The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has said that the only way theatre arts students would stop people from having negative impressions about the course is to strive to excel all times, especially with elective courses.
Dr. Ayakoroma gave this advice at the Staff-Students Meeting of the Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarwa State University, Keffi (NSUK), just as the Head of Department, Professor Emmanuel Dandaura, called on the students to ensure that they present a good image of the theatre profession in the university and the society at large.
The ES counselled the new students that they need to be serious with their academic work right from the first year and not be carried away that they were undergraduates, because his experience as an Examinations Officer in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Port Harcourt, had shown that the classes of degrees students make were determined, to a large extent, in years one and two.
According to him: “Theatre is a very serious course. When you enter the university, do not think you are just in school and you are carried away. Endeavour to do well in your first and second years. These are the periods most students play away their times. Experience has shown that good performances in the first and second years will make students to have better results. Then the moment you enter third year, you build on the good results and then your final year. Let the second year and third year students not mind what people think about theatre arts as a course of study. The moment you do well in your exams, you correct the negative impressions people have about the theatre arts programme and the profession. So, try and read your books all the time to excel.”
He added: “This meeting really provides a good forum for interaction between you, the students and lecturers. It is a forum, where everybody will say what agitates his/her mind and the issue will be properly addressed.”
Dr. Ayakoroma also used the opportunity to commend the efforts of the Head of Department, Professor Dandaura, for sustaining the meeting and the high level of accountability, regarding a five hundred thousand naira donation, he and Dr. Chris Iyimoga (a Senior Lecturer in the department who is currently a National Commissioner, INEC), made last year, noting that such exemplary acts will bring dignity to both the department and the profession.
On his part, Professor Dandaura, who is also the National President of Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA), explained that the forum became necessary as a feedback mechanism to address the problems of the students.
He also said that the interaction helps to enhance the image of the theatre arts programme and the profession in the university and the immediate environment.
His charge to the students: “I call on the students to always be the best on campus, both in learning and in character. It is the only way we can let people know that theatre arts is a programme with quality. You have to ensure that you are the best in the elective courses you offer with other departments. You must also be serious in your practical courses, so that the productions in the department will always have the quality they deserve.’’
Present at the meeting was Professor Lanre Bamidele, whom Ayakoroma duly recognized as his lecturer, one he is greatly indebted to, at the University of Ibadan.