By Adesina Wahab
DESPITE the efforts by the government to make teaching attractive to young Nigerians, applicants seeking admission into tertiary institutions where teachers are trained, are not showing interest in education courses, as they account for barely two per cent of those who sat for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB.
According to a document from the 2022 Policy Meeting of JAMB with stakehokders in the sector obtained by Vanguard, out of the 1,761,262 candidates that sat for this year’s UTME, only 24,069 applied to the over 100 Colleges of Education spread across the country. The figure is about one per cent of the total applications.
In 2021, out of the 1,351, 284 that sat for the exam, only 15, 747 chose the COEs, representing 1.17 per cent of the total figure.
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The trend is even worse in private COEs, as checks showed that the first eight private COEs only attracted a total of 177 candidates in 2021, even though JAMB gave them the go ahead to admit over 17,000 students.
For instance, the Hill College of Education, Gwanji, Akwanga, Nasarawa State, which got the highest figure of applicants – 80 – was given an admission quota of 1,480 but could only admit 74. Institute of Ecumenical Education, Thinker Corner, Enugu, had 14 applying to study there, and was given the directive to admit 2,950 but only 17 took up the admission.
The Assanusiyah College of Education, Ipetumodu, Osun State attracted 10 applicants and got a quota of 1,250 but only seven eventually agreed to study there.
At the university level, all the Faculties of Education in all universities, whether public or private, only attracted 53,612 applicants out of the 1.3 million that sought admission to tertiary institutions last year.
This is despite the fact that the authorities made available 99,696 spaces available for students to take. However, only 50,157 were admitted in the end.
Speaking on efforts to reposition COEs in the country, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Mr. Sonny Echono, said FG’s incentives announced for teachers and education students recently, would help to make things better.
He spoke at a workshop the fund organised for COEs in the country with the theme: Enhancing pedagogical skills and curriculum development for quality education delivery in Colleges of Education”.
Also speaking at the event, the Registrar of the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, Prof. Paulinus Okwelle, said the commission would start renewing the curriculum for the colleges every three years.
He also said efforts were on to convince the authorities to allow graduates of the COEs with good grades to spend two years to pursue degree course instead of three years that obtains now.