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Union assures of CoEs mandate to award degrees, hails FG on implementation

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By AKOR SYLVESTER-Abuja

 

Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), has hailed federal government over it’s commitment to giving the institutions mandate to be awarding university degrees as included in the act that established them.

 

The National President of COEASU, Smart Olugbeko, who dropped the hint while addressing newsmen at the 2024 National Conference centred around Digital Pedagogy and the Implications for Nigeria in Abuja, said the Federal government was on track in the implementation of the bill signed into law on 12th June 2023, enabling Colleges of Education (CoEs) to carry the dual mandate of producing NCE graduates and degrees graduates, NCE-B.Ed, in line with the Act establishing CoEs.

 

He explained that the CoEs were awaiting the white paper for implementation, following the conclusion and submission of a report since July 2023, by a committee set up by the ministry of Education to draw up modalities for smooth implementation of the Act.

 

Olugbeko said: “The ministry set up a committee to draw up the modalities for the implementation. The committee comprises of representatives of NUC, NCCE and the ministry of education. The committee has since submitted it’s report to the minister of education, what is left is the white paper on the implementation which we believe in due course the minister will come up with the white paper for the implementation.

 

“This is all about making Colleges of Education to be able to award degrees without changing the nomenclature because we believe whether it is a university or a college it’s about the nomenclature because in other climes we do have colleges that award degrees up till the PhD level that do not change their nomenclature so to us, the nomenclature should not be charged, we should be able to award degrees as Colleges of Education which the Act has given us the mandate to do

 

“It’s a process; when a law is signed it has to be gazetted and it takes some time before it will be gazetted and the law was gazetted in July 2023. After gazetting there will have to be different consultation because it has to be carefully planned so there won’t be errors. It is a paradigm shift that needs to be carefully looked into and that is what the ministry is doing, to look at a way it will be implemented without causing any problems.

 

“I can assure you that with the commitment of the minister, we are going to have the implementation done in due course.”

 

The chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa who earlier threw his weight behind government’s approval for the dual certificate model for CoE’s, charged the institutions to re-engineer their stability records and to be humble in their attitudes even as he added that contrary to insinuations in some quartets, the university system alone would  not be able to produce the manpower that the country needs.

 

“If you must become degree awarding it means you must create space for degree professionals and if you want to kill that marriage by attitude, we do not know the value that the professor brings to that dual arrangement.

 

“Over time we at the policy level will reassess you and determine if whether you deserve actually to be upgraded to a university. So it requires a lot of humility.”

 

The Provost, Federal College of Education Technical, Ekiadolor -Benin, Edo State, Emmanuel Asagha who described the Act as one of  the best initiatives in the education sector, noted that most of the CoE’s in the country have been awarding degrees though in affiliation with universities but “using absolutely all the materials; human and material from the CoE system.

 

“It is just to say we are tired of this idea  pretending to be working for another structure. It is nice to have  students have a training from the NCE and still have an opportunity to upgrade to a degree which is obviously  the ultimate for most candidates desiring tertiary education in Nigeria.

It is better that people study NCE and are encouraged to do education to the degree level instead of studying NCE.

 

“We have situations where people studied at the NCE level and they progressed further abandoning teacher education completely because they seem to imagine that there is no hope going forward but this has opened a vista for them to understand that the better days are here and I am sure the CoEs will be stronger for it going forward.”

 

On his part, the General Secretary of COEASU Ahmed Lawal  Baza, explained that provisions of the Act has mandated that candidates who desire to attain a degree in Education must first possess the NCE certificate from a recognised College of Education.

 

“In the dual mandate you must have an NCE before you progress with it. It’s not direct with an SSCE result. For those students that have studied NCE they will transit to the degree programme for two years. We will not entertain others such as direct entry from secondary school  because it will kill the system. You will have two stages of degrees coming in and we are advising government to give preference to such people..

 

“This system will really produce what we want as teachers. We also advise government that anybody that goes through this system will be placed on Grade Level 9  and this has been agreed and signed. This will encourage our people to come in,” Baza said.

 

Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman has insisted that in the 21st century, digital tools and research were no longer a choice, but a  necessity for economic growth and stability.

 

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Didi Esther Walson-Jack, he noted that the Hope Agenda of the current administration reflects in the education ministerial deliverables which were focused in bolstering research capacity and integrating digital pedagogy into the educational system.

 

The minister said: “The imperative of digital pedagogy and a research driven economy  would accelerate the development of the nation. We express our commitment in leveraging research and digital technology to accelerate Nigeria’s economy. This synergy between governmental objectives and academic sphere is our collective dedication to fostering innovation, moding creation and sustainable growth in Nigeria

 

“Digital pedagogy which has to do with integrating technology into teaching and learning, offers unprecedented opportunities to enhanced educational quality,

 

“As we.aspire to prepare our students for the demands of the 21st century, embracing digital tools becomes not just a choice, but a necessity. Moreover, a research driven economy is critical for driving Innovations, fostering economic growth and addressing societal challenges.

Investing in research not only  expands knowledge, but also provides solutions to our problems, enhances our global competitiveness.”

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