Posted by By Dike Onwuamaeze on
Dr. Joe Okoye. Provost, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe spoke with Dike Onwuamaeze on achievement recorded at the institution.
Dr. Joe Okoye. Provost, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe spoke with Dike Onwuamaeze on achievement recorded at the institution. Excerpts:
Newswatch: The vision and philosophy of the college; what is it all about?
Okoye: The vision here is excellence through hardwork. We want to produce dedicated, cultured and competent teachers who will be able to teach in the primary and junior secondary schools.
Newswatch: But the standard of scholars that graduate from our primary and secondary schools is low. Are NCE graduates proving their worth?
Okoye: I think the colleges of education are fulfilling their mandate. If somebody is not educable what do you do? What do you do to a pupil without the intellectual and environmental preparation to learn? It is a national problem that the quality of education is going down whatever is the reason.
Newswatch: Why is the standard going down?
Okoye: A lot of factors are involved. One, the age at which people get into school. Now someone is two or three years and you send him to school. He hasn't got the mental maturity. But if a person matures intellectual, then you give him the information and he will be able to make use of it. But in situations where people think their wards are very bright and want to send them to secondary school at the age of nine, what type of nonsense is that? Two, some pupils are allowed various information and some of them are often conflicting that they can not be able to synthesise and pick what they want. Three, quality of books now used is very low. Four, the number of pupils in the classroom is too large for teachers to manage well for effective learning. So, teachers resort to objective questions which are mere guess work yes or no.
This system was okay before the war when the missionaries were in charge. The truth is that today, the water is polluted right from the fountain. If we lack a good foundation right from the primary schools, then anything we built will surely collapse.
Newswatch: Can you comment on the funding of tertiary education?
Okoye: My institution is owned and funded by Anambra State Government and as you know state governments are not always buoyant. So funding is a problem though the present Ngige administration is working harder to improve on it. Most of the projects we have completed for the time I'm here are ETF-funded. Though allocations from ETF has gone down from N20 million to N10 million last year.
Newswatch: Since the federal government is pursuing a policy of universal education, isn't it appropriate for it to take over the funding of Colleges of Education all over the country?
Okoye: That is ideal. But when it comes to spending money, they will tell you education is on the concurrent list. That is why Federal institutions of learning are better funded than the state-owned ones.
Newswatch: How would you rate the research outputs of your academic staff?
Okoye: Staff must grow. There is what we call publish or perish. We have people who have become readers or associate professors. They attained this through research works and publications in journals. We also sponsor them to international conferences. So, we don't believe in teaching alone. Anyone who does so will decay. We engage in lots of research.
Newswatch: What is your opinion, about examination malpractises?
Okoye: It is a national problem. But it is minimal here because of the way we have addressed it. We take examination serious. If you are caught cheating, you face the panel and if found guilty, you go. We don't compromise discipline in anything that concerns examination.
Newswatch: What about laboratory equipment?
Okoye: As a result of our merger with Awka College of Education, we have well equipped laboratories and library facilities. And what we have on ground is enough though it needs upgrading.
Newswatch: What will be your reaction if the FG said because of the importance we attach on education, we are taking over all teacher's training institutions?
Okoye: You are talking strategic now. If we are serious, we cannot talk about universal education without talking about producing teachers that will run the programme alright. In that case, you can now say, let us take all the teachers' training institutions and develop them, so that they will have enough finance, motivation, infrastructures etc.