TOPFAITH UNIVERSITY UNVEILS THE PHILOSOPHY UNDERLYING HER SUCCESS…
Assures Public Of High Academic Performance
TOPFAITH is a brand that has continued to make giant strides in the educational sector of the nation. Recently, it received formal approval from National University Commission NUC) to commence academic programmes. All is set for the new university to commence academic activities in September this year.
Being a highly reputable brand which has sustained its top position in academics and social infrastructure, nothing short of excellence is the expectation of the public. In this interview with IMA NKANTA, the Chairman of the Governing Board, Topfaith Group of Schools, DR. EMMANUEL ABRAHAM, speaks boldly on the philosophy guiding the brand.
The attacks on universities and other educational facilities have continued to create a lot of fear. How will you allay the fears of parents regarding security breaches in schools?
It is a very simple matter. Two organs that affect human life are on top of the issue: these are God and Government. We’ve always known that after God is Government. So, if these two organs that affect human lives are on top of these issues, we then should be convinced that we are safe.
Are you saying that there’s no cause for alarm?
Obviously! Life is simply about survival. You cannot say that there is a feeling of insecurity that’s why you are afraid, then how will you prove God? How will you then prove governance? The issue of insecurity is a phase and it’s being managed by the Almighty and is given serious attention by the government. So this phase will come and go.
The frequent attacks call for re-strategization, it calls for rethinking, it calls for innovative approaches to doing things, it calls for dedication, it calls for re-visioning. So, the whole life of man is dynamic. Anytime there is a change of music, dancing steps must change.
What kind of re-strategization do you suggest government should make in security issues?
The security situation affects every facet of life, not only the school system. Every individual must be security conscious, you must be more careful, you must be more open-minded and you must also be holistic enough to ensure you do the right thing and call for right action and results.
For years now Topfaith has been able to sustain a peaceful scenario even in a secluded area, in spite of skirmishes here and there. How have you been able to sustain this tempo with the community?
There are two communities we have. The first community we have is God. I would say, God has been very gracious upon our lives and activities, upon our students and the parents. The second community is where we are physically located. By the special grace of God, this same God has made it possible that it is the community that owns this vision, the community appreciates this vision, the community invokes God’s grace upon this vision and they are very protective of it. They appreciate it, they commend it and pray for it.
Topfaith schools brought development, into this Community. What will the university bring?
It will bring what remains of development. There are other arms of development the secondary school has not brought and that’s what the university will bring. Development is multidimensional. We have physical development, we have psychological development, we have emotional development, financial and intellectual.
We are envisioning development in educational and touristic. Education is the centre for all other algorithms of life, which is totally different from growth. Growth defined in an economic term is purely quantitative, physical and factual, but development is psychic, the pride of an indigene of Mkpatak, is telling somebody that ‘there is a university in my community,’ it invokes confidence, aspiration and appreciation.
So, what remains of other developmental dynamics that our other school system has not brought will be brought in here by the university.
So in terms of appreciation to the community, do you give priority to the indigenes in terms of employment?
We give priority to indigenes who are qualified, we emphasize meritocracy in the things we do and that is what has made us stand out, the community appreciates that.
The Udom administration has just marked six years in office, as a major player in the educational sector, can you do an assessment of the performance of this administration in education?
What I know is that this government has been education friendly, that has made it easy and possible for us to participate, playing a very complementary roll to the educational philosophy, aspiration and quality orientation of the government. With this kind of liberal approach, it is my very considered opinion that we have been granted wonderful level playing ground for us to participate, for us to contribute and appreciate from the liberal and education friendly approach of this government.
When you say this government has been education friendly, to what extent, because there are still dilapidated school buildings all over ?
When I hear things like this, personally as a development economist and an educationist, I sometimes smile in my heart. Education is a process, not a one day matter, so the anxiety that everything should be as if it is, “Let there be light, and there was light,” it is not philosophical or logical. So, it is a process, that’s why there is a budget every year, that is why there are short term, middle term and long term plans. So, the fact that there’s no skyscraper in one rural area this year does not mean that it will not come next year, what I think the whole matter calls for is to observe a sequential continuum of activities towards the quality perspective, as far as education is concerned. That’s my way of reflecting as far as attitude to education is concerned; whether it is private or public sector.
Aside God as the foundation of your success, can you open our eyes to other areas that accounted for success of the Topfaith brand?
I’m happy you’ve emphasized the foundation. Based on our name, you should have some understanding of what faith means. The question is; Faith in what? Basically, faith in God, and so God becomes the Alpha and Omega. If we have strategic managerial skills, it comes from God, if we are able to provide proper facilities that provide quality learning environment, it is God that gives us the skills and resources. He gives us the attitude to care and nurture students and they come out tops in every endeavour.
It is God that gives us the ability, that is why we keep saying that God is our foundation and we as humans are simply the instrument. We tell our staff that they are the instruments of implementing the vision that has been ordained by God. That’s our belief, it’s our philosophy and the driving byline of our operations. You can encapsulate everything within that, because with God, everything is possible.
But humans also have attitudes…
Yes, the attitude is also managed by God, it is God that will make you have a good attitude that will be admired, it is God that will give you the knowledge to do the right thing at the right time, it is God that will make it possible for you to be prudent in your management, it is God that will give you the spirit to tell the truth. As a matter of fact, our whole operation is founded on truth, founded on our obvious ability and capacity and proper inclination to doing the right thing and obviously to disburse value to every stakeholder in this system, from the staff to the community, to the students, to the parents, to the examination bodies and to everyone that is associated with us. So, that transparency of only declaring and sticking to what we have the capacity to do and do, just as the Bible says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” that’s a driving byline for us.
There are some difficult students who come from godly background, how do you manage such people?
We take grace from God, the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient unto thee,” we ask God to help us change those children for good, so that they themselves would serve God, humanity and themselves. God has been so benevolent and we have succeeded in changing the difficult children.
How do you deal with the issue of inbred cultism?
That one is absolutely nonexistent. I am not too sure my students and my staff can properly spell the word cultism. They may have heard it taught in social studies, and may also be wondering what that means. How do we deal with it? We deal with it by ensuring that it does not even exist throughout the system. Even if some persons have that tendency, our environment changes personality and persons, our structures are such that even if you want to make that kind of move, our system will catch up with you and then we meet in the board. We haven’t experienced such yet.
What assurance do you give to aspiring students of Topfaith University?
The assurance I will give is that as it has been our culture, our approach to education is fundamentally philosophical, functional and soul searching, that is why we are saying that our educational approach to the Topfaith University will follow what the architects call the 3D design. Our approach is that, as you come from wherever you come from, it is our responsibility, duty, vision and mission to engage you such that we discover your talent, and you discover it, when that discovery is achieved, we jointly develop it, when its developed within the content and context, we together deploy it.
We are anchoring on a mission to discover, develop what we have discovered, and deploy what we have developed. By so doing, we will produce persons and personalities who will be self-actualizing, self-confident, environmentally relevant, geographically, nationally and internationally functional. This is the assurance I can give them.
If you take a tour of our facilities, they are tailor-made to achieve this mission. Facilities here are not just placed anyhow, even our training process in terms of the human resources we will use to drive this mission is focused on developing this philosophy. So, at the end of the day, we are looking at a wholesome personality that will feel so confident, we have so critical, self-developmental leadership and soft life’s skills that we will teach everybody, besides the real issue that pertains to your academic programme.
So, whatever you learn, you’ll go through robust life’s focused principles, meant to sharpen in your leadership skills, managerial care, nurturing dynamics, ethical revolution, ambitious renascence, good aspirations, nationalism, civic responsibility and law abiding-ness. These are issues that are not prevalent in a teaching and learning process in the education environment. We want to create it right from the onset, so that the students who come in here will begin from the grass roots to experience the need to be holistic.
The whole idea is not for you to get up and condemn yourself, condemn the black man, condemn Nigeria, condemn Africa, rather think of a solution. If the past has disappointed the present and if you are at the present, do you want to disappoint the future? We want you to say, no! As a student of Topfaith, the future will not be disappointed because I am going to be a catalyst to ensure that we invent the future today, so that our present will not look like the past.