• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

FG collapses college of education provosts’ tenure to 5yrs

FG collapses college of education provosts’ tenure to 5yrs

The Federal Ministry of Education has made known the collapse of the tenures of provosts of federal colleges of education in Nigeria from four-year two terms to a five-year single-term.

The ministry gave a detailed clarification regarding the implementation of the Federal Colleges of Education Act, 2023, particularly about the tenure of provosts.

The clarification as contained in a letter addressed to the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Staff Unions of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, dated May 23, 2024, was meant to provide clarity to avoid potential crises in the sector.

According to the letter signed by Ezonebi Blessing Azorbo, the director of legal services at the Ministry of Education made available to journalists on Monday, May 27, 2024, the amended Act stipulates a single, non-renewable five-year term for provosts of Federal Colleges of Education.

The letter noted that the provision is aimed at standardising tenure across institutions and ensuring a clear succession plan.

It highlighted key provisions of the Act, including the single term of five years as per section 13(6) of the amended Act, meaning provosts are now limited to a single term of five years without the possibility of a renewal.

The letter noted that provosts with less than five years in office will serve a single term of five years, regardless of their original appointment terms.

Those serving a second term at the time the Act was enacted will complete their current four-year term without any extension.

In addition, it states that for provosts who had not completed their first four-year term before the Act’s enactment, an additional year is added to make it a five-year term, with no option for renewal.

However, for provosts re-appointed for a second four-year term before the Act’s commencement, the current term will be their final one, and they will not transition to a five-year term.

The ministry emphasised that the measures are intended to uphold justice and equity by allowing provosts to complete their appointed terms without disruption.

The clear language of the Act reflects the legislative intent to provide stability and prevent ambiguity in leadership transitions within the colleges of education.

The ministry referenced a Supreme Court ruling in Olofu v. Itodo (2010), which underscores the importance of interpreting statutes according to their plain and ordinary meaning.

It was noted that the principle had guided the ministry’s interpretation of the new provisions. The ministry said any unresolved issues or grievances regarding the provisions should be directed to the governing council of the respective institutions for further consideration.

The Federal Ministry of Education commended JAC for its efforts to maintain a peaceful industrial environment and reiterated its commitment to enforcing the Federal Colleges of Education Act, 2023, and other relevant regulations.

“That section 13 (7)(b) of the FCE (Amendment) Act, 2023 provided two scenarios, the first being a situation where the Provost was appointed in the first instance and has not completed the tenure of office of four years before the commencement of the amendment Act, then he shall serve for five years without enjoying a renewal of appointment.

“In this case, one more year shall be added to the earlier 4 years as stated on the appointment letter based on the repealed Act.

“The second scenario which is the case at hand is where a Provost has completed the first tenure of four years and has been re-appointed for another tenure of four years when the amendment Act commences, he shall be deemed to be serving his last term of office of four years without further extension.

“The non-further extension in this case is that he cannot years without further extension. The non-further extension, in this case, is that he cannot enjoy five years under the second tenure as enjoyed by the provost in the first scenario. He will therefore complete the four-year term of the second tenure,” the statement reads in part.