The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has stressed the need for quality teacher education as the foundation of human resource development in the country. He said Nigerian education institutions must key into technical, vocational education and training (TVET) to achieve national development.
Adamu disclosed this at the 26th joint convocation of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State. The ceremony was attended by the executive secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education, Prof. Bappa Aliyu-Muhammadu, who was represented by the director, Finance, NCCE, Dr. Jona Obasi. Also in attendance were the deputy Inspector-General of Police, Celestine Okoye, and the Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Willie Obiano, represented by the Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Mr. Sally Mbanefo.
The education minister, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, maintained that no education system could rise above the quality of its teachers.
“I have always supported continuous training and re-training of teachers to retool them in the best teaching practices and standards. It is on record that countries rated among the best in education systems invest time and meaningful resources in developing the quality of their teachers,” he said.
He noted that the Federal Government established Federal Colleges of Education (Technical) in each geopolitical zone to build regional technical base that would serve national interest.
According to him, despite this laudable initiative by government to promote technical, vocational and science education, Nigeria has continued to suffer dearth of skilled and resourceful manpower in technical areas. He observed that graduates of technical institutions have not satisfactorily replicated the technical, entrepreneurial and vocational skills needed for development of the country.
The minister commended the provost of FCE(T), Umunze, Dr. Tessy Okoli, for the facelift given to the institution through various TETFund projects, which had been completed for the use of staff and students.
While inaugurating the projects, including the three-floor CBT Building 1, three-floor CBT Building II, and Academic Staff Office, he urged the students of the college to take advantage of the facilities to improve their academic performance.
He further charged the college to reciprocate the huge investment in facilities to produce quality graduates that would compete with their mates from different academic institutions of the world
Earlier, Okoli said the college took cognisance of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic and scaled down attendance and other convocation activities to reduce crowding to the barest minimum.
Okoli, the first staff of the college to be appointed provost, said, on assumption of office on May 17, 2018, she identified focus areas like staff development, students’ welfare, improved teaching and learning environment, capacity building and increased student enrolment.
She expressed gladness with the increasing number of staff with higher academic qualifications. According to her, the college now has over 70 chief lecturers.
“There is no doubt that this college is rated among the fastest-growing higher institutions, especially in the areas of staff development and training. This large pool of seasoned scholars continues to water the aspiration of this college to become a full-fledged university of education, exercising dual mode mandate of running NCE and degree programmes,” she said.
While counting the gains of her administration, Dr. Okoli listed several infrastructural projects in the college. She said the projects have impacted positively on the quality of teaching and learning in the institution. According to her, the college, under her leadership, emerged as the best in the 2019 Presidential SERVICOM Compliance Evaluation conducted in the 21 Federal Colleges of Education and the FCT College of Education, Zuba.
The provost also congratulated the graduating students on the successful completion of their academic programme, and urged them to keep to the tradition of excellence they learnt during their stay in the college.
The high point of the ceremony was the presentation of academic prizes to best graduating students by the minister. Miss Ezemedolu Chinenye Marcillina smiled home with the award for the overall best graduating student in the 2016/2017, 2017/2018 sessions.
Also, Agba Ujunwa Mary Ann emerged the best graduating student for the 2016/2017 session, while Uzuegbunam Catherine Chidimma won the prize for best graduating student for the 2017/2018 session.