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Convocation: FCE(T) Umunze Provost, Okoli seeks FG support to upgrade infrastructure

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

The Provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra state, Dr. Mrs. Tessy Okoli, has called on Federal Government to provide more support for infrastructural upgrades in the college.

She also appealed to philanthropists, corporate bodies and political office holders to support the efforts of the federal government, noting that the government cannot fund tertiary institutions alone.

Okoli made the call at the 26th Joint Convocation ceremony for the award of Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE), and Professional Diploma in Education (PDE), held on Friday at the convocation arena of the college.

The provost said the college was yet to receive its take-off grant from Federal Government since its inception in 1990, and stressed, “the college access and internal roads beg urgent attention to alleviate environmental problems experienced during rainy season.

“We also need the provost lodge and staff quarters for workers. Recreational facilities are inadequate, and we need development in area of sports facilities,

“I, therefore, call on the South East governors to support this college by donating or taking up key projects. I also appeal to philanthropist, corporate bodies and other stakeholders to support the college”.

According to her, the college is graduating 1,681 students from NCE regular, 84 from Sandwich, 263 from Continuous Education Programme (CEP), and 65 from Professional Diploma in Education (PDE), bringing it to a total of 2,093 students.

“The event is important for the thousands of graduating students, and I urge them to live up to this responsibility by remaining worthy ambassadors of this college”.

Okoli, then, reassured his commitment to staff and students’ welfare, adding, “Top of my priority is staff development, students’ welfare, improved teaching and learning environment, capacity building and increased students enrolment. I have not been found wanting in any of these”.

The provost further thanked the college alumni body for the contributions made in the college, especially in the area of mentoring new students through various programmes,

While declaring the event open, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, reemphasised the importance of teacher education, and congratulated the graduands for joining the league of professional teachers.

Adamu, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba, highlighted efforts of the federal government to empower teachers with requisite skills through various initiatives, but regretted that there were still dearth of qualified teachers across the country. This, he said, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), was tackling head-on, to eliminate quackery in the teaching profession.

While stressing the need for training and retraining of teachers to compete globally, the minister commended the college for maintaining uninterrupted academic programme, as well as showing prudence in execution of projects in the college. He, then, harped on making the curriculum more relevant to the present needs, assuring that the government would provide infrastructure tailored to help teacher education. He enjoined the graduands to be worthy ambassadors of the college, state, and country, at large.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education, Prof. Bappa-Aliyu Muhammadu, said teacher education was very important, pointing out that countries, invested hugely in education, were reaping the benefit through technological advancement, growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment reduction, and poverty reduction. He said no nation can develop above the quality of its teachers.

Muhammadu, represented by the director of finance of the commission, Mr. Jonah Obasi, thanked the federal government for infrastructural provisions and good polices put in place to drive teacher education in the country. He encouraged the graduating students to be proud of their profession, while reminding them that teachers’ welfare was priority of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Earlier in a remark, the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, represented by Barr. Sally Mbanefo, the Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Solid Minerals, Creative Innovation and Energy, urged the Federal Government to increase its financial commitment to the college, assuring that the state government would continue to support the college as host. He told the graduands to be more tolerant and to continue investing in knowledge.

The overall best graduating student with 4.82 CGPA, Miss Chinenye Ezemedolu of Department of Computer and Chemistry Education, had, in a response on behalf of other students, thanked the family and teachers for their support that culminated in the achievement. She said it was a beginning of a new journey.

Prof. Frederick Odibo, the deputy vice-chancellor (Academic), Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Engr. Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo, rector, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Lady Chinelo Otikpa, TRCN Anambra state coordinator, among other dignitaries, graced the occasion.

Highpoint of the convocation ceremony was the inauguration of the executed projects such as the completed 1000 capacity lecture theatre, completed 3-floor CBT test centre II, completed 3-floor staff office building, as well as the completed College Bakery, among others. The exercise was led by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nwajiuba, the provost, Dr. Okoli, and other principal members of the college.

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