Indigenes of Umunze community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State have cause to appreciate the efforts of the federal government for locating Federal College of Education (technical) in their isolated area within the boundary with Abia State.
The tertiary institution has boosted the economic potentials of the area, which has attracted many investors to build business empires at any available space of land.
The institution has been waxing strong with academic excellence and yearly influx of new entrants has become overwhelming due to the absolute management of the academic system by the academic board under the chairmanship of the provost, Prof. Josephat Ogbuagu.
Although, it is not all well with the school because of it has relocated to the permanent site in the same area of Umunze. It became worrisome for the school management in trying to put down some necessities in the new site due to nonpayment of take-off grant from the federal government.
However, the Federal College of Education (Technical) was established under Decree 4 of 1986 and it took off in 1989.
Perhaps, its take off would have been delayed further if not for two principal personages who literally induced the birth of the college.
The first person was the late traditional ruler of the town, Umunze, Igwe Mathias Nwafor Ugochukwu, who donated 10 bungalows and their boys’ quarters for the immediate take off the college.
While the pioneer Provost, Dr. TI Eze played active role to actualise the dream by making something out of nothing in the face of all odds.
The pioneer provost assumed office in the college on December1, 1989, inheriting an undeveloped permanent site located in Nsogwu village, Umunze and extremely dilapidated temporary site, a secondary school situated in the beautiful terrains of Lomu village, Umunze.
Overwhelmed about receiving the federal presence in their town, the people of Umunze through the late
Igwe Ugochukwu and the President, Umunze Progressive Union, willingly donated the All Saints’ Secondary school, Umunze and its premises for the establishment of the college.
In the move to buttress the presence of the college in Umunze, the people further relocated the All Saints’ Secondary School to a site a few meters away from the Lomu campus of the college where the school has been firmly established as a full-fledged secondary school optimally developed for academic work.
It took the combined effort of the Provost and the Ministerial Task Force set up by the Federal Ministry of Education three months to renovate the temporary site and provide the necessary facilities for the initial take off of the college.
Consequently, academic activity, which hitherto planned to commence on January 3, 1990, was postponed. Few months later, history was made on May 10, 1990 when the college gate was opened to the pioneer students who had been waiting anxiously for the take off of academic programmes.
The college started with 70 students made up of 23 males and 47 female students.
It was learnt that Dr. Titus Eze suffered for the college and left his footprint in the college, right from when he was appointed the first Provost of the college on December 1, 1989 to October 1996.
Nevertheless, the present administration of Prof. Josephat Ogbuagu, who is the third substantive provost, since February 9, 2010, is laden with many responsibilities and resorted to squeezing out water from the stone to make ends meet.
In fact, those who know him, call him the ‘Crying Prof.’ because of his pitiable mannerism in running from pillar to post, seeking alternative measures to surmount the financial insolvent of the college.
When he assumed office, the college’s population was about 2,000 students, but today, it can boast of more than 5,000 students.
Again, the school becoming a degree awarding institution has attracted more students at NCE and degree levels.
This has called for urgent need to relocate most of the academic departments to the new permanent site for more conducive academic environment.
But the problem facing the new site is non-completion of some basic infrastructures which would accommodate the newly introduced departments like, Igbo department that will soon be accredited for a degree programme.
But the seeming headache of the school is that since inception, it has not received any take off grant from the federal government which would have enhanced the execution of some of the projects in progress.
The Provost, Prof. Ogbuagu told Nigerian Pilot Saturday, “The school has not gotten any take off grant up till now and the last letter we wrote to the appropriate body, our response was that it was belated.
“The feeling is that the college started on a site that was initially All Saints Secondary School, so, some people are thinking that on that site, there are infrastructure on ground.
“But my mind tells me that if government has the money, they would have given it to the college. Even if we get the take off grant, it will not be for employment rather for infrastructure like buildings, workshops, laboratories, teaching facilities etc.”
Ogbuagu further stated that N1 billion would be reasonable for putting the college on the right track.
“Now we have Computer Based Test, CBT, both for admission and examinations, if we get such amount of money, you will really be surprised to see the transformation of the college into something else.
“The best way to dictate exam malpractice is through CBT, with that, so many things will be cut-off.
It was gathered that in less than two months, the college would fully relocate to the new site while the temporary site will only remain with Fine and Applied Art, Industrial Technical and the college degree Unit Office.
Meanwhile, the college has seven schools, which run NCE degree, PDE, Pre-NCE, Vocational Training Centre and other academic units, which are school of Agriculture and home economics education, school of business education, school of education general studies.
Others are school of fine and applied education, school of industrial technical education, school of sciences and school of languages.
Already, the problem the college had with the community over compensation for occupation of its land has been settled, with the community getting N98 million.
The Provost maintained, “One thing I want to leave behind here is human and material infrastructure in order to have strong personnel, well trained to deliver and having the facilities to teach and impart knowledge.”

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