The Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Commodore Emmanuel Effedua (retd), has revealed that despite the myriad of challenges facing the institution, it remains the best institution to train maritime personnel in Nigeria today.
Effedua while briefing the press on the challenges, and prospects as well the milestones recorded by the school since he took over leadership about two years ago, said he inherited over-bloated cadets enrollment, demoralised manpower, infrastructural decay, poor maintenance of facilities, interference from external interests as well as unnecessary employment, as some of the problems of the academy.
Other sets of problems according to the rector included a dearth of teaching aids, inadequately qualified lecturers, deplorable hostels with overcrowded rooms, decaying state of sporting facilities and abandoned projects, misplacement of priorities in the management of funds, contractors with criminal activities, huge debt, hostilities from the host communities, irregular funding, poor attitude to work by staff and poor salary structure for the academic staff.
But he said in the last two years, he had changed the sorry state of affairs in the school which now boasts of some of the best lecturers in the maritime industry, while working hard to improve on the funding for the institution’s activities through blockage of leakages.
“I have at least 98 percent of all I needed to have to achieve the goals of which this academy was established, but the remaining two percent is even more than the 98 percent. But we are getting there.
“We may not be getting the funding we need on time, but the academy cannot be said to be starved of funds. Though the funds which we receive quarterly may come a little late, but because we have blocked all the leakages through which the academy’s funds were being drained, we have saved enough to pay our academic staff adequately to avoid their being poached, a situation that might return us to ground zero where we were two years ago,” the rector said.
Explaining the renewed efforts to reposition the academy physically and academically, Effedua said the institution had to review its curriculum in line with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standard, and reduce the cadet intake from the over-bloated 1,800 to 256 for the 2018/2019 academic session.
Apart from the completing the ultra-modern auditorium which his administration inherited as an abandoned project from the previous regime, the rector said the school had remodeled the hostels to accommodate only two cadets per room and built more classrooms conducive for learning by the cadets.
“Some professional courses have been introduced to aid cadets’ experience and improvement. We have also introduced on-board, a sea-time programme for ND cadets.
“Other reforms carried out by the management include financial audit, restructuring of the directorates and departments, creation of course file for lecturers, the introduction of additional short courses like ship security, officers’ course, laptop purchase for cadets, rebranding of certificates with improved security, provision of books and improved feeding for cadets,” the rector said.