Professor Reuben Okechukwu is the Rector of the newly approved Federal College of (Technical) Education, Isu, Ebonyi State. In this interview with UCHENNA INYA, he talks about the college’s planned take-off in October and the challenges facing the budding institution, among other salient issues.
As one of the newly approved Federal Education Colleges, when will the college begin its academic activities and what facilities are in place for it to take off?
We have a mandate from the federal government to begin full academic activities in October of this year. We have written to the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
We have done our documentation with the JAMB and other appropriate and relevant federal government authorities to improve this start.
Again here in the state we met with the Ebonyi state government and the governor is quite magnanimous and graciously approved and released the land documents for the college permanent site.
He also ordered that the students be moved from the temporary site to allow us to take over the temporary site as a reception center for the college. In addition, the governor was very supportive.
It is indeed a good start. It is a very big support, at first, since we have no land or space and the college will not work in the air.
In the meantime, the federal government has also ordered that takeoff grants be released to be used for infrastructure development at the permanent site. I would like to thank the Isu community and the chairman of the Onicha Local Government Council.
The host community did a great job; they made some renovations to the provost’s office in the administrative block on the temporary site. They raised funds locally to do this renovation in order to demonstrate their enthusiasm for the college project, in particular their acceptance of the location of the establishment in their community.
They have all been very cooperative and supportive. The determination in them is pretty huge and I think that’s a wonderful thing. They are always there to make sure we are going to be comfortable.
The local government council alone closed the entire temporary site. It is a large expanse of land. The council also expressed their determination to build the gatehouse and other structures.
They arrange to secure residency for the provost at Isu and other senior staff to make sure they are comfortable, as well as other staff. So I want to thank all of these people and the whole of Ebonyi State.
I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving us the Federal College of Education. Ebonyi State is indeed very lucky. Most importantly, we also thank the Minister of Science and Technology, who also played a very important role in establishing the college in our beloved state.
What are these things in terms of the facilities required for takeoff from the institution?
What we need to get off the ground are mostly students. We will organize meetings, seminars with the authorities of the JAMB to discuss the modalities. On behalf of the National Commission of Educational Colleges (NCCE), they also gave us clear direction. Of the six newly created federal education colleges, two are technical, and we are one of them.
The other is the Federal College of (Technical) Education, Ekiadalo, Edo State, while the rest are conventional education colleges. Thus, we have more responsibilities in the formation of resourceful and autonomous individuals, who, after graduation, will decide because of their skills and competences that they would have acquired here to be alone as a employers of labor or to work for themselves.
They will also be well-trained teachers because our duty is to train teachers of quality, qualified, competent and necessary for the system. Our duty is also to make the college the best as an excellent technical and pedagogical training center in Nigeria, able to compete globally all over the world.
As a technical education institution, what impact do you think it will have on the development of the state?
The state had previously been classified as educationally disadvantaged and that is why we are working very hard to change that. But, you can see that the people of Ebonyi State everywhere are experts and are good students wherever they are. Everywhere they go, they excel and it’s because of this disadvantaged aspect that makes them work very hard to change that narrative.
Well, there’s nothing better these days than being tech-savvy. The world takes or adopts technology, science, innovation. We have an Ebonyi state minister responsible for science and technology, but innovation has recently been added to his portfolio.
So, technology is very important and critical. Therefore, for us, training our products that will be well equipped technologically, this will obviously contribute a lot to giving flesh to the development of the workforce, the needs and the desire for self-sufficiency of the current world.
Of course, as I always tell them, it’s tech and letters, which means you have the skills. So, technical education will help us a lot, because we will talk about technical and vocational education (ETP) where you can cultivate agriculture and of course Ebonyi state is known for its agriculture. And, with agriculture being the backbone of our economy, the college will add a lot of value to the state economy.
How many students does the college plan to take off with?
Well, right now we don’t have any students in terms of enrollment. The only limitation we have is the number of schools we are taking off with.
Of course, we will have four schools – the School of General Education and Studies (Foundation), the School of Educational Sciences, the School of Vocational Education and the Technical Secondary School, which are then divided into departments.
For the School of Science Education, we have the departments of Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Integrated Science; for the school of education, we have general education, education and general studies to basically train our students to become professional, qualified and certified teachers.
At the Vocational School we have agriculture, home economics, and while at the School of Technology we will talk about electricity and electronics, woodworking, automotive, among others.
As a new college, what are the challenges?
For every new institution like human beings, there must be challenges, and it is the challenge that will make you work hard. We have challenges, such as housing, because students will come from afar.
We need new buildings, as well as the renovation and modernization of some facilities; we need a steady supply of water and electricity. There are so many challenges, but God on our side and with the support of state and federal governments, we will overcome the challenges.
What about the recruitment of academic and non-academic staff?
Well, we haven’t started recruiting staff. So if you hear someone telling you that we have started recruiting or they say we are collecting money, or someone asking you to apply, don’t listen and give it away. not.
As a federal institution, there are commitment procedures. My attention was drawn to the rumor circulating that the college has started recruiting staff.
Ordinarily, gossip should be ignored as street talk and the product of ignorance, as there is no way for the college to begin recruiting staff without the approval of the Office of the Head of Department of the Federation.
It is therefore imperative to explicitly state that the buzz was a complete, unfounded, spurious lie that only exists in the imaginations of mischief-makers and besieging marauders to deceive unsuspecting job seekers and leak their bags. by hand.
While we warn the providers of this buffoonery to renounce the act before the eyes of the law fall on them, there is also an urgent need to warn that anyone who pays such people to get a job in college is doing so to its risks and dangers.
Therefore, we call on the public to disregard it, while also urging potential candidates to remain calm and vigilant while waiting for such a moment when the college will carry out its recruiting exercise according to the process recognized by law.
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