ADDRESS BY THE PROVOST, ALVAN IKOKU FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, OWERRI, DR. BLESSING C. IJIOMA ON THE OCASSION OF THE 37TH MATRICULATION CEREMONY OF THE COLLEGE.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone to this Matriculation ceremony. Matriculation traditionally marks the commencement of studies for students in an academic institution and students pledge to abide by the rules of the institution. I welcome especially all the freshmen and women who will be matriculating today. Congratulations on securing a place in this prestigious citadel of learning.
My dear students, securing admission to this premier College of Education is no mean feat. You are the fortunate few from over ten thousand applicants, so take this as a great opportunity that must be fully utilized. Keep your eyes on the goal which is to graduate with excellent results.
Alvan Ikoku is a foremost College of Education that has produced a long line of distinguished teachers, administrators, businessmen, political leaders and the clergy. This College, which you are now part of, is synonymous with excellence in teacher education and for over fifty years has maintained the track record of excellence. Our history is tied with the history of this great nation and we have continuously played a part in developing the youth of every generation since independence. Today, it is the turn of your generation: and a wonderful privilege that must not be toyed with.
Our parents and students will see that infrastructure around the College is modern and in good shape. Great efforts and funds have gone into making the facilities comfortable and functional. The Federal Government and its agencies have helped tremendously to enable this College return to its glory days. We are indeed grateful.
Recently we have set up new courses like Technical Education, Special Education and Entrepreneurship studies. These departments are being equipped as well as the erecting of a massive ICT building that will house 600 computer workstations for teaching students. We expect that when you graduate here you will have highly developed practical skills. A new Micro-Teaching Lab will be ready in a couple of weeks and will go a long way in developing your teaching skills.
The development around the College also extends to human capital. We have vigorously undertaken the training and retraining of our staff, both academic and non-academic. Hundreds of staff have gone back to Post-Graduate schools within and outside the country to upgrade their qualifications. The TETFUND must be commended for meticulous investment in the nation’s manpower needs. Thus our students should expect to be exposed to modern ideas and global best practices.
At this point in my speech last year I made a clarion call for cleanliness and health vigilance in the hostels. Then the world was facing the Ebola Virus disease epidemic. This year – yes, the Ebola outbreak has been contained – cleanliness still remains the watchword. Regularly washing hands with soap and water is still in vogue as is proper use of the toilets and bathrooms. As we pursue academic laurels, let us remember that cleanliness is next to Godliness.
We have a functional Medical Centre. Students must use its services and avoid the temptation of self-medication. The doctors are professional and will give you the best advice available. Students must never self-medicate or patronise quacks. Last year we expelled a female student who was running a quack ‘abortion clinic’ right there in the hostels. Our Counseling Service is fully functional and staffed with professional counselors who will help you handle some of the pressures of life.
My dear students, many of you are young and energetic. As such you must be careful during the period of the General Elections. Refuse to be used by unscrupulous politicians as thugs and elements for election malpractice. Remain law abiding citizens and focus on your academics. As students, you are your own first security officer. Be vigilant, avoid late night movements, and report all suspicious items and persons to the student security officials or the chief security officer and his men.
Now to sound a note of warning: The College has banned indecent dressing, examination malpractices and “sorting” and deals decisively with all offenders. The consequence of exam malpractice is expulsion. To be forewarned is to be fore armed.
On the other hand this administration does not tolerate exploitation and intimidation of students. We have established agencies like the ICPC backed Anti-Corruption Unit and the SERVICOM unit to checkmate all acts of exploitation. Any student with genuine complaints should not hesitate to reach out to these units.
I call on all the matriculants to note that all fees should be paid into designated bank accounts. Never give cash to fellow students or other third parties to pay for you. The College will not entertain any complaints that arise from a breach of these instructions.
I wish you all good luck as you begin your academic pursuits. Today, knowledge and learning have expanded to great and many frontiers. Survival is dependent on how flexible you are, the depth of your knowledge base and the practical demonstration of your skills. So, endeavor to develop your all round skills, go digital and above all learn to trust in God.
Finally, I thank the parents, guardians, well-wishers, guests and the media for coming to celebrate with our matriculating students. I assure parents that their children and wards have come to a good College that will help them nurture their talent. I also thank the matriculation committee for a job well done.
Thank you all and God Bless.
Dr. (Mrs.) Blessing C. Ijioma