The Honourable Minister of Education,
Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau,
Ministry of Education, Abuja.
His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
A PLEA FOR THE CONVERSION OF ADEYEMI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION TO A UNIVERSITY
It is a great delight to welcome you to Ondo State. May I, on behalf of the people of Ondo Kingdom, use this medium to congratulate you on the ongoing success of your campaign tours and to commend you for the numerous giant strides already recorded by your administration in all spheres of our national life. Indeed, I laud your efforts in steering the affairs of this country. Particularly, your great concern for and achievements in the education sector are unrivalled. I say with all confidence that your administration has been very favourably disposed to educational advancement in this country. The federal universities and polytechnics recently established testify to this assertion. Indeed the country is blessed to have you at this time.
I hereby use this opportunity to point your attention to a matter that is of great concern to all the people of Ondo Kingdom and the entire Ondo State. This is no other than the proposed conversion of Adeyemi College of Education to a University of Education.
Your Excellency, about nine years ago, a special committee was constituted to look into ways of improving access to University education. Part of the recommendation of the Committee was that Adeyemi College of Education be converted to a University of
Education. In view of this, I hereby propose that government revisits the recommendation of upgrading Adeyemi College of Education Ondo, among other federal colleges of education, to a university of education, a status which all stakeholders believe is due.
Adeyemi College of Education is 50 years old and is one of the oldest colleges of education in Nigeria, having a chequered history of supervision and administration up till the disarticulation of its administration from Obafemi Awolowo University in 1989. The College also has a reputation for being the foremost teacher training institution in the country. The fact that this reputation has been sustained over the 50 years of its existence shows consistency of purpose and an abiding faith in the visions of the founding fathers of the institution. It is noteworthy that the College has produced many eminent personalities in Nigeria who are doing very well in various fields of endeavours.
EXPANSION OF ACADEMIC PROGRAMMES
Since inception, the College has experienced growth in its academic programmes. The College which began as an NCE-awarding institution in 1964 started awarding degrees in 1982, in affiliation with Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife. The College has had close to 100,000 enrolment for its degree courses since 1982, graduated more than 10,000 degree students, and has had about 1000 intakes for the PGDE programme since 1993. It is also a fact that most of the courses offered in the College have been accredited by the relevant regulating agencies. Also in conformity with the third objective of the founding fathers of the College which was to foster research into matter pertaining to education, the College currently operates a Directorate of Postgraduate Studies and Research. The College also qualified, after evaluation of her facilities, as centre for the National Open University of Nigeria between 2003 and 2008 before the latter relocated to its permanent site in the state capital. In addition to this, the College has over twelve regularly published academic journals.
STAFF STRENGTH AND QUALITY
In line with the expectations of the founding fathers, Adeyemi College of Education has supplied a steady stream of teachers and professionals to various sectors of the nation. As far back as 1964, the College could boast of teachers who met up with international standards. Today, fifty years later, the College is proud to have more PhD holders than many other Colleges in Nigeria. In a world where those who rest on their oars will quickly become irrelevant and soon be left behind, all staff of the College are scrambling to update and upgrade themselves professionally. There is currently virtually no department in the College where the teaching staff are not pursuing their PhDs in reputable institutions around the globe. These staff could as well bag their PhDs right in the institution where they work and in an environment they are familiar with if it were a University. The College can also boast of many seasoned chief lecturers who are qualified to become professors. Well over 400 Academic staff and over 700 non-academic staff.
It is a very crucial fact that the College was administered by OAU for a period of about 20 years and in all these years, the criteria for academic staff recruitment into OAU was applied to the College. A huge number of that staff is still being maintained by the College and have upgraded themselves with over 30 who have served as visiting lecturers in universities across the country. This is corroborated by the 1999 Yabani Report on Higher Education which confirmed that the staff of Adeyemi College of Education among three other Colleges ‘…have performed and compared favourably well with those in the University of affiliation.’ Although the certificates for degree courses in the College are awarded by OAU, it should be noted that these courses are taught by the lecturers of the College who already have a good deal of exposure to university culture.
There are over ten lecture theatres for students’ use in the College. This is in addition to the departmental lecture rooms, libraries, studios, laboratories, workshops and office accommodation.
The College library has a book stock of about 30,000 and over 2,000 journals. It also has a functional 500-seater virtual library complex and there is an on-going process to fully automate the library services.
The College Farm, under the Department of Agriculture, has about 5 hectares of land for teaching and research. This farm has poultry, rabbitary, pigsty and crop production units and has served as research facilities for students even from other institutions.
There has been an overall tremendous improvement in the infrastructural facilities in the College and there is an abundance of land space available for expansion of these facilities as only about 50 hectares of the 270 hectares in holding has been developed. The College has also commenced a series of processes to elevate the status of the College and to bring it at par with international institutions through initiatives such as student and staff exchange programmes, winning international grants and partnerships with reputable institutions abroad, partnering with world organizations to make ACE the agricultural hub of Ondo State.
In comparison with state universities of education such as the former Tai Solarin College of Education which was approved by NUC in 2005 as a university, making it the first university of education in Nigeria, former Rivers State College of Education, converted to Ignatius Ajuru University of Education in 2009 and The University of Education, Ikere Ekiti, established in 2007 and approved by NUC in 2008, Adeyemi College of Education fares so well in terms of infrastructure and facilities and, not to be immodest, better than a number of universities.
In sum, Your Excellency, the entire people of Ondo State look up to your administration to accomplish this feat for which they would forever refer to your name and tenure. The proposed conversion would add to and cap the number of specialized institutions in Ondo.
Also, this would serve as your greatest contribution to educational development in Ondo State and you would win the hearts of all the people of Ondo town and state once and for all.
Thank you very much
His Royal Majesty,
Oba Dr. Victor Kiladejo, CFR, LL.D, D.Sc.
The Osemawe and Paramount Ruler of Ondo Kingdom,
Chairman, Ondo State Council of Obas