Years back, people enjoy government, individual or group sponsorship to read whatever course of their choice in any institution of learning. The situation nowadays is very different. Today, securing admission to either secondary or tertiary institutions is nightmarish. It is a thing of the past for a child who was offered admission into any higher institution to celebrate with friends and neighbours, or even have a party for such a great achievement. This is because the news of such admissions today goes with a higher demand, financially speaking. With so many schools scattered all over the place one would expect that such problems like finance will never be a great issue to be considered. The situation is made worse because those who benefited from both the government and individual grants years ago, are the ones today who would not like anyone to enjoy what they enjoyed.
Nigeria being one of the greatest countries in Africa, several efforts have been made by successive governments to address the issue of poverty and education. By virtue of good education so many people can boast of a decent income, through which they are able to lift up their numerous cousins, and take care of a host of uncles and aunties in their extended families with their earnings. Though many of these people have not been able to do much for themselves by way of luxuries like their other colleagues from well-endowed backgrounds yet education is seen as possessing a curative power to poverty. Could this be the reason for the free education programme of old Western Region of Nigeria?
Well, when we talk about the issue of education, it always sounds as we are dumping everything it brings with at the doorstep of government. We may not be totally wrong, because we too have a part to play. Seeing that poverty has not just a cause but multiple causes, perhaps some more devastating than others, we can identify any of them based on our own ability with a view of solving them or preventing a recurrence of an untoward event, since identifying the cause of poverty is not a rocket science.
MKO Abiola set an example, and up till this moment so many people are blind to that level of thinking. Those who were empowered by both the government and the likes of Abiola are still finding it difficult to understand why poverty remains a big challenge in a country like Nigeria. The few who were able to look in the mirror came up with some theories on the downward spiraling of educational achievement in Nigeria. Few of these theories materialized into huge projects whereas the rest died in the blame game they were meant for. Among the few theories that materialized was that of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to establish an institution that will train and re-train their staff members in television broadcast.
When the regional states were merged to form the NTA in 1977, it became necessary to train the workforce to meet the immediate challenges. This led to the realization of the dream in 1980 as the NTA Television College, with its present location at Rayfield Jos, was established. Though at the inception, the emphasis was on Proficiency/Short Course, and later, Diploma Certificate in Television Journalism, TV Production, TV Design and TV Engineering, but in 2003 the Central Management of NTA set up a committee to look into the upgrading of the College into a degree-awarding institution. This materialized in the affiliation of the College to the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 2006 making it possible for the College to award the degree of B.Sc Mass Communication (Television).
This College however maintains excellent working relationship with several academic institutions within and outside Nigeria. Apart from its affiliation to ABU Zaria, the College is a candidate member of CILECT which recently elected the present Rector Dr. Ayo Fasan as a Board member. This College in its present nature is no longer viewed from the angle of its earlier status of only training staff members on short courses and diploma certificates, but is today open to the general public to achieve its mandate of offering knowledge and skills in television broadcast.
It is necessary therefore to remind readers that the College, like every other institution, has challenges that are still hampering the realization of its vision of becoming a world class television training institution. These problems range from inadequate classroom blocks, furniture (School Desks), staffrooms (offices), state-of-the-art library, electronic equipment, cameras, lack of portable drinking water, inadequate hostel accommodation, etc. With all these problems looming larger as the days go on, it is evident that the founding fathers and the management of this enviable institution took a long break after having achieved what looked like a great feat, without bearing in mind that Nigeria which used to be good at providing quality and affordable education, will not be pleased with unconsolidated achievements.
However, given the period of years in existence, it is clear that this College has fathered so many children. Among the children of this one man, we can be able to find one or two people who can truly be a source of wind beneath their father’s wings. Having graduated so many people that are today enjoying the benefits of this dream of training to promote excellence in television broadcast, it is my candid opinion that a little bit of service from these legendary children to their alma mater will surely make a difference in the lives and educational attainment of other people after them. The management on its part will also work harder to see that high academic standards are maintained, fees reduced to the barest minimum so as to encourage would-be professionals, and the various certificates from the school made valid and strong enough to compete with those of other institutions.
When there is no gap between the management and the products of the institution, a new thing will truly begin in the College. Out of a collective effort, a book can be bought and be deposited in the school library; a desk for the classroom, a computer and cameras for the studios, a generator, and even an encouragement to the students in sharing responsibilities. This is the only way the mission to produce, excellent television broadcast training worldwide, and broadcast graduates with the capacity to project the true African perspective, will be achieved.