It is my pleasure to address you today as Visitor to the 2015 combined maiden Graduating Class Ceremony.
On this memorable day, I congratulate the graduates who are being conferred with Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE). This is a milestone that should be a source of joy and pride to you, your family and friends. I am confident that your time here has been a rewarding experience, enriched with bright new ideas, loving friendships and exciting opportunities.
Before I proceed further, it is important that we take a moment to pause and appreciate your parents and guardians who laboured to support you with their finances, the lecturers who taught and motivated you to excel in your academic pursuits, and the management of the college driven by the desire to advance knowledge, and the practice of teaching and learning.
As scholars, artists, athletes, scientists and educators, the State is counting on your knowledge and leadership to make a difference. As you may be aware, the delivery of quality, competitive education is one of the cardinal programmes of our S.M.A.R.T agenda. The goal of this administration is to ensure that every citizen is provided the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills required to be successful in life.
In the new global economy where the most valuable skill is your knowledge, a good education is not only an asset, it is also a prerequisite. An educated and enlightened population is a sure-fire recipe for enhanced productivity and attendant economic growth. But that can only be realised when the quality of teaching and learning are at par with international standards, and equip the students with the right skill-set and value system to excel globally.
Therefore, as you step out into the world today, I want you to reflect on three things that pertain to the educational needs of a rapidly changing global society. The first is the dramatic transformation in learning and teaching, prompted by revolution in information technology and society’s evolving needs. As a result, the role of teachers in a child’s education has fundamentally changed. The teacher is no longer a reservoir of knowledge, but a creator of an environment that offers every child a rich, rewarding, and unique learning experience.
Traditionally, teachers were made to stand in front of the class where they delivered the same lessons year after year, and could not be held responsible if the students failed to understand what they taught. But in the new dispensation, students are not just consumers of facts; they are active creators of knowledge themselves. Teachers, as creators and mentors, provide the environment that ignites passion and creates the love for learning. As you begin life after campus, I expect that you have prepared yourselves to rethink your primary responsibility as teachers because it will be counterproductive to use the same methods as past generations.
Secondly, you must show good examples as educators. You must be good role models. The dictionary definition of a role model is “a person whose behaviour, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.” A role model is a person we admire and aspire to be like. We learn through them in words, but mostly through action, and their willingness to make themselves available to impart into us their knowledge and experience in life.
It is a fact that some of our most influential role models in life are teachers. Many of us still have fond memories of our teachers, decades after we left school. Their impact on our lives is so strong many times we see life through their teachings and destiny shaping words. A teacher does not just mould the child; he moulds the society. This is a privilege and a profound responsibility, and one you must shoulder with dignity. Hence, great care and attention should be paid to your private and public conduct, utterances and lifestyle choices. Needless to say, a corrupt teacher carries a very destructive influence on the child and society at large.
Thirdly, you must commit to continuous improvement. Graduating does not mean that learning has come to an end; it means that you are now responsible for your own learning. Like doctors and lawyers, the day you stop learning, you start dying. You must make it a priority to regularly update and upgrade your knowledge and skills for greater output, impact and effectiveness.
Let me use this opportunity to commend the management of the school for the various initiatives undertaken to boost internally generated revenue and make this institution a centre of excellence in learning and sports. In particular, I am impressed with the introduction of the Inaugural Lecture Series. I hope and pray that this initiative will foster ground- breaking, cross-disciplinary research that advances, both locally and nationally, the library of thought and information on teacher education for economic advancement and societal well-being.
I am also expectant that this College, as a specialist sports institution, will in the not-too-distant future produce athletes that will excel in global sporting activities. That vision calls for investment in talent hunt programmes, innovation in sports management, long-term planning and visionary leadership.
Finally, I urge the management, staff and students of this citadel of learning to brace up for the challenges ahead, and be ready to chart a new trajectory, and contribute your quota to the educational advancement and economic prosperity of our beloved Delta State.
- Speech at the occasion of the combined maiden Convocation Ceremony at the Indoor Sports Hall of the College of Physical Education, Mosogar.