A book exhibition was held in the College Library to showcase some of the recent book acquisitions and educate visitors to the exhibition about the activities in the Library and the resources available therein. The exhibition, graced by members of the Governing Board, Management and Staff, showcased many books recently acquired at home and abroad, through College funds, Tetfund interventions and donations from charitable organisations like the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation.
The Alvan Ikoku Federal College Library was set up by the UNESCO when the College was established fifty years ago. The first College Librarian thus was a UNESCO expert named S. Saithi who ran the Library from 1963 – 1967. Well stocked by UNESCO, the College Library was highly rated for much of the life of the College.
Today, however, ways of cataloguing, archiving and displaying information are changing and rapidly at that. The information super highway made possible with the advent of the internet has necessitated that libraries everywhere must adapt to the new media and modern ways of and storing and delivering information. Alvan Ikoku Library has thus evolved to include a virtual/e-library section to enable students access the increasing resources available in digital format. Even though print is still the pre-eminent mode of storing information, the College understands the need to deploy ICT to make the library experience richer, more engaging and appealing to a generation that increasingly seeks for information, not in books, but through computers, Smart phones and Tablets.
The Management led by Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing Ijioma, a thorough bred academic, who understands the need for a functional archival and retrieval system in an academic institution has fully backed the Library’s quest to regain her former glory. She has funded the purchase of dozens of computers, provided dependable alternative power sources and insisted that Library personnel attend workshops and conferences, especially abroad to keep abreast with modern methods and practices.
Students now generally flock to the Library to update their knowledge and this is a welcome development in the College. Reading is not dead, however, reading methods are changing – from books to electronic platforms; so the Alvan Ikoku Library is working hard to ensure that we provide a place for our students to study and research, whether it be via print or through modern ICT systems.
As the grand finale of the golden jubilee celebrations draws nigh, the flurry of activities within and around the College indicate the excitement and increased tempo of affairs as the College gears up for the big event.
Construction work can be seen going on in various sectors since the College must wear a new look for the celebrations. Our students will be “shocked” to notice, on return, that the famous so called ‘problem tree’ located near the front gate, behind the statue of Mazi Alvan Ikoku, has been cut down. In its vicinity will rise a 50 foot Obelisk commemorating 50 years of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri.
The Golden Jubilee LOC is working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure, not only a hitch free ceremony, but a master class of a celebration, one befitting of a golden anniversary.
Some students have expressed dismay at the cutting of the “problem tree.” It was seemingly strategic and provided some shade for people sitting under it. However, the Obelisk (I have seen the drawing) will be a massive edifice, imposing and engaging, and worth using to mark this point in time in our College history.
One wonders what inspired such a name for the hapless tree. So the College Blog will love to get comments on why students chose to name the tree, “Problem tree.”
Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri has always blazed the trail in gender equality and representation. Both the Provost (Chief Executive) and Registrar of the College are women – firsts for their positions. And just last week, Friday, 6th September, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Alvan chapter elected the first female chairman of the chapter. In a historic vote, Mrs. Ukachi Wachukwu, a Principal Lecturer in the Department of English and foundation Head of Department of Theatre Arts in the College, was returned winner having being found worthy by her colleagues to lead the union in the College’s golden jubilee year.
COEASU, the only union that caters for academic staff in Colleges of Education in Nigeria, conducted a rigorous and competitive election in which issues and policies triumphed. The lecturers, though keen in their campaigns, behaved above board and the zeal and level of participation was indicative of the quest for democratic ideals in their union. For a College which considers itself ‘primus interpares’ among Colleges of Education in the country and certainly one of the largest in the country, Alvan COEASU set an example worthy of emulation.
The Management of the College led by Dr. (Mrs.) B.C. Ijioma has since inception taken staff welfare to greater heights. With the full backing of the President Jonathan led Federal Government and its arms and agencies, Management has paid salaries, allowances and sundry benefits which accrue to staff, especially the academic staff. Staff training and development is given topmost priority with the result that tens of millions of naira have been invested to improve staff through seminars, workshops, back-to-school programmes, here in Nigeria and overseas.
A benevolent and open-door attitude of Management has engendered a collaborative and positive attitude on campus and staff with genuine business routinely walk up to Principal Officers to consult them. The Provost has continually remarked in public that no genuine claim of the staff and of the unions will be left unattended.
Workers’ unions originated in the Europe and America as a platform for workers to engage employers of labour in order to secure better wages and conditions of work. Today, in a post-modern labour market, where human resource is now classified as human capital, the unions have evolved to also become welfare oriented and provide support for their members, both financially and otherwise. This new mode, where unions increasingly work as partners in progress with Management and institutions, is the future of unionism.
For a College with over 80% female students and which prides itself as a centre for women development, the election of a female Chairman in COEASU shows that the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ is well and truly cracked.