By Adesina Wahab

The National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, is set to shut down over 200 illegal colleges and institutions offering education courses to Nigerians without the approval and permission of the appropriate authorities.

The Executive Secretary, Prof. Paulinus Okwelle, disclosed in Lagos at a capacity-building workshop organised by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, for Colleges of Education in the country. It had as theme, “Enhancing pedagogical skills and curriculum development for quality education delivery in Nigeria colleges of education.”

While lamenting the poor attitude of young Nigerians to teacher education, he decried the attitude of people who have decided to compound the problem by running illegal schools.

Okwelle said the curriculum of COEs is being reviewed regularly to meet with the demands of the time. ” We reviewed the curriculum in 2020 and rolled it out last year. Now, we are not going to wait to review it every five years, since the colleges run three-year courses and we don’t want the curriculum to be outdated. Things keep changing and we don’t want to lag behind. We are working with relevant agencies to do that.

“We are not just folding our arms and watch the colleges go under, we are taking proactive measures to make them better. In March this year, we held a summit with the theme “NCE: The way forward.” A number of people attended. The Registrar of JAMB was there and he came with facts and figures. The Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, was also in attendance. We have seen what the problems are and we have proffered solutions.

“Poor enrollment is one. People don’t like the teaching profession. They have apathy for it. Look at it this way, the requirement for admission to a college of education is the same with that for university. Five credit passes including English Language and Mathematics.

However, the college of education graduate gets an NCE certificate after three years and spends another three years to get a degree. We have appealed to the National Universities Commission, NUC, that those with good grades in NCE should be allowed to spend two years to bag their degrees,” he stated.

of how COEs came into being in the country. “It was indeed the Ashby Commission that first recommended the establishment of Grade One Teachers Colleges in Nigeria in what it called “investment in education”. A slight modification in the recommendation led to the establishment of five advanced teachers colleges in 1962 by the central and regional governments in collaboration with UNESCO. Some of these colleges were elevated to the levels of Colleges of Education because of their high standards and reputation and by 1973 the number of advanced teachers colleges and colleges of education in Nigeria had increased to 13. Since then the number has increased and colleges have continued to provide the middle level manpower needed in our primary and junior secondary schools across the country.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Nigeria’s educational sector has continued to expand and develop and the literacy level is constantly on the rise because of the development and investment in education,” he said.

On the mandate of the fund, Echono promised that it would not derelict in supporting tertiary institutions, including the COEs in the country. “The teaching function of colleges of education is what has given them relevance in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

Consequently, all efforts must be geared towards improving the quality of teaching in our primary and junior secondary schools by improving the quality of our graduates in the nation’s colleges of education who determine the standard and quality of students at the primary and junior secondary school levels of our education system.”

The ES expressed optimism that the policies and incentives by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for teachers would help to attract good hands to the teaching profession.

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