Experts have called on the government to upgrade teacher education by overhauling the infrastructure, quality of learning, and operational framework in Nigeria’s colleges of education to reflect the global standards.
The educationists expressed concerns over the shutting down of 160 illegal colleges of education, which they described as mirroring the low level the teaching profession has descended to even in the fore, poorly trained teachers are sabotaging the education sector and the economy at large.
Boye Ogundele, a professional teacher frowned at the surging rate the country is producing half-baked teachers to the detriment of the sector.
“I’m in support of the closure of the illegal colleges of education because of the half-baked graduates they produce yearly,” he said.
Ogundele reiterated that such illegal institutions are negatively impacting the standard of education and the industry as a whole.
“Half-baked graduates always saturate the labour market and make jobs difficult for the good ones to get,” he noted.
Euriel Momah, an educationist also describes the shutting down of those 160 illegal colleges of education as a step in the right direction.
“If those colleges are illegal indeed, then the step taken by the commission is right. It simply means that there was no statutory instrument of the government setting them up.
“As such, there won’t be proper monitoring and control from the government that will validate the programmes they run,” he said.
Momah maintained that allowing such institutions to continue operations means that the certificates and diplomas they issue would not be recognised, meaning that the graduates are unemployable.
Besides, he decried that the National Certificate of Education (NCE) is beginning to be out of place, and needs to upgrade to be relevant.
“Holders of the certificate will have to upgrade to a degree programme before they can be reckoned with. As can be observed, many colleges of education are already being turned to universities of education or are affiliated to degree awarding institutions,” he noted.
According to the educationist, “This will improve the status and standard of education and the teaching profession in particular. It is a step towards professionalising the profession and giving it a premium status so it can be favourably compared to other professional bodies.
This will make the profession more desirable and accord it the right place in society. Since teaching is considered to be the mother of all professions, it is just right and logical that the teachers are not produced by quake institutions.”
Friday Erhabor, a parent with children in schools does not see anything wrong with closing illegal schools as it were.
“If the schools closed are illegal, it is good for the teaching profession, students, and the economy generally. Teaching is as delicate as the medical profession, so there should not be room for illegal institutions to produce teachers.
“Just as fake and ill-trained doctors are a threat to life, ill-baked teachers are dangerous to students’ brains. Such enforcement must be done regularly to avoid scammers duping students,” he stressed.
Erhabor further urges the government to set up more colleges of education to accommodate more students, and to curb the menace of these illegal institutions and the ways they are toying with students’ lives.
However, Elizabeth Ohaka, a school owner and a professional teacher thinks otherwise.
“A total of 160 colleges of education were shut down, that’s a huge number. There is a need to seek ways to help these supposedly illegal colleges come up to the standard, instead of shutting them down.
“There is the inadequacy of teachers, they are not readily available. Most teachers have abandoned the profession, and we are talking about closing down such a huge number of colleges of education on the grounds of not meeting standards.
“If the country should close down all schools that are yet to meet the standard how would the sector survive,” she queried.
Ohaka pointed out that these institutions are playing roles the government may not be able to play adequately.
“You cannot throw away a baby with dirty waters. The authorities should show them the direction to become viable in the sector, so many students will be out of school with this development,” she noted.
Remember that Paulinus Okwelle, executive secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), said 160 illegal colleges and study centres have been shut down across the country.
According to Okwelle the commission embarked on the “cleansing” exercise to protect the integrity of the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE).