Women in Colleges of Education (WICE) in Nigeria and other stakeholders recently returned to the classroom to learn innovative ways to leverage technology and digital tools in teacher education.
The occasion was the 27th national conference and workshop, organised by the National Association of Women in Colleges of Education at Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri.
It was an eruption of intellectual fireworks at the Jubilee Auditorium as the keynote speaker, Prof Eucharia Onyeka from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and other scholars dissected the theme of the conference, ‘Digital Learning Innovation in Teacher Education in Nigeria’.
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof. Paulinus Okwelle, said the conference provided a platform to brainstorm on ICT and described the theme as apt. He explained that the 21st century was marked by several ICT innovations, which placed a higher demand on workers to enhance their ICT skills for quality service delivery.
Okwelle, who doubles as the Grand Patron of WICE, commended colleges of education for running a uniform scheme of work and condition of service. He described WICE as a reflection of the passion and love among staff in colleges of education in the country. He stated that women are nation builders and pledged his unwavering support to the association.
He also applauded the federal government for upgrading the Alvan Ikoku College of Education to a university and expressed hope that it would increase students’ access to degree programmes.
The National President of WICE, Prof. Theresa Okoli, said the theme became necessary because of the advancement and revolution in ICT globally. She said discussions at the conference would help equip WICE members and teacher educators on more efficient ICT usage.
Okoli explained that digitisation is moving so fast that it has become expedient to move with speed to remain relevant in the education sector. She said a workshop was also held during the conference, which focused on the theme, ‘ICT and Work Challenges in a Digital Economy’.
Okoli, who is the provost of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State, expressed delight at the creation of six new colleges of education, adding that five more colleges would soon be unveiled. She thanked the NCCE executive secretary for his pragmatic leadership that has enhanced the pedigree of colleges of education in the country.
The chairman of the occasion and Provost of the Imo State College of Education, Ihitte Uboma, Dr. Nwachukwu Chinyere, said the conference was symbolic in bringing women in academics from far and near together to discuss pertinent issues in the education sector.
Nwachukwu noted that women in academia had done a lot of good research while promising that presentations at the conference would be used to produce the 27th journal of WICE.
The Provost of Alvan Ikoku College, Dr. Stella Lemchi, expressed gladness that the college was recently upgraded to a university of education, adding that it was hosting the WICE conference for the last time.
She recalled the milestone recorded by the institution since its establishment in 1963, saying that it made an impressive mark in the context of girl-child education, with over 80 per cent of the student population as women.
“This is not just statistics. It is a powerful statement about our dedication to empowering women through education. Our institution has been a beacon of hope for women seeking quality education, personal growth and professional development,” she explained.
Lemchi described the national conference on digital learning as pertinent to the evolving educational landscape in the country, adding that “we are not just teaching subjects; we are preparing students for a world that is increasingly digital.”