Conversion Of Colleges Of Education To Universities Will Have Dire Consequences For Nigeria- TETFund, COEASU

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) have kicked against the growing trend of converting public colleges of education to universities.
They described the development as disturbing, considering the important role colleges of education play in producing teachers at the basic education level for the country
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono and President of COEASU, Dr Smart Olugbeko, stated this in Abuja at a three-day national conference and workshop on Digital Pedagogy and Fundable Research Proposal Writing organised by COEASU in collaboration with the Committee of Provosts.
Echono, who expressed dismay at the development, questioned the rationale behind it when existing colleges of education are not producing enough teachers for primary schools in the country.
He urged federal and state governments to prioritize education at the basic level, even as he buttressed his argument with Germany and Japan where their teachers at the basic level earn more than their counterparts at the tertiary level.
“This penchant to want to convert colleges of education to universities, frankly I see no need for it. Universities already have faculties of education. And many of the conventional universities have this already. Why don’t we produce enough for this basic level first? We can have some level of specialization because improvements come. And some of them already have that. But do we want to convert all our colleges of education to universities when we are not producing enough for our primary schools?,” he queried.
Also speaking, Dr Olugbeko warned that there would be negative consequences if there were no education colleges in the country.
The COEASU President argued that the move is a misplaced priority on the part of government.
He called on the government to borrow a leaf from China where universities are being converted to technical institutions.
“Doing that is at the peril of the basic level of education. Because when we talk about colleges of education, they were established to cater to the basic level of education. This is the level of education that anybody who wants to be literate will need to pass through. They are specially dedicated to training people who will teach at this level.
“Therefore, if because our primary schools have collapsed due to privatization of primary schools at the detriment of public primary schools, therefore government because most of them are elitist in their thinking and orientation, what they believe is that tertiary education is all about universities. And that is why they keep on converting colleges of education to universities at the detriment of the system”, he said.
He condemned the development in Lagos State where he said all state-owned polytechnics and colleges of education have been converted to universities.
“In Lagos State today, there is no polytechnic, college of education at the level of the state. They have converted all of them to universities and this will have dire consequences on the state,” he warned.

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