The Colleges Of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), has noted with enormous reservations the directive of the Federal Government that Federal Colleges of Education should remit 40% of their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) to the Federal Treasury.

President of COEASU, Dr. Smart Olugbeko, who frowned at the government’s directive, said there is no basis to apply this order to the Colleges of Education because revenues collected in the Colleges are meagre charges meant for the discharge of specific services.

“In other words, Federal Colleges of Education do not generate IGR What they charge are service charges for student identity cards, health clinic services, hostel maintenance, laboratory equipment, teaching practice, consumables, etc” he noted.

In a statement released by COEASU to newsmen on Monday, it said it is necessary to note that the aforementioned charges cover for government inefficiency as these services are not being funded by the government.

“Following the monetisation policy of 2003, the Government basically stopped paying for outsourced services such as cleaning, grass-cutting, facility maintenance, and security, which are supposed to be government responsibilities. Government only gives the Federal Colleges between an average of N8 million monthly to run the Colleges and this fund is not always made available as and when due, creating serious challenges in running the institutions.

“Apart from the fact that this fund is grossly inadequate, Colleges of Education are not elitist
schools, and they are not patronized by wards of the high and mighty in the society. They are schools for under-privileged but generally patriotic Nigerians who are ready to make the sacrifices to engender a positive change in the education sector.

“How many Nigeria ministers, governors or Chief Executive Officers of government parastatals have their children studying in a College of Education? Thus, our students come from modest backgrounds, but are committed Nigerians who are striving to improve the Nigerian education system and should not be made to pay a huge price for the sacrifices they make to the country.

“The Honourable Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, and the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Dr. Yusuf Sununu had on assumption of office hit the ground running by putting in place practical interventions to address this worrisome trend. Thus, government by its new demand on Provosts
to remit 40% of internally generated revenue will be giving the Provosts no other options but to increase fees payable by students in order to provide the aforementioned services thereby leading to many student-teachers dropping out”.

“This is a country with over 12 million out-of-school children with the expectation by the stakeholders that the Education Road Map conceptualized by the Ministry of Education will help to resolve the critical situation. This otherwise innovative and brilliant approach on the part of the Federal Ministry of Education is already being threatened by the ill-conceived and retrogressive policy of 40% remittance to Government.

“This decision represents another strike against teacher education. At a time when the critical stakeholders in the education sector are clamoring for increased funding of teacher education, provision of scholarships and bursaries for education students, the government is initiating a policy to turn Colleges of Education into revenue-generating centres.

“While various tiers of government provide grants, scholarships, bursaries, and other incentives to students of Medicine, Law or Engineering and support them with stipends for housemanships, internships and industrial attachments, Education students are made to pay for Teaching Practice, and now the Colleges will now be required to remit portions of such payment”.

The COEASU President, Dr. Smart Olugbeko, says if the government goes ahead to implement this policy, parents will bear the consequences and many parents will withdraw their children from schools.

“We urge the Federal Government to exclude Colleges of Education from remitting 40% of their IGR to the federal treasury as collections made by the Colleges are not IGR per se, but charges meant to support specific services that are not being provided by Government.

We also call on the Federal Government to improve its funding of Colleges of Education as this is a constitutional obligation of social responsibility”.