Executive Secretary of National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof. Monday Joshua has disclosed that Federal Government disregarded the commission’s recommendations on the upgrading of colleges of education to degree awarding institutions. According to him, the commission had recommended to federal government to allow mature colleges of education to award National Certificate of Education (NCE) and Degrees, while maintaining their status as colleges of education.
Prof. Joshua made the disclosure when he spoke to Journalists during the convocation ceremony of Covenant University, Otta Ogun state held recently. According to him, it was good that some colleges of education were allowed to award degrees, but said federal government did not follow the commission pattern of recommendations to the upgrading of these colleges of education to universities.
“The upgrading is good, we in NCCE recommended that, though the kind of upgrading government affected was not our recommendations. Our recommendations were to allow each college of education that is mature to award National Certificate of Education(NCE) and Degree, while maintaining their status as colleges of education, but federal government decided otherwise. Government is the owner of these colleges and it makes policy to drive the sector.
It thought otherwise and upgraded the four colleges into universities against our advice” he said. He said the upgrading would not affect curriculum of collages of education, as it will only require changing their mandates and refocusing from producing teachers for basic education to producing teachers for upper education.
According to him, there is Universal Basic Education (UBE), and colleges of education are entrusted with the responsibility of producing teachers for the junior schools. “There is UBE covering entire six years of primary education, and first three years of junior secondary school, Ugochukmaking it a nine year of basic education and government has adopted NCE as basic qualification for teaching. The roles of colleges of education are to produce teachers for basic education, while universities produce teachers for higher education, “he stated.
On why colleges of education are not attracting the best students, he said that the image of teaching profession in Nigeria is not healthy, because people do not placed values on teachers, saying that until people change their mindsets about teaching profession, brilliant students may not apply to be teachers. “Once the negative impress about teaching profession is changed in Nigeria, colleges of education will begin to attract quality and better students because people will be excited going into teaching profession. Mind you, in the present economy, it is those who read education that are getting employment Nobody can say colleges of education are not needed .
There are roles for universities and there are roles for colleges of education” he added. On his vision in NCCE, he said that his vision was to implement the mandate of NCCE, which is mainly to supervise colleges of education in Nigeria and making sure that their programmes are accredited and quality are maintained. He said that, he was going to ensure that all colleges of education maintain minimum standard in their entire course Joshua said that the current education policy in the country and adoption of NCCE as basic teaching qualification ,gave college of education the mandate to produce teachers for basic and the commission, and we are making all efforts to ensure quality.
He, however lamented about the challenges of funding, stressing that some programmes were supposed to be visited over the years, but were not visited due to lack of funds, saying that the commission will soon come out with details to make sure that every college run accredited programme. According to him, there must be ways of producing teachers for basic education so that the higher education will not suffer, saying the commission was making advocacy to parents and other stakeholders to allow their children become teachers.
“This is the only way to attract quality brains into colleges of education” “We also called on parents and other stakeholders to allow their wards to go into teaching profession because basic education is critical to quality education in the country” Joshua added. When asked about the expected challenges of the newly upgraded colleges, given their former status, he said ‘certainly there are going to be challenges because there is no new thing that does not go with challenges’. On whether he still has confident in public institutions, he said that he still has confident, but quickly called for industries-government partnership towards the promotion and funding of public universities in the country.