‘Our Graduates will be Employers of Labour’ – Pastor John Izebere, PhD, Registrar

PASTOR JOHN IZEBERE PHD. REGISTRAR 7554

Pastor John Izebere, PhD, Registrar

When you came in, what did you meet on ground? What were the legacies your predecessor handed over in terms of administration?

I took over from an Acting Registrar who completed the handover notes by the former Registrar. But in terms of what was on ground, I met good standard. I came from an institution where things were working. But Landmark being a young university, we are still building on the foundations that were already laid.

As the Registrar, what have you now put in place to complement what had been done administratively?

I belong to this Commission where our code of conduct is discipline. I met discipline being implemented when I came in, it only needed to be enhanced. As the Chief Administrative Officer, my duty is to ensure that we follow the core values of the institution. I came from the core area of the ministry, that is the church. The first thing I did when I came in is to observe how it is being done here and after observation, I saw where changes needed to be made. Punctuality is one of our core values and that includes the staff. I tell them again and again that we are role models for the students, we cannot demand from them what we are not doing.

The university is preparing to graduate the first set and launch them forth into the real world, the job marketplace. There is no doubt that the Registry is playing a vital role in the convocation (commencement) ceremony. What are the things your office is doing to ensure a successful graduation ceremony?

Well, we are standing on the shoulders of our sister university which is Covenant University. So we are not actually in the dark. We are taking some scripts from them and are tailoring them to fit us. One thing we have to realise is this: Landmark University is built to pursue the vision for agriculture. What we have on ground as a Registry is to ensure that our students are given a foretaste of what they can do when they leave school. We don’t want them to go into the open job market as it were and become confused, dejected and be facing the realities of the economic hardship in the nation. The Chancellor, in his magnanimity, has put in place financial support for our students, especially those who love agriculture, those who have passion for agriculture. The vision of this institution is to make sure that we are a major contributor to attaining food security status for this nation.

What are the tangible things being put in place for your graduates who want to go into agriculture?

As a visionary institution, we have a desire for our students that when they graduate, they will not be seekers of jobs but employers of labour. In this regard, everyone of us at Landmark, including the students, practice farming. Every Friday morning, we all (students and staff) go to farm. We have a programme for farming and that programme is called Farm Practice. That helps us to emphasise the importance of agriculture to us all and as a nation. We don’t want our graduates to become a burden when they leave Landmark. Even if you did not study agriculture, and you will not eventually practice agriculture, we believe you should be able to have at least a garden behind your house, or a little poultry so that you will not be waiting for white-collar jobs. However, for those who want to embrace agriculture as their work, their business, there is a plan to make available to them funds to assist in setting up their farms under conditions that are very friendly.

There have been issues of high handedness in private-owned, missionary universities. The students complain that the rules and regulations of these institutions are too rigid. Are there not complaints like these here at Landmark and how do you handle them?

You will agree with me that teenagers, or children as a whole, see you more than you see yourself. They learn faster by observation than by your words. At Landmark University we don’t pretend. We don’t see and treat them as children. They are young adults who are being exposed to a brighter tomorrow. We also remember that we went through that stage in life as teenagers. So, we constantly make sure they know and understand why we do what we do here. It is true we are strict when it comes to discipline, but we let them know that today’s strictness is for their brighter tomorrow. We keep emphasizing to them that Landmark is an institution where leaders are made and that no great leader achieves success without discipline. Before they came to this school they saw our prospectus (containing rules and regulations) and agreed to them. Normally, I tell them that what God is doing for us through His Word is to help us enjoy our future; He is not cutting out our fun. He is just organising our fun for us so that we can make maximum use of it. For instance, you have a child that is about 11 and because he has grown so tall, he says to you, “Daddy, I can drive”. You will not of course agree to his request. It takes maturity for certain responsibilities to be given to you. And that is where the bible comes in. Yes, they (the students) are growing, they are tall, but they must also grow in the mind; this is what we call maturity. And that comes by the Spirit of God in you and that is what we are focused on helping them achieve.

Is there a kind of feedback or channel that you have in place where they also make their own views known?

Yes there is. Just last Sunday (some weeks ago) we had a meeting with them which we call staff-students parley. We began about 7pm and finished quarter after 10. Since I came in here, we have done this three times.  We make it once a month. At the parley, we tell them what we have observed about them and we ask them to tell us what we are not doing right, we ask them what their pains are as well as their expectations. I have a note on their recent parley containing the questions which they wrote (compiled questions from the students parley held with Pro Chancellor).We told them what we want and they also told us what they want. About 18 of them came out to ask questions, others wrote down theirs and through the Directorate of  Students Affairs, we will let them know our response.

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