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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 00:00
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Poor funding, bane of Colleges of Education

The new Provost of the Federal College of Education, Prof. Abdul-mumin Sa’ad, Yola, Adamawa State, spoke with some selected journalists on the need for the institution to run degree programmes. He also throws more light on some of the challenges facing colleges of education, and the need for more fundings, clement ekong was there.

Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Abdul-Mumin Sa’ad, a professor of Sociology with specialization in Criminology.
I was born some 57-years ago inJalingo, Taraba State. I started my primary School in Jalingo but I attended so many primary schools because my father was a Public Enlightenment Officer, so we had to travel wide.
I also studied as atrained grade two teacher in Government Teachers College Yola, nowdefunct. I proceeded to School of Basic Studies in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, where I did my first Degree there. From there I then went to Cambridge, where I did my M.Phil (Masters of Philosophy) in Sociology and then did Doctor of Philosophy inSociology at the University of Sussex Brighton. I have been workingwith the University of Maiduguri as a Lecturer since 1982 and I wasappointed the Provost of FCE Yola by His Excellency, PresidentGoodluck Jonathan with effect from 21st March 2012.

What came to your mind upon your appointment as the provost of the fce Yola?
l was happy when I had about the appointment because I knew the FCE Yola right from 1974 when it was first established as Federal AdvancedTeachers College, I was then  in Teachers College Yola.My ambition was to join the college to do my National Certificate in Education. I eventually went to ABU.  The appointment is an opportunity for me to come and contribute my quota to the development of an institution that I had wanted to attain.

How do you describe the state of facility in FCE Yola?
I can say that the state of facility at the FCE can be described asstandard. The only problem we have is that it is not adequate in termsof number because the population of students have increased, so we need more classrooms even though efforts are being made to construct more. Our Laboratories have become small because of the increasing number of students. 
We need to expand our laboratories and acquiremore instruments. Like in the Business Education Department, you find that the numbers of computers are not adequate for the students. These are some of the challenges we need to address.

Before the next session, we should beable to have adequate numbers of such facilities. Our carrying capacity is about 4, 000. At the moment, each year weadmit only about half of that so that we don’t over stretch the facilities that we have. We want to expand so that we can admit allour four thousand students. We need more hostels.
The Federal Government is no longer interested in building more hostels. So we are appealing to well- to- doindividuals within Adamawa State and the catchment area of the collegeto come and build hostels under what we call Build Operate andTransfer (BOT). If they can come and build Hostels, operate for anumber of years and transfer it to the school it will contribute a lotto the development of the School and education in the country. This is what the federal Government is trying to achieve by it Public /PrivatePartnership Policy.

How do you intend to tackle these problems?
The two basic problems I faced immediately I assumed duty was water and electricity. In fact before I came to the office, the Registrarcalled me and said that students were complaining to her seriously about lack of water.
So upon assumption of duty, I made sure that I address these problems. His Excellency, the Governor of Adamawa Statealso recognized those problems and was able to build a borehole.That borehole was still not adequate because there are so manystudents.

So when I assumed duty, we increased the number ofboreholes. So at the moment, water problem is an unknown issue and the students are also very grateful with that. For electricity, of cause, we could not provide 24 hours electricity because that will be very expensive.  But we tried to ensure that weprovide electricity from 10:00 am to 4: 00 pm and then during exams,we provide electricity from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm and that is what wehave been doing for the past couple of months. Electricity supply to college by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, has also improved but we are still spending colossal among of money onfuel. 

Almost all our overhead cost goes into running our generatingsets. This is the complaint I am using this opportunity to voice out torelevant agencies to assist us in ensuring that our overhead cost is increased. We are a teaching and learning institution and our children, who are in the college are supposed to have the best oflearning within their own institution so that they are motivated tolearn.

What is being done by relevant agencies toward addressing some ofthese challenges?
The Education Trust Fund, which is now Tertiary Education Trust Fund(TETF) has done and is still doing great job. We have nothing to saybut to thank them and will continue to thank them. For example, in the area of building class rooms, Lecture Theaters, they have spent somuch in FCE Yola. 
In 2012 alone, I know they are spending over N 200 million to construct more lecture theaters and carrying out massive training of our staff. They are also spending a lot in the area of improving our Library, for example our e-library, which was actually funded by the ETF. We have many of the staff currently running their Masters and Ph.D.  programmes through the TETFund.Internet is a problem and we are requesting them to upgrade it and wehave submitted a budget to them and they have approved.

So very soon FCE Yola will be internet friendly to an extent that you can just browse once you are inside FCE premises.We are also collaborating with AUN to help us improve on our ICTfacilities.
And also we are partnering in the area of Conference and workshops. Because we intend to introduce degree programme in FCE Yola, which will require a lot of improvement in our facilities and environment and so on, we will like to have a special fund.
We intend to approach TETFund, who we are very sure  will be ready to give us  not because we are Oliver Twist but because we intend to introduce new programmes we think we require a special grand  so that the project will take off.

What are the bases for establishing federal colleges of education?
The main reason for establishing Federal Colleges of Education is tosupply our primary and junior secondary schools with qualifiedteachers. Teachers, who are well trained to deliver so that we don’thave this problems of lack of teachers.
This is because in anyeducational system, if you don’t have trained teachers, then theobjective of having qualitative education will not be achieved.Another object is actually is to address the problem of shortage ofteachers to teach our pupils at the primary and junior secondaryschools.

Does the quality of teachers produced now justify the essence ofestablishing FCE?
Of course, it justifies the essence. In fact, we need to evenestablish more Colleges of Education and expand the ones that are inexistence.At the moment, if you look at the whole situation, you find that inmany primary and secondary schools there are still inadequate number of qualified teachers.
In secondary schools, there is the tendency ofemploying people who are only graduates without any teaching qualification. In teaching and learning, the most important thing ishow to deliver the knowledge.

You may have the knowledge or most have graduated with a First Class, but if you don’t have the skill on how to impact knowledge to recipients, the pupils or the student will not understand what you aretrying to teach them. We have been complaining the quality of our teachers have gone down, though you cannot compare it with those days. 
The most important thing is that the colleges of Education then, was well funded, they had qualified teachers, they even hire expatriate to teach in areas where the country cannot produce. Even the condition in which we lived then as students was very good.

Poverty was not an excuse for people not to attain colleges of education because we were even given pocket money, Weekly entitlement to even washing our clothes and there was high discipline among students. It is when we get that same environment that is when teaching and learning take place.
how far have you gone on plans to introduce degree programmes at the fce yola?
We have gone far. The process started more than a year ago before I even came. They wanted to affiliate to Modibo Adamawa University of Technology (MAUTECH) but it was not the proper thing to do because MAUTECH is not a conventional University. Therefore, the nearest conventional University is the University of Maiduguri from where I amcoming. That suits it well because as a member of the University ofMaiduguri, I think I can get cooperation from them. 

Just recently, the unit that is given the responsibility of doing the preliminaries, that is the directorate of the academic planning of our college is handling, the Director visited the University of Maiduguri and consulted with the Coordinator and the DVC academic of the Universityof Maiduguri.
Originally, we wanted to start degree programme in 19 programmes butthey advised that 19 programmes is not visible, for many reason: one,there are programmes that we run here that they done have it there atthe University of Maiduguri.
So we may not be able to start those programmes, which are about six of them. That reduces our  intended programmes to about 13 programmes and then they (University of Maiduguri) felt that probably, we needed to start with less than tenprogrammes. So what we are doing now is to look at various issues, like the needs of our catchment area, which is the north east. 

What do we need for the development of Adamawa and other States within the catchment area?
Also the demand. How people out there want to come in and do degree programme in our college. In which area do they want to come and do the degree programme in. We are also considering ourcapacity. What is our capacity in terms of staffing, in terms of facilities available that we can start easily without having funding problems?
We need to look at all these and that is the level we are at now.  Wewill finish this within the next few days and the director is expectedto go back and meet with them and then they will come back and inspect everything. Once they give us the go ahead, the next thing is to meet with the Nigeria Universities Commission and other authorities’ concerned.

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