Nigeria’s unity colleges now run-down community secondary schools — Minister

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The Nigerian Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has bemoaned the rot in Federal Unity Colleges, adding that they have become community secondary schools, and dilapidated.

Nwajiuba noted that the federal unity colleges were established by Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.) immediately after the civil war, to foster national cohesion and unity among Nigerian children of school age.

He said, “And our take is that Federal Unity Colleges have become Community Secondary Schools. Dilapidated and run down by local parochial actors.”

Nwajiuba stated that visionary leaders, trailblazers, good mentors and proactive principals, were needed to maintain unity schools as centres of excellence.

The Minister made this revelation in Gombe, during the 2021 Annual General Meeting of principals of Federal Unity Colleges with the theme: The role of Education in eradicating social vices as a guiding tool in this era of insecurity, but Nwajiuba, chose to speak on Repositioning the Federal Unity Colleges.

He, however, restated the Federal Government’s determination in bringing back quality and standard to federal unity colleges across the country.

To achieve this the minister explained that President Muhammadu Buhari, had announced a welfare package for teachers.

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“The package includes the harmonised bill for the new retirement age of teachers/education officers, plans to increase teachers’ quality through payment of a new teachers’ salary structure, automatic employment after graduation for graduates of education courses,” the minister added.

He added that the federal government is committed to restoring the past glory of federal unity colleges, through adequate funding, strict supervision and evaluation of the entire system.

Nwajuiba also revealed that the government would not relent in showing officers found wanting the way out of service.

He said, “For teachers and administrators who have spent more than six years in one location and have not contributed meaningfully to the education sector, particularly in our federal unity colleges, the Ministry is looking into such cases and will do the needful.”

Also speaking, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education Arc. Sonny Echono said the theme for this year’s AGM was rife following the rise in social vices and youth restiveness the country is bedevilled with.

He said, “Drug addiction, immoral behaviours such as examination malpractice, thuggery and other criminal tendencies are prime. The abyss of moral decadence into which the Nigerian Society has fallen is responsible for most of the woes facing this country.

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“The essence of education has a positive change in our country must be emphasized so that the aforementioned deviant behaviours, caused by complex interactions of psychological, sociological, economic and biological forces that encourage individuals to rebel against societal forms can be effectively tackled.”

On his part, Governor Muhammadu Yahaya who declared the Annual General Meeting opened lauded the ministry for bringing the event to Gombe, despite the insinuations that the northern region is unsafe.

Represented by his deputy, Manassah Jatau, the governor noted that they were open to criticisms, stressing that the state is open to necessary collaboration and partnership.

He noted that upon assumption of office the current administration declared a state of emergency to allow them to take necessary audit towards improving the situation of education in the state.

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