FCET Umunze: Raises the Bar in Quality Teacher Training

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David-Chyddy Eleke writes that the new management of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State has raised the hope of producing quality teachers that will make an impact in the country’s education sector

There have been arguments about the dearth of quality teachers in the country, resulting in the decline in quality education. Thus the new management of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, led by the Provost, Dr. Tessy Okoli is determined to reverse the trend with the quality of training it is providing for teachers in the institution.

Recently, the college matriculated over 3,500 students, both in the NCE, PCE and degree programmes. The provost, who addressed the matriculants, said the institution has risen to instil discipline and good conduct in its students with the hope of producing teachers that are worth their salt, in its quest to revitalise education in the country. She stated some of the rules of the institution that must be strictly adhered to in order to get the best of education in the college.

“This year’s matriculation ceremony is very significant. It will be the first matriculation ceremony I am officiating since my appointment as the provost of this college. I must warn you that this college is reputed for setting high academic standard. In FCET, only the best is good enough. “The college continues to provide the required facilities and resources for academic excellence to thrive. The college has continued to enjoy uninterrupted academic calendar, which enables our students to graduate on record time. In keeping with this tradition, we are lowering our guard to maintain sanity and peaceful environment for learning for all students.

She added: “This college does not tolerate bribe-for-marks, often called sorting. We do not tolerate any form of harassment of students. I hereby implore lecturers and students to apply their hearts unto wisdom and avoid the pursuit of vanities that would only bring misery and regrets at the end. We will continue to guard our reputation jealously and become a model college of education, a fertile ground for young students to blossom in academic and godly character.”
True to Okoli’s words, THISDAY on a later visit found that the college, despite being a higher institution, holds periodic sessions for parents and teachers, a rare practice in tertiary institutions in the country. She said the management frowns at the development where young ladies live together with male students at off campus residential areas, adding that such development is the major cause of distraction in academic work, and students who indulge in such risk sanction.
Some of the staff, who spoke to THISDAY, said the ability of the new provost is not in doubt as she has been in the college for a long time, from her days as a lecturer.

The college’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sam Otti said: “We call her the Mother Theresa of this institution; she has been here for about 26 years, and rose through the ranks. She is the first internal provost we are having. Every other provost has been brought from outside the school. She has also through the period of her appointment, shown that she knows the school well, and has the capacity to move it to a new height.”

Otti said the provost has initiated several developmental strategies in the institution, which involved the welfare of staff, adding that the move has boosted the morale of the members of staff and yielded development for the institution.

Speaking to THISDAY in a separate forum, the provost said: “My staff here know that I don’t take workers’ welfare lightly. Part of the ways we encourage our staff to ensure that they deliver is by listening to them. On assumption of office, this administration reviewed several cases of staff that were stagnated in their position, or wrongly placed. We responded immediately by placing those staff that had acquired higher certificates. I am glad that this college has a vibrant workforce. This administration will continue to encourage staff and empower them to give their best for the growth of this institution.”

On the ability of the college to produce quality teachers, Okoli said: “To refresh your memory, this college was established by decree 4 of 1986 and commenced full academic programme in 1990. From inception, this institution was tasked to provide skilled and technically oriented manpower for the country’s education sector and I am glad to state that we have been efficient in the delivery of this mandate.

“We understand that teachers are nation builders so our position as a teacher-training institution is well defined. We will remain committed to producing quality NCE, PDE and degree graduates with the requisite competence to work in their chosen areas of interest. This college runs an established template of academic excellence.

“At various meetings of the academic board, the highest body that decides the academic affairs of this college, strong emphasis is laid on maintaining the standard that FCE (T), Umunze is known for. Among other colleges, we have a shining reputation for producing quality students and this administration will not relent in upholding this tradition of excellence.”

She added: “In pursuit of excellence in academics, I am delighted to inform you that all the academic programmes offered in this college enjoy the full accreditation of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), National Universities commission (NUC) and the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN). This administration will build on the legacy to ensure that all college programmes continue to enjoy full accreditation status.”

According to the provost, as the institution continues to push for the training of quality teachers, it hopes that one day it would be approved to run as a full-fledged university of education as that would give it a better boost towards churning out quality teachers that will move the country’s education sector to a new height. “We are working tirelessly to upgrade some NCE programmes to degree status, in collaboration with our affiliate university (Nnamdi Azikiwe University). I believe that the successful running of degree programmes in this collage would no doubt give a strong boost to our aspiration to become a full-fledged university of education,” Okoli said.