A unique event in the history of the College took place on 11th March 1978 on the occasion of its official opening and first graduation ceremony. Four sets of students totaling 462 in number received their diplomas on the successful completion of the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) programme. The graduands were made up of those who passed their examinations between 1974 and 1977. A great landmark in the history of the institution, this successful graduation ceremony was an eloquent testimony of the tireless labor of both the college community and the Rivers State Government in the bold bid to produce well-trained non-graduate teachers for post-primary institutions.
With effect from January 1977, the Ministry of Education made available two top Model Primary Schools in Port Harcourt – the Port Harcourt Primary School and the Sea Shell Model Primary School – which now form part of the College. These schools provide some scope for practice teaching and research in primary education. The two schools were put under the administration of Rivers State College of Education in 1977 by the Ministry of Education. Hitherto they were managed by the College of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt.
Another important development in the 1977/78 session was the establishment of a Primary Education Department which offered a three-year NCE course open only to serving Grade II practicing teachers. It was designed to enhance effective teaching in both primary schools and Grade II Teachers Colleges, and supervisory work in our primary schools. The formal launching ceremony of the programme was held on 9thJune, 1978 when 200 pioneer students matriculated. The department was run under the sponsorship of the UNESCO. This programme is now open to all (that is, even those candidates who are not teachers as long as they have the entry requirements).
By 1980, following Government’s proclamation of its intention to run degree programmes in educational fields through Colleges of Education, the Rivers State Government decided to sponsor the programme in order to increase the number of teachers in the State. Prof. G.O.M. Tasie was appointed Provost of the College and was expected to upgrade the college to a degree-awarding institution. He assumed duty on August 21st, 1980, being the date Mr. R.I.C. Koko, former Provost of the College, handed over to him. During this period, Chief A.B. Batubo was the Chairman of the Governing Council of the college. Following this appointment, the 1981/82 academic year witnessed the actual admission of candidates for degree programmes in Rivers State College of Education.