Several academics, scholars and members of the Nigerian Academy of Education (NAE), the apex professional body for practitioners in education, are today gathering at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education (AIFCE), Owerri, Imo State, to mark the beginning of the 31st annual congress of the Academy.
At the 2016 annual congress, which holds till November 4, comes at a critical period in the nation’s history – a period of economic recession – the Congress participants would be looking at the theme: “Education and Sustainable Development.”
The sub-themes include: Women Education and Sustainable Development; Entrepreneurship Education and Sustainable Development; Teacher Education and Sustainable Development, as well as UBE (Universal Basic Education) and Sustainable Education.
According to key members of the local organizing committee (LOC) headed by Blessing Ijioma (PhD), Provost of AIFCE, and some officials of the Academy including Uche Nzewi, a professor and NAE’s national publicity secretary; Kate Nwufo, a professor and NAE’s secretary general, and Michael Ajileye, secretary of the LOC, a keynote address would be delivered by Ikenna Onyido, a professor and the director of Nigerian Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Awka, Anambra State.
Other presentations at the opening ceremony would include lead papers by Chinyere Igbo, a professor and Dean, Faculty of Vocational Education University of Nigeria, Nsukka; and Dikko Suleimam, PhD, the immediate past Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Abuja.
The chief host of the Congress is U.M.O. Ivowi, a professor and president of the Nigerian Academy of Education, while Blessing C. Ijioma, Provost of AIFCE, is the host.
Highlights of the NAE Congress include paper presentations by academics from different fields, book exhibitions, networking and building bridges, as well as an annual general meeting (AGM) of the body.
Also, new teaching methods that have been propounded by experts would be espoused at the congress.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State is expected to declare the NAE Congress open in his capacity as special guest of honour.
According to Ajileye, Secretary of the LOC, in an interview with BusinessDay, NAE is the apex professional body of practitioners of Education in Nigeria. Its membership is reserved for top academics who have made invaluable contributions in their specific fields of education.
He said membership is based on proven and observed exceptional contributions by the candidate to the theory and practice of Education in Nigeria. Members are drawn primarily from the Universities, Research Institutes, Colleges of Education, Ministry of Education or its parastatals.
Membership of the Academy, according to Ajileye, is not automatic, but rather “through nomination of suitably qualified candidates by active and financial members, provided that vacancies do exist.”
He added that annually, the body awards its Fellowship to deserving members. Those who would be inducted into the Academy’s College of Fellows at this year’s Congress are Kate Nwufo, Grace Offorma and Okpete Roseline Kanu, all professors of Education.
Ajileye informed BusinessDay that at this year’s NAE Congress, three distinguished Nigerians, who he said have made great contributions to the society would also be awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Academy of Education. They are: Uzomba Nwaije, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Finlab Nigeria Limited; Comfort Obi, publisher of The Source Magazine and Mercy Eluwa, a nonagenarian and proprietress of Startright Group of schools.
Meanwhile, some tertiary institutions in the South East are partnering with Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, (AIFCE) Owerri, to co-host the 2016 congress of the Academy of Education. These are: Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri; Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Anambra State; and zFederal College of Education (Technical), Umunze.
The 2016 congress marks the second time that AIFCE is hosting the NAE congress. The College is the first College of Education in Nigeria to host the congress. It is also recalled that in 1994, the College became the first higher institution in Imo State to host the Congress. Alvan is a foremost college in Nigeria promoting teaching and learning networking.