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) in order to achieve national development.

The Minister stated this on Friday, March 26, 2021 during the 26th joint convocation ceremonies of the Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze, Anambra State.

The colourful 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, DIG Celestine Okoye Ph.D,  the Governor of Anambra State, Dr Willie Obiano, who was represented by the Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Barrister Sally Mbanefo.

Heads of tertiary institutions presented their goodwill messages, including the Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof Charles Esimone, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Fredrick Odibo, the Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Dr Francisca Nwafulugo, the Rector, Anambra State Polytechnic, Mgbakwu, Dr Nneka Mefoh, the Provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku, Rivers State, Dr Emmanuel Ikenyiri, the Provost, FCE Ehamufu, Dr Pauline Ngozi Ikwuegbu, the Provost, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Dr Ifeyinwa Osegbo, the Provost, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Dr Dan Anyanwu, among others.

The Minister, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, maintained that no education system can 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 system invest time and meaningful resources in developing the quality of their teachers,” he explained.

Adamu Adamu said the Federal Government established Federal Colleges of Education (Technical) in each geopolitical zone of this country to build regional technical base that would serve national interest.

He noted that despite this laudable initiative by the government to promote technical, vocational and science education, our country has continued to suffer dearth of skilled and resourceful manpower in technical and science areas. He observed that graduates of technical institutions have not satisfactorily replicated the technical, entrepreneurship and vocational skills needed for development of the country.

The Minister described education as the springboard of all national development efforts. According to him, aside its role in knowledge and skills acquisition, education provides a clear roadmap to national development.

He promised that the Buhari administration would continue to pay the deserved attention to the education sector. He said this administration has the political will to see better funded and equipped schools, well remunerated staff and motivated students in the nation’s education institutions.

“We have seen huge investments in the nation’s schools through UBEC, TETFund, Presidential Intervention and other support by the government. The least we could do is to ensure that these investments in laboratories, workshops, lecture theatres, staff development and training are tailored to enhance the quality of Teacher Education and TVET,” he stated.

The Minister commended the Provost, 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 commissioning the completed projects, including the 3-floor CBT Building 1, 3-floor CBT Building II, and Academic Staff Office Complex, he urged the students of the College to take advantage of these 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

The Minister also visited other project sites, which include: the School of Languages, School of Agriculture and Home Economics Complex, Farm Stead Complex, Students Multipurpose Complex and Administrative Complex Building, which are at various stages of completion.

Also speaking, the Provost, Dr Tessy Okoli, said the College took cognisance of the threat of Coronavirus pandemic and scaled down attendance and other convocation activities to reduce crowding to the barest minimum.  

Dr Okoli, who was the first staff of the College to be appointed the 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 students 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 areas of staff development and training. This large pool of seasloned 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 added.

While counting the gains of her administration, Dr Okoli listed several infrastructural projects in the College. She said these developmental 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 highpoint of the ceremony was the presentation of academic prizes to best graduating students by the Honourable Minister. Miss Ezemedolu Chinenye Marcillina smiled home with the award for the College Overall Best Graduating student in 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.