The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT). Zaria., is today the highest citadel of learning for aviation in Nigeria.
The aviation college which came into existence 55 years ago was established mainly to help in the training of critical professionals needed to manage the different professional components that make up flight operations and the aviation sector in general.
Prominent among the courses available in the college include: the flying school, Engineering school, Air Traffic Services, Management School and Aeronautical Telecommunication School.
One thing that stood the college out some years back could be seen in the strong facilities including the structures put on ground which made the school one of the best in Africa.
At a point, the aviation college became so popular that students from neighbouring African countries were trooping there to pursue their learning goals.
It’s on record that many of the best pilots, engineers and other aviation professionals in Nigeria and even in some African countries today passed through the Zaria aviation college.
Only recently, the college gained additional international recognition when the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) further certified it as an internationally recognized training school.
Though the school still remains relevant till tomorrow, but one obvious thing is that most of the facilities at the foremost aviation training institution are deteriorating very fast with most of the buildings there needing serious attention and urgent rehabilitation.
All hope is however not lost as the Rector of the college, Captain Abdulsalami Muhammed has hinted of an ongoing plan to renovate the structures in phases to avoid disrupting learning in the school following the approval of funds running to millions for the school.
There is an urgent need for the government to therefore come to the aid of the college through the release of adequate special funds for the purpose of upgrading of facilities and structures in the school. The government equally needs to declare emergency on the facilities with a bid to restoring its lost glory.
The need to upgrade the structures becomes important in view of the role the school plays in impacting the required knowledge to critical professionals needed to perform sensitive roles like flying of aircraft, aircraft maintenance and air traffic control.
Besides the importance of making the environment more conducive for the students, government should also realize the fact that the Zaria aviation College is not only servicing Nigerians but students from other neighbouring countries. Only last week students from The Gambia and Cameroon graduated from the school just as the management had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Civil Aviation Authority of Sierra Leone on training.
Apart from this, the Rector while addressing some aviation journalists who came for a refresher course in the school declared: “We are making a lot of efforts to collaborate with some of the univerties around. I just returned from Tunisia and I was actually asked to join the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) team between Nigeria and Tunisia, at the request of Tunisia. Tunisia wants a representative of NCAT to be part of the team because the country wants to collaborate with the institution.”
Again, because the institution is run in line with international standards and also an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) certified school, it is very necessary for the structures and other facilities to be of international standard.
Because as at today, many countries within Africa are looking up to the college, the federal government should urgently come to the rescue of the college by assisting the management to make the school more environmentally friendly and conducive for learning. This would in turn help to attract students from within and outside the country to acquire knowledge and help to generate money into the coffers of the institution. Training as pilots, aircraft engineers, air traffic controllers, flight dispatchers, cabin crew among others cause huge fortune to obtain therefore, students coming for trainings are expected to learn under good and conducive environment by making the hostels habitable for human beings.