In one of his many writings on leadership which he titled ‘Six Studies in World Strategy’, America’s all-time diplomatic czar and statesman Henry Kissinger said ‘leaders think and act at the intersection of two axes: the first, between the past and the future; the second, between the abiding values and aspirations of those they lead. Their first challenge is analysis, which begins with a realistic assessment of their society based on its history, mores, and capacities. Then they must balance what they know, which is necessarily drawn from the past, with what they intuit about the future, which is inherently conjectural and uncertain. It is this intuitive grasp of direction that enables leaders to set objectives and lay down a strategy’.
The above was what came to my mind as Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq set the ball rolling for Kwara to own a state university of education — for a start. It is interesting to note that the report of the transition implementation committee (in 2019) that gave the Governor some preliminary insights into the whats, the hows, and the wheres of the state had specifically mentioned a need for Kwara to own one.
A few persons have asked why Kwara should have a university of education. A few others have scoffed at the initiative. What I observe is that most of the critics appear to not know what the issues are.
At this moment in history, our colleges of education in Nigeria are grasping for breath. Many of them hang on government’s subventions and bailouts, such as were again recently approved for our Colleges in Kwara to offset their salaries. In response to some of the challenges that colleges of education now face nationwide, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently signed Federal Colleges of Education Act 2023, which, among other things, empowers Federal Colleges of Education to run NCE and related degree programmes concurrently. The Act, which repealed the one of 2004, states its objectives to include provision of legal basis for the award of diplomas and degrees and give the Colleges the powers to expand the scope of the curriculum of the Colleges to degree-awarding institutions.
Stakeholders in the colleges of education call it dual mode, and have hailed the President for assenting to the bill. At an audience with them on August 21, 2023, the leadership of the Joint Academic Staff Unions in Tertiary Institutions (JASUTI) appealed to the state government to domesticate the Federal Colleges of Education Act in Kwara State. Another request of JASUTI on that day — and always — is for the government to convert one of the COED to a university of education. When the government set up visitation panels to the three COED in Kwara State, their terms of reference included to examine and recommend how the state can draw inspirations from the new College of Education Act 2023.
Colleges of Education were, to an extent, the successor institutions to the old Teachers’ College or Training Institute. But times have changed. Enrollment in the colleges has dropped drastically. For instance, as of November 2, 2023, the total number of students at the College of Education Ilorin is 2,751, which is hardly a fraction of Year One students in some universities. Ironically, the staff strength of the same college stands at 604, more than half of them being non-academic. Of the 604, the academic staff are just 163, representing a paltry 26.9% of the people on the payroll.
Reforms are inevitable, and the setting up of the visitation panels is the first step. The public should note that the early years of the administration were spent stabilising these colleges following several months of crises, which the new administration had since resolved.
Despite resolving the crises that spanned different periods of the former administration through 2019, the colleges remain at a critical intersection of history as the pressure for reforms and modernisation mounts. Many of them, especially CoED Ilorin and Oro, are now affiliated to some universities within and outside of Kwara State. It is a survival strategy, not something they willingly do. The affiliation offers their students an opportunity to upgrade their NCE to a university degree. This is a money-spinning initiative by the benefiting university at the expense of the Colleges. All the colleges benefit in this arrangement is to keep their NCE students.
On top of this is the persisting infrastructural deficits and lack of enough access to research grants now worsened by a new federal government policy that pegs the slots that Colleges of Education have in the Tertiary Education Trust (TETFUND).
Hunkering down for reforms that accommodate the current economic situation, the administration has decided, for a start, to make one of the three COED a university of education and the mechanisms for doing that have been set in motion with the committee led by Prof. Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem. That way, new and expectedly more enrollees are coming in either for double honours degrees, diplomas, or the traditional NCE. With more students come more revenues and the colleges (and their alumni) are saved the dishonour of dying off. The schools would no longer need affiliations to some other universities to keep their NCE students. And the colleges (now university) will have a stronger footing in the club of TETFUND beneficiaries for research grants and infrastructural development.
Methinks the burden of initial investments that would naturally be made will pale into insignificance when the hard work and the ingenuity of the government bear great fruits for all.
Rafiu Ajakaye is Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kwara State
Kwara Govt seeks public memoranda on proposed State University of Education
Kwara State Government has called on stakeholders in the education sector to submit memoranda for the establishment of Kwara State University of Education.
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had on the 17th of November, 2023 inaugurated Prof. Shuaibu Oba Abdulraheem-led committee to midwife the processes leading to the establishment of the institution.
“As part of the process, the government invites the general public, stakeholders, educational institutions, and interested groups to contribute their insights and recommendations through the submission of memoranda,” the committee said in a statement issued in Ilorin.
“This visionary initiative aims to enhance the quality of education and contribute to the development of human resources in the state.”
It stated that the memoranda should address relevant issues related to the establishment of the University of Education, including but not limited to:
• Preferred strategic location within the State that will ensure inclusivity
• Proposed academic programmes and faculties.
• Infrastructure and facilities requirements
• Collaboration opportunities with existing institutions.
• Strategies for community engagement and development.
The committee advised that all memoranda should be submitted in writing and sent to Council Chamber, KWASU Business School along Ajasse-Ipo Road, Ilorin or Room 33, Ministry of Tertiary Education, State Secretariat, Ilorin.
“Electronic submissions can also be sent to: email@example.com and the deadline for the submission of memoranda is 15th December 2023,” the statement noted.
The committee encouraged active participation and engagement from all stakeholders to ensure that the university is established in a manner that best serves the educational needs of the communities.
New NANS leadership charged on effective, purposeful for progress
The newly elected leadership of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) led by the new President, Lucky Emonefe has been urged to be fair, just and honest in its leadership.
The new leadership was also advised to ensure that it carried all facets of membership along especially those who lost in the election in order to have one indivisible and united NANS.
The assertion is contained in a statement by a group known as NANS C5, signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Abdulrahman Bala and Prince Sani Mohammed respectively.
The group congratulated the newly elected National President of NANS, Comrade Lucky Emonefe, the Senate President, Akinteye Babatunde as well as the Vice President, of External Affairs, Comrade Mu’azu Mohammed Hina.
According to the statement, the C5 members celebrate and congratulate the President and two of their members who are among the new set of Executives, Comrade Akinteye Babatunde and Comrade Mu’azu Hina.
The C5 group stated that their services were more needed by Nigerian students at this material time, the more reason the group released them.
It added, “We also appreciate the efforts and the commitments of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Students Engagement, Comrade Asefon Dayo Sunday for ensuring a successful and free fair election.”
It added “Once again, congratulations to the C5 NANS family and the President-elect, Comrade Lucky and all other elected National Executives members. Their elections were well deserved.”
The C5 NANS Group expressed confidence in the abilities of the new EXCO members to lead NANS to higher heights in the struggle for better Nigeria students
NANS convention produces three presidents
Despite the crisis that characterised its national convention on Friday, resulting in a shooting, the national convention of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), ended in Abuja on Saturday morning with three factional presidents.
The convention which started last Monday climaxed with the election of the national executive of the association on Saturday morning.
The trio of Lucky Emonefe, a student of the College of Education, Warri, Delta State; Rioborue Deniran of the Department of Mass Communication, Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe Ogbara and Pedro Obi, a Ph.D. student of Guidance and Counseling studies at Delta State University, who contested for the position of president, said they were elected.
Both Lucky Emonefe and Rioborue Deniran, at separate media conferences in Abuja after the election, said their emergence had brought a new lease of life for NANS.
Speaking, Lucky Emonefe, warned against factionalisation of the NANS movement by aggrieved contestants, saying Nigerian students know their leaders from the Joint Campus Committee, Zonal and the National leadership because they are involved in their elections.
He appealed to President Bola Tinubu to approve a national annual bursary of N200, 000 to all Nigerian students irrespective of their creed or tribe.
According to him, the fund will act as a palliative to cushion the effects of the hard economic situation occasioned by the highly overdue economic reforms of the Tinubu administration.
On his part, Comrade Rioborue Jude Deniran, said: “I appreciate the last administration, the Executive, and the Senate arm for their services and sacrifices to the Nigerian students.
“All committees are also appreciated, including the convention chairman. Most appreciation goes to the distinguished senators of NANS (which are the SUG presidents) and our respected stakeholders as well for their contributions and support to the success of the 2023 National Convention. The senators (delegates) have indeed spoken well by electing one of them as NANS President.
“During the convention, a lot happened that we heard and witnessed, good, bad, and ugly. To the glory of God, we have started addressing the bad and ugly situations that require urgent attention. I am calling on the Department of State Security to give a report of the 2023 elective convention as the world is eager to know.
“It’s indeed an enormous privilege and honor to be trusted with the leadership of Nigerian students. I am deeply conscious of that privilege and honor at this time.
“It is indeed a remarkable and historic victory for Nigerian students, and I have no doubt about what this means to the students’ community.
“The mandate you have freely given to us is a mandate for reform and investment in the future of NANS, and it is also very clearly an instruction for good governance. I assure you of good leadership delivery, and you can rest assured that I would keep to my promises,” he said.
The new NANS Senate President, Comrade Akinteye Babatunde Afeez. said the election was free and fair even though some forces had wanted to circumvent the process before the intervention of the police and other security agencies.
He said the shootings reported at the convention were carried out by security agents to scare people who had wanted to cause chaos and disrupt the event, denying that some persons were hurt.
“The shooting was carried out by the DSS, it was not targeted at anybody. Rather, it was meant to scare troublemakers who had wanted to disrupt our event. And contrary to some reports, no one was hurt, he said.
Speaking with InsightMedia, a member of the outgoing executive said only Emonefe was declared winner at the convention ground.
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