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ENHANCEMENT OF VETERINARY TRAINING
AT THE
AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA.

A PROPOSAL FOR THE REVIEW OF VETERINARY EDUCATION AT THE AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY TO FACILITATE LINKAGES WITH THE KANSAS AND IOWA STATE UNIVERSITIES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

HASSAN, Adamu Zoaka

MARCH 2011 1.0 INTRODUCTION

When Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) was established in 1962, it was decided to give particular attention to Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. Therefore, in 1964, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was established at ABU following the signing of an agreement between the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Kansas State University (KSU). According to this agreement, KSU/USAID was to provide initial staff and equipment to the new Faculty to enable it develop the following: (a) a well-equipped Veterinary School to train and supply Veterinarians for Nigeria and the rest of West African countries; (b) a postgraduate training programme in Veterinary Medicine; (c) a research programme to improve Animal Health, production and Public Health in Nigerian; (d) train Nigerians to staff and assume major roles in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine as soon as possible; and; (e) advise on facilities and programme for future development and expansion of the Faculty.

Professor G.K.J.L. Underberg (Kansas State University) arrived on September 15, 1964 as the first Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at which time there were no students, no curriculum, no staff members, and no physical facilities. The former outdoor gymnasium (Phase 1), along with fifty acres of land adjacent the North gate, was the beginning of the physical plant for the Faculty. Soon buildings were erected to house four Departments of the Faculty: Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, and Surgery and Medicine. Phase I was formally opened on November 19, 1965 and teaching started a month later.

Up to 1983 the clinical aspect in the DVM programme was handled by the Department of Veterinary Surgery and Medicine. Funding was provided for the running of a Veterinary Teaching Hospital under the Dean’s office in 1984. In 1988 the Veterinary Teaching Hospital was established fully and a substantive Director appointed in October the same year. Statute 30 of A.B.U. of 1988 spelt out the functions of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
From 1761 when the world’s first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France, veterinary education has seen tremendous growth and development. Unfortunately, the state of veterinary education in the Ahmadu Bello University can best be described as being static. The nature and quality of delivery are similar to what was practiced in the 70s. In the 21st century, we still dictate our old notes to even postgraduate students (God save the undergraduates).
Sequel to the visit to the Kansas State University, Iowa State University and the Centre for Disease Control at Atlanta by a team from the Ahmadu Bello University comprising of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies and the University Linkages Officer with the view of broadening or establishing a collaboration with these Institutions, the need for extensive and radical change or modification of Veterinary Education in the Ahmadu Bello University became very evident.

Prof. Townsend (right) one of the foundation staff of the Faculty at the presentation in KSU Manhattan, Kansas

Consequent to the foregoing, the Deputy Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies was instructed to put together a proposal cataloging improvements required in Veterinary Education to facilitate a meaningful collaboration with the aforestated Institutions. It was evident that these changes must be at the personnel, infrastructural as well as with equipment and instrumentation. A fast-track approach to improving the quality of Veterinary training at the Ahmadu Bello University shall make this collaboration meaningful. These improvements shall also be in tandem with the faculty’s philosophy: “Train Veterinary Doctors with the sound knowledge of modern Veterinary Medicine and capable of teaching, treatment and prevention of animal and zoonotic diseases with special impacts on the local tropical environmental conditions”.

State of Veterinary Education at the Ahmadu Bello University being presented

The write-up attempts to catalogue deficiencies noticed during or even before the visitation which have obviously negatively impacted on the quality of Veterinary Education in the Ahmadu Bello University.

2.0 PITFALLS IN VETERINARY TRAINING AT ABU

2.1 FACULTY STRUCTURE
The approved restructuring of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine into 9 departments shall encourage the growth and evolution of specialties previously subsumed under the former Faculty structure. A new lease of life shall also be injected into the Faculty.

Recommendations
The speedy take off of the new departments shall facilitate the agenda of improving the quality of veterinary education since a new life would have been breathed into the faculty. Such a breath of fresh air at a time the faculty is to make drastic changes cannot come at a better time. It is a lot easier to have new departments taking off on a new agenda than an older “stable” department.

2.2 STAFF/PERSONNEL Duties:
Whereas Academic Staffs of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are primarily engaged in teaching and research, their counterparts in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital are primarily engaged in Clinical duties. All staffs are however involved in the Clinical call duty in the various clinical specialties. Unfortunately however, there is no programme for the clinical development of staff from non clinical departments although we expect them to get into our clinics during the call duty hours, be confident to take on students and perform creditably. There is the need to evolve a sustainable clinical training programme for all veterinarians in the faculty if our students and patients are to meaningfully benefit from this exercise

All veterinarians in the Faculty should for the first one (non clinical departments) or 3 years of service (clinical departments) be engaged in clinical duties on a rotator basis under the instructions of the Director, Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Thereafter, such staff shall be fully engaged by their primary departments. This staffs are more likely to be useful in call duty services and discussions with students during the call duty.

Exposure:
The exposure of staff and therefore acquisition of the relevant experience especially in clinics is progressively deteriorating. Younger staff are not being mentored hence its “everyone for himself/herself”

An enshrined mentorship programme and clinical attachments as recommended above shall significantly improve staff exposure and acquisition of the relevant experience. Furthermore, a system should be put in place to facilitate short term (1-3 months) staff attachments at/in relevant foreign institutions. To be sustainable, the University and benefitting staff should jointly fund such activities. Work Ethics:
A worrisome trend in the Ahmadu Bello University generally and which also affects the Faculty is the preponderance for absenting ourselves from very vital and significant university engagements such as teaching, meetings, seminars etc. for personal reasons.

If these engagements are so demanding that our primary jobs and duties are compromised, we should consider recruiting a family driver or any relevant domestic help. We then do not have to take the children to and from school or spend the whole day at the mechanics. If we are to perform optimally, there would be the need to curtail some of these excesses.

To ameliorate these excesses some Universities now have a cut off mark for the following engagements as the yard stick for benefiting or otherwise from annual increments in salaries:
Academic Staff: * Attendance at statutory meetings such as departmental and faculty board meetings. * Attendance of committee meetings * Attendance of departmental/faculty undergraduate and postgraduate/staff seminars. * Course assessment/evaluation outcomes. * Queries.

Non Academic Staff * Punctuality at work. * Attitude and commitment to work. * Queries * Peer assessment by other departmental/unit staff.

Training:
The academic staff members of the Faculty undergo appropriate Postgraduate programmes at Master and Doctorate levels in their respective departments. However, where facilities are not available within the University, it should be the practice to send out such staff for external training (subject to the availability of funds). Staff training for now is limited to the acquisition of Master’s and Doctorate qualifications. Less than 10% of the staff have relevant professional clinical qualification i.e. Clinical Fellowships. This is inspite of all staff participating in Clinical duties.

Whereas the recently approved ‘Regulations Governing Higher Degree Studies’ would, if judiciously implemented, reverse the negative perception towards graduate studies in the Ahmadu Bello University, Veterinarians should be encouraged to undertake professional trainings, short term foreign attachments as well as Continuing Education programmes.

It should be appreciated that all academic staffs in the Faculty need to be adequately exposed to clinical training if we are to overcome some of the shortcomings experienced by inclusion of all academic staff in the call duty service. This cannot be achieved by acquisition of higher degrees alone. A programme for the Clinical training of these staff should be put in place as suggested earlier.

Contacts-ABU Website,
The Ahmadu Bello University has been relegated in all rankings largely because of our minimal web presence rather than absence of activity. Majority of the Staff of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine as well as the other Faculties are yet to upload their information on the University website. This has also militated against contacts being established since existence of staff members is not even known to the universal academic community.

There is the need to take drastic measures to ensure compliance. The University should have the courage to set a deadline beyond which all defaulters could have their salaries suspended until they comply.

2.3 STRUCTURES/FACILITIES
The faculty of veterinary medicine was developed in three phases which is reflected in the structures referred to as Phase I, Phase II and Phase III.

The Phase I building accommodates the offices and laboratories of the Department of Veterinary Parasitology and Entomology; the Surgical Teaching and Research Lab. (Wet lab.); the Virology/immunology laboratory, both belonging to the Veterinary Surgery and Medicine Department as well as the NAPRI Office. The Phase II building accommodates principally the Veterinary Surgery and Medicine Department offices; the large and small animal clinics; kennels; radiology as well as the Hematology laboratory and office for the Veterinary Pathology and Microbiology Department while the Phase III building accommodates the Dean’s office; faculty board and committee rooms as well as offices and laboratories for the Departments of Anatomy; Pathology and Microbiology; Physiology and Pharmacology as well as Public Health. Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
Offices
All academic staffs of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are accommodated in departmental offices. In some cases however, offices are shared. Although a LAN and wireless system had been put in place in the Faculty, this is at the moment non functional. Several of the switches and Radios are bad and needed to be replaced.

There is the need to connect the Faculty to the fibre optic backbone as soon as it becomes operational. It is also important that an institutionalized system of maintaining IT facilities be put in place by the University. As is the practice in other institutions, the University and Staff should jointly contribute towards the maintenance of the system in the Faculty.

Where the University cannot provide enough offices for all academic staff, the University may have to review the policy of staff having both personal and official offices. This has sometimes resulted in some individuals occupying up to 3 offices while some are sharing offices.

Lecture/Classrooms
Lecture rooms in the Faculty (maximum capacity of 80) can no longer cope with the number of students in the classes. Some classes now have over 90 students. Students now sit on the stairway to listen to lectures. This is definitely out of tune with the situation in those institutions we intend to collaborate with.

Equally important is that our classrooms are poorly ventilated, lacking electricity and have no form of teaching aid/multimedia in place. Staffs that are so inclined have to carry their projector and computer each time they have a class.

There is the need to address the inadequate class space, poor ventilation and lack of teaching aids in our classrooms. A system of power backup e.g. Solar should be explored. Where building new classrooms may be feasible, the use of multimedia facilities would permit real time delivery of lectures to other students in an adjacent classroom or anywhere in the University. This concept has been employed in delivering lectures to students in 2 other Universities (see picture on right below)

Laboratories
Laboratories in the Faculty are grossly under equipped. Where equipment exists, they are long outdated or completely unserviceable.

Outdated equipment in the Physiology lab which have been in use since the 70s.
The design of most laboratories in the Faculty does not seem to have taken into consideration, the tropical nature of Nigeria. Ventilation and lightening are poor, floors and wall are not tiled which makes cleaning rather difficult. Laboratory benches in some laboratories have become an appalling sight.
There is the need to take out some of the laboratory benches and or partitions where they are not indicated such as in the Anatomy (see Anatomy Lab. In KSU) and Surgery Teaching/Research (see Surgery Teaching lab in ISU) Laboratories.

Veterinary Anatomy Lab ABU (left) and ISU (right)

Teaching Lab at ABU (left) and ISU (right)

Overhead TV monitors and projector in teaching Labs

Surgical Teaching and Research Laboratory:
The Surgery teaching and Research laboratory in the Faculty which was designed for 32 students is still the same facility for training 85 undergraduate (500L), 15 postgraduate and Surgery Fellowship students. Meaningful Surgery training is impossible under this scenario. For the purpose of comparism (see pix below) a Surgery Teaching Lab at Iowa State University designed for 48 students is about 400% larger than our facility.

Small Animal Surgery lab at ISU

ABU Small (left) and Large (right) Animal Surgery Lab.

The distance between the hospitalization area and Teaching labs is such that the public is exposed to half mutilated animals, often a source of negative comment by several persons. Exposing such animals to public glare once the surgeries have commenced is unethical.

It is our recommendation that a Surgery Teaching and Research Lab complex (see appendix 1 should be put in place situated in a remote part of the Faculty where only students and researchers shall be permitted. Equally important is the provision of necessary audiovisuals to assist in teaching this important specialty.

Seminar/Conference room:
Although the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine does have a Board room where Staff and student seminars are held, this facility is grossly inadequate; several people either stand or walk away when they can’t find a seat. Equally worrisome is the absence of a fixed audiovisual facility or public address system. Air-conditioning systems have long broken down. There is the need to upgrade our boardrooms and seminar facility (see ISU boardroom and KSU seminar rooms below. It would also be in order that Deans and HODs offices, board and conference/seminar rooms are adorned with the National and ABU flags to show pride in who we are.

KSU (left) and Vet. (right) Boardrooms

Environment/Premises
The environment of the Faculty is not a true reflection of the beauty of the Ahmadu Bello University campus. The landscaping is very basic and needs to be improved upon. The area in front of the Faculty and all over the University is littered with sagging abandoned NITEL telephone lines (arrowed in picture) etc.

An abandoned NITEL line and pole welcoming visitors to the Faculty.

Well grassed lawns and mini-parks can be developed for staff and student relaxation and interaction. Sagging and unsightly NITEL lines and poles should be removed from all around the University. The area beside the Anatomy lab and behind the lecture theatres can be converted into very beautiful lawns. There is the need to ensure cleanliness and extra effort at containing the inevitable odor due to animal wastes from the kennels and animal pens. These areas are now an eyesore to any visitor.

Posting bills all over walls, in classrooms, on trees and other fixed objects resulting in defacing these surfaces has become a norm in the Faculty and university. No attempt seems to be made at curtailing this menace.

Suggestions: 1. Individuals should be encouraged to use banners rather than posters. 2. Defaulters should be directed to remove such improperly placed posters and pay/repaint the surfaces where it has been defaced. 3. Class representatives should be instructed to ensure no bills are pasted in the class or theatres. 4. HODs, Deans and hall administrators should ensure these practices are not permitted within their jurisdictions. 5. Individuals/groups producing/pasting bills regularly should be encouraged to put up notice boards in approved locations.

Roads
The bad road leading to and within the Faculty is legendary. Several complaints over the years have not addressed this issue. Before a visitor gets to the Faculty, the roads would have biased his mind on what manner of Faculty he/she would be going to. This is certainly not a good way to welcome anyone.

The road leading to the Faculty as well as those within the Faculty need to be resurfaced. Other areas requiring roads such as the Diagnostic Imaging Unit and New Vet. Teach Hosp. offices should be attended to.

The dilapidated roads leading to (left) and within (right) the Faculty

2.4 STRAY ANIMAL CONTROL
The issue of stray animals roaming the Faculty and University needs to be addressed. The animals involved are usually small ruminants and dogs constituting varying levels of nuisance and or danger to the university community. Presence of stray animals roaming streets is usually an index of the level of development/enlightenment of such a society/community. ABU can and should control this situation.

It is suggested that: * Teaching and research animals of academic and research units of the Faculty require clearly defined grazing areas. Walling off the grazing area behind the Faculty has largely been responsible for animals especially sheep and goats roaming around the campus. * The Veterinary Teaching Hospital in association with the University Health Services should be mandated to undertake a licensing and identification programme for all dogs kept on the campus. This would facilitate enforcement of vaccination and control of straying. Owners can easily be identified from the tags and appropriately sanctioned if need be. * Perpetual defaulters should be barred from keeping animals on the campus.

2.5 FVM/VTH INTEGRATION
Although the VTH is integrated with the Faculty in terms of structures and facilities e.g. clinics and laboratories, this integration has not been that successful at the level of staff. The VTH is currently structured at variance with the original concept of staff recruitment and progression which is inconsistent with Teaching Hospital setting universally. This has been responsible for the frosty relationship/rivalry between the VTH and the faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

We must not shy away from addressing the friction areas between the VTH and FVM. We can’t continue to pretend they don’t exist or burying our heads in the sand the way of the ostrich and believe all is well since we can’t see. It does the system no good to have high caliber academic staff in the hospital without a defined academic or research responsibility. Offering clinical services as is the primary VTH schedule would benefit more from the acquisition of professional (Fellowship) rather than academic degrees. It is gratifying to note that this line of training is being pursued by some staff.

An Investigation Committee set up by a former Vice Chancellor (Prof. Mahdi), has noted the shift in staff development and deployment policy and advised on a reversal to avert future problems and duplication of roles, this recommended is however yet to be implemented.

Academic staffs in the VTH, as competent as any, are rated low by other veterinary schools since VTH Doctors are designated non academic staff in other Nigerian Veterinary schools. This has negatively impacted on their engagement as external examiners, sabbatical etc which staff from the mainstream academic departments regularly partake in.

A complete integration of VTH and the relevant Departments should be undertaken as is the case in other Vet and Human Teaching Hospitals.

Meanwhile Staff whore prefer remaining in the hospital as Hospital Vets should consider acquiring the CVSN Fellowship qualifications rather than academic degrees as is the case in VTH and Human teaching hospitals.

2.6 ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP AND MENTORING Senior academics have failed the Ahmadu Bello University. This cadre inherited a vibrant top notch University and only has a poorly/unrated University to bequest to the younger generation. A university acclaimed to be in the top 3 in Nigeria, has so much backslided that it does not feature among the top Universities in Africa or Nigeria let alone the world. Senior academics, who should lead the way, are generally indolent. This is partly as a result of the reward and penalty system, which is virtually non-functional. Consider the Reader and Professor ranks for instance. They are usually not in permanent positions in other places. There are requirements for one to continue to occupy the chair, failing which the occupant would be stepped down.

The near demise of scholarship in the Ahmadu Bello University is however not only due to the poor leadership of the senior academics but also that of younger academics, some of whom are not willing to work or learn.

It is imperative that the nascent provision of re-assessing Professors every 3 years in ABU should be exhumed and a point system used. In this context I am suggesting that in addition to other indices the following should also be considered: * PG engagements (graduation, Supervision. Lectures, PG Seminars, Dept & Fac. PG Committee meetings) * Research grant sourcing * Journal publications * Workshop/training (attendance & organization) * Books/chapters/manuals publications. * Administrative duties (Deans/Directors, HOD, Unit Heads etc) * Community Services/projects * Research activities. * Patentable discoveries * Professional TV/Radio programmes etc.

The performance of Senior Academics should then serve as the basis for their continued engagement by the University after their tenure appointments

2.7 STAFF/STUDENT INTERACTIONS
Staffs in the Ahmadu Bello University generally perceive students as lesser beings to be kept at a distance. The universal practice in tertiary education however is for meaningful integration which shall facilitate teaching, mentoring, counseling and learning.

In the Faculty, students channel grievances or academic matters usually through their class representative to their class academic adviser, who is appointed by the Standing Committee of the Faculty. It can then go to the corresponding HOD, Asst/Dep Dean and finally the Dean for adjudication.
The efficiency of the above arrangement would be enhanced if the long discussed and approved concept of attaching a fewer number of students to each academic staff as an adviser and counselor is implemented. It is my candid advice the ‘surrogate parents’ should be of the same sex with the student. This is to avoid misconceptions of this noble idea.

To further enhance the interaction between staff and students, common rooms, canteens etc. need to be developed. Suitable spaces in the faculty exist and can easily be converted for this purpose.

2.8 CURICULLUM
The existing Veterinary Curriculum has been in existence for decades. A document that should be reviewed every 3-5 years as is the universal practice has become impossible to review. Several committees and Deans of the Faculty have been unable to sort out the curriculum because our individual rather than the interest of the students have served as the yardstick for apportioning lecture units in flagrant disregard for the NUC benchmark for Veterinary Medicine. NUCs benchmark necessitates teaching Clinics at 500 and 600L which is similar to the situation in other Nigerian Veterinary Schools as well as in KSU and ISU visited. These aberration needs to be remedied before any collaboration can be meaningful.

In any review process, beneficiaries of the program are fundamental in providing an in sight. On the adequacy or inadequacy of the training they have received, their ability to cope with challenge after graduation as well as in areas they think we need to emphasize. Sitting in our offices to determine what the society requires from our products (students) as well as what the students ought to know without the slightest experience of life outside the Veterinary college is my summation of both the Faculty and VCN proposed Curriculum as they now stand Viz.:
100 level – One academic year of two semesters, each of at least 15 weeks of lectures, tutorials, laboratories, practical and orientations.

200 level – As in 100 level

300 level – As in 100 level and 8 weeks of SIWES at the end of the semester under Veterinary Surgeons registered with the Veterinary Council of Nigeria and in accredited Veterinary establishment. Planned industrial visits.

400 level – Same as in 300 level

500 level – Same as in 400 level

600 level – As in 300 level + Clinics and final year DVM project Recommendations: 1. The NUC bench-mark should be the starting point. If we can conveniently accommodate the bench-mark, additional CU can be added to other courses. Where we teach Clinics in less than 15 CU as against the NUC bench-mark of 40 CU and start adding CU to other courses is detrimental to the clinical training of our students and consequently the poor rating of our clinical training.

Subjects Areas | NUC Recommended CU | Existing CU | Difference | Anatomy | 17 | 21 | +4 | Physiology | 14 | 14 | 0 | Biochemistry | 9 | 7 | -2 | Pharmacology | 12 | 12 | 0 | Parasitology | 10 | 13 | +3 | Microbiology | 10 | 12 | +2 | Pathology | 10 | 16 | +6 | Medicine | 10 | 16 | +6 | Surgery | 13 | 14 | +1 | Theriogenology | 6 | 8 | +2 | Public Health | 9 | 12 | +3 | Animal Production | 13 | 14 | +1 | Clinics | 40 | 15 | -25 |

The suggested summary of the curriculum should thus be:
100L:
1. This is a pre-veterinary level of training. 2. All basic courses should be taught at this level.
200L:
1. All preclinical and production courses to commence at this level. 2. Relocate all present 300L level preclinical courses back to 200L.

300L: 1. Completion of preclinicals and commencement of paraclinical courses 2. Practical courses should be an integral part of the main courses. This fragmentation has been disallowed by the NUC accreditation team at other veterinary school.

400L: 1. Paraclinical and production courses to form the bulk of courses. 2. Introductory clinical courses are to be taught at this level 3. The NUC benchmark document should be used as the basis to justify or otherwise additional credit units for any subject area. 4. Subject areas that have overshot this benchmark considerably may not to have their credit units reviewed.
500L:
1. Completion of paraclinical courses 2. Clinical courses are to be taught here. 3. The NUC benchmark document should be used as the basis to justify or otherwise additional credit units for any subject area. 4. Subject areas that have overshot this benchmark considerably may not to have their credit units reviewed. 5. All lectures should be concluded at this level. 6. Clinics 2-3 cu/semester should be implemented at this level. This would bring us closer to the NUC benchmark CU for clinics.

600L: 1. All areas of clinical training including outstation to be implemented. 2. Early morning (7-8am) course in Practice Management, Entrepreneurship and Veterinary Jurisprudence 3. No other lectures are to be offered at this level 4. Student projects

It is also worthy on note that although the WHO bug for ONE HEALTH has been in existence, ABU is yet to put this to any use. No course or programme at either the undergraduate or postgraduate level really addresses this phenomenon. Several other courses recently introduced by other Veterinary Schools have not been so appreciated in our Faculty. Consequent to these, other veterinary schools are producing veterinarians better equipped to deal with the challenges of today.

It is my suggestion that a course encompassing the ONE HEALTH concept be developed at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to be offered by students in the Biological Sciences Complex. Other courses worthy of consideration are: 1. Companion Animal Production and Husbandry 2CU (1-3) 400L 2. Entrepreneurship 3 CU (2-3) 500L 3. Equitation (elective) 1 (0-3) 400L 4. Basic Computer operations 2 CU (0-6) 200L

2.9 LINKAGES/ATTACHMENT PROGRAMMES
The student SIWES programme is an important avenue for exposing students to real field situations. The practice whereby students simply present their signed log books (which is now the practice), does not do justice to this scheme. It is even possible for a student to sign his/her log book at the end of the vocation and claim it was signed by a supervising veterinarian.

In my experience during the sabbatical, experience/information garnered from the visitations and discussions with the relevant farm/clinic staff has been invaluable and could be useful in future curriculum reviews.

Suggestions: * A deliberate policy of accrediting centres where such training should take place should be made. This should often be within a reasonable radius of the University to facilitate on site visitation by supervising staff. * Students in groups of < 5 should be attached to a supervisor (Asst. Lect. – Snr. Lect) and 3-4 of such groups are to be overseen by a senior academic (Reader/Professor). * Unscheduled visits and extensive discussions with the supervising veterinarian, farm manager, farm labourers etc. are necessary to make the supervision meaningful.

2.10 RESEARCH ETHICS AND ANIMAL WELFARE CONSIDERATIONS
At a time when the world seem to insist on a certain level of supervision, regulation or supervision of research and animal welfare issues, we in the Faculty and the Ahmadu Bello University do not seem to appreciate the relevance of this. We have remained contented with our articles being thrown back at us, not for their poor quality but rather, the perceived neglect of the welfare of the animal subjects. Fortunately, the Veterinary Surgery and Medicine department has taken the initiative of putting together a Research Ethics and Animal Welfare Committee.

It is my hope that this initiative shall soon become that of the Faculty and ultimately the entire biological sciences in the Ahmadu Bello University. Visiting students familiar with such welfare regulations may find our system out of place.

2.9 CLINICAL TRAINING (OUTSTATION, TIME ALLOCATION, ROTATIONS, CLINICIAN-STUDENT CONTACT, PRACTICE MENTORSHIP
To pretend that all is well with our clinical training is being hypocritical. Over the past 10 years the number of cases presented to our clinics has reduced by more than 50%. This, coupled with the increasing number of clinical students and additional clinical programmes (PG and the CVSN Fellowship trainings) has obviously compromised the exposure and consequently quality of clinical training.

To worsen this situation, clinical cases have been turned to private cases. Both academic and non academic staffs have significantly diverted clinic cases for personal gains while receiving salaries to teach students.

I have taken the liberty to present comments by some individuals about the clinical training of our students: * “The students are good in theories but grossly deficient in practice. I cannot employ them in my practice” – Dr. Funsho (NOVAT Animal Hospital) - on a visit to the FVM, ABU Zaria. * ‘These students are better than your students in Zaria and definitely better than mine”. Comments about UNAAB Veterinary students – Prof. HO. Nottidge (University of Ibadan) – external examiner at ABU (PG and undergraduate).

Suggestion: * Private practice by all faculty staffs in Zaria and environs should be banned and violators should be sanctioned as an example to others. * Staffs should be encouraged to refer their cases to the VTH. * Clearly defined punitive measures for breaches should be put in place and followed through. * Releases such as in the university bulletin should advise clients to refrain from patronizing such staffs. * Institutions hitherto patronizing the VTH should be similarly communicated to. * As, is now the universal practice, Veterinary clinical training are no longer cantered in the VTH but the VTH is important in clinical training. The trend is to engage existing private Veterinary Clinics, Government Veterinary Clinics, Livestock farms (with and beyond countries) in Veterinary training. The College of Agriculture at Kaduna can serve as an outstation to improve the exposure of our students. Final year students can rotate and be accommodated within the College. * The need for an outstation is even moreso that the logistics of taking students to the field daily has proven to be unsustainable. Other areas that require attention in clinical training are: * Improvement in logistic support for town and Institutional ambulatory services * Improvement in clinical equipment and facilities * Activation of the Diagnostic Imaging Unit which is yet to be serviced by electricity though 2 fixed X-ray machines have recently been installed. * Repositioning laboratories and clinics (see appendix) so that these are not mixed up as is the case now.

2.10 TEACHING METHODS AND ORGANIZATION (E-LEARNING, INTERACTIVE LEARNING, PRE-LECTURE NOTE DELIVERY
The use of a teaching aid such as the multimedia (PowerPoint) and the advance download of all lecture materials by students would enable us deliver a conventional lecture that would have lasted 3 hours within 1 hour. This would permit timely completion of lectures, time for tutorials as well as a week for revision prior to semester examinations. This would obviously positively impact on the worrisome and lamentable performance of our students.

The ability to add illustrations, audios and video clips makes this modality an extremely useful tool in teaching. It is gratifying to note that the ETF grant to ABU is to be used, in parts, to install this facility in our lecture rooms. Let us face it, if the university does not enforce its’ use, we shall have another white elephant project.

Suggestions: * The Faculty needs a timeline to be ICT compliant, at the commencement of the 2011/2012 session all lectures (on PowerPoint), information dissemination and retrieval etc. should use this modality * A reorientation of staff to integrate modern teaching culture such as provision of lectures in advance, administration of reading assignments online should be encouraged. * Practical sessions could be better managed with multimedia: slides and specimen can be digitalized and given to students in advance of the classes.

Specifically, there is the need to:
- Develop models where feasible (as witnessed for Anatomy teaching in KSU and ISU.
- Use of Computer 3D Simulations
- Digitalization of all microscopic slides
- Digitalization (digital video and photographs) of all Handling and Restraint; Laboratory; Husbandry; Clinical and Surgical procedures

2.11 EXAMINATIONS (E-EXAMINATIONS – OPEN BOOK FORMAT,
Of great concern is the time spent by academics not only in the Faculty but moreso in the Faculties of Science and the Humanities in marking scripts. This has been discussed several times in the Senate but no progress seems to have been made.

I am suggesting that the 2011/2012 session should witness the full integration of e-examinations into the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Once a pool of 200-300 questions have been developed for each course, a computer program would permit randomization and selection of the desired number of questions which can be administered and automatically checked within hours.

With this in place, continuous assessment as well as semester examination results could be within 24 hours of the corresponding examinations putting to rest the delayed submission of results.

It is also my suggestion that the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine should formalize the process of result rectification when there are disputes. Some Universities have formalized such a process and charge an amount of money sufficient to discourage frivolous requests by students.

2.12 EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES/LINKAGES
It is often an established practice for Universities to have International or sometimes married students Hostels. This practice does not exist in the Ahmadu Bello University. If we are to receive students on exchange programmes from other institutions, may as well embrace this concept.

While we may not be in a position to erect similar facilities to those existing in the proposed Institutions for linkage, a start off point is to convert/modify/enhance a Hostel such as the Umaru Musa Yaradua Hostel for this purpose.

Married/International Students Hostel (left), Umaru Musa Yar’adua hostel (right)

2.13 POSTGRADUATE STUDIES
Several of the problems encountered by graduate students which may negatively impact on any visiting postgraduate student are being resolved by the School of Postgraduate Studies. The following peculiar problems however exist in the Faculty: * There are no Classrooms for PG students * The existing Faculty Board room is grossly inadequate for Postgraduate Seminars and the proposed ‘open defenses’ for PG studies * Avenues for Staff/PG student interactions such as canteens and common rooms are nonexistent.

The former Postmortem facility strategically located in the Faculty has not been put to use for about a decade. This facility can be converted to a Postgraduate Block. It can be redesigned to have a large PG Seminar room on the ground floor and 6-8 PG classrooms upstairs. This would significantly improve the coordination of PG studies in the Faculty. The rather chaotic situation of shopping around for a venue whenever a lecture is scheduled is definitely not an image booster for visiting PG students or invited/sabbatical staff from any collaborating institution.

It is also of concern that very little of the ongoing research works in the Faculty and University ever get published. The clear lack of an enforcing policy as is the case in Universities in developed countries has largely been responsible for this. As we have been told during our visitation to the proposed collaborating institutions ‘a research work is only useful if published’. So much research goes on in ABU but no one reads or knows about it.

An enforcing policy on publication of postgraduate researches should be put in place. Visiting staff would obviously be more interested in coming to a University with a history of productivity rather than where nothing seems to be going on.

3.0 CONCLUSION
Sir. It is my candid opinion that, if the pitfall mentioned are looked into and the suggestions herein contained or better ones to be advanced are implemented, we shall be in a position to invite and receive visiting staff and students from KSU, ISU as well as the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta. This same changes can later be applied as indicated in other Faculties as the scope of collaboration is expanded.

________________________
Prof. HASSAN, Adamu Zoaka

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