Oloriegbe Sponsors Bill Seeking Establishment of First Federal College in Kwara
By Alabidun Shuaib Abdulrahman
Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe of Kwara Central in the 9th Senate has introduced a bill for the establishment of the first-ever Federal College of Education in Kwara in plenary on Wednesday, saying that it will enhance the State’s socioeconomic progress and human capital development.
The bill, named “Federal College of Education Afon, Kwara State Bill (SB.226), 2022 and Other Matters Connected,” aims to solve the critical lack of competent teachers in Nigeria’s elementary schools in order to satisfy the 1:25 teacher-to-pupil ratio mandated by the National Policy on Education.
“The choice of this bill stemmed from the imperative need to expand the avenues designated to prepare highly qualified professionals to offer qualitative education and stimulate the intellectual growth of our children,” Oloriegbe said during the introduction of the bill on the floor of the senate.
“The quality of primary school education depends on the quality of our teachers. Therefore, primary education should be one of the topmost priorities for the government. Primary education is a crucial stage of a child’s development since it serves as a preparatory ground for the other two levels of education. However, it is disturbing to state that the quality of teachers to provide this kind of education is deteriorating. A shortfall of teachers is one of the significant challenges of Primary Education in Kwara State and Nigeria in general.
“The National Policy on Education provides that for effective learning, the teacher-pupil ratio should be 1:25. It is disheartening to state that Nigeria would need at least 250,000 additional teachers to achieve this recommended ratio because, in some rural communities, there are as low as three teachers in a school. But unfortunately, the quality of teachers required is not available in the labour market.
“It is observed with concern that the majority of the teachers in primary schools are not trained to be teachers. Instead, they are recruited to do the job because of a shortage of qualified teachers. With the shortfall of teachers, there is high stress on the few qualified academic staff available. The skilled teachers are faced with the challenge of handling several classroom management activities. Some go as far as providing support for partially-trained and less-experienced teachers assigned to them. This has led to a lower standard of education in the Kwara State and indeed in Nigeria,” the senator added at the plenary.
Speaking further, he drew the attention of his colleagues to the various states that currently host Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria, reiterating the need to consider the choice of Kwara State for one of the institutions.
“Currently, Nigeria, with over 200million people, has 27 Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria, located across 26 states namely Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Kogi, Katsina, Delta, Rivers, Enugu, Gombe, Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Imo, Adamawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Lagos, Cross River, Anambra, Kano, Bauchi, Edo, Osun, Benue, Ebonyi and the Sokoto States. Sadly, none is located in Kwara State despite earnest demand for the training of qualified primary teachers in the State.”
“This gap calls for the need to establish more Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria to enable the government to train professional teachers to provide the critical teaching needs in primary schools in Nigeria to ensure a better quality of education for our children.”
Upon secondment by Senator Amos Bulus Kilawangs representing Gombe South Senatorial District, the bill was passed for the second reading by the Senate