CAMPAIGN FOR "ALMA MATER" ENDOWMENTThis program is the most urgent given the critical state of that sector at present.
Part I: Introduction
Optimizing Partnership Benefits: Old Students/Alumni Associations
1. Given the heavy burden of funding the Educational sector, it is only natural and reasonable that every opportunity to share the burden be explored. In terms of financial and physical contribution, Old Students/Alumni Associations as well as PTA/CDAs are very prominent traditional stake-holders in the Educational sector.
2. Government relationship with the PTA has been quite robust and relatively well developed. The Ministry of Community Development and Cooperative similarly already has a policy in place to align Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of private firms in the State with the needs-including education of their host communities as represented by their respective CDAs.
3. Optimizing Partnership Benefits involves:
The Schools' Management clearly identifying the needs and priorities of the schools, while The Old Students channel their collective resources to accommodate those identified needs.
4. However, the Old Students/Alumni Association is a platform for partnership with Government that requires further development for optimum realization of the potentials they hold. There are several dis-connects, or challenges, which if properly addressed, will set free and release into the educational sector yet unquantifiable resources to Re-build that sector.
- Extreme Disparity in Viability
While some schools, by reason of age and as first generation institutions or location, have produced impressive roll call of Old Students, others due to relatively young age and rural location are yet to make their mark in the comity of Old Students Associations. While the latter categories are without help, the Old Students have little to apply their immense Old Students resources to.
- Dormancy among Premium Value Old Students.
Many Old Students have attained lofty heights in various walks of life all over the world. However, for one reason or the other, they have not directed their attention at helping their alma mater.
- Under-estimation of Potentials
Traditionally, Old Students are active in their schools with stereotype contributions in the area of facilities and scholarship. Big Old Schools often get saturated and many alumni are left generally unchallenged in investing in the school system.
6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR OLD STUDENTS ENGAGEMENT
- Provision of Physical facilities-buildings, vehicles, equipment etc.
- Scholarship and assistance to indigent students.
- Students job placement and mentoring. However, potentials and resources of Old Students vastly transcend these items. Creativeness, passion and structured administration of Old Students affairs by Government will unbottle needed energy to transform our school system.
7. POSSIBLE SCENARIOS AND OPPORTUNITIES
- Overseas exposure:
Old Students in the Diaspora could facilitate short overseas excursions and exchange programs to expose and encourage Students, Teachers etc.
- Eminent Old Students:
Some Old Students are titans whose colossal resources cannot be fully exploited by their alma mater alone. If there are LG, Senatorial, State level platforms for Old Students Associations, such high-value personalities would be brought out of their silos to impact better on the wider school system.
- Budgetary Support:
Such platforms offer Government a forum to effectively engage Old Students Associations on priority areas of interest of Government for support in the Educational Sector. This holds tremendous prospects for Planning and Budget activities of Government. This is similar to the policy of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Alignment that could be undertaken by the Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives.
The major intervention required to wake up this sleeping giant is a re-organization of the apparatus of Government to render the necessary support and recognition to Old Students’ Associations. This will include;
- Designating a Desk at every school for Old Student /Alumni activities. Data on Old Student must be updated.
- The School Chapter Executive Council (Exco) of Old Students ‘Association should send their Representative to the Local Government Chapter of Old Students Association; Local Government Area to Senatorial and to State-Level; and higher levels-regional, national and international-as may be necessary.
- The relevant Department in the Ministry of Education will have the following responsibilities among others:
- Inter-facing with the State Exco of Old Students Associationls on areas of collaboration with Government especially in terms of inclusion in Planning and Budgeting programs, among others;
- Connecting Old Students with relevant agencies of Government that may benefit from their status and station in life-such as industrialists, professionals, global-players etc.
- Maintaining a well-motivated administrative structure from the school level Desk Officer to the highest levels of Government.
9. Hundreds of millions of naira worth of investment in physical infrastructure, capacity development and staff- welfare stand to be harvested continuously from this simple initiative.
Part II: Campaign for Alma Mater Endowment
10. The most potent vehicle for sustainable resource inflow into educational and training institutions is the Old Students/Alumni Associations. Very strong sentiments bind the old school products together which naturally predisposes them to the welfare of their Alma Mater.
11. Surveys conducted however revealed shocking wide-spread neglect of this potential. It is quite worrisome to discover that decades-old schools could afford to be without functioning formal Old Students Associations. Old Students’ contributions to the schools’ development were therefore both scanty and scattered. Without an organized road-map for harnessing this invaluable resource, the impact of Old Students’ intervention is most ineffective and unpredictable.
12. It is equally note-worthy that in the absence of effective Old Students Association, transparency and other corporate best practices indicators cannot be brought to bear. It is difficult therefore to ensure the proper application of resources that could be channeled through the Associations for the welfare of their Alma Mater.
13. The continued success of educational and training institutions cannot be divested from the level of staff motivation. Yet, most Old Students’ resources are directed at physical structures that can carry sign-posts to glorify their names. The basic emoluments by Governments and other employers will require substantial extra help to ensure schools staff discharges their duties happily and with passion. Priorities should therefore reasonably place the well-being of staff and students first.
14. There is a clear need to address these challenges militating against the optimal utilization of Old Students resources. This is the essence of The Campaign for Alma Mater Endowments. It is firmly believed that Alma Mater matters really matter to all:
- Government and other schools proprietors will be relieved of financial pressure;
- Staff and Students will be happier
- Old Students will have the satisfaction of positive impact on their Alma Mater.
- The entire community and wider society, individual and corporate; are equally touched in a most salubrious way.