Magnus Eze, Enugu

The town of Ihiala in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State was agog with activities on December 7, 2019, when all and sundry joined the management, staff and trainees of Ejim Memo Vocational Institute, in making the 30th anniversary, 30th convocation and 31st matriculation of the institute.

The special and elaborate event kicked off with a holy mass at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, Ihiala, presided by the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Malachy Eleanya.

In his homily, the priest praised the directors of the institute, Mathias and Grace Ojimba, for making it a ritual to kick off the annual event with a thanksgiving mass. He commended the institute for being at the forefront of training young women, who have been highly recommended in all areas of life, while also thanking God for blessing the couple with wisdom, strength of character and sound health to continue the vocation that God called them to do.

The cleric also urged graduating trainees to be good ambassadors of the institute wherever they go, by living exemplary lives. He charged new intakes to take their training seriously, so that the sacrifices made by their parents in sending them to school would not be in vain.

After the mass, the ceremony shifted to Eziani Primary School field, Ihiala, where other activities continued.

In his welcome address, the director, Mathias Ojimba, described the event as historic.

“Today, we have gathered to mark the 31st matriculation and 30th convocation ceremonies of this institute. Today, we turn out 110 graduate trainees, who have been adequately trained and equipped for the challenges of the contemporary demanding economy. It is believed that these graduates can stand on their own or be employed.

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“One hundred and twenty matriculants are also received into the school’s two-year programme. Our institute has been fully approved and accredited by relevant authorities and agencies of government; these are evident in our school facilities and equipment. Our curriculum and its implementation are also rich as teachers are qualified, up and doing.

“Our computer school is in progress and offers qualitative computer education. The ratio is one student, one computer. NABTEB Modular Examination now holds here. National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has signed an MOU with us for her trainings. The Industrial Trust Fund (ITF) has also signed similar MOU with us and some sets have been trained,” he said.

He enumerated the needs of the school to include water borehole, expansion of hostel facilities to accommodate more intakes, more computers to meet increasing population of trainees, and sponsorship of indigent students, as, according to him, majority of the trainees could not pay their school fees.

Earlier, in her opening remarks, co-director of the institute, Grace Ojimba, said the institute was taking its pride of place among leading vocational institutes in the country. She noted that the history of its growth and development has been spectacular as it increasingly responds appropriately to the challenges of vocational education in Nigeria.

She noted that the institute offered courses in fashion design, catering, decoration, computer training and cosmetology, with other courses like Mathematics, English Language, Creative Arts, Food Processing and Presentation, Nutrition and Theory of Confectionery.

Three of the graduands, Theresa Eze, Nwadiaru Loveth and Onwudiwe Chinyere, who spoke to Daily Sun, thanked the institute for equipping them for the challenges of the contemporary economic and family lives.

One of the matriculating students, Ezeribe Ijeoma, said her parents brought her from Oyigbo, Rivers State, to study in the institute because of the enviable performances of trainees of the school in the wider society.

The event witnessed singing of matriculation oath by new students, award of diploma certificates and prizes to graduating students, and display of crafts made by the students, among other things.