The National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) says it has identified over 200 illegal institutions awarding Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) without approval.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, Professor Paulinus C. Okwelle, disclosed this during an interview at a capacity-building programme organized by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for Beneficiary Colleges of Education (CoE) in collaboration with NCCE.
Okwelle revealed some universities, polytechnics and colleges run NCE without approval, noting that the commission had sent a report to the Ministry of Education on the issue.
“We have been asked to write the colleges operating illegally and give them a time frame, after which if nothing happens, we will take legal action against them,” he said.
While decrying poor enrolment into colleges of education, he said, “In March this year, we held a summit themed ‘NCE, the way forward.’ We deliberated extensively on how to improve enrolment, we were able to identify where the problem lies and we have sent our report to the Ministry of Education.”
Some of the problems identified, according to Okwelle, include lack of interest from candidates, the entry qualification and the number of years required to get a degree after obtaining NCE.
He said, “Entry qualification for NCE is five credits including English and Mathematics, which is the same for entering universities and polytechnics. Also, it takes three years to run an NCE programme, and to get a degree, you spend another three years, totalling six years while someone can just go straight to the university and spend four years.
“We have made a proposal to the government to reduce the admission qualification for those who have NCE to two years instead of three years; the National Universities Commission (NUC) is looking at that. We also talked about scholarship just to encourage people because people generally have apathy for teaching, worsened by the long number of years.”
He further disclosed that the 2022 review of the College of Education curriculum will soon begin.
Vice Chairperson, Committee of Provosts, Colleges of Education of Nigeria, Dr. J. E. Anene Okeakwa, also decried low enrolment.
She said, “TETFund funds our colleges but we do not have students to use them.”
Earlier in his remark, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny S.T. Echono lamented neglect of the teaching profession and emphasized the need to reposition it.
“We have neglected the hard and profitable way of training a child all in the name of oil boom to the extent that teaching has become a ridiculed profession. Teachers are owed their meagre salaries, it is so bad that landlords refuse to rent houses to them while some parents also don’t give out their children’s hand in marriage to teachers. We must restore the pride of the teacher and create incentives to attract the best brains to the profession. It shouldn’t be an all-comers field,” he said.
At the capacity building themed ‘Enhancing pedagogical skills and curriculum development for quality education delivery in Nigerian Colleges of Education’, Echono stated that the improvement and update in pedagogical skills and curriculum development were necessary for the nation’s education sector and for the overall development of the country if it is to meet up with the challenges of the 21st century.
He pointed out that a stagnant curriculum and poor pedagogical skills would lead to retrogression in the quest for progress and national development.
He said, “Our nation cannot afford to stay behind while other nations are making advances and discoveries in various fields; a time when other nations are rising and building great economies due to technological development and innovation.
“The situation requires that we rise to the challenge and compete favourably, and to do so, we must create and recreate through education, the acquisition of new skill sets, ideas, and innovation. The teaching function of CoE is what has given them relevance in the scheme of things in Nigeria.
“All efforts must therefore be geared towards improving the quality of teaching in our primary schools and junior secondary schools by improving the quality of our graduates at the nation’s colleges of education who determine the standard and quality of students at the primary and junior secondary level of our education system.
“Not only is there the need to equip our teachers with pedagogy and curriculum development skills, but it is also imperative that we make them understand why these skills are needed and the relevance of these skills to our collective future and development as a nation.
“It is only by doing so that we can awaken the spirit of patriotism, nation-building and responsibility in our teachers.”
He assured the participants that TETFund would continue to provide funds needed for training and infrastructural development in the colleges.
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