The Provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State, Prof Josephat Ogbuagu, has described the recent inauguration of Governing Councils for the 21 Federal Colleges of Education as a crucial step towards effective running of these institutions. He said the profile of personalities appointed to the new Council by the government revealed the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to address the key challenges facing the Colleges and reposition them for better performance.

Prof Ogbuagu, who is also the Chairman, Committee of Federal Provosts (COFEP), stated this, while receiving the members of the FCET Umunze Governing Council, led by the Chairman, Barrister Abdu Ibrahim Radda. Other members include: Mrs Helen Abdu, Surveyor Paul Onochie and Hon Uche Anakor.

from right, Sir A. I. Udensi (Registrar), Surveyor Paul Onochie, Mrs Helen Abdu, Prof J. O. Ogbuagu (Provost), Barrister Abdu Ibrahim Radda (Council Chairman), Dr (Mrs) Madichie (Deputy Provost) and Hon Uche Anakor.

from right, Sir A. I. Udensi (Registrar), Engr. Edmond Nkalu (Nigeria Society of Engineers), Mrs Helen Abdu (Federal Ministry of Education), Prof J. O. Ogbuagu (Provost), Barrister Abdu Ibrahim Radda (Council Chairman), Surveyor Paul Onochie (NCCE), Dr (Mrs) Madichie (Deputy Provost) and Hon Uche Anakor.

He explained that the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, took a decisive step by appointing highly respected individuals with proven track records of good performance and best practices into the Governing Councils to add verve to decision making and policy implementation.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, inaugurated the Governing Council for the Federal Colleges of Education at the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Abuja on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Addressing the Council members, he expressed the determination of the federal government to improve teacher education in the country. He noted that the move to restructure the nation’s education system must start from the basics in order to achieve the desired result.

The Minister, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Anwukah, congratulated the Council members on the appointment, noting that they had been found worthy both in experience and individual capacities. He said their appointment was as a recognition of the positive actions they had taken at various times for the good of the nation and her citizenry.

“Your selection and appointment had gone through a very rigorous process and I am pleased to tell you that you have been chosen because of your integrity and merit,” he said.

He noted that the Federal Colleges of Education would immensely benefit from their store of knowledge and experiences and expressed optimism that their commitment to education would be manifest in the discharge of their individual responsibilities.

The Minister admitted that the appointment of the Governing Council was made at a very difficult moment in the nation’s education sector, and urged the Council members to live up to expectation by investing their experience in addressing the challenges imbedded in the system.

He expressed concern that the teaching profession has been relegated over the years and unable to attract the best and brightest crop of scholars. He urged members of the new Governing Council to collaborate with the government to change the situation and put teacher education on the front burner.

“The recession calls on you to device ways in which your institutions can boost their internally generated revenues. It also means you have to be prudent and transparent in the management of resources available to you. Like this government, the new Council must develop zero-tolerance to corruption. It should be prepared to squarely face all the problems that are waiting for you and solve them as you can,” he advised.

The Minister urged the Council members to lead by example, show direction and provide the leadership that would bring out the best of the Provosts and the management of the various institutions. He advised them to help the College management by providing a conducive climate, industrial peace on campus by giving attention to the problems and demands of unions. He encouraged them further to cultivate harmonious relationship with the host community.

“All Council must take and regard as priority efforts to raise the standard of conduct on campuses, academic, ethical and moral. It should have zero tolerance to academic misconduct, plagiarism exam malpractices, sexual harassment and other issues such as drugs, instances of violence and cultism. Council must be concerned with all that is going on campus and be seen to address them each time they occur,” he stated.

He further explained that their appointment was on part-time basis, stressing that as policy makers, they should guide management’s action. He described the Council as the guardians of rules and regulations, while the provost and the management serve as the executors of policies.

The Minister stressed that Colleges of Education stand out as very important institution because they produce teachers for the basic education system. According to him, the nation’s education system would be better when the basic education system becomes truly functional.

Earlier in his address, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr Hussaini Adamu, noted that the Councils were constituted to broaden decision making in Colleges of Education. He described education as the bedrock of human development; noting that youths should be properly nurtured in character and learning to enable them make meaningful contribution to national development.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFund, Senator Jubril Barau, assured that the cardinal objective of this present administration was to uplift the nation’s education sector. He urged the members of the Governing Council to key into this vision and initiate policies that would take the nation’s education system out of the doldrums to enviable heights.

In his contribution, the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon Aminu Suleiman, said he took time to look at the list of those appointed into the Governing Council, and described it as articulate. He said some nagging problems facing the country could be fixed by addressing the protracted problems of the education sector. He called for the reworking of the teacher education system to produce competent manpower for schools to drive the development process.

Hon Suleiman called for synergy between the Council and the management of their respective institutions, and condemned the crisis between the two bodies in the past, describing such feuds as needless distraction. He emphasized the need to put teacher education on the front burner and urged all stakeholders to submerge parochial interest and work selflessly for the collective gain of the nation’s education system.

Other dignitaries at the event include the Registrar/Chief Executive, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), represented by the TRCN Director of Internal Audit, Mr Emmanuel Onyia, the Executive Secretary, NUC, the Executive Secretary, NCCE, Prof Bappa-Aliyu Muhammadu, the Executive Secretary, NBTE, the Provosts of all the 21 Federal Colleges of Education, Chairmen of the newly constituted Governing Council, and other Council members