Bring back College of education Ekiadolor, group tells Obaseki
* Says Tayo Akpata University of Education “a Greek gift,” not recognized by NUC
Abavo Kingsley, Benin
The Governor Godwin Obaseki led administration of Edo State has been asked to return the contentious Akpata University of Education, Ekiadolor to its original status of College of Education after it failed to physically exist since its establishment five years ago.
A group under the aegis of ‘Stakeholders Joint Action Committee on bring back our COLBEN Campaign’ made the demand in a letter to the Governor.
The letter with reference number: SJACBBC/CG/001, dated 3 June, 2019 was signed by Comr. F.E. Omonuwa Chairman, COEASU/ coordinator of the Group, Dr. Peter Aihevba member, COEASU/ secretary of the Group, Comr. Ken Omoruyi Chairman of the Group, comr. Charles Obasuyi Chairman, NASU/member of the Group, and Robinson Imade Esq. National President, COLBEN Alumni Association/coordinator of the Group.
The Tayo Akpata University of education, Ekiadolor and Edo University, Iyamho were both by the Act of the State House of Assembly in 2014 established towards the tail end of the administration of Adams Oshiomhole.
But ironically, the two institutions are in great contrast; while the Edo University, Iyamho is thriving and about to produce its first set of graduates, after it successfully marked its 3rd Founder’s Day, the Tayo Akpata University of Education exist only in the abstract and on paper.
Also, the former renowned College of Education, Ekiadolor has seized to exist as there had not been admission of new students in the past three years even as the last set of students have graduated.
Members of staff of the College have been consistently owed six months’ salary in the past three years due to shortfalls of funding, the Stakeholders said.
They further lament that while the Edo University Iyamho built from the scratch has grown to become world class and ranking as 3rd Best State owned in Nigeria, “Tayo Akpata University of Education, Ekiadolor is yet to receive any form of government attention.
“Not one block of classrooms has been built by government. In fact, the neglect of the access road to the supposed University tells its awful story.”
Status of College of Education, Ekiadolor
The Stakeholders recalled that the College was established by the administration of Professor Ambrose Alli now late in 1979, making it 40 year old.
It was first among its equals growing from 15 to 23 departments currently with over 45 subject combinations, spanning across five schools. All departments fully accredited, it adds.
The school, it asserted has at today, produced over 50,000 qualified graduates, with total staff strength of 596 out of which over a 100 are alumni.
The College has highly qualified teaching and non teaching staff. Its academic staff with Ph.D degrees is over 30 while staffs with Masters Degrees are over 120.
Also, many of its members of staff are currently undergoing various higher degree programs courtesy, the Federal Government’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), and self sponsorship.
The College which has many quality infrastructure and renowned track record must not be allowed to waste not even on any political gimmick basis, the Group said.
“Our dear old college of education that has lasted for over 40 years, produced thousands of graduates and catered for thousands of families especially in the host community lie in waste and utter ruin.”
Declaring that it was tired of what it termed hide and seek game, and a Greek gift, the Group said the University in its four years of existence has only one staff; the Vice – Chancellor. Two light vehicles and drivers borrowed from the College of Education, Ekiadolor, an office that was built and furnished by the College of Education, Ekiadolor for its Provost.
“To make matter worse, it has no license to operate as a University and remains unknown to the National University Commission (NUC).”
Consequently the group called on the State Government to immediately reverse the University to its former College of Education status and suggested that if government is interested in another degree awarding institution, the College can be upgraded to award degrees as currently obtained in many contemporary institutions across the country.
Responding in a letter with reference number: MOE/HE/VOL.VIT, dated June 2019 and signed by Obobairibhojie A.J. on behalf of the Hon. Commissioner, the State Ministry of Education explained Government policy on Colleges of Education.
It said government is currently restructuring colleges of education in the State to be one College with multi campuses located in Edo South (Abudu), Edo Central (Igueben) and Edo North (Afuze).
The College would have one single administrative structure and in fact, massive infrastructural development is ongoing in Abudu, it added.
“Government is irrevocably committed to the restructuring process and by September, 2019, the College of Education with multi campuses would commence operation.”
Following government response, our reporter visited the former Teachers Training College, Abudu, the site where College of Education, Ekiadolor has been relocated for confirmation or otherwise of the claims.
Truly works have reached advanced stage on the buildings on ground; 13 in number scattered across the compound.
They include two halls of residence, lecture theatres, offices, and accommodation for top officials.
But the proposed College can better be described as a glorified secondary school in outlook; if it rains continuously for two days, the place will be a no go area as it is a flood prone area.
Already, erosion is creating gully on the road paths in the compound and if nothing proactive is done quickly, before the rainy season ends, it would be a sorry state.
Also, the appearance of the entire environment buried in thick bush paints a picture of doubt if the September date for the College to begin operation would be feasible as government want members of the public to believe.