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Tobechi Chigbu

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I'm trying to excite tertiary education institutions in Nigeria to explore the alumni option in funding their needs. Any thoughts and help?

Informed managers of tertiary education worldwide understand that the Alumni of every University, College or Polytechnic provides the basic funding support for their alma mater. In Nigeria, Alumni Associations only exist to collect "Registration Dues" from graduating students every year and do not care to maintain contacts with them thereafter. What online and/or offline tracking facilities can one mobilise to activate or reactivate interest of old students to take interest in the growth and development of their Alma Mater?

It is absurd that Universities should continue to almost totally depend on subvention from the Federal Government for their existence and take no thought about compromising academic neutrality. Overall development of the Nation is stultified to the degree that the front line critics of government depend on it for funding.

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    Apr 4 2012: My Ideas (Sorry, I kind of overestimated the extent of my previous reply)

    When it comes to science you could try and refurbish severed connections, through the scope of innovation. Increased collaboration between old alumni and new students could create profits for both parties. The students get to know a little more about real life implications and the alumni have the possibility of first picks when it comes to honorary students. This collaboration could help foster innovation and help both the institution as the company connected through the alumni create better future prospects and again maybe first picks when it comes to new technologies. The possibilities are endless.
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    Apr 4 2012: I stumbled upon the same problem, though it is a bit different.

    The thing with grants and alumni is that they do not provide a constant flow of money. They certainly help the University, no doubt about that, however there are not many rational arguments for any of these supports. I think the problem here lies a bit deeper than what may appear from the surface, and one of the things we must first ask ourselves: Why? Why do Alumni provide support to their former institutions? What are the main initiatives for someone to provide support to ones former institution. The University is foremost a forum for learning, second a forum for innovation and third a forum for socialization. Of course, there are various others but for now let us take these three into consideration.

    First, a forum of learning. All good, all well, but ones completed it stops providing any notion of value. You have to be quite altruistic to give money to an institution if there is nothing to gain from it personally. Sure it would help generate more wealth to the population as a whole, assuming that the people being educated add value to society, but these things are forgotten quite easily when ones assumes a position of wealth.

    Second, a place for innovation, is in sponsors eyes quite a bit more important than learning on the whole. They are most of the times more willing to give financial support if this means their company/organisation is getting the better out of it, or there is the mere chance this will happen. Still they might label it as sheer philanthropy, which doesn't matter, it's their money.

    Third, a place for connection, a social meeting ground. Their success depended on a meeting someone at that particular University, their success is partly because of their participation in that program. They offer money because they have the feeling they owe it to your institution.

    Over time money should flow in naturally, especially as people age they become nostalgic and start being more generous
    • Apr 4 2012: Thanks for your insight. What you said can quite correct if the Alumni are left unorganised and uninformed. If there can be formed, a focused and dedicated Alumni Association which could network alumni members and create a worthwhile experience of mutual benefit for both the University and its graduands coupled with a painless annual dues, it is my belief that many alumni will be interested in taking part thereof.

      You and I know that we would love it if the University we attended rose to become a world class place of learning as result of our collective effort to bolster research, study and character achieved through our alumni participation. Giving generously of painlessly to alma mater may not be the most altruistic thing we have ever done because at length it adds something known as "degree equity" to our certificates.

      Finally, during this of era of social networking and connection, when we make conscious efforts to seek out our former school mates using extant social media, and seeing that we belong to various charity organisations like the Rotary Club et al for altruistic purposes, why can we not support our alma maters? Give it some more thought and say something positive about it to help me, pls. I have become committed to it.
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        Apr 4 2012: It is never easy to convince others of your cause, especially if it's change you want. The best way to approach this is by advocating this not through hard statistics. These might interest a group of policy makers who have been stuffed away in an office constantly looking at numbers, but it won't fire up most other people. Even though I'm not a supporter of romanticism, it does work. It is better to tell them why you want to do it, that instead of supporting a project let them support an idea. Try to convince them on the broad idea, give them something they can fascinate about before you give them examples of what can work. Be aware, however, that these examples are essential as you can not achieve successful progress with any projects if you do not have transition between the phases, even though these transitions (achievements) might be small they will help to keep the attention of the crowd you're trying to address.
        • Apr 5 2012: Thank you very much my friend for your words of encouragement. It means much to me as well as the methodology you suggested. I assure you that this idea of mine has consumed me to the degree that I feel that I owe it to my country to actualise it, and I will do my very best. Africa needs to look inward and harness its latent richness which to my mind is her only way get there. She must pull herself by her own bootstraps and then fly.

          Romanticism is one attribute Africa has in great abundance. Those of you from the West cannot begin to understand it. Unfortunately, there is also ineptitude on the part of the majority of our pollicy makers who need to be jolted to life's realities and to competition from abroad. Wel will get there though! We only require a little hands-up (not hand-down) from the developed world.