KASU Kafanchan Campus: A High Institution Of Learning In Darkness
It is popularly said that education is the bedrock of any society and the most powerful weapon in the fight against poverty – but this is only in the context of where it is qualitative. The Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani, in his SUSTAIN blueprint promised to implement the Tertiary Institutions Plan (2018-2027), which seeks to expand access to higher education through a multi-campus system for tertiary institutions.
Now that the elections are over, it is time to translate rhetoric to result in terms of bridging access to quality tertiary education towards accelerating human capital development in the State. For a State that prides itself as the center of learning, only the best learning environment for the students, in this case in high institutions, is expected.
However, disturbingly so, this cannot be said of the Kaduna State University (KASU) – Kafanchan campus, which has been enveloped by avoidable darkness for months now. This is the result of the disconnection of electricity due to the inability of the management to pay the backlog of unsettled electricity charges.
It is an embarrassment to the State, particularly the government, that students of the state-owned university were made to prepare for examinations without light. Many of them relied on candles/rechargeable lights or had to go off campus in search of electricity/generator light to study at night.
During the last examination, it took the threat of a protest by the students for the management to make a temporary daily provision of three hours of generator light. Many are of the belief that last semester’s examination was delayed due to lack of electricity power to print exam papers.
Similarly, it is disturbing that the students living in the hostels are without potable water running through the pipes. The students only depend on inadequate supply by water tankers provided by the management as well as visiting neighboring communities. This unpalatable situation exposes the students to risk of water borne diseases, reptiles as well as theft and other criminalities.
The school properties are not exempted, as vandalism has been on the increase – with a recent case of a thief who was caught vandalizing a class under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately, even the staff resident on campus are also faced with the above mentioned challenges, which negatively affects the quality of academic and non-academic services. The current situation shows one of the major aims of setting up the campus, which is to boost access to quality higher education – as promulgated in the Kaduna State Law No.3, 2004, establishing the University – is being defeated.
In the 2023 approved budget, the Kaduna State University (KASU) has a total expenditure allocation of N18.6 billion – made up of N5.1 billion recurrent and N13.4 billion capital expenditures. Under the overhead cost of N327.5 million for the University, Electricity Charges got an allocation of N30 million. The University, according to the Kaduna State 2023 Budget Performance Report for quarter two (half-year), generated revenue of about N1.1 billion. In the same period, the report shows the University has expended about N3.4 billion. It is worrisome that out of this expenditure, payment of electricity charges was not considered for the Kafanchan campus.
There are insinuations that deliberately these expenditures are channeled majorly to the main campus and the new site being constructed. The students in Kafanchan campus now have the notion that the State government has largely neglected them. Also, the neglect of the institution’s infrastructure is evident due to poor public budgetary investment; nonetheless, the minimum the students expect from the State government is to have electricity to enable them study and pass their examination. The Student Union leaders have repeatedly written and engaged the management of the University as well as the Metropolitan Authority but to no avail.
Disturbingly, a new semester has commenced without the issue being addressed – as the management seems to be overwhelmed by the situation. Therefore, this is an appeal to the Governor of Kaduna State to urgently intervene and salvage the students of KASU Kafanchan campus from darkness resulting in an unconducive learning environment.
The Governor should heed the advice of former President of America, George W. Bush, who stated, “ you see, we’ll never be able to compete in the 21st century unless we have an education system that doesn’t quit on children, an education system that raises standards, an education that makes sure there’s excellence in every classroom.”
In addition, there is a need for the Governor to urgently douse the rising tension and agitation among the students over the non-availability of light on the campus for months. Also, engaging the electricity company to amicably address the issue of backlog of unpaid electricity charges is needed at this point in time. Finally, it is high time for the management of the University, with the support of the State government, to explore alternative power solutions on the campuses across the State.
Lets engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.
Yusuf Ishaku Goje