In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary we present a short history of the College.
The Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri is a foremost College of education located in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, Nigeria. It was established in April, 1963 as the Advanced Teachers Training College by the defunct Eastern Nigeria Government. It started in the grounds of the Old Shell Camp, Owerri but has expanded across the Orlu Road and now bestrides the Nworie River. It awards the National Certificate in Education (NCE) and the Professional Diploma in Education (PDE) and in affiliation with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka has been producing students for the Bachelor of Education (B.ed) since 1981. The current Provost is Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing C. Ijioma who also is the first female Provost of the College.
The College was founded in 1963 as the Advanced Teachers Training College with technical assistance from UNESCO. It was charged with the responsibility of producing teachers of intermediate manpower in line with the Ashby report on Higher Education in Nigeria. In 1973, via Edict No. 11 promulgated by the Administrator of East-Central State of Nigeria, Ukpabi Asika, the Teachers College became a College of Education and was named Alvan Ikoku in honour of Mr. Alvan Ikoku, a teacher and educationist, founder of the first African owned secondary school in Nigeria (Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu, est. 1931) and President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) for many years. Alvan Ikoku’s image is on the Ten Naira note.
The College started with 150 students but by 2012 the student population had grown to over 13,000 with over 600 academic staff. The students include regular undergraduates, Sandwich students, Evening and Weekend students and post-graduates studying the Professional Diploma in Education. In 1976, a campus of the College catering to the Department of Agriculture was established in Umuahia, now the capital of Abia State. Next was the establishment of an Orlu campus in 1981, but the multi-campus system was ended in 1987 and the College reverted to a single campus institution.
In 2007, the Federal Government took over the College and it metamorphosed into Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri. The Federal Government take-over brought improved financial aid and the College has become able to renovate dilapidated structures, build large classrooms, laboratories and hostels and expanded the staff strength. Throughout 2013, the College would be celebrating its golden jubilee, which is essentially a celebration of 50 years of being in the forefront of teacher education in Nigeria.
The College has 6 Schools which include the:
- School of Agriculture and Vocational Studies
- School of Arts
- School of Education
- School of Natural Sciences
- School of Social Sciences
- School of General Studies
- Mr. A. J. Brooks (UNESCO expert)
- Mr. J. O. Wachukwu (1970)
- Mr. Munonye (1970 -1974)
- Prof. B. O. Ukeje (First Provost: 1974-1980)
- Prof. S. N. Nwosu (1980 – 1985)
- Prof. N. A Nwagwu (1986 – 1992)
- Prof. E. N. Emenyonu (1992 – 1995)
- Dr. Dan Onwukwe (Acting: 1995)
- Prof. A. E. Afigbo (Sole Administrator: 1996 – 1997)
- Prof. L. E Amadi (1997 – 1999)
- Dr. Dan Onwukwe (1999 – 2004)
- Prof. Ngozi Uwazurike (2004 – 2009)
- Dr. H. C. Amadi (Acting: 2009 – 2010)
- Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing C. Ijioma (2010- Date)
The establishment of the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri in 1963, just three years after Nigeria’s independence was a milestone in the annals of education in Nigeria, especially the South-East. As an institution solely disposed to research, teaching and training teachers for both the intermediate and higher education sectors, the College has in the past fifty years contributed immensely to the production of quality teachers in the country. In 1981, the College became affiliated with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the premier University in the country, to award the Bachelor’s degree in various subject areas in combination with Education.
The College houses the students in hostels named alphabetically from A-G. The College has students from all over the country and several countries from West Africa, especially the Spanish speaking countries whose citizens come to study English at the International Centre for English Studies (ICES). Interestingly, the College has a predominantly female student population with females making up over 80%. Consequently, the female volleyball team is one of the strongest in the collegiate games in the country, consistently winning gold or silver in the Nigerian College of Education Games (NICEGA).
The Sandwich programme caters for people pursuing a teaching career who want to improve their education. The Sandwich students study during the holidays when the regular undergraduate students have dispersed and primary and secondary schools are on break. The Sandwich system has enabled many teachers to get the relevant credentials to progress in the teaching profession.
The students have a Student Union Government (SUG) led by an elected President and a Students Representative Council (SRC), a body of elected student legislators. Inspite of the dominant female population, the SUG Presidents have always been males.
The College runs demonstration centres. They are AIFCE Kindergaten/Nursery School, AIFCE Staff Primary School and the Alvana Model Secondary School. The Staff primary school was set up in 1983 and the secondary school started in October, 1994. The demonstration centres were established to help teachers and students carry out their teaching practice activities, a major requirement for graduation, and to solve the educational needs of the staff and general public by providing professionally run schools at the three levels.
- Ms Comfort Obi – Publisher of The Source Magazine
- Dr. (Mrs.) Kema Chikwe – Ambassador, Minister, Politician
- Sen. Emma Anosike – Politician
- Bishop Ngozi Durueke – Clergy
Do you know other notable alumni? Tell us in the comments section.
By Leonard Ajokubi
I appreciate the courage and administrative style of the current Provost of the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing C. Ijioma. The institution bedeviled with dilapidated structures and lack of facilities, is now wearing a new look those who have not been there since the past two years will now recognize it with its name boldly inscripted at the state-of-the-art gate of the College. It is indeed the cynosure of all eyes.
Interestingly, (Dr.) Mrs. Ijioma, apart from impacting positively on the Alvan environment, created a new sense of orientation among the generality of staff and students of the School. Her administration has also succeeded in maintaining a stable and sustainable academic calendar, and has continued to inculcate the spirit of togetherness and unity of purpose in Alvan.
A recent conversation with the Provost, however answered the question of how she managed to change the face of the institution within a short time. I was able to understand that her administration made substantial progress in moving the College forward because of her philosophy of life which is similar to that of Mary Manin Morrisery, which says “Don’t wait for something big to occur. Start where you are, with what you have, and that will always lead you to something greater.”
She brought her wealth of experience into focus, and this has led to an impressive range of attainments and gains recorded by Alvan, based on such credible tenets as accountability, purposefulness and overall good governance of the institution.
Unarguably, this administration, has due to judicious utilization of available funds re-roofed up to 12 students’ hostels neglected by the previous administrations, re-roofed classroom blocks at Shell Camp, and has awarded contracts for re-roofing and rehabilitation of the remaining ones, while many new structures have been raised by her administration. They are the Social Science classroom block at the Shell Camp area of the College; the one thousand capacity lecture theatre at main campus of the College; the Science building Lecture halls; laboratories and offices and the newly completed Farm House.
Others include, completed fencing projects, rehabilitation of many toilets and sinking of boreholes within the School premises to enable the students have access to water wholesome for consumption. The two new students’ hostels under construction are nearing completion.
Light and water problem, we all know, are actually national issues. They are not limited to Alvan, but the administration has made giant strides in the efforts to ensure steady power supply on campus.
According to the Provost, the College, after making passionate appeal to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) received a brand-new transformer from the Commission some three months ago. The College, who is in the process of installing another 500KVA transformer, has ordered for another one which will be delivered any moment from now.
Today, the library system of the institution which was almost collapsing has been transformed by the Provost. The library’s collections have been updated with new books and journals, the library’s leaking roof has been re-roofed, modern binding equipment and accessories acquired, and modern CCTV equipment installed in the library to check anti-library user behavior.
As student-friendly administration, the Management of the College under the watch of Dr. (Mrs.) Ijioma introduced bursary in the system on assumption of office. About 42 students were said to have benefited from this bursary of N20, 000 in 2010-2011 academic session, while the total number of beneficiaries in 2011-2012 is 102. This is the first of its kind in Nigeria, an institution splashing bursary on its students.
To achieve their aim, and as well ensure equitable distribution, two students benefitted from each department in the five Schools, on the platform of academic performance. Others considered are the physically challenged students, best students in creative writing, indigent students and winners of NICEGA medals at Abraka 2011 NICEGA games.
In furtherance, the Provost, since assumption of office in July, 2010 has ensured that the results of the students in different departments are released in time, a development that attracted much commendation from both the students and the members of the public.
Unlike before, candidates of Alvan who are qualified for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), programme embark on the exercise at the appropriate time, even those who were frustrated and abandoned by the previous administrations, have all been enlisted for the programme.
Worthy of note is the bold determination of the Provost, Dr. (Mrs.) Ijioma to maintain the tempo. She assured of her administration’s determination to continue with the positive transformation initiative, with the best of their ability, so as to fast-track the development of the College to world-class standard in the nearest future.
However, with what is already on ground, one needs not to be told that the easy-going Provost has lived up to expectations. Her administration has made substantial progress in moving the College forward. Of course, academic performance and infrastructural development have improved more than ever in the past 30 years.
Culled from Daily Sun, Monday, February 18, 2013
Address by the Provost, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Dr. (Mrs.) B. C. Ijioma on the occasion of the 35th Matriculation ceremony of the College, 15th February, 2013
I, on behalf of Management, Academic Board, staff and the entire Alvan community, gladly welcome all of you to the 35th Matriculation Ceremony of this College holding in the jubilee year, the 50th anniversary of the birth of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri. For the matriculating students, your set is blessed and you will forever be known as the ‘Golden Jubilee Class.’
For the benefit of our matriculating students and the general public, permit me to go down memory lane a little. Fifty years ago, in April 1963, the Eastern Nigeria Government in conjunction with the UNESCO established this College, originally as the Advanced Teachers Training College. The College took off across the road from here, in Shell Camp, with the aim of providing teachers and the requisite manpower for Eastern Nigeria and the young nation Nigeria. Since then the College has had a massive impact in the educational sector in Nigeria producing world-class teachers, lecturers, business people, legislators etc. The College has risen to become the ‘primus intepares,’ first among equals in Colleges of Education in Nigeria. Wherever I go in Nigeria and introduce myself as the Provost of this Alvan, I am accorded maximum respect and admiration as the College is famous across the nation. This year, the College will celebrate fifty years of excellence and productivity and year-long activities have been lined up.
My beloved freshmen and women, we are happy to kick-off the jubilee year with this ceremony of formally inducting you into a long line of distinguished students privileged to study in Alvan. And with priviledge comes sacrifice: you must endeavour to work hard at your studies, eschew examination malpractices, cultism, indecent dressing and various other vices and misdemeanors that are inappropriate and counter-productive. The College seriously frowns at cheating and malpractices, and deals decisively with all offenders. The consequence of exam malpractice is expulsion. You have been warned.
My dear students, I wish to inform you that all fees should be paid into designated bank accounts. Fess must never be paid in cash to any College staff nor through third-parties. The College would not entertain any complaints that arise from a breach of these instructions.
Your ‘golden jubilee class’ is arriving in Alvan at arguably the best time in the history of this College in the past fifty years. With the Federal Government take-over of this College we are experiencing a period of renaissance. My Management with the support of the Federal Government has worked assiduously to make your learning environment as conducive as possible and in line with global best practices. You will see that the hostels are very neat and hygienic. Efforts are in top gear to provide more hostels too. We have provided many more classrooms and laboratories for your lectures and recently we acquired a massive 500kva generator to alleviate the problem of power supply which is not unique to Alvan. I want to assure you that your lecturers are some of the best in their fields in Nigeria. We have made it a point of duty to train and re-train them so they can give you the best and latest information available. In the past two years we have given out bursaries and grants to over 200 deserving students, many of who excelled in various academic and sporting activities. What you just have to do is to bend down and study.
I must sound it loud and clear to all our students that this administration does not tolerate exploitation and intimidation of students. We have an active SERVICOM unit that checkmates acts of lawlessness and exploitation. Any student with a genuine complaint should not hesitate to report such to the SERVICOM unit.
Before I take my seat, I must admonish the ‘golden class’ that you have arrived at College in peculiar times. The world is changing, sometimes as fast as the speed of light. Knowledge and education is expanding at an amazing rate. The information age is not for the mediocre, average and lazy person who thinks that an NCE or B.ed gives them a right to a job. Today, survival is dependent on how flexible you are, how vast your knowledge base is and the practical demonstration of your skills. We have introduced entrepreneurship studies in the curriculum to help hone your start-up skills but I must encourage you to ‘cast your net wide,’ learn as much as you possibly can, develop your ICT skills, in effect become digital, and above all learn to draw inspiration from God. Remember, matriculation is but the beginning of the journey and the prizes and the certificate are given out at the end. So, hoping to see you all again at the Convocation.
I wish to express immense gratitude to God, the parents, guardians, well-wishers, guests and the media for coming to celebrate with our ‘golden jubilee class.’ I plead with you to answer our call again and again this year as we commemorate fifty years of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education.
Thank you, the matriculation committee, for a job well done. May the Good Lord reward you and all of us and bring us all into his Jubilee celebration.
Thank you all and God bless.
Dr. (Mrs.) B. C. Ijioma