Reactions have continued to trail the reversal of the University status given to the Alvan Ikoku College of Education Owerri by the Federal Government.
During a plenary session of the Imo State House of Assembly, the members appealed to the federal government not to shortchange the school’s university status by the immediate past government of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan knowing well that the institution has all it takes to be a university.
Speaking on a motion moved by a member representing Ikeduru State Constituency and Chairman House Committee on Education, Hon. Uche Oguwuike, the motion rejected the move by the Federal Government to reverse the status of the University of Education to a College of Education.
The motion which was supported by majority of the State Lawmakers also mandated the Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha to lead a high powered delegation to interface with President Muhammadu Buhari-led government and the Federal Ministry of Education to see how this issue can be resolved as soon as possible and ensure that the school maintains its university status.
The Imo State government has launched a teachers’ professional development programme aimed at retraining teachers and keeping them abreast of current ways of performing their duties.
The development is in line with the State government’s determination to raise the standard of education and enhance effective teaching and learning in schools.
The event was flagged-off on Sunday at the Nicks Banquet Hall in the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State’s capital in south-west Nigeria.
Speaking on behalf of the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, his wife, Mrs Nkechinyere Okorocha, said the programme was organised by the State government under the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB), in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
Mrs Okorocha explained that the training was invented to demonstrate the love the Okorocha-led administration had for education, stressing that it was evident in provision of quality free education programme going on from primary school to tertiary institution in the state.
She also advised teachers in the state to take advantage of the training to develop themselves in order to compete with their counterparts around the world.
Emphasising further on the training, the Executive Chairman of IMSUBEB, Getrude Oduka, explained that the teachers would be privileged to attend special courses at the Imo State University, Alvan Ikoku University of Education and Imo State College of Advanced Professional Studies.
Similarly, the South-East Zonal Coordinator of UBEC, Sylvester Eyinnaya, expressed optimism that the training would enhance effectiveness and solve some major problems encountered by the teachers in major subjects like English, Mathematics, Science and Technology amongst others.
A total of 1,500 school teachers are expected to have been trained across the state at the end of the programme.
While commending the State government for the gesture, the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Honourable Iheanacho Ihim, said the programme would go a long way to get the teachers updated in their activities.
In another development, Mrs Okorocha presented over 50 wheelchairs to some physically challenged pupils to aid their movement.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Nigeria has approved the conversion of four Federal Colleges of Education to full fledged universities.
The Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, who briefed State House Correspondents after the meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, listed the Colleges that have been upgraded.
They are Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo (now Adeyemi University of Education, Ondo); Federal College of Education, Zaria (now Federal University of Education, Zaria); Federal College of Education, Kano (now Federal University of Education, Kano); and Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri (now Alvan Ikoku University of Education, Owerri).
Mr Shekara also said that the Colleges were part of the 21 Federal Colleges of Education that had been awarding degree programmes in the last three decades under the close supervision of the different universities they were affiliated to.
The council also approved the establishment of the Federal University of Health Sciences in Otukpo, Benue State.
Until the approval, the university was said to be the College of Medical Health Sciences, under the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.