the years, the school has experienced steady growth. However under the Abarshi led management of the school, sound initiatives, willingness to dare and sheer ingenuity have created a most fascinating and robust development in all ramifications such that, it has become, unarguably, the fastest growing institution of Higher learning in the state and arguably, the entire Northeast.
Despite the remarkable achievements so far, the school has major issues of roads that are in dire need of rehabilitation, hostel accommodation for students, staff quarters and other office accommodation. It is hoped that, the new government in the state who has education at heart, will further support the institution to attain the enviable height it is already headed for.