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By NBF News
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The proposed scrapping of the colleges of education has pitted the academic staff of the colleges against the Federal Government with the teachers union protesting the move and threatening to resist it by all possible means.  Addressing newsmen in Abuja at the weekend, the teachers' union, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) called on the government to shelve the plan in the national interest.

Minister of State for Education, Mr. Kenneth Gbagi, was reported to have disclosed that government was planning to scrap the colleges of education and abrogate the National Certificate in Education (NCE) programme.

But the academic staff, while describing the plan as misguided and inconsiderate vowed that their union would mobilize the Nigerian masses, who had a future in the college of education system to resist to the act of insensitivity.

President of COEASU, Mohammed Awwal Ibrahim, who led other executive members of the union on the protest, said the pronouncements by the minister suggesting the scrapping of the colleges of education and by implication the abrogation of the National Certificate in Education (NCE) programme were at best obnoxious and insensitive.

He stated that it was unthinkable that rather than mapping out ways of improving the educational system, the minister was bent on distorting the existing arrangement

The union leader said: 'If this trend which is conspicuously anti-people is not halted, we will have no option but to mobilize the hapless Nigerian masses who have a future in the college of education system to resist to the last man this act of insensitivity to the implication of such an unbecoming executive arrogance,' Ibrahim said.

He, therefore, cautioned the Federal Government to ignore the pronouncements of the minister and advised President Goodluck Jonathan not to accede to his plan aimed at destroying the institution that produces the middle-level teachers for the masses of Nigeria.

Ibrahim stated that like all other sub-sectors within the education industry, the college of education system, at its nascent stage, was vested with the arduous duties of teaching, skill acquisition, application and utilization of knowledge with a view to addressing the basic education needs of the society.

He noted that by the establishment of this sub-sector, the issue of the need for Nigeria to have good teachers worth their onion, which was in agreement with the recommendations of the Ashby Commission of 1959, gave rise to the establishment of the first four Advance Teachers' Colleges (ATCs) between 1960 and 1963.

He said: This affiliation granted the teachers of teachers in the colleges the opportunity to improve themselves academically to the extent of being capable of handling the degree curricula with minimal supervision from the affiliate universities.