Federal Government has expressed concerns at the increasing drop in the interest of young people in seeking admissions into Colleges of Education (CoEs), public and private, for purposes of becoming professional teachers for basic education system.
The government was concerned that if urgent measures at not taken to reverse the trend, the basic education system would suffer shortage of manpower, opening the window for unqualified people to gain access into teaching profession.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejoh, who spoke at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop on the challenge of dwindling Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) students’ enrollment in Abuja, on Wednesday, challenged stakeholders in the Colleges of Education to brainstorm and proffer solutions that would help reverse the trend.
He assured participants that the outcome of the meeting would receive urgent attention of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, through the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
He told them that the President is committed to issues that affect teachers, with reference to the recent intervention of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, that heralded improved salary package and other incentives that, expectedly, would encourage the best brains to pick a career in teaching profession.
Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof. Paulinus Chijioke Okwelle, in his welcome remarks, said the drop of students’ interest in NCE programmes is worrisome and a concern to the Federal Government, hence the two-day workshop to harvest ideas and solutions to the challenge and improve enrollment data.
He said: “The 2021 admission statistics released by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) revealed a disturbing decrease in subscriptions to Nigeria Certificate on Education (NCE) programmes in the NCE awarding institutions across the country.
“The new JAMB Policy that placed emphasis on Central Admission Processing System (CAPS), Integrated Brochure and Syllabus System (IBASS), admission cut-off, carrying capacity restrictions, and candidate’s institutional preference, have become parameters that could determine the sub-sectors’ survival and deserve critical attention.”
He also made reference to data obtained from JAMB after the 2022 Policy Meeting which indicated that out of the 1,761,262 candidates that sat for 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), 24, 069 applied to the over 200 Colleges of Education spread across the country, indicating about one percent of the total applications.
“In 2021, out of the 1,351,284 candidates that sat for the UTME, only 15, 747 chose the Colleges of Education, representing 1.17 percent of the total figure. The trend is even worse in private Colleges of Education, as checks showed that the first eight private Colleges only attracted a total of 177 candidates in 2021, despite the fact that JAMB gave them the go-ahead to admit students,” he said.
He reiterated that dwindling enrolment into NCE programmes in CoEs is one of the major challenges the Colleges are currently facing, and solutions require collective efforts of the major stakeholders, notably, the Provosts, Registrars, and Unions Leaders.
“This workshop was organized to tap and harness your wealth of experiences and knowledge. We are expected to rub minds together and share experiences during this workshop. I, therefore, urge you all to go the extra mile by contributing meaningfully throughout the workshop.
“It is expected that at the end of this workshop, some practicable solutions would emerge, and I assure you that the suggestions and recommendations would be considered for implementation to solve the problem of dwindling enrolment to obtain the NCE in Nigeria.”
Managing Director, CEBAR Group International, Ms Carol Barlow, in her presentation stressed the importance of capacity building for teachers to increase their relevance and output in 21st century that is driven by technology.
She disclosed that plans are underway to empower basic education teachers with digital and other skills that would help them impact knowledge and skills on their students.