Kenneth Udeh from Abuja
A bill seeking the establishment of two Federal Colleges of Education in Ekiti and Borno States respectively came under public hearing at the Senate on Wednesday.
When approved the proposed Federal Colleges of Education will be situated in Gworza, Borno South Senatorial district in Borno State and Omuo-Ekiti, Ekiti South Senatorial district in Ekiti State.
The public hearing was conducted by the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND presided by its Chairman Senator Babba Kaita.
The bills are namely: a “Bill for an Act to provide for the Establishment of the Federal College of Education Gwoza, Borno State and for other Matters Connected Therewith, (Establishment, Etc, Bill, 2021] [SB: 350] Sponsored by Distinguished Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume [Borno South] while the Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the Federal College of Education Omuo-Ekiti, Ekiti State and for other Matters Connected Therewith, (Establishment, Etc, Bill, 2021] Sponsored by Distinguished Senator Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South).
In his opening remark President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan who was represented by the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu elucidated the importance of teacher training and retraining in the nation’s basic schools.
He said “The Bills are specifically on Colleges of Education, a specialised form of education tailored towards the training of trainers, and the advancement of pedagogy.
“I have always shown that institutions are wont to expand based on needs. We evaluate the needs based on curriculum or geographical proximity. Evaluation is supposed to be continuous, consistent with social progress, changes in population, improvements in financial ability, or noted deficiencies in expertise.
“Though the two locations already have tertiary institutions in their numbers, but the new move is not just about increasing the quantity of institutions, but about adding to the list of specialised institutions.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Kaita in his remark stated the eventual establishment of the colleges would remedy the dearth of quality teachers in the country.
While reinstating the Senate’s commitment to give the bills the requisite legislative consideration, Kaita also noted that establishment of a college of Education in Gworza would aid to bridge the educational gap experienced in the region as a result of the insecurity situation.
He said ; “Establishing College of Education in Gwoza, would assist the insecurity ridden areas in providing teachers to close up the obvious generational inequality gap posed by mishap that has befallen the Northeast in the recent past.
“Many international non-governmental Organisations such as the United Nations, [UN] and European Union [EU] have disclosed that the insufficient supply of knowledge delivery and absence of qualified teachers for training and instruction of students socializations are some of the factors responsible for the proliferation of the ugly trend the region is struggling to contain.
“Therefore, establishment of Federal Colleges of Education in Omou-Ekiti and Gwoza would certainly, remedy the acute shortage of well-trained manpower needs of most schools. Therefore, the efforts of the sponsors of these two Bills are commendable.
“The Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND is therefore, poised in reaffirming its commitment in ensuring a high impact legislation that would provide a sound, virile and sustainable legal framework as support for education sector.
Justifying the validity of the bill Senator Olujimi said that asides from improving the educational sector in the state, the colleges of Education would also improve the quantity as well as quality of secondary and primary school teachers in the country. She lamenetd that Ekiti South lacked any Federal institution saying that it’s establishment would provide employment as well as support the Federal Governments economic recovery initiative.
Senator Ndume in his submission noted that the approval for the establishment of more private universities by the Federal Government justifies the need for more tertiary institutions in the country.
Ndume expressed that despite the approvals the current tertiary institutions in the country are insufficient to absorb the number of candidates seeking admission. Stressing the need for its establishment Ali said that the decline the quality of graduates from the nation’s higher institutions is as result of the weak foundation due to unqualified teachers in primary and secondary schools.