At the end of the civil war in 1970, the Rivers State Government was faced with anacute shortage of trained teachers for
its rapidly expanding programme of post-primary education. In view of this, a
committee was appointed by the Ministry of Education to examine the problem and to make
necessary recommendations on the establishment of an Advanced Teacher Training College.
The report of the committee stressed the need to invest much energy in the right directions to ensure that the schools in Rivers State did not face the danger of either collapsing or producing students who would be worth nothing on their graduation. After the required spade work by the Ministry of Education, Rivers State College of Education opened in temporary quarters at the Catholic Mission’s Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt on 14th June, 1971 with an initial intake of 116 students, under the headship of Dr. William Maxwell Jnr., a USAID representative then serving in the State.
In January 1972, the college moved to another temporary site at Oromineke in D-Line, Diobu. A new Principal, the late Mr. J.E. Ohochukwu, was also appointed in October 1972.From its foundation, the college had an uphill task to contend with the dearth of few academic staff. Lack of adequate library facilities and shortage of accommodation constituted serious problems. But happily many of the initial handicaps proved temporary and considerable progress began to be noticed in due course.
Until the promulgation of the Nursery and Miscellaneous Education Institution Edict No. 10 of 15th November, 1974, Rivers State College of Education was under the direct control of the Ministry of Education. This Edict established the college as a corporate body under the management of a Governing Committee, headed by Mr.W.E. Alagoa, the then Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission. In terms of Administrative Management and Growth, Edict No. 10 of 1974 did not satisfy the needs of Rivers State College of Education, hence the promulgation of Edict No. 1 of 25th February, 1975. The new Edict marked a veritable turning point in the history of the institution.
Rivers State College of Education was born as an autonomous body. With the attainment of full maturity, it became well placed to play a more dynamic role. There was established for the purposes of the college a Governing Council which is responsible for the recruitment of staff and for the general and overall administrative and financial control of the institution. Following this transformation, Mr. E. Aguma, who was appointed Principal in January 1975,became the first Provost while Dr. E.T. Green succeeded Mr. Alagoa as the Chairman of Council in June 1975. After an interregnum created by the change of Government in the country in July 1975, a new Governing Council with Dr. F.A. Eke, as Chairman, and a new Provost, Mr. R.I.C. Koko, were appointed in November of the same year. Undeniably, the problem of accommodation greatly inhibited the progress of the college.
For almost six years of its existence, Rivers State College of Education occupied a compound with very limited number of classrooms and all students lived off-campus. The college moved to its permanent site at Rumuolumeni in January,1977 although some essential facilities were still lacking on the campus. This bold step was a definite milestone in the life of the institution, because physical presence on the spot has placed it in a better position to make further plans for its continued growth and improvement of existing facilities.
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.