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A taskforce of inspectors was recently put together and dispatched to different parts of the country to fish out schools running the National Certificate of Education (NCE) courses without approval.

The taskforce members, the Public Relations Officer of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) Mr Isaac Ameh said, were grouped and assigned to the South-south and South-east, North Central and South-west as well as North-east and North-west geopolitical zones.

The inspectors were said to have completed their assignment in one week and submitted their reports. A total of 22 illegal NCE awarding schools were identified and closed in different states, according to the reports.

The schools shut down, Ameh said, neither obtained nor followed the guidelines for establishing and licensing colleges of education. “The illegal colleges haven’t contacted us before they mounted the programmes and some have operated for years while others were established in late 2017,” he revealed.

He said most of the illegal colleges were found to be running courses in “wretched primary school classrooms” and dilapidated buildings unsafe for learning. The colleges were also found to have employed unqualified lecturers who they paid lower wages and few benefits.

He said: “The proprietors hire unqualified lecturers that don’t have first degrees. The lecturers are poorly paid; not in line with the suitable salary scale. They don’t have the required facilities to set up colleges.”

The NCCE spokesman said the colleges were supposed to apply for permission to run NCE courses and thereafter get guidelines and pay resource fee. The commission would assemble resource persons and send them to the college for assessment, which would later prepare reports to guide the commission to either grant provision approval or reject the application.

He stated that provisional approval would enable new colleges to offer few primary education courses before they are allowed to mount more programmes, adding that  most proprietors presumed that setting up private colleges of education could be a money making venture but in most cases it isn’t. Rather, “it is partnership to salvage quality teacher education.”

Ameh said the commission, of recent, has not been carrying out visitations to monitor and assess the capacities of colleges to deliver quality instructions due to paucity of funds, adding that would affect teacher quality.

“Some colleges may not operate according to standards due to lack of monitoring and this is likely to affect the quality of their products,” he said, adding that the executive secretary of the commission, Professor Aliyu -Bappa Muhammadu, had in 2018 visited and assessed over ‘a hundred colleges.’

The PRO said, “We depend on budgetary allocations because this is not a revenue generating agency.”

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