Federal Colleges of Education Act Amendment Bill: Stakeholders canvass award of degrees, others

By Haruna Salami
Stakeholders at a public hearing on “a Bill for an Act to repeal the Federal Colleges of Education Act, 1986 and re-enact Federal Colleges of Education and other matters connected therewith, 2021 have canvassed for a single term of five years for principal officers and award of degrees without affiliation with universities by Colleges of Education.

President of Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education, Nigeria SSUCOEN, Comrade Danladi Msheliza stated this Wednesday in the union’s memorandum to justify the proposed amendment.

said a single term of five years Provost,  Registrar, Librarian will give the principal officers the impetus to perform by removing the struggle for second term of four years as contained in the existing Act.

The new amendment states that “the President, Commander- In-chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria shall appoint a Provost  who shall hold office for a period of single term of five years only, with effect from the date of his/her appointment and on such other terms and conditions as may be specified in the letter of appointment, contrary the current four year renewable tenure.

One of their submissions is “to align colleges affected by state creation to reflect reality”. For instance, the Federal College of Education, Yola is still reading Gongola state in the existing Act due to state creation, but today Gongola is no longer a state known to law in Nigeria”.

Again, while the existing Act has 21 FCE, in reality, there are 27 with the establishment of six additional ones.

Other amendments sought by SSUCOEN include “pension and retirement age for staff of colleges of education to 65 years, procedure for appointment to office for principal officers, creation of dual mode to enable colleges run both NCE and B. Ed concurrently without affiliation to universities.

Similarly, the capacity of Colleges of Education in Nigeria to offer degrees is not in doubt, they argued.

According to the sponsor of the Bill to amend Federal Colleges of Education Act, Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita, (Katsina North), who is also the Chairman of Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND in his keynote address said “Federal Colleges of Education can boast of qualified lecturers as approximately one thousand, seven hundred and twenty three doctorate degree holders and four thousand, two hundred and ninety three masters degree holders can be found on their nominal roll as academic staff across the country”, adding that “presently, all the FCE award degree in affiliation with universities in Nigeria using these immense resources”.

The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, Prof. Chijoke Okwele, who fully supported the amendment, commended the Senate laudable efforts in trying to bring the law in tandem with current realities.

Professor Bashir Fagge, Chairman, Committee of Federal Provosts, Comrade Nuhu Ogirima, President, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU and Alhaji Abdulkadir Norde, Chairman, Conference of Registrars of Colleges of Education all spoke in support of the proposed amendment. In fact nobody spoke against the Bill, our reports.

The second Bill taken during the public hearing was just a mere formality. It is “A Bill for an Act to establish the Federal University, Wukari, to make comprehensive provisions for its due management, administration and for other matters connected therewith, 2021 (SB:24), sponsored by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, (Taraba South), Minority Leader.

The university which has been existing and graduating students, only needs an enabling law to make it a responsible corporate citizen.