Samaru College of Agriculture at 100: History of the second oldest college of Agriculture in Nigeria
As the samaru college of agriculture, a part of the Division of Agricultural Colleges, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria marks its centenary anniversary (100 years of existence), The Abusites takes a look at the history of the iconic institution from the establishment to date.
The Samaru College of Agriculture is situated at Samaru Zaria located on latitude 110 25’N and longitude 40 26’E. It is the second oldest College of Agriculture in Nigeria, second only to the College of Agriculture and Animal Science Moor Plantation Ibadan.
It is a Federal Institution offering courses in many aspects of Agriculture. The College as it is today began as a humble on-the-job in-service training center at Maigana in 1921.
By 1928, the Centre materialized into a school and was transferred to Samaru – Zaria, where the regular students were enrolled in 1931 and formal teaching began in 1932 with an enrolment of 17 candidates for the Agricultural Assistant Course. Initially, three types of courses were offered in the school:
Junior Class Course for Agricultural Mallams (Field Overseers) – This course did not carry any certificate.
Middle-Class Course for middle II an III graduates – There was also no certificate but a testimonial of attendance was issued.
Senior Class – Known as the Agricultural Assistant Course.
The duration of the first two courses ranged from 6 – 12months and was for specific jobs; for example, Cotton Mallams were trained for cotton production.
The third course lasted three years including a practical attachment period of one year. Graduates of this course were employed as Technical Assistant Grade III in the (Federal) Department of Agriculture as Extension personnel.
By 1940, admission into the school was through an entrance examination followed by interviews of middle IV students and training was mainly in General Agriculture.
In 1950, the administration of the school was transferred to the Northern Regional Government from the Federal Department of Agriculture and the construction of permanent modern structures began at the present site of the College in 1954, while the duration of the Agricultural assistant course was reduced to two years and the other courses phased out.
In 1955, the one-year duration Assistant Agricultural Superintendent Course was introduced, while 1962 witnessed the commencement of the Agricultural Mechanization Training Programme in the school.
The Agricultural Home Agents Course (Home Economics) with modern facilities was introduced in 1964 with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in terms of building materials and personnel.
Additional Diploma courses were started in 1972 with the Home Economics programme followed in 1976 by the Farm Management Course and Crop Protection by 1979.
As a result of the political changes and the creation of states in the country, the administration of the school was transferred to the Ahmadu Bello University in 1968 from the Interim Common Services Agency (ICSA) and the school finally became a constituent unit of the newly created Division of Agricultural and Livestock Services Training (DALST) by Decree 26 of 1st June 1976.
Other units of the Division were schools at Kaduna, Kabba, and later Bakura. In 1977, approval was given by the University Senate for the change of nomenclatures from:
i) Agricultural Assistant Certificate to Diploma Certificate
ii) Diploma Certificate in various disciplines to Higher Diploma Certificate in those disciplines
iii) The formal change in the name of the Division from Division of Agricultural and Livestock Services Training (DALST) to the Division of Agricultural Colleges (D. A. C.). this was gazetted by the Federal Military Government. The school has since then been known as SAMARU COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE
During this period, the College academic programmes were structured along with the terminal system, with three terms making the academic session. Also, the graduates of all programmes and courses run by the College were awarded DIPLOMA and HIGHER DIPLOMA certificates as against the NATIONAL DIPLOMA and HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMA offered by the polytechnics and Monotechnics.
In 1987, the Ahmadu Bello University management directed the Division of Agricultural Colleges to subject its academic programmes to accreditation by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in accordance with their enabling Decree which empowered the board to accredit all technical diploma certificates.
After the initial assessment, the Board gave approval to the College to continue two of its three Diploma programmes as National Diploma Programmes, while two Higher Diploma Programmes were allowed to continue instead of its four programmes. The Pre-Tech course for students deficient in their entry requirement into the Diploma programmes was restructured as Pre-National Diploma Science and Technology and was allowed to run.
From 1989 onwards, the college began operating the semester system initially with Pre-ND Science and Technology, National Diploma in Agricultural Technology, Agricultural Engineering Technology, and Higher National Diploma in Agricultural Extension and Management.
It must be emphasized that the college did not structurally lack the resources to continue the other courses but for the degree to which the NBTE was able to align the course structure, the objectives and the needs for these courses which at the initial assessment, were considered rather narrow in scope.
However, many of the courses, the College operated in the past were finally approved to operate (run) with subsequent accreditation visits to the College. At present, the College is offering three (3) National Diploma Programmes and six (6) Higher National Diploma and the Pre-ND Programmes.
The Vision of the college
The vision of the college is to become “a citadel of learning, producing middle level manpower in sustainable agriculture through enhanced technological practices and skills to meet emerging challenges.”
The Mission of Samaru College of Agriculture
The Samaru College of Agriculture, creates, integrates and shares knowledge, incorporating students learning through diverse hands-on experiential opportunities to enhance economic prosperity and life quality of the greater community, as constituent of Ahmadu Bello University and Nigeria.