Unless urgent steps are taken, the International Aviation College (IAC) could further deteriorate prompting the Rector of aviation, Capt. Yakubu Okatahi to seek assistance to save the college.
Capt Okatahi while speaking with reporters in Ilorin pleaded for partners and investors through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to ensure that the school gets adequate funding to carry out all its tasks, lamenting that the institution source foreign exchange from the third-tier market, describing it as expensive as all expenses of the school are based on dollars.
He however noted that the only way for the college to remain in existence was to increase the fees for pilots.
His words, “Each student pays N12.5 million for a full course but we could go higher than N17.5 million. If colleges like the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Kaduna that get government subvention from various sources can increase fees to over N17 million. Ours may be higher because we don’t get any assistance from the Federal Government”.
“In South Africa, it is about N28 million, excluding feeding and accommodation, and in the United States, it is about $40, 000”, he added.
He called on the Federal Government to support the institution with grants or subventions in a bid to fully achieve its mandate of teaching and research.
According to him, the Kwara State government has lived up to its expectations in funding the school but subvention and support from the federal government would go a long way in putting the institution on an international pedestal.
He noted that currently, facilities within the college need upgrade, with at least, three unserviceable trainer aircraft that would cost about N4.5 million to fix.
He was of the opinion that since the school is training Nigerians who would eventually go back to impact the community, the federal government needs to extend the subventions that it gives to other institutions to it.
“The state government is trying its best, it is proactive and is keen on developing the school, salaries are paid as and when due, the state government released money for aircraft and parts purchase, fuel and upgrade of the college but it will be very good for the federal government to help us, the waiver on spare parts should be extended to us, they should give us subvention yearly because we are training Nigerians”, he said.
Okatahi, who disclosed that the college would introduce Engineering and Cabin Crew courses in the new session to shore up its revenue, revealed plans to increase the school fees from N12.5 million to over N17 million for a full course.
According to him, the goal of the college including that run by the Federal Government in Zaria is to train Nigerian pilots for the industry and to effectively do this, there must be palliatives to cushion the effects of the present economic realities to avoid the dearth of manpower in the future.
“We pay customs duty on our imported parts and aircraft and I think the Federal Government should look into that and give us some relief, it should allow us not to pay customs duty, it should give grant or subvention every year”.