Colleges of Education have been advised to work towards attaining high academic standards to become degree awarding institutions rather than clamouring to be changed into university.
Mr Ebikwo Benn, Director, Public Affairs, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in a statement on Saturday quoted Dr Abdullahi Baffa, Executive Secretary of the Fund, while receiving a Fellowship Award from Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State.
Baffa noted that some Colleges of Education in Nigeria could measure up to some universities’ standard, and attain a degree or higher degree awarding institutions.
“Colleges of Education as well as Polytechnics in the country desirous of upgrading to degree awarding institutions must be ready to work hard and earn the licence and charter for such.
”Adeyemi College of Education is shoulder to shoulder with many universities in Nigeria.
“We are the ones spending the money, we know the number of scholars and lecturers that we have sponsored in this college to pursue higher degrees, Masters and Ph.D at home and abroad in this institution.
“Our records have shown a little more than 150 Ph.D that we sponsored and in many universities, you do not have up to 150 Ph.D lecturers.
“In almost all the new universities, both state and federal owned, none of them can beat their chest and say we have full time, tenured-track lecturers; 150 of them with Ph.D.
” So, in terms of staff mix, in terms of experience, in terms of infrastructure, Adeyemi College of Education is shoulder to shoulder with many universities, and ahead of quite a number of universities.”
However, on the move by management of the College to make it a University of Education, Baffa noted that it was a dream that might be achieved in the future when the right steps are taken.
He stressed the need to establish a system that would allow institutions to maintain their identities, while at the same time having the licence or the charter to operate as a university.
Baffa said in the early 80’s in the United Kingdom polytechnics and colleges were given conditions to fulfil when they wanted upgrade to universities and these conditions were based on quality assurance.
”So, nobody said Adeyemi College of Education must change its name, it is not in the name, it is in the composition, it is in the mix, and it is in the infrastructure, processes, quality and standard.
“We cannot wake up overnight and make a policy announcement that we are converting so and so College or Polytechnic into a university and go and put a signboard, change letter headed papers and say it is a university, it is not done.
“It is done based on programme, based on planning, based on processes, based on quality assurance, and I think once such standard are set, and once such processes are put in place.
”It is going to take much shorter time for Adeyemi College of Education to fulfil all requirements and be given the licence, the charter to operate as a university without necessarily changing its name or its identity,” he said.
He urged the college community to start a programme so that when government came up with its plan for this ascension they would have been ahead in their preparations to become a licenced degree awarding, higher degree awarding education institution.
Baffa praised the outgoing Provost of the College, Dr. Olukoya Ogen for his purposeful and transparent leadership in the college.
He said this was evidenced by the presence of the academic community who supported him even to his last day in office and for the prompt completion of TETFund projects.
Some TETFund projects were inaugurated during the ceremony and they include a new Health Centre Building and 500-seater Auditorium.
Others include block of offices for School of Languages, fully furnished with external works and rehabilitated and furnished classrooms for Y-Block of the College.