Admission Malpractice, Assault On School Laws Threaten Academic Quality At Bauchi Health College

In Breaking News, Education, Investigation, National News
By Idris Kamal Ibrahim, WikkiTimes

The Governing Council of Bill and Melinda Gates College of Health Technology, Ningi has dissolved the Academic Board of the college after it found one Amina Sule Abdulkaidir, a daughter of the Council’s Chairman, Alhaji Sule Abdulkadir Doguwa, and 10 other students guilty of exams malpractice, WikkiTimes’s independent Investigation revealed.

Amina and 10 other students of the Department of Medical Laboratory Technology of the  Bill and Melinda Gates College of Health Technology, Ningi, Bauchi State, were caught copying answers from a paper sneaked into the examination hall during the 2020/2021 academic session’s exams.

The Academic Board of the college constituted a committee to investigate Amina and the other students who were caught copying answers during the examination. On  8th March 2021, the board considered the report and came to the conclusion that the students had violated policies of the college relating to exams malpractice as provided for in the Students’ Handbook and recommended their dismissal.

The Board further nullified the entire examination and asked for a repeat, excluding those to be dismissed.

A statement dated 9th March 2021 signed by one SM Abdu Yaya on behalf of the Provost of the college, Garba Hussaini, stated that  Amina Sule Abdulkadir and 10 other students of the Department of Medical Laboratory of the college had been dismissed from the college.

The document, however, annexed the registration slip of the Amina and other 10 students duly signed by the college’s admission Officer. It further indicated that a lecturer of the college had leaked questions and answers to the students.

The suspected lecturer involved in leaking the questions and the answers to the students was also suspended.

However,  the Governing Council led by Alhaji Sule Abdulkadir Doguwa, father of one of the dismissed students(Amina) and chieftain of the ruling People’s Democratic Party in the state, was unhappy at the decision of the academic board.

A document dated March 24, 2021, showed that the Council resolved to dissolve the academic board of the college.

WikkiTimes investigations revealed that the decision of the Governing Council came after it failed to persuade the academic board to reverse its decision to dismiss the 11 students who had clearly contravened the regulations of the college.

It soon became obvious why the board was sacked.

The college immediately offered Amina an admission letter despite her dismissal from the exam that could have guaranteed her admission if she had passed. The management of the college also issued punitive queries to five of the directors on the dissolved academic board.

The queries, dated August 23, 2021,  were signed by the Provost of the College, Garba Hussaini. The directors were asked to appear before the Senior Staff Appointment and Promotion Committee of the college on 24th August 2021.

Students at the entrance of the college

One of the directors who spoke off-the-record to WikkiTimes said they were not given a fair hearing in the entire process as none of them was given a verbal warning before the query was issued to them.

Assault On School Laws

The decision was an assault on the regulations of the college and one that had ramifications for the quality of education and training offered at the college.

The students’ Handbook of the College clearly defined and categorizes unauthorized oral or written communication in exams hall, gaining an undue advantage by influencing college’s exams official, altering sitting position, being in possession of written or printed or photocopied material, copying answers from paper or book or note,  consulting unauthorized notes or books, assisting another candidate to cheat in an exam, receiving or giving help to another candidate in exams and assisting a candidate during practical as examination malpractices.

Others are having solutions to questions via the help of a student or staff, smuggling in and out a question paper, impersonation, disobeying lawful instructions, gaining previous knowledge of questions, copying from a fellow student, verbal or non-verbal noise making and malpractice through the used of phone or computer as exams malpractices.

The appropriate punishments for these offences are also listed in the handbook. These include disqualification from continuing with relevant exams with automatic failure in the respective course; disqualification from the entire exams and rustication for one calendar year and dismissal from school depending on the nature of the offence.

All these laws were assaulted and ignored as evident in the case of Amina, the daughter of the Chairman of the Governing Council of the school, “because her father is an authority in the college and one that could not be dared in the State because of his connection”, said a source who is privy to what happened.

Other Allegations

A group of five concerned staff of the college formerly part of the dissolved academic board of the college have written petitions against the Chairman of the Governing Council of the College, Alhaji  Abdulkadir Doguwa to Bauchi State Governor,  Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed. One of the petitions dated June 2021, alleged that the Chairman of the Governing Council of the College is not a health professional.

They argued that his non-professionalism is affecting the running of the college and creating setbacks in the college. For instance, they mentioned over, which defies admission protocols in key departments of the college such as the  Medical Laboratory Technician and the Pharmacy technician departments despite the provisions of admission limit by their relevant regulatory bodies.

The petition further alleged that the Chairman of the Governing Council of the college was biased in the dissolution of the academic board after the board had indicted his daughter for exams malpractice and appointment of Heads of Department and Directors as well as the appointment of junior staff to head a department or direct a school.

In his response,  Abdulkadir  Doguwa claimed that it was a case of corruption fighting back. Although he conceded that he is not a health professional but said that had not affected the running of the college as alleged.

In his letter dated July 2nd 2021 seen by  WikkiTimes, he denied hijacking the responsibilities of the academic board and the management of the college.

He said: “Regarding the dissolution of the academic board and leaving other tenured appointments, I can say that the appointment and tenure of school directors were clearly spelt in the law whereas the tenure for the other offices are stated in the scheme and condition of service which was giving partial approval and is been implemented.

“On the issue of bias in the appointment of school directors and heads of departments, the extant law of the college section 12, 1-2 and 21, 1 that provided for the establishment of the college has given the Governing Council the power to appoint school directors and heads of department with their tenure without mentioning seniority as a criterion in the appointment.”

Unqualified Candidates Get Admission

Data available to WikkiTimes showed that the Pharmacy Technician Department of the College was officially given an admission slot of 40 students by the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, PCN, for the 2020/2021 academic session.

At the end of its weeding exams for the session, the department ranked and shortlisted 46 students that passed the exams with grades ranging from 3.82 GPA to 2.05 GPA in line with set standards for absorption into its diploma programme out of 140 students that sat for the wedding exams.

Malam Babaru, a staff with the Pharmacy technician department of the college, told our reporter that the department included students whose performances were on the threshold of probation and presented the result of 54 students to the Provost of the college.

He said that the provost insisted that a quota system must be adopted to shortlist the final list of students to be absorbed into the diploma programme which is contrary to the provisions set by the college for admission of students through its weeding programme.

Parts of the modalities for the weeding programme at the college stipulated that “at the end of the semester, the result will be ranked and only qualified index-able number will be absorbed at the department.”

Similarly, the modalities added that any student on GPA “less than 1.50” will be advised to withdraw from the programme.

But Babaru revealed that the provost pressed for candidates of the Chairman of the Governing Council, Alhaji Sule Abdulkadir Doguwa and Chairman Bauchi State House of Assembly Committee on Health, Hon Bello Jadori who actually failed the exam. Their names were captured in the list of successful students.

The Provost later approved the result of 64 candidates after including names of candidates who failed.

Out of the 64 candidates, 15 were on probation meaning only 49 students merited to be absorbed into the Pharmacy Technician Programme of the College.

WikkiTimes’ analysis of the result showed that 24 students scored GPAs that are below 1.50 and 52 are on less than 1 GPA with 15 other students on probation.

Pharmacists Council Of Nigeria, PCN, Responds

Pharmacist Nenlep Bakwa, Bauchi State Officer of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria said that the council is not aware of the admission rackets in the Pharmacy Technician Department of the Bill and Melinda Gates College of Health technology Ningi as no report was submitted to it in respect of the allegation.

He said that PCN approves only 40 students to each pharmacy technician department yearly.

He said that the council index only the approved quota assigned to each of the two colleges in Bauchi State that have accreditation to run pharmacy technician departments in the state.

“Our attention is being called to what Ningi did which is called weeding. But they say it’s not only the department of Pharmacy Technicians. That’s the rule of the school.

“They admit some sets of students and those students are subjected to exams. Pharmacy Technician, we already know that it’s 40.

“We will not index more than the assigned quota. So, automatically the system regulates itself. I don’t know whether they paste the index we send them. If they do, it is at their local level. But if the school says out of mistake or pressure we did this, please help us. We will write to the registrar. But I don’t know the limit the registrar can give. And it can’t be always,” he said.

Provost Failed Several Interview Promises, Ignores FOI Request

Garba Hussaini, the Provost of the college serially failed to honour the interview appointments he gave to our reporter.

For instance, on September 13th 2021 WikkiTimes’ reporter went to the college to honour an interview appointment with the Provosts but was informed on reaching the office of the provost that he was not on seat due to an ailment.

The Provost promised a phone interview when his condition improves but repeatedly refused to speak to WikkiTimes.

He rescheduled the interview to 21st September 2021. Again, he kept given excuses after WikkiTimes sent a team of three journalists to interview him.

After several visits to Ningi on appointment to interview him failed, WikkiTimes sent a freedom of information act request to the provost dated 21st September 2021 asking for his response to all the allegations against the Governing Council and the management of the college.

However, the Provost did not also respond to the FOI request sent to him as of press time.

Chairman Governing Council Interrupts Phone Interview, Ignores Text Message Sent

The Chairman of the Governing Council also declined to comment on the role of the council in the erosion of academic excellence in the school.

Doguwa directed the reporter to the Provost of the college, saying it is an “issue that concerns the management of the college.

“If you will ask me about what concerns me personally and asked about my daughter, you are not fair to me, you are not fair to me,” he said and cut off the conversation.

Bauchi Health Ministry Ignores FOI Request

After several visits to interview authorities of the Bauchi State Ministry of Health, WikkiTimes also sent a Freedom of Information Act Request dated 28th September. The request is also ignored as of press time.

This story is published with support from Civic Media Lab under its Investigative Reporting Partnership Project.

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