Population Explosion, Reason Gov’t Establish More Schools -Echono

Executive Secretary, TETFund, Arch. Sonny Echono.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says governments at all levels would continue to establish more schools to meet the growing demand occasioned by the increasing population in the country.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a TETFund’s capacity building workshop for Colleges of Education from the northern part of the country, said despite concerns on the issue of proliferation and poor funding of existing institutions, the government cannot close its eyes to the needs of children.

Echono challenged participants at the workshop- which has its theme as ‘Enhancing Pedagogical Skills and Curriculum Development for Quality Education Delivery in Nigeria Colleges of Education’, to come up with robust ideas and curriculum to attract more Nigerians to the institutions.

He said government would keep establishing schools that would need the services of good teachers produced by the Education Colleges despite the challenge of funding.

His words: “It is true we have a problem of funding and we should address it holistically but we cannot pretend that we are not going to have expanding demand, the number of institutions you have to serve you when your population was 100 million cannot be the same number when your population is 200 million.

“If you don’t want us to expand, you have to address it from the root and that root is the birth rate, birth control, if we can freeze or slow the rate we are giving birth to children, then you can now come and say let us freeze the number of schools that we have, otherwise you are going to create an army of illiterates who do not have the opportunity to prepare themselves and at the end, they become a bigger problem for our society.

“So we must continue to expand access to every child in this country to have opportunities. But I support we should take a very serious look at the rate we are increasing our population through policy, through advocacy, through sensitisation.”

The TETFund Boss, who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for rolling out various incentives for the nation’s teaching profession, called for change of orientation towards teachers as they play a major in the society.

On his part, Executive Secretary of National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Paulinus Okwelle, said that no stone would be left unturned to ensure the regular review of curriculum in Colleges of Education to meet up with present reality.

“The NCCE as a regulatory body to all NCE awarding institutions has its key mandate to include, among others, revamping the basic education sector through curriculum planning as well as monitoring quality delivery of NCE programme.

“That is why we have just rolled out a new curriculum for the NCE 2020 and we have asked our colleges to start implementing it. I think by the end of this academic session, it will be one year old.

“I want to assure you that we are not going to wait till five years before we review that again, because we must restrategise, we must reposition our NCE programmes because we have been crying of low enrolment.

“We must face the situation, very soon all the provosts will come for a strategic meeting, we must see how we can restrategise and make the programmes attractive so that more people can come for the NCE programmes, so we will meet very soon, and i mean less than a month time,” the NCCE boss said.

Earlier, welcoming the participants which include provosts, registrars, resource persons, among others, Director Strategic Planning and Development of TETFund, Mr Irene Erivwo, said the workshop was the last in the six series.

According to Erivwo, before the Colleges of Education workshop in Lagos and Abuja, a capacity building workshop on ranking was organised for universities (South and North), while another on skills for polytechnics also took place in the country.

“At the end of the workshop, we hope to get a document on the outcome that will be circulated”, he said.

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