The newly appointed Provost of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Ijanikin, Lagos, Prof Bidemi Lafiaji-Okuneye has assured stakeholders that her top priority for the 62-year-old institution is to produce quality teachers for the nation’s education system.
Prof Lafiaji-Okuneye said AOCOED as a teacher training institution has met the minimum standard in the award of Nigeria Certificate of Education. She acknowledged that there is room for improvement in the area of infrastructure development and funding of programmes to improve the quality of teaching, learning and research in AOCOED.
The provost, who was flanked by the Deputy Provost, Dr. Deborah Dele Giwa, Registrar, Mr. Shehu Muhideen, Bursar, Mr. Adeyanju Adebisi, College Librarian, Dr. Oluwakemi Towolawi and other top management staff of AOCOED told newsmen at her maiden briefing that the college would continue to churn out quality teachers who would be role models to the state and the nation.
“Since my assumption as the Chief Executive Officer of this great citadel of learning on January 13, 2020, it’s my pleasure to announce to you that AOCOED has gone through series of transformational stages to attain its present status as the first among equals in the committee of colleges of education in Nigeria,’’ Prof Lafiaji-Okuneye stressed.
She explained that under her administration, AOCOED would further strengthen the relationship between the institution, corporate bodies and other stakeholders as well as improve on infrastructure and sports facilities.
The new helmsman of AOCOED said she would create the enabling environment for teaching and learning, improve on the existing welfare packages for staff and students and create a synergy between the unions and the college management.
According to her, AOCOED would create a good relationship with its host communities and that clubs within the communities have been using sports facilities on the campus and that it also provides health facility to residents of host communities, stating ‘’consultations will be free while medical tests will be run at a competitive price.’’
She acknowledged the low enrolment of students into colleges of education in the country because no one wants to become a teacher, adding ‘’teaching is the most guarantee job. We are concern about the low enrolment. In other countries, teachers are better paid and the profession attracts graduates.
Lafiaji-Okuneye blamed parents who force their wards to read other courses in the universities rather than apply to colleges of education, noting ‘’we should allow them to follow their passion. We train qualify teachers for schools but they go after cheap labour rather than go for the trained ones.’’
The provost, however, stated that AOCOED train qualified teachers that are licensed by the relevant agency noting ‘’it is not our students that are showcasing low quality in schools. Our products have made us proud.’’
On affiliation with Ekiti State University, Prof Lafiaji-Okuneye said based on the Lagos State Government plan to transmute AOCOED to the University of Education, management stopped the affiliation three years ago.
“The process to make AOCOED a university is still on. Recently when NANS Zone D leaders visited Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, he reiterated the same position. The present administration is serious about it and staff and students are expectant of the announcement. AOCOED has the manpower and facilities to be made a degree-awarding institution.
“I am not aware that a Professor was appointed because of the plan to transmute AOCOED to a university. It is the sole responsibility of the governor to decide who head the place when the plan is approved. I am here as the provost, three names were sent to the governor and he appointed me, I am pleased with my role for now.’’
Prof Lafiaji-Okuneye acknowledged that she inherited a peaceful campus from her predecessor and intend to make it peaceful, assuring that she would operate an open door policy. She also revealed that AOCOED recorded 100 percent in its recent accreditation exercise by the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE).
Corroborating the provost on the degree affiliation, the Deputy Provost, Dr. Deborah Dele Giwa confirmed that the affiliation was stopped in anticipation of the state government pronouncement of AOCOED as a university but observed that the remaining affiliate students pay directly to Ekiti State University.
Dr. Giwa said AOCOED only assist to ensure quality and standard are maintained, stating ‘’we give the students notification of result but they collect the certificate from Ekiti State University.’’ Governor Sanwo-Olu approved the appointment of Prof Lafiaji-Okuneye as the new Provost of AOCOED from Sunday, January 12th, 2020 following the expiration of the tenure of Dr. Omolola Ladele.
Until her appointment as the second female provost of AOCOED, Prof Lafiaji-Okuneye was a lecturer in the Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education at Lagos State University. She has authored several books on Physical and Health Education and also co-authored the recommended textbook ‘’Physical Education for primary schools.