I welcome everyone gathered here today for the 2015/2016 matriculation ceremony. Matriculation marks the formal start of a student’s academic sojourn in this College. On that note, I want to formally welcome our freshmen and women to this our revered institution and to congratulate them on securing admission here
My dear students, securing admission to this premier College of Education is no mean feat. I want to inform them that the clock has started ticking. You are the fortunate few from several thousand applicants, so take this as a great opportunity that must be fully utilized. Do not waste any time whatsoever as you strive to graduate with excellent results.
The Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri is a foremost College of Education that has produced a long line of distinguished teachers, administrators, businessmen, political leaders and the clergy. This College is synonymous with excellence in teacher education and for over fifty years has maintained the track record of excellence. Indeed we are known as the primus interpares, that is first among equals in Colleges of Education across Nigeria. Our history predates that of Imo State, going back to the early days of Independence and the defunct Eastern Nigeria. The impact of this institution in the educational landscape of Nigeria cannot be quantified as there is hardly any public school, especially in the Eastern part of the country, where our graduates do not teach.
Since this administration, we have conscientiously worked hard to maintain the pedigree and rich history of this College. We have steadfastly improved the infrastructure and the human capital resource. A look around the College proves us right. In the last two months the Social Sciences block was completed over at the Shell Camp Campus. The edifice houses several lecture halls and scores of offices for our staff. The old Provost office has been demolished and in its place a multi-storey office block building is being erected to provide decent and ample office accommodation for our staff. Our library, laboratories and workshops are continually upgraded as we continue to lay emphasis on the student acquiring both the theoretical and practical knowledge.
Great effort 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.
Last year we set up new courses in Technical Education, Special Education and Entrepreneurship studies. These departments are now matriculating its students. All over the world technical and entrepreneurial skills are being highlighted as these are the hottest tickets to success in the knowledge based IT driven economy of the 21st century. Alvan Ikoku has keyed into the policy of the Federal Government and set up these departments to equip our children for the future. We promise to ensure that these new departments and all our programmes continue to get the resources they need to give the best to our students.
The health and safety of our students is always paramount in our actions. To make the environment cleaner and healthier we have in the past couple of weeks pulled down the decades old refectory and moved the food vendors and service providers to a brand new plaza behind G-Hostel. Our students are encouraged to shun road side food stalls and instead patronize clean and decent places. A few years ago I gave a warning concerning Ebola disease. This year we must continue our vigilance especially in the light of the Lassa fever outbreak caused primarily by rats.
Students are strongly encouraged to help keep the environment clean. Keep your corners neat and tidy and properly use the toilets. Let us all behave like educated and civilized people. The College spends a lot of money to keep the campuses clean and all hands must be on deck to keep sickness and disease at bay.
The College Health Centre is open 24 hours a day and the Student Health Insurance Programme is now running. The doctors are professional and will give you the best advice available. Students must never self-medicate or patronise quacks.
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. Cultism is banned in this College. Report all suspicious movements and behaviour to the student security or the College security officials. We will arrest, expel and hand over to the security agencies, any student caught engaging in cult and criminal activities.
Also 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. Students are advised to respect all staff, whether academic or non-academic. Listen and follow all the instructions from the departments and the registry unit. It will help guide and inform you.
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 in your academic pursuits. You have made a right decision to come to study in our College. Today you have begun a journey to join the elite band of graduates of this institution. However this is just the beginning. The certificates and the prizes are given out at the end. Success is dependent on the depth of your knowledge base and the practical demonstration of your skills. So, endeavour 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. Blessing C. Ijioma