The Federal College of Education, Odugbo held its maiden matriculation ceremony on Thursday, 18th May, 2023 at the College premises.
The ceremony which marked the official admission of students into the College was full of pomp and pageantry with the presence of vehicular and human traffic heralding the ambience of the matriculation ceremony. It was a good sight of reassurance to behold with the conviviality that rented the atmosphere of the College and Odugbo at large. Itinerant traders flocked around making brisk businesses; prominent among them were photographers who graced the occasion to relive the moment for matriculating students, parents, guardians, friends, members of staff of the College and invited guests. In fact, the ceremony drawned the palpable fear that gripped some guests who were put on notice prior to the event following security reports of sporadic attacks on neighbouring communities. This is however not to forget the concerted effort of security personnel in ensuring that absolute peace was guaranteed. The College was agog with the assemblage of guests cutting across the religious and traditional institutions, the academia, technocrats and leaders of repute. To complement the ceremony was the presence of the Boys’ Brigade band that played during the procession to and from the venue of the matriculation.
The Provost of the College, Professor Joel O. Eriba was full of appreciation for the special privilege the maiden matriculation ceremony offered the College community for dignitaries that graced the occasion in validating the status of the pioneer students of the College. According to Professor Eriba, the presence of guests from near and far to witness the matriculation ceremony gladdened his heart.
In his address, the Provost specially thanked the benefactor of the College, President Muhammadu Buhari for giving approval for the establishment of FCE, Odugbo among other Colleges of Education in the six geo-political zones of the country in November, 2019. He also used the occasion to appreciate the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu for making sure that the establishment of the College became a reality. In his words, “Mallam Adamu Adamu personally signed the appointment letters of the Principal Officers on 16th March, 2021 and inaugurated the Governing Council of the College on 18th January, 2022 on behalf of the President.”
In the same vein, Professor Eriba appreciated Arc Sonny T. Echono, the then Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and currently the Executive Secretary, TETFUND for personally donating his houses for use as take-off site for the College free of charge. The Provost noted that in his characteristic gesture of magnanimity, Arc Echono facilitated the award of scholarships to over 100 indigent students mainly of Odugbo extraction through the Linda Ene Echono Foundation.
Furthermore, the Professor Eriba expressed heartfelt thanks to the host community for not only donating their land for the siting of the College but for generously providing a clement atmosphere for staff and students in the community.
Similarly, the helmsman of Federal College of Education, Odugbo specially acknowledged the efforts of TETFUND in providing funds towards the infrastructural development of the College through various interventions. He also thanked the National Commission for Colleges of Education ably led by Professor Paulinus Chijioke Okwelle for the regulatory orientation, guide and provision of needed materials for adherence and cohesion. The Provost also appreciated the Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede for showing unprecedented passion for the Colleges of Education, especially the new six.
Expatiating on the rationale for the College, the Provost observed that the presence of the College would among other things, enhance, promote and encourage teacher education in Nigeria with a view to ameliorating the challenges that many Nigerians face in accessing quality teacher education. He opined that the quality of teacher education has nosedived in the last few decades due mainly to some causative factors such as negative attitudes of society towards teachers, very poor remuneration of teachers, lack of motivation of teachers by their employers and teachers’ poor image in society among others. Worried by the abysmal importance attached to teacher education, Professor Eriba in reiterating the cliche captured in the National Policy on Education posited that, “no nation can rise above the quality of her teachers.” He however pointed out that in order to reinvigorate and reposition the teaching profession, the Federal Government had announced some welfare packages for teachers. Professor Eriba
* Payment of teaching practice allowance to education undergraduates by TETFUND. The implementation has been ongoing.
* Introduction of a special salary scale.
* Increase in retirement age from 60 to 65 years.
*Increase in years of service from 35 to 40 years.
* Payment of rural allowance for teachers posted to rural communities.
* Increase in science allowance, peculiar allowance, automatic admission and tuition-free for kids of teachers at their places of work.
* Automatic recruitment of B.Ed graduating students and payment of stipends to Bachelor of Education students or education special allowance.
* Education students in Colleges and Universities are also to enjoy special bursary awards.
* Enhanced entry for graduating students into service and introduction of special teachers’ pension.
The Provost promised that as an institution of learning, Federal College of Education, Odugbo was poised to realising the lofty goals of the Federal Government. He therefore enjoined the students to reciprocate the laudable gesture of government by committing themselves to the letters of matriculation oath administered on them. Professor Eriba stressed that about 500 students were being matriculated into eighteen (18) NCE Programmes of the College. According to him, the selection of candidates for admission was strictly based on the National minimum requirements for admission into Nigeria Certificate in Education programme as enunciated in the minimum standards of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE).
Earlier, the Registrar of the College, Barr Ehi Naomi Omojor-Onjefu administered the matriculation oath on the students. Barr Omojor-Onjefu called on the students to fill the matriculation forms, append their signatures and submit to the Registry Department of the College signifying their commitment to abide by the letters of the oath taken.
In a goodwill message, the Executive Secretary, NCCE, Professor Paulinus Chijioke Okwelle represented by Dr (Barr) Mainasara Umar expressed profound gratitude to the management and staff led by the Provost for their dedication to duty as exemplified in the milestones achieved by the College. He noted that though the College was new, it was considered one of the best in all standards. Dr Mainasara Umar called on the students to be hardworking and dedicated to studies.
Professor Hyacinth Oluma who delivered the goodwill message of the Chairman of Council, Senator Salisu Matori expressed his profound joy for being part of the maiden matriculation of the College. He assured management of the continued support and partnership of Council towards the overall growth of the College.
In the same manner, the President General Odugbo National Forum, Mr Abu Garba Omale in his goodwill message showered encomiums on Arc Sonny Echono for his contributions to the College and the entire Community. He assured management that he was committed to attracting developmental projects to the community that would boost economic activities in the locality.
Delivering the vote of thanks, the College Librarian, Dr Shehu Umar Mabera appreciated guests for taking time out of their crowded schedules to be at the matriculation. He prayed for the safe return of guests to their respective destinations.
Also present at the occasion were the Bursar of the College, Mrs Helen Ushukon Obadiah, Deans of Schools, wife of the Provost and Deputy Registrar in the College, Mrs Christy Ajuma Eriba, the Director Academic Planning, Dr Iwanger Ruth Samuel, Heads of Departments, teaching and non-teaching staff.