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Succeeding Against The Odds

Posted by By Dike Onwuamaeze on 2004/07/16 | Views: 725 |

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Succeeding Against The Odds


The road was rough for Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe but that experience turned an icing sugar for its success story

The road was rough for Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe but that experience turned an icing sugar for its success story

Serene and scenic. These words aptly describe the quiet environment of Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe, NOCEN, Anambra State. A tertiary institution with a humble beginning in 1976 as a teachers training college, NOCEN has gone through various stages of metamorphosis to emerge as a virile college of education with seperate accreditations for the award of National Certificate of Education, NCE, and Bachalor Degrees in education, B.Ed, in affiliation with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. These accreditations were given by the National Commission of College of Education and the National Universities Commission.

NOCEN shed off the toga of a teachers' training college in 1981 when it was upgraded to a college of education. Later in 1991, it was renamed Anambra State College of Education, Nsugbe after its merger with College of Education, Awka. It became known as Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe in 1997. Its new name is in honour of Late Prince A.A. Nwafor Orizu, Nigeria's first Senate president during the first republic and a reputable champion of education.

Its merger with College of Education, Awka marked the most significant event in the growth of NOCEN. It enabled the college to acquire laboratory equipment and library facilities. Today NOCEN prides itself as having the best language laboratory in any tertiary institution in South Eastern states of Nigeria. The merger also provided a high calibre of staff to the college which now stands out NOCEN as the third best staffed college of education in Nigeria. Currently, the academic staff of NOCEN is made up of 37 academic staff with doctorate degrees. Some of them are now associate profesors. About 110 hold masters degrees while 36 have first degrees and post degrees in education.

The availability of high quality academic staff coupled with well equipped laboratories and library facilities played a major role in the accreditation of the institutin for the award of B.Ed. This accreditation has contributed immensely to the relevance and existence of NOCEN in this present dispensation where NCE is losing its flavour. According to Dr. Joe Okoye, Provost of NOCEN, the emerging trend in student enrolment indicates significant reduction in enrolment into NCE programmes and an upward swing in enrolment into B.Ed programmes. "The implication," said the provost, "is that like the TC grade II programme, the NCE is on its way out in this part of the country. Our only hope for sustainance is the B.Ed programme." The provost added that a case was being made "for Colleges of Education to to be allowed to award even Ph.D."

The guiding philosophy of NOCEN is "excellence through hardwork", with the goal of producing dedicated, cultured and competent teachers who will teach in the primary and secondary schools. This philosophy is attained by inculcating in the students the virtues of discipline, determination and dedication due to NOCEN's commitment to building a culture of morality and discipline as an institution that trains teachers. "We have a mission of maintaining academic excellence and prove that education is a veritable instrument of economic, social and political engineering. Education is a key that unlocks the door to modernisation and development and there is no substitute for it in a person's life," said Dr. Okoye.

NOCEN has a total of 24 departments which are organised in five schools or faculties. These are school of arts and social sciences; education, languages, sciences and vocational and technical education. And apart from English and French languages, NOCEN runs courses in three Nigeria's languages, namely Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.

NOCEN depends mainly on Anambra State government, and on its internally generated revenues for its funding. However, funding, particularly for capital projects from the government has been on a downward slope since 1997 and came to a zero point before the end of the Mbadinuju's administration in May, 2003. According to Dr. Okoye, "provisions for capital development have been made in government budgets all these years but none has been released to the college." But the coming of the Chris Ngige administration has rekindled hope of a change of attitude towards the college.

Nevertheless, some Federal Government intervention agencies, especially the Education Tax Fund, ETF, have been of immense assistance to the execution of capital projects. NOCEN projects executed by ETF include the portable water supply scheme valued at N8,960,233.00 and students' hostel worth N3,435,750.00.

Also through frugal utilisation of its IGR, NOCEN has been able to initiate and complete such major projects as Nnenne Mbadinuju Hostel, Fine Arts Studio and the fuel dump. These achievements were made possible by NOCEN's administrative philosophy that puts available "scarce resources into maximum use with all the trapings of frugality."

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The prudent management of available resources have enabled NOCEN to provide facilities and incentives needed to create a conducive teaching and learning environment by providing facilities and sponsoring members of the academic and non-academic staff to workshops and conferences. The college has also been generous in granting study leaves and sabaticals and encouraging the staff to improve themselves academically.

Distance learning programme is also among the major activities of the college. Outlining the focus of the distant learning programme of NOCEN, Dr. Okoye explained that it is based as a system of learning for students who are remote from the providing institution. He clarified that "ours is not an open university or university of the air but a school outside the main campus."

NOCEN is also active in sport promotion by engaging in various sporting activities as a way of diverting the youthful energies of its students from negative indulgences to positive engagements. This, along with effective student union and welfare, have made cult activities and student unrest strangers in the serene and scenic environment of Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, whose location provides an alluring view of the sun setting on the Anambra River as it flows into the River Niger.

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