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The provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State, Dr. Tessy Okoli, has been conferred with a Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka for her outstanding contribution to the development of technical, vocational education and training (TVET) in the country.

The award ceremony was the climax of a three-day international conference and homecoming organised recently by the Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education of the university, in collaboration with an international partner, Lucubrate Norway.

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The conference, which was declared open by the vice chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Professor Charles Arinze Igwe, was attended by TVET educators, heads of some Nigerian tertiary institutions, scholars from State University of New York, officials from Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training, representatives of the European Union, captains of industries, policy makers, industrialists, and students, among others.

The dean, Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education, Professor Emmanuel Osinem, said the award was in recognition of Okoli’s “giant strides and accomplishments in the management of vocational and technical education and overall development of the TVET sector in Nigeria.”

Professor Osinem explained that the Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education was the first in sub-Saharan Africa, founded in 1963 with the core mandate of preparing teachers for equipping youths with technical, vocational and entrepreneurship skills in schools.

Responding, Okoli, who had studied her first and second degrees at UNN, commended the university for pioneering the establishment of the Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education in sub-Saharan Africa.

She praised the lecturers of the university for their diligence in teaching, noting that graduates from the faculty are now TVET ambassadors in various places across the country and beyond.

The provost described vocational education as a key driver in the Nigerian economy, stressing that the international conference hosted by the university would strengthen the commitment of stakeholders to TVET activities in the country.

“In FCET Umunze, we are driving vocational education to equip our students with entrepreneurship skills. Our students are trained to acquire the required skills to become job creators, not job seekers.”

“I am grateful to Professor Olaitan and other professors from this faculty who groomed many of us and made us what we are today. I am particularly excited with the growing interest in vocational and technical education across tertiary institutions in the country,” she said.

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