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Upgrade Agbor College to University of Education

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Sir: The recent commissioning of a multi billion naira Teachers’ Professional Development Center by the Delta State Government at Owa Alero/Owa Oyibu in Ika Northeast Local Government Area of the state,a centre where according to the state government, teachers in the state will  be trained on efficiency in  presentation/ course evaluation and record-keeping strategies, is a welcome development.

Education is the bedrock of development couple with the fact that presently, the most valuable skill any nation can sell to the globe is knowledge; the single most important factor in determining how fast the state and of course our children can achieve hyper modern status in today’s world is no longer a function of where they are from or who their parents are or how much they have. But who their teacher is.

Teachers’ Professional Development Center is laudable. But the real possible solution to the current need is the transformation of one of the long existing Colleges of Education in the state—the College of Education, Agbor (the same vicinity with the Teachers’ Professional Development Center), to a specialized University of Education to perform this role at the most fundamental level.  

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This suggestion and demand is by no means without a precedent. On January 29, 2005, the Ogun State government, under the administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, going by records upgraded the state-owned College of Education established in 1978 to Tai Solarin University of education. Apart from being the first of its kind in Nigeria, the university also shares a unique feature as the only institution in the country that offers both the Bachelor’s degree programmes in education (B.Ed.) and trains National Certificate of Education (NCE) graduates within the same academic environment.

Without doubt, this is precisely the role Agbor College of Education will perform if upgraded. It will, regardless of what others may say, give big helping hands and act as a compelling referral to existing education faculties of universities in the region.  

If permitted, the Agbor University of Education will help provide opportunity for Deltans seeking degree certificate in education achieve such goals, ensure graduate teachers have in-depth knowledge of the subject they are supposed to teach like any other university graduate from other faculties, and at the same time have teaching skills to disseminate the knowledge of subject known.

Also fueling this demand is the fact that Nigerian university curriculum as argued elsewhere is deficient in producing graduates that could work on their own or provide jobs for others after leaving the university. The major areas of deficiency in the university curriculum are vocational skills and entrepreneurship knowledge. If upgraded, it is expected to incorporate these in order to turnout graduates that are not only knowledgeable in the subject matter of their discipline but well rounded with a vocational skill and have entrepreneurship knowledge to make maximum use of the resources around him or her to be self-dependent on leaving the university.

Jerome-Mario Utomi is a Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos.

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