Colleges of Education (CoEs) in Nigeria have intensified the push for financial and academic autonomy, setting a deadline of 2024 to de-affiliate from various universities hitherto affiliated to.
The Colleges said they have concluded plans to submit a proposal to the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) to intimate them of the 2024 deadline for actualization of their proposal.
Representatives of the academic staff of the CoEs under the umbrella of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), ratified the decision at a symposium tilted “Teacher Education: Challenges and Prospects” held in Abuja, on Thursday, which was also used to its former President, Remi Makinde.
The event was a culmination of a two-day workshop with a theme: “Leadership Skills Development for Effective Industrial Relations in the College of Education System”, organized by COEASU in conjunction with the Committee of Provosts In Nigeria, aimed at equipping the lecturers with greater capacity to deal with issues of industrial concern, and ensure peace on campuses.
Leaders of COEASU maintained that Colleges of Education, especially Federal Government established Colleges have come of age, and have the necessary infrastructure, personnel and other degree awarding requirements to run bachelor degree programmes in their various institutions, independently.
Former Provost, Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, Prof. Taoreed Adedoja, said in his remarks, that he was in support of the aspirations, and challenged Colleges of Education to take up the task by first setting deadline for de-affiliation from universities.
He said: “Evidences have shown that CoEs are being surcharged by the universities. For instance, 75 per cent of the revenue generated from the research go to universities, while 25 per cent are left with the CoEs.”
Former Provost of the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, Prof. Kunle Filani, who was Chairman of the occasion, in his submissions, noted that most CoEs in Nigeria run programmes similar to the universities, hence the need for the autonomy of the CoEs.
“Undoubtedly, CoEs in Nigeria are making progress. It may look slow but steady. There is increase in the number and the scope to CoEs we have today compared to 40 years back, which is good. This has increased the number of access to people who would love to study in the Colleges to become teachers.”
He confirmed that infrastructures in the institutions particularly the federal colleges have improved, tremendously. “If you go to the federal colleges today, you cannot say that they are not capable of awarding degrees today. There are beautiful infrastructures, they can accommodate more students and the environment is friendly unlike before. That is the major progress we have made.
“Manpower has also improved. Those days, because of limited number of students, we had few staff who had bachelor degrees but today, things have changed. I am very happy that today, hardly can you go to CoEs without seeing 15 percent of their academic staff who have already had their PhDs. It’s a boost to the image and ego of staff.”
He, however, regretted that appointment of Provosts to Federal and State established Colleges were mostly from universities, saying that such actions were demotivating to academic staff of CoEs, even as he advocated increment of retirement years of College lecturers from 65 years to 70 years, warning that academic staff who are not tired should not be forcefully retired.