The minister’s charge

1

…Produce skilled technical manpower, Prof. Rufa’i,  tells FCE (T), Umunze

From DOM EKPUNOBI, Onitsha

About 2,855 students of Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze, were recently issued with certificates in a convocation meant for 2005-2012 graduating sets, in an event graced by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i.

It was unique because it is the first convocation to be held in the college under the leadership of Prof. J.O. Ogbuagu who assumed office as the Provost in 2010.

The 15th edition of the convocation is also the first to be held at the permanent site of the college, which may soon be turned into a full-fledged university.

At present, the Federal College of Education is awarding degrees in certain courses under affiliation to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. There is no doubt that attendance at that unique convocation was the largest the school has witnessed since its inception because the graduates turned out in their numbers while family members, friends and well-wishers thronged the arena from within and outside Anambra State to witness the grand event. The college conferred honours on some personalities who distinguished themselves in their areas of practice and profession.

They are: Senator Uche Chukwumerije, representing Abia, Senator Joy Emodi who represented Anambra North and now Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, the Director-General Bureau of Public Procurement, Emeka Eze and the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education, Prof. Mohammad IBN Junaid.

Apart from the awards, the college commissioned a number of projects. They include the main college library complex, Virtual Library (ICT Library), Uguru Lecture Theatre, Model Home Residence, Home Economics Vocational Training Centre, all of which were commissioned by Prof. Rufa’i. She also inspected the perimeter fence of the permanent site of the college, the on-going college auditorium complex and the academic staff offices of School Of Sciences as well as STEP–B ICT Centre.

In her speech, Rufa’i commended the Provost, Prof. J.O. Ogbuagu, and his management over what she described as their giant strides in the attainment of a crisis-free academic session which she said was an eloquent testimony of the high level of rapport existing among the management, staff and students of the college.

“Your prudent management of funds in various monumental structures and projects in the college within the last couple of years is worthy of emulation,” she said. Teacher education remains the foundation of human resources development for the attainment of national development, she added, and urged the graduating students to actualize the nation’s vision of producing skilled technical manpower at the foundation level of our educational system.

According to the minister, a “critical success factor in the actualization of Nigeria Vision 20: 2020 is the mass production of people with requisite vocational technical skills and competence.” She commended the graduands whom she said occupied an enviable position in the nation’s effort towards technical growth.

“Your task now is to diligently put what you have learnt in the college into practice for the benefit of the students who you will be teaching and ultimately for the benefit of the society,” she added. In his speech, Governor Peter Obi appealed to the Federal Government to upgrade the college to a full-fledged degree-awarding institute from its present level of affiliation to Nnamdi Azikiwe University.

The governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Emeka Sibudu, pledged more assistance to the college in the area of provision of facilities to sustain its development. Earlier, Prof. Ogbuagu had enumerated the achievements of the college since he assumed leadership in 2010.

“The college is currently parading a full set of substantive principal officers from the college staff for the first time in its history,” he noted. “This has paved way for peace, mutual understanding, growth and development of all college staff.”

Ogbuagu noted that it was the need to boost its internally-generated revenue that the college established an agricultural venture with large fish ponds, poultry, piggery, rabbit, goat-rearing and grass-cutter farms, adding that it had acquired a garri processing machine to boost its agricultural produce. But he lamented the inadequacy of facilities and lack of access road to the permanent site as some of the major challenges facing the school.

“The permanent site of the college has no access road to the point that it is almost impossible to go there, especially during the rainy season. Secondly, the increase in students population of our school as a result of the recent degree awarding status of the college, has led to the overstretching of existing facilities.”

He appealed to the Federal Government to come to their aid in these areas. Others, he said, include the building of administrative block, the provision of two more bore holes, water tanker, two 500KVA generating sets, staff quarters, Provost Lodge, and the take-off grant which has lingered for so long. In addition to the issuance of certificates, overall best graduating students in various departments, received academic prizes.

They are: Maduka Ogechukwu, 2005/2006 Best Student for the Department of Accountancy; Chikelu Clementina, 2006/2007 Best Student, Department of Home Economics; Onuora Toochukwu, 2007/2008 Best Student, Department of Agric Education; Eze Leonard Chidiebere, 2008/2009 Best Student, the Department of Mathematics Education; Ezeogu Vivian Onyinyechi, 2009/2010 Best Student, Department of Chemistry Education; Ojuro Kenechi Eunice, 2010/2011 Best Student, Mathematics Education and Ajebo Assumpta Chinenye, 2011/2012 Best Student, Department of Chemistry Education. Mr. Onuorah Toochukwu of the Department of Agric emerged the overall Best Student of the college between 2005/2006 and 2011/2012 academic years.

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  1. Please, the Hon. Minister, remember to take over the only College Of Education (Tech) Technical in the middle belt of the country (College OF Education (Tech) Lafiagi, Edu LGA, Kwara State, Nigeria.

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