The Coordinator of the Abuja Study Centre of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Training School, Dr. (Mrs.) Regina Onuoha has highlighted the opportunities that the School affords participants of the Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Post Graduate programmes, saying, ''the NICO Training School offers participants from diverse disciplines the opportunity to know a lot about our Nigerian cultures, which they may not necessarily have known before now.''
Onuoha, who made this statement while answering questions as Guest in the Living Room of “Bush House Nigeria,” a radio live phone-in programme on Kapital Fm 92.9 Abuja, emphasized the need for cultural officers in the culture sector and culture enthusiasts to make good use of the NICO Training School for efficient and effective job performance.
She stressed that courses like Tourism in Nigeria, Performing Arts, Cultural Heritage in Nigeria, Museum and Gallery Studies, Culture and National Development, Food Culture, and Gender Studies, among others, will expose participants to the need to preserve, propagate and promote Nigerian cultures, adding that with ten (10) courses each semester offered at the School, workers would be better positioned in the scheme of things in the culture sector and in their careers.
When asked what could be responsible for the low patronage of the public on issues that have to do with Nigerian culture, Onuoha explained that it is as a result of misconception and orientation.
Her words: ''It is as a result of the way Nigerians have taken our culture, especially our youths. They feel our culture is something that is primitive; so, they prefer Western culture instead of our own culture.''
She reiterated: ''Our Nigerian culture is not primitive. It is what you call your thing that your thing will be. When you talk about our dress culture, it is unique and that is an aspect of our culture. Our food culture… these are aspects of our culture and we are not going to allow them to die; that is why NICO is trying to preserve, propagate and promote our Nigerian cultures.''
The calibre of students and lecturers that are in the Institute’s Training School formed part of the questions of the interview, as Onuoha responded that the lecturers are drawn from the universities in and around Abuja, like the University of Abuja and Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) and other professionals taking care of the Abuja Study Centre; whereas lecturers from University of Lagos (UNILAG), University of Ibadan (UI) and Lagos State University (LASU) teach in the Training School at the National Theatre Annex, Iganmu-Lagos.
She informed that there are external students as well as NICO staffers from the headquarters, zonal and state offices, also stating that despite the challenges of funding, the most pressing need of the Abuja Study Centre is the access road to the Institute's Permanent Site in Kuje, where a lot of buildings have been constructed for the Training School programmes.
Onuoha, therefore, called on government to provide the Institute with an accessible road to the permanent site to ameliorate the situation, as well as the organised private sector to partner NICO in sponsoring their staffers to the Training School.
In her explanation about the Advanced Diploma in Cultural Administration (ADCA) which is newly introduced, the Coordinator said that the Advanced Diploma in Cultural Administration (ADCA) is for participants that have Ordinary National Diploma (OND) or National Certificate of Education (NCE) with some working experience, stressing that, ''the whole essence is to help the participants to acquire more knowledge so as to help them in their work place and with the certificate, they will have the opportunity to do their work very well because during the training they are exposed to a lot of things.''
It will be recalled that the training arm of NICO started in 2009 at National Theatre Annex, Iganmu-Lagos with the Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma in Cultural Administration programmes and has since then trained approximately five hundred (500) students from diverse disciplines and all walks of life.