The Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri since inception has been in the business of inspiring and developing young minds to go on and positively affect future generations and play prominent roles in civil society. From its early years the College has defended democratic ideals by encouraging the sustenance of a robust Student Union Government. Elections are held regularly and students have always freely chosen their leaders and representatives into the various arms of the Student Union Government. One very unique trait of the Alvan Ikoku student body is that they are politically active and on election days the College is full of students eager to exercise their franchise.
This year the Management of Dr. (Mrs.) B. C. Ijioma decided to equip our Jubilee Year SUG by sending them on a leadership training and retreat outside the College grounds. The idea was to isolate the student leaders to enable them fully internalize the many topics on morality, ethics, financial management, crisis management, code of conduct and challenges inherent in leading the student body being taught to them. At the venue, the Villa Maria Guest House (an ecclesiastical retreat centre of the Catholic Diocese of Owerri), the Dean Student Affairs, Dr. (Mrs.) R. U. Iwu said the essence of the retreat was that “For democratically elected individuals to deliver the dividends of democracy to their followers, they must have the fear of God, possess the ethics of leadership, know the limits of their functions, the role of the constitution in administration, and the need for proper financial management, accountability and record keeping amongst others.”
The retreat was declared open by the Provost of the College who urged the student leaders to endeavour to access all the information and knowledge available from the retreat as the concepts on leadership and morality will lead them beyond their SUG days and through all of life. The Provost challenged the students to leave enduring landmark achievements that will be reference points in the future. The SUG was assured that this is the only way of securing their legacy.
The College in its fifty years of existence has continually encouraged and equipped the SUG; however with the problem in contemporary Nigerian society of a dearth of credible youth leadership, the College understands that efforts must be intensified to deliver to Nigeria a crop of strong, dependable, godly leaders with a passion for service and nation building.
The 2013 SUG led by Comrade Orient Nwadike has been dubbed the Golden Jubilee executive and they have received the best training available to enable them deliver to their fellows the dividends of democracy. The die is cast, the ball is in their court, but we are rest assured that in this Golden Jubilee year the SUG will set a gold standard that will usher in a golden age in student politics and youth leadership.
The Month of May is a very important month in the calendar of Alvan Ikoku Federal college of Education, Owerri. It was in May, 1963 that our College was founded, originally as the Advanced Teachers’ Training College (ATTC), Owerri. The establishment of the ATTC dramatically changed the educational landscape of Eastern Nigeria and nay Nigeria in general. The production of teachers of intermediate manpower level – which was the initial purview of the ATTC – was a development booster as it generated well trained and qualified teachers to effectively man the increasing educational needs of the young country.
The years immediately after independence were a pivotal period in the development of our nation. In the educational sector, the Ashby Commission Report (set up by the British Colonial government) helped to map out the educational road map of the young and fledgling country. The recommendations of the report, submitted in September 1960, just before independence, led to the establishment of some of the first generation universities and the Advanced Teachers’ Training Colleges.
Sir Eric Ashby, in his report, noted the dearth of trained teachers in the secondary schools inspite of the obvious increase in demand for their services. He then recommended the opening of universities; institution of undergraduate degree in Education (B.A. (Ed.); B.Sc. (Ed.); B.Ed) and the training of more teachers for Nigeria’s secondary schools. The Ashby report also recommended that the cost of training teachers should be borne by the Regions. To train more teachers several teachers’ training colleges where established including the ATTC (now Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education), Owerri by the Eastern Region Government and Adeyemi College of Education by the Western Region.
The Ashby report was hinged on the fact that economic development would not be possible without universal basic education. And the best way to actualize this development was to strengthen the manpower at the intermediate level – the elementary and lower forms of secondary schools. Alvan Ikoku has carried the torch expertly for fifty years now.
So this May, the College happily marks the moment in history when an important educational pillar was instituted. Kudos must be given to all the heroes that played a role in the advent of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education. The defunct Eastern Nigeria Government, the UNESCO with its technical assistance and the Ashby Commission which conducted a remarkable study of the educational climate prior to independence and brought forward recommendations whose application led to the birth of giants like Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri. And the many others too numerous to mention.