In the Savannah once the sun rises everything starts running – Unknown
It is now common knowledge that the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education has been experiencing a renaissance in academic activities since the advent of the leadership of Dr. (Mrs.) B. C. Ijioma. The Provost, the first female in the College’s fifty year history, and a Federal Government Scholar in her undergraduate days at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has re-engineered the academic modus operandi in the College, aggressively and robustly training academic staff to improve their quality. Through sources like the TETFUND, the College IGR, the STEP-B project, the remittance of the hitherto comatose Direct Teaching Allowances, etcetera, her Management has vigorously motivated the academic staff to pursue teaching and learning.
While the College celebrates her Golden Jubilee year, the marked regeneration is evident as the College returns to her glory days of the 1970s and 1980s when the faculty included some of the best in the country, many of who went on to become professors and vice-chancellors in universities.
In the three years of her administration, Dr. (Mrs.) B. C. Ijioma has, as a point of duty, made the upgrading of staff a prime focus of her tenure. As a sign of good leadership, she has managed funds so expertly that the number of staff who have attended workshops, seminars, conferences and are studying with sponsorship in various universities at home and abroad is the highest at any time in the life of the College. As an academic institution, the lecturers and other teaching personnel have, naturally, got special attention, and encouragingly many young academics have taken advantage of these golden opportunities to further their education with masters’ degrees, doctorates and other post-graduate certifications.
Tens of millions of naira have been disbursed and are continually being disbursed so that our lecturers get the best training available to effectively teach and impact our young students. Students have now confessed that the quality of teaching has improved and lecturers show a high rate of responsibility towards their duties now. The Management’s overt support for capacity development has now created an ambience of excellence in the College and staff routinely encourage each other to pursue greater knowledge to effectively function in the modern and golden Alvan, an Alvan where quality is rewarded. The example of the College’s Professional Diploma in Education (PDE) is pertinent, as many staff – academic and non-teaching – have, without prompting, enrolled and passed through the course which qualifies one to teach in Nigeria.
The Management has continued to seek out new ways to promote staff development. This August, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), the College hosted a workshop on ‘grant winning proposals’ to aid our academics and researchers to better understand the rules and methods to articulate proposals to receive funding from donor agencies to conduct scientific research. A practice common in Developed countries and even in the old generation universities here in Nigeria, the culture of seeking external grants has not taken root in the College and this anomaly is now being corrected.
In another academic workshop held this week on ”21st century classroom and meeting global human resource standards,” the facilitator, an engineer and educationist from the New York City Department of Education, USA, Dr. Emma Duruaku, confessed at the enthusiasm of Management for human resource development. He said: “The attitude I have observed here is refreshingly positive. There is a strong recognition by the Provost of the fierce urgency of the now, to continue to extend the circle of intellectual curiosity, to innovate.
In its fifty years, our College has gone through ups and downs, through periods of highs and lows. At this moment in our history, as we stand on the cusp of status change, all hands must be on deck and everyone encouraged to develop themselves so personnel can best fit into a golden Alvan, one that envisages itself to, one day, metamorphose into a modern university of education.
The Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri takes its community social responsibility (CSR) seriously. As a leading college of education in the country with an outstanding pedigree, the College understands its place in the community and makes conscious efforts to impact the public.
The Alvan Volunteer Service (AVS), a corps of staff who donate their time to various humanitarian activities for the service of humanity has in the last two years become a veritable tool for the College to realize its CSR. On 12th August, 2013, the AVS goodwill ship berthed in Aboh Mbaise to train over 400 teachers on “21st Century Teaching Methods.” This refresher course powered by elite and senior academics from the College who are members of the AVS has become an annual event of sorts as last year the AVS was in Ohaji/Egbema local government area and trained over 300 teachers in the employ of the state government.
The essence of these holiday refresher courses is to train-the-trainers: update the skills and knowledge of the teachers who in turn transfer the knowledge to their students. These workshops are performed free of charge by the College as the Alvan Ikoku believes that the problem of ‘half-baked’ graduates can be mitigated if the students are provided with a solid foundation. And what better place to start than to upgrade the capacity of their teachers.
The flag-off of the 10 day (12th -23rd) event in Aboh Mbaise was graced by Royal Fathers in Aboh Mbaise, the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Ministry officials, and enthusiastic teachers who expressed delight at the opportunity to develop their capacity at no expense. The Royal Fathers informed the College representatives that the people of Aboh Mbaise love education and will avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the AVS.
After fifty years in this clime, the College has certainly stamped its imprints in the sands of time by the legion of alumni it has produced and the pervasive and positive influence it has in the educational sphere. But we are not resting on our laurels, instead we seek out more ways to contribute to our immediate environs.
It was a beautiful scenario when Miss Eucharia Onyeoyibo, the first runner up at the 2013 Ada Imo beauty pageant, visited the Provost, Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Ijioma to officially present herself to the College Management. Ada Imo ‘the Second,’ Miss Onyeoyibo who hails from Ohaji/Egbema LGA is a final year student of Biology in the College. During the cordial and warm conversation wherein the Provost expressed her delight at the intelligence and finesse exhibited by our ‘Imo State second Daughter,’ Miss Onyeoyibo whose name translates to ‘the beautiful one’ marshaled out her plans to touch lives, especially that of her fellow students. She promised to focus on gender specific issues like teenage pregnancy, girl child abuse and indecent dressing among the female students. On a broader level she will also galvanise her efforts to highlight the scourge of HIV/AIDS, encourage drop outs to get back into school and promote the rich cultural heritage of the Igbos and Imo people amongst the youths.
The Provost congratulated Miss Onyeoyibo, praised her elegant carriage and intelligence and told her the College was very proud of her achievements. Dr. (Mrs.) Ijioma promised Ada Imo the second the complete backing of the College during her year and encouraged her to keep her focus, and rest her faith on God who has elevated her. The Provost who is also from the department of Biology, wished the College ambassador a wonderful future ahead in all aspects of her life.
In the golden jubilee year of our great College, Miss Onyeoyibo ‘the beautiful one’ has added another gloss of gold to our shine.