Dr Mrs. Tessy Okoli is the Dean, Students Affairs, Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze. She spoke to FELIX UDO on degree awarding status of the college.
How far is the challenge of accommodation in the college?
There is nothing in life without challenges. Before the coming of the degree programmes, we started earlier to acquire some more hostels and as it is now, we don’t have much challenges as it concerns hostels because we made hostels available but what seems to me a challenge is that around here some of the hostel fees seems to be a bit high.
Eight thousand naira (N8,000) for hostels that are inside the school and ten thousand naira (N10, 000) for the one outside the school. But the new ones they are erecting now stands for N25, 000. So most of the students are finding it difficult to pay and that is why they talk of hostel problem but actually there is no problem because even the N25, 000 hostels did not have effect as at now.
Is there any problem in water supply to students?
We have water here and our new provost is making frantic efforts to make sure there is borehole here and there. Even at the permanent site the ones there, he has repaired all of them. Down the hostel there, there is new borehole coming up. If you go towards the old library there is another borehole there. So, the college is trying to provide them with water.
Reading culture among the students here?
Yes, generally in the country today Nigerians lack reading culture. So, it is not restricted to our students but we are trying to tell them the importance of reading. Even in our orientation while they are coming in, there is a topic given to one of our lecturers to deliver to them about studying skills and reading culture for them to maintain it. It is not peculiar to students of this college. It is peculiar to this country and it is a problem to this country. People of Nigeria lack reading culture. But we shall continue talking to them on that problem.
What of molestation from the lecturers against the students?
In this college? I have been Dean of students Affairs here, since 2007 and left 2009 and came back 2010. The issue of molestation against students is not allowed in this college. We don’t allow lecturers to molest students and we have not handled such case and I have not see any.
This college is peculiar when it comes to discipline. The youths being what they are they will like to belong. When you tell them that cultism is not good and it will do them no good, they will want to feel what is the impact, to try water that argument and we are trying to cut it to the barest minimum here. We don’t allow them to operate even if they exist, we don’t know because we have not allowed them to stand their feet.
Any more challenges?
Well, in any institution of learning, there must be a challenging issue. The issue of education at large, it is a challenging as one. With this new education degree, the population increase, it is a real challenge to the college. But I have told you that we have prepared for it before now. So we are able to take care of those situations.
Managing the population?
Not in this college. The PRO will take you round the facilities we have on ground is more than enough. The population is not even enough to take up the facilities on ground in terms of classrooms.
Do your students make the school proud in any way?
They make us proud in several ways. Once you go out fined even from companies and organizations that employ them. They will want to employ our graduates before any other person. When they go on teaching practice in other schools, other students from other colleges and universities do come too, but students normally stands out. Just last year there was this south-east Igbo zonal debate competition held from State to zonal level. Our students came first. Those from UNIZIK, UNN, OKo polytechnic and others were all there when our students from Federal College of Education came first.
What of examination malpractice do you checkmate that?
A lot, if you come to this school we don’t complain. It is one big family. They tell the students from the handbook. Any malpractice has a penalty and our penalty before now is dismissal and expulsion. We don’t condone it at all in this college. Even if you are in your final year and you are caught in exam misconduct, you are gone. Our students know that.
Even now. What I mean is since the inception of this college. Find out yourself or ask our students what happens to those caught in exam misconduct because normally once you are caught with evidence, you are gone but it depends on the gravity of your evidence. Some are, you have to repeat for one year.