The National Commission for College of Education (NCCE), Abuja says it has submitted proposals to the Federal Ministry of Education seeking for Federal Colleges of Education to be granted autonomy to award their degree.
The Executive Secretary of NCCE, Prof Bappa-Aliyu Mohammadu, who dropped the hint while addressing management staff, union leaders and students union of Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku, Rivers State as part of his one-day visit to the institution, disclosed that if the proposal scales through it will put to an end the unholy marriages with universities.
He advised staff and students of colleges of education in the country not to feel inferior to their counterparts in the university. According to him, colleges of education are also important because as teacher training institutions, they are doing their best in producing qualitative and effective teachers for the primary and secondary education.
Speaking on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information (IPPIS) issue, the executive secretary disclosed that it has its advantages and disadvantages but as government policy, it should be obeyed and reiterated his commitment to ensuring that colleges of education are not relegated to the background.
He commended the Provost of the college, Dr. Emmanuel Ikenyiri, for taking proactive steps in ensuring peace, unity, and development in the institution, noting that the negative stories witnessed in other institutions were non-existent at FCE Omoku.
The executive secretary, who also expressed satisfaction with the achievements recorded by the provost within his short stay in office, urged him to sustain the tempo. He sympathised with the college over the security challenges that befell Omoku some years back as well as the ravaging of the two campuses of the institution by the flood.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Provost of the College, Dr. Ikenyiri had told Prof Mohammadu that the institution which is the only federal college of education down the Niger and affiliated to University of Nigeria, Nsukka is faced with many problems such as fencing of the permanent site (campus II) to put a stop to the activities of herdsmen who have turned it into a grazing land thereby destroying college and students farms and also to avoid encroachment by land grabbers and other security challenges.
Other challenges that also cut across other federal colleges of education includes payment of outsourced staff, non-payment of peculiar allowances, non-released of overhead and capital budgets, the forceful enrolment into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information (IPPIS) and flooding of the college during raining seasons among others.
According to the provost, the college which has two campuses and runs programmes for NCE and Degree has witnessed tremendous development in infrastructure, material and human resources in the last few years courtesy of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Ikenyiri said the college is recovering from a crisis that engulfed the area from 2012 to 2017 but thanked God that peace has returned and they are regaining lost grounds which are yielding positive results.
He thanked the NCCE boss for the visit as he was the third executive secretary to visit the institution since its establishment in 1988, the first was Prof. Peter N. Lassa in 1990 and the second was Dr. Kabiru Ishyaku, 1999.
The highpoint of the executive secretary’s one-day visit was the commissioning of a two-storey office building for chief lecturers built by TETFund as well as inspection of some roads and other completed and ongoing projects executed by the fund and the NDDC.