OPINION: The whys of a university of education in Kwara By Rafiu Ajakaye

Date: 2023-11-03

In one of his many writings on leadership which he titled ‘Six Studies in World Strategy’, America’s all-time diplomatic czar and statesman Henry Kissinger said ‘leaders think and act at the intersection of two axes: the first, between the past and the future; the second, between the abiding values and aspirations of those they lead. Their first challenge is analysis, which begins with a realistic assessment of their society based on its history, mores, and capacities.

Then they must balance what they know, which is necessarily drawn from the past, with what they intuit about the future, which is inherently conjectural and uncertain. It is this intuitive grasp of direction that enables leaders to set objectives and lay down a strategy’.

The above was what came to my mind as Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq set the ball rolling for Kwara to own a state university of education — for a start. It is interesting to note that the report of the transition implementation committee (in 2019) that gave the Governor some preliminary insights into the whats, the hows, and the wheres of the state had specifically mentioned a need for Kwara to own one.

A few persons have asked why Kwara should have a university of education. A few others have scoffed at the initiative. What I observe is that most of the critics appear to not know what the issues are.

At this moment in history, our colleges of education in Nigeria are grasping for breath. Many of them hang on government’s subventions and bailouts, such as were again recently approved for our Colleges in Kwara to offset their salaries. In response to some of the challenges that colleges of education now face nationwide, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently signed Federal Colleges of Education Act 2023, which, among other things, empowers Federal Colleges of Education to run NCE and related degree programmes concurrently. The Act, which repealed the one of 2004, states its objectives to include provision of legal basis for the award of diplomas and degrees and give the Colleges the powers to expand the scope of the curriculum of the Colleges to degree-awarding institutions.

Stakeholders in the colleges of education call it dual mode, and have hailed the President for assenting to the bill. At an audience with them on August 21, 2023, the leadership of the Joint Academic Staff Unions in Tertiary Institutions (JASUTI) appealed to the state government to domesticate the Federal Colleges of Education Act in Kwara State. Another request of JASUTI on that day -- and always -- is for the government to convert one of the COED to a university of education. When the government set up visitation panels to the three COED in Kwara State, their terms of reference included to examine and recommend how the state can draw inspirations from the new College of Education Act 2023.

Colleges of Education were, to an extent, the successor institutions to the old Teachers' College or Training Institute. But times have changed. Enrollment in the colleges has dropped drastically. For instance, as of November 2, 2023, the total number of students at the College of Education Ilorin is 2,751, which is hardly a fraction of Year One students in some universities. Ironically, the staff strength of the same college stands at 604, more than half of them being non-academic. Of the 604, the academic staff are just 163, representing a paltry 26.9% of the people on the payroll.

Reforms are inevitable, and the setting up of the visitation panels is the first step. The public should note that the early years of the administration were spent stabilising these colleges following several months of crises, which the new administration had since resolved.

Despite resolving the crises that spanned different periods of the former administration through 2019, the colleges remain at a critical intersection of history as the pressure for reforms and modernisation mounts. Many of them, especially CoED Ilorin and Oro, are now affiliated to some universities within and outside of Kwara State. It is a survival strategy, not something they willingly do. The affiliation offers their students an opportunity to upgrade their NCE to a university degree. This is a money-spinning initiative by the benefiting university at the expense of the Colleges. All the colleges benefit in this arrangement is to keep their NCE students.

On top of this is the persisting infrastructural deficits and lack of enough access to research grants now worsened by a new federal government policy that pegs the slots that Colleges of Education have in the Tertiary Education Trust (TETFUND).

Hunkering down for reforms that accommodate the current economic situation, the administration has decided, for a start, to make one of the three COED a university of education and the mechanisms for doing that have been set in motion with the committee led by Prof. Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem. That way, new and expectedly more enrollees are coming in either for double honours degrees, diplomas, or the traditional NCE. With more students come more revenues and the colleges (and their alumni) are saved the dishonour of dying off. The schools would no longer need affiliations to some other universities to keep their NCE students. And the colleges (now university) will have a stronger footing in the club of TETFUND beneficiaries for research grants and infrastructural development.

Methinks the burden of initial investments that would naturally be made will pale into insignificance when the hard work and the ingenuity of the government bear great fruits for all.

•Rafiu Ajakaye is Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kwara State

 


Cloud Tag: What's trending

Click on a word/phrase to read more about it.

Prince Mahe Abdulkadir     MMWG     Ayodele Shittu     Saidu Isa     Read With Me     Wale Oladepo     GANZY     Abubakar Olusola Saraki     Salihu Ajibola Ajia     Durbar     Micheal Imoudu     Gaa Olobi     Hameed Oladipupo Ali     Reuben Paraje     Saliu Mustapha     Abiodun Abdulkareem     Wahab Isa     Olokoba Abdullahi Ayinla     ER-KANG Mining     Oba Abdulraheem     Elerinjare     Wasiu Odewale     Mansur Alfanla     Hassan Abdulazeez Elewu     Savannah Centre For Diplomacy, Democracy And Development     Yahaya Jibril Usman     Florence Saraki     Kwara Teaching Service Commission     Mashood Abdulrafiu Agboola     Bolaji Abdullahi     Olugbense     Gamji Members Association     Abdulsalam Firdaous Amosa     Federal Polytechnic Offa     General Hospital, Offa     Forgo Battery Company Limited     Musa Ayinla Yeketi     Ayinde Oki     Muhammad Yahya     Kwara-SAPZ Project     Kunle Suleiman     Oyawoye     Yahaya Dumoye     Abraysports FC     Olupako     Gafaru Olayiwola Olorisade     Www.Kwarareports.com     Sherif Sagaya     Muhammad Sirajo Aliyu     Abdullahi Dasilva Yussuf     Nurudeen Muhammed     Ahmed     Abdullahi Adisa Akodudu     Pacify Labs     Yinka Aluko     Balogin Alanamu     Bayo Onimago     Chief Imam Of Lafiagi     Jalala     Kwara TV     Saheed Akinwumi     Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency     Mujtabah Bature     Ahman Pategi     Abdulrosheed Okiki     Just Law Forum     Abubakar Kawu Baraje     Abdul-Rahoof Bello     Babatunde Idiagbon     Galadima     Rasaq Jimoh     Okiki     Razaq Ayobami Akanbi     Revenue Court     Busari Alabi Alausa     Maigidasanma     Ilorin Metro Park    

Cloud Tag: What's trending

Click on a word/phrase to read more about it.

National Party Of Nigeria     Salihu Ajibola Ajia     Sheikh Ridhwanullah     Share/Tsaragi     Osi     Ayedun     Tunji Ajanaku     Sabi     Muhammed Taofeeq Abdulrazaq     Moses Adekanye     Odo-Owa     Shettima     Laboratory-to-Product     Ahmed Alhasssan     Tunde Kazeem     Rafiu Ibrahim     Awwal Jawondo     Abdulrasheed Na\'Allah     Ajase-Ipo     Omoniyi Ayinla     Sebastine Obasi     Raji AbdulRasaq     Budo Egba     Funke Adedoyin     Rex Olawoye     Ezekiel Yissa Benjamin     Kwara State Coalition Of Business And Professional Associations     Kwara Teaching Service Commission     Third Estate     Shuaib Abdulkadir     Abdullahi Atanda     Sanitation Exercise     Gafaru Olayiwola Olorisade     Stephen Fasakin     Hassan Abdulazeez Elewu     Baboko     Danhawa     Ohoro Of Shao     Sheikh Ridhwanullah El-ilory     Haleeman Salman     PharmAccess Foundation     SDP     Yusuf Amuda Aluko     Mohammed Abdulahi     Ibrahim Abduquadri Abikan     Erubu Oba Zubair     Playing Host     Ayobami Seriki     Senate Presidency     National Information Technology Development Agency     Suraj Tunji Oyewale     Alliance For Democracy     Alaaya     Mahmud Ajeigbe     Ayekale     Bahago     Kawu     Amuda Musbau     Ilorin Anchor Men And Women     Kwara State Sports Commission     Bayo Lawal     Ayobami Akanbi     Kazeem Oladepo     Olatunji Moronfoye     Kazeem Adekanye     Abdulazeez Uthman     Jalala     AbdulFatai Adeniyi Dan-Kazeem     Dairo Kunle Paul     Babatunde Ajeigbe     Tope Daramola     Gamji Members Association     Clara Nwachukwu     Ubandawaki     Abdulahi Abubakar Bata     Ibrahim Issa Jetti     Owo Isowo