The Cross River University of Technology which used to be known as CRUTECH is a state-owned tertiary institution with four campuses spread across four local government areas of the state. It was established in 2002 after the merging of three higher institutions: The Polytechnic, Calabar, The College of Education and Ibrahim Babangida College of Agriculture. The university was established as a technology university that trains Nigerians in different aspects of science and technology.
The name was recently changed after the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade signed the bill which was sponsored by the leader of Cross River State House of Assembly, Peter Odey into law. The bill, according to the sponsor, is aimed at expanding both academic and infrastructural activities of the institution.
Odey who is representing Ogoja State Constituency believes that the change will give the institution the platform to compete with global best practises and emerge as a world class university some day. He also believes that the change will cause some expansion on the curriculum and programmes of the university.
This looks and sounds good. But one thing is to change the name of an institution, it is another thing altogether to understand what it takes to transform every facet of the university. There is no denying the fact that the change is needed as that is the only university owned by the Cross River State government at the moment. It is also worthy to note that the institution was limited as it was bound not to have accreditation to other courses outside technology based courses.
But beyond the change of name and nomenclature, it is important to find out how prepared the government is to rebrand the school and take it to where it ought to be, in the area of funding, infrastructure, capacity building of the lecturers and all.
We are aware that the school had to go through various challenges, ranging from complaints about staff welfare, accreditation of courses, dearth of basic amenities, security, et cetera. The fencing project of the university has become nightmarish for decades now and till date, the school is still open to external attacks.
It is our view therefore, that what the university needs now is a deliberate action of the government to give the university the attention it deserves. Fine, it has a new name. It should also have new infrastructure, well motivated staff, better security architecture and a conducive learning environment.
We have not seen any changes in any form in the university since the name change was effected. It remains an old wine in a new wine skin. What does it profit the students and the university community if they lose their old identity and still suffer all forms of lack, as it was before now?
It will be much more beneficial if the name change comes with some other changes that will give the university some new look and image. Let it be done now, otherwise the name change will become as useless as the word useless.