The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof. Paulinus Chijioke Okwelle, has said that there is a disturbing decrease in enrolment for the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) programmes in Colleges of Education across the country.
Prof Okwelle, who stated this at a strategic workshop on the ‘Challenge of Dwindling Students’ Enrolment’ organized by the commission and its partners in Abuja on Wednesday, said statistics showed that people were no longer subscribing to NCE programmes.
“In this awareness, rethinking emerging issues of poor subscription and attrition threatening the subsector’s survival in the context of contemporary reality needs to be revisited with a sense of urgency and commitment,” he said.
While noting that statistics showed an interesting pupil population resulting from the over 120 million productive population with over 4.8 million annual birth records to date, he said the need for the sustenance of this education sub-sector to cater for the basic education needs of the teeming population cannot be overemphasized.
The NCCE boss noted that some of the challenges were due to low regard for the institutions as mostly those who failed to gain admission into universities applied to colleges of education.
He added that the long period that NCE holders spend in universities is uncalled for and should be reduced from three years to two years after obtaining the NCE.
“We have identified some of the reasons so we want to now look at those problems at this very workshop and see how we can improve on the system,” he said.
He, however, noted that as much as attention is drawn to affiliations for degree programmes, it is appropriate they note that their core mandate in the college education system is to produce NCE graduates for the basic education level in Nigeria.
“Until the dual mode is granted, which would permit the legal operation in that direction, it is more accommodating to concentrate on measures to increase enrolment into NCE programmes,” he said.
Prof Okwelle also noted that the implementation of the proposed scholarship for education students by President Muhammadu Buhari is important, but that gaining employment for graduates of education will definitely attract some good lessons.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr David Adejo Andrew, said the enrolment of NCE in colleges is a big problem because many Nigerians are thinking of personal interest and not helping society.
In his presentation on curriculum review, Dr Ayodele Adetayo Ajayi of CoE Osiele, Abeokuta, said availabilities and deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities should be given due consideration in the next review of the curriculum, as well as the provision of more years of training in order to improve the quality and standard of products.
The don also called for a change in the administration of some entrance examination items through JAMB, saying, “I advocate that JAMB should organize a completely different examination for Colleges of Education.”