From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The 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.
It said if urgent measures were not taken to reverse the trend, the basic education system would suffer shortage of manpower and open 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’ enrolment in Abuja, yesterday, 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.
Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Paulinus 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 enrolment data.
He said: “The 2021 admission statistics released by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) revealed a disturbing decrease in subscriptions to 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 per cent 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 per cent 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.