…As FCE (T) Umunze Holds 26th Convocation Lecture
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The Dean, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikwiwe University (NAU), Awka, Professor Josephat Okechukwu Ogbuaggu, mni, has called for the revitalization of teachers to produce excellent teachers, necessary for the actualization of excellent education process.
Professor Ogbuagu made the call, March 25, while delivering his lecture as the guest lecturer at the 26th Convocation Lecture of the Federal College of Education (Technical) (FCE(T), Umunze, Orumba South LGA, Anambra State, on the theme: ”Revitalizing Teacher Education in the Era of COVID-19 Pandemic”.
Speaking at the convocation lecture which was held at Dr Alex Ekwueme Auditorium of the College, Processor Josephat Okechukwu Ogbuagu, who served as the third substantive Provost of FCE (T), Umunze, for eight years, said excellent education process was meaningless without excellent teachers.
He described teachers as the greatest asset in nation development, stressing the need for teacher education to be revitalized in the current era of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Ogbuagu charged teachers to develop themselves, blend with the new normal virtual education method and adapt to international best practices so as to meet up with the contemporary demands.
‘Don’t think that COVID-19 is going. Prepare yourself for opportunities, upgrade yourself in ICT and get blended with the new normal,’ Ogbuagu who is also Chairman, Anambra State Primary Health Care Development Agency Board, told the teachers.
He identified inadequately trained teachers, funding problem, societal attitude to the teaching profession, poor staffing and insecurity, as problems of teacher education.
Pointing out that a viable teacher education programme was aimed at turning out teachers who were intellectually, socially, morally and professionally competent and who possessed personal integrity, and could teach effectively and efficiently, the Professor of Chemistry urged teachers to get themselves effectively trained, and the College, to look beyond its primary environment for funding.
The university don, who described teacher education as the pivot on which every other education revolved, explained that motivational strategies, remuneration, training and retraining of teachers and merit-based employment of teachers, were strategies for revitalizing teacher education.
He called on the Nigerian Government to tackle the menace of insecurity to put end to banditry, abduction and mass abduction of schoolchildren and students, which, according to him, had been affecting the education system.
In her address of welcome, the Provost, FCE (T), Umunze, Dr Tessy Okoli, reaffirmed that revitalizing teacher education was the mandate of the College. She described the event as a home coming for Professor Ogbuagu, who, according to her, left indelible footprints in the College.
The Provost thanked the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Professor Bappa-Aliyu Muhammadu, for his support to Colleges of Education.
In an interview later, the Provost, described education as the cornerstone of human, industrial and societal development. Pointing out that teacher education was the process of imparting knowledge, information, competence and skill from the teacher to another person, Dr Okoli described the theme of the 26th convocation lecture as very apt.
The Provost, who decried the rate of substandard education, which, she said, had affected Nigeria, noted that provision of teacher education for basic education purposes was necessary so as to adapt and succeed educationally in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, due to the pandemic people across the world had moved from physical classroom activity to online education system, though she noted that in Nigeria there were still setbacks due poor electricity and digital system. She added that the lecture was to devise means to chart ways forward so as to ensure the College and education system survived.
Dr Okoli, who advocated for total improved learning and re-learning for teachers so as to match the international standard, berated those who still relied on what they were taught in the university.
The event had the Executive Secretary, NCCE, Prof Bappa-Aliyu Muhammadu, as the chairman of the occasion. Prof Muhammadu was represented by the Director of Finance, NCCE, Dr Jonah Obasi.
Speaking with the press, Dr Obasi said funding had been a challenge to colleges of education. He added that NCCE had appealed to the federal government for an increase in funding of colleges of education so as to improve on the remuneration of teachers and quality of education delivery.
According to him, no nation could rise above the quality of its teachers, and to have teachers of high standard, attention should be paid to the welfare of teachers.
On what she took home from the lecture, the Dean, Students’ Affairs of the College, Dr Mrs R.N. Ofodile, described the convocation lecture as enriching. She said the guest lecturer taught them the basics of teaching for quality education delivery.
The event featured exhibition of various works and products made by students of the Federal College of Education.