AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY DR. JOHN EMAIMO, RECTOR OF THE COLLEGE DURING THE MAIDEN CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF THE FEDERAL COLLEGE OF DENTAL TECHNOLOGY AND THERAPY, ENUGU HELD AT THE CONVOCATION GROUND OF THE COLLEGE ON 29TH NOVEMBER 2018.
It is my pleasure to welcome you all, on behalf of the Management, Staff and Students of our great College, to the Maiden Convocation of the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu.
I will be fast to add that this is a new dawn of a symbiotic relationship between the College, our graduates, our awardees, and other friends of the College. We believe that this new dawn is going to be mutually beneficial. We are also aware that you are here not because you have no other business for the day but for your interest in our College. I must, therefore, commend you all for being here with us today.
INTRODUCTION OF THE COLLEGE
The Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu is a Federal tertiary institution that was established by the Colonial Government in 1952 and commenced operation in 1955 at No. 1 Broad Street in Lagos as a Centre of Excellence in Africa. The Government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari decided in late 1970s to relocate some Federal Institutions away from Lagos to other parts of the country to enable equitable spread of federal presence in the country. In that light, our college was relocated to Enugu in 1982. The College has been re-established by Nigerian law viz Act No.8 of 2018 and granted the power to award degrees based on the urgent need to transit the programmes from HND to degree in order to enhance the career progression of these professionals and retain them in hospitals. The institution by law is to be supervised jointly by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Health as stipulated by the said Act.
The College at the moment is regulated by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and awards National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in:
- Dental Technology;
- Dental Therapy;
- Dental Nursing;
- Biomedical Engineering;
- Social Development and;
- Prosthetic and Orthotics.
The College is presently in the process of commencing degree programmes in 2018/2019 academic year.
Permit me to inform you that the College is also in the processes of mounting eight (8) new additional programmes in the 2019/2020 academic year, and admission of students to the College is usually processed through JAMB since 1997. The College graduates have also been serving the mandatory National Youth Service from the inception of the programme.
The College is the only Federal Government owned institution in Africa that trains Dental Technologists, Dental Therapists and Dental Nurses. It is a premier Dental College in Africa, and has the record of training all frontline Dental Technologists and Therapists in Africa.
SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO NIGERIAN MEDICAL AND HEALTH SECTOR GROWTH
The Graduates of our courses are considered very vital to the development of Nigeria and Africa at large as they play the all-important role of fortifying the Medical and Dental health team; for instance, the Dental Technologists remained the only set of professionals in the world that produce and fabricate Artificial Teeth, Eyeballs, exterior part of the Nose, Ear, Fingers, Lips and Skull. While the Dental Nurses are the only specialists that are trained in providing nursing services and care to Dental and Oral Maxillo-facial patients. Also, the Dental Therapists are solely responsible for maintenance of professional oral hygiene for prevention of diseases and infection as well as Oral Health Education. We are also aware that Prosthetist and Orthotics also trained in the College are the only professionals that fabricate and replace lost limps and arms while the Bio Medical Engineers are trained in the Art, Science and Techniques of Fabrication, Maintenance and Servicing of Medical and Dental Equipment for the good functioning of hospitals. More importantly, these professionals are in dire need in our hospitals and are also capable of setting up their own practices/businesses on graduation. In this way they decrease the labour market by creating jobs.
PROSPECTS OF THE COLLEGE:
Faculty of Dental Technology and Engineering
- Department of Dental Technology
- Department of Bio Medical Engineering (Dental)
- Department of Prosthetic and Orthotics
Faculty of and Health Sciences
- Department of Dental Therapy
- Department of Dental Nursing
Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences
- Department of Applied Sciences
- Department of General Studies
- Department of Social Work
Directorate of Entrepreneurship
- Vocational and Skills Acquisition Centre
- Department of Academic Entrepreneurship Service
- National Board for Technical Education (NBTE)
- West African Health Organization (WAHO)
- Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH)
- Federal Ministry of Education
- Dental Technologists Registration Board of Nigeria (DTRBN)
- Dental Therapists Registration Board of Nigeria (DThRBN)
INVENTIONS, RESEARCH FINDINGS AND SUCCESS STORY OF THE COLLEGE
The College also has some success stories. It may interest you to know that the past students of this College has invented and fabricated some prototype equipment used in our laboratories for years now which ordinarily will cost Millions of Naira and safe capital flight. Our students also won SMEDAN award for technological innovation and also invent curing bath (gas powered) used in the fabrication of dental prostheses and propound special toothpaste used during practicals in the College.
It may also interest you to know that the only four (4) Professors of Dental Technology in South Africa were trained in the mid-eighties in our College in Enugu before they proceeded to Cardiff for PGD, MSc. and PhD and returned to South Africa to mount Degree programmes in Dental Technology which used to be the only country offering post graduate programmes in dental technology in Africa until this year when we launched our school of post graduate studies.
PURPOSE OF THE CONVOCATION CEREMONY
The broad objective of this exercise is to create an environment of interface between the College, our graduates, and our friends from the fourth estate. This interface will no doubt form a synergy upon which an enduring partnership for development will start and be sustained.
You can agree with me that this institution is long overdue to convocate her graduates, and whatever reason, we are not blowing our trumpet unnecessarily, but have come of age and time to launch into space to showcase our strength politely and draw necessary attention to the unmined gold in Trans Ekulu, Enugu that is begging for attention. We therefore solicit your goodwill and professional technocracy in placing a clarion call on the relevant authorities and individuals to come to the rescue of this Noble College to enable her actualize her set mandate that is quite irreplaceable in our professional and social existence.
The title of the convocation lecture which was delivered yesterday by Prof. Chief Chinedum Nwajiuba (KSC), Vice Chancellor Federal University of Agriculture, Ikwo, Ebonyi State is WORLD ECONOMIC PARAMETERS, PROSPECTS AND FALLOUTS; NIGERIAN PERSPECTIVE AND SITUATION. This lecture was apt and taught provoking. It effectively set the tone for this convocation.
CONFERNMENT OF AWARDS
Permit me to further elaborate that a total number of 1100 graduands covering 2015 till 2018 will be convocating and some notable and eminent citizens of this country will also be honoured with the highest prestigious honours of the College inclusive of Doctors of Philosophies after which there will be a Gala night later in the evening.
At this juncture, it is imperative to state categorically that we are determined to continue our tradition of producing quality first class graduates that compete favourably with their counterparts in any part of the world.
As usual, the College will continue to accord students’ welfare top priority. The synergy and cordial relationship between the management and student’s leadership has helped in ensuring that basic needs and facilities required by students for successful study in Federal College of Dental Technology & Therapy are provided.
This has contributed greatly to the peaceful and harmonious working relationship and environment witnessed in the College. We continue to use the student unionism as a tool for preparing future leaders in furtherance of our service mandate. By dint of deliberate efforts, students’ elections and transition of power has always been peaceful.
The terms of successive student’s administrations have also been relatively peaceful and stable. The institution owes all this to the effective and efficient mentoring and orientation programmes for students every year.
Also permit me once again to use this opportunity to highlight some of our challenges and needs. Presently, our JAMB students allocation based on first and second choice students stands at seven thousand five hundred (7500) yearly but our admission capacity is about one thousand two hundred only (1200) due to infrastructural inadequacies like; Classroom, Laboratory and Equipment, Lecture Theatre, Academic Block and Library Complex to mention on most pressed basis.
This situation may sound strange to our colleagues in the corridor of tertiary institution, but of course it is due mainly to lack of TETTFUND intervention as is applicable in almost all other Federal tertiary institutions. We therefore urge our partners from the media to use this opportunity to assist in drawing the attention of TETTFUND to intervene in the College as there lies a huge opportunity of return on this investment.
NEED FOR TETFUND ASSISTANCE
- Building of classrooms
- Building of Auditorium
- Building of Administrative Block
- Building of Hostels
- Building of Staff Quarters
- Building of Residence for Principal Officers
- Provision of Standard Library
- Road Network in the College
- Provision of School buses
- Building of Research Centre
- Capacity development for lecturers
RATIONALE FOR THIS INTERVENTION
- The Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu (FCDTTE) is still the only College offering these courses in West African Region and still attract international students.
- All African students for these courses go to South Africa for advance studies (under the past students of FCDTTE) or Europe. The advance programmes are possible in Enugu given adequate infrastructure.
- All materials and equipment used in training and practice presently in all fields of dentistry in Africa are imported from Europe. FCDTTE is supposed to train and develop professionals who will engage in local sourcing and manufacturing to produce local substitute. Fortunately, FCDTTE has manufactured and developed prototypes but needs funding to process production.
- Repositioning this College will attract large number of foreign students, reduce capital flight and generate fund from international students. It will also enable breakthroughs in international dental market.
- Lecturers in FCDTTE do not have enough office to attend to students, projects and sometimes, this is done in the corridors, or under the trees, this trend reduces international patronage.
- There is a high opportunity for setting up international centre in dental education.
- No opportunity for attendance of international conferences and workshops is available for staff and students.
We hereby appeal for any possible window for the College to access funding. With the support of the fund the College stands a chance of regaining the purpose of her initial establishment (Centre of Excellence) thereby attracting students from other African countries to Nigeria for these rare programmes.
Conclusively, Gentlemen of the press, let me again on behalf of staff and students of this College, thank you sincerely for the robust support which our College has enjoyed from you in the area of coverage and publicity. I also want to thank you for being here today.
There is no doubt that this kind of meeting will lead to better co-operation between you, gentlemen of the press and the College. I warmly extend our invitation to you to not only grace the Maiden Convocation but to also, continue to extend your positive contributions to the College by giving wide coverage to the events and its outcome to positively touch the lives of Nigerian and Africa in general.
Dr. John Emaimo, DSW, Dfsow, FDA, FIHM, FCAI