Professor Garba Shehu is the provost of Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies. In this interview with Northern Bureau Chief, MUHAMMAD SABIU, he lists some of the achievements recorded in the college, new Kano State education policy and crisis in the education sector. Excerpts:
Can you give us a brief account of this College?
This is basically a college which was established in 1976 with 12 students. Now it has over 20,000 students in various departments. It was initially established to provide middle level manpower for area courts, court registrars and other positions in the court. Until later when the community realised the need for other professional courses in the college curriculum and the law establishing it was reviewed to include teacher education.
It was Offering Teacher Education at the diploma leveland when I eventually came on board, it was still offering courses at the diploma level. However, by the time I assumed office, the Federal Ministry of Education made a pronouncement that National Certificate of Education (NCE) is the only acceptable qualification for teaching in basic education institutions. Therefore, the mandate of the college had to change so that the products of the college would be employed as teachers. So, we started the NCE programme after receiving an approval from the National Commission for Colleges of Education. We also started professional diploma in education, because one innovation leads to another.
As a result of introducing NCE programmes, the college has now fully become a teachers’ education institution, and lecturers in the college are also expected to have the requisite qualifications too. In a sense, if you are not qualified, you cannot teach anyone to become a qualified teacher. They too were challenged to really get professional qualifications for teachers’ education, not in terms of subject matter, but the vocational skills as teachers. So, now over 75 per cent of them have started running professional diploma in education. It is offered in the college with the approval of Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).
In all, how many courses do you offer and what infrastructure has your management been able to provide so far in the college?
In our academic programmes, we offer NCE, Post Graduate Diploma in education (PDE), diploma in Mass Communication, Arabic for Beginners, Executive programme for Arabic Speakers, Computer Studies, Allaramma’sprogramme, among others. In terms of infrastructural development, we had a huge budgetary approval in 2012/2013, through which we were able to construct six blocks-storey buildings in the college which gave us 32 new classes.
We had general renovation of the college after a period of 20 years without renovation. The state government had provided for all that we needed for the accreditation of all NCE courses in the college; ranging from programmes in the education, art and social sciences, micro teaching laboratory, language lab, research centres, library and ICT compliance. We have changed the furniture of the offices and the classrooms; we have provided some buses and other official vehicles for the college, as well as all that is required for the smooth running of an educational institution. And all that wouldn’t have been possible without support of the government.
Do you consider the idea of Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, asking teachers without the minimum teaching certificates to leave the system a good one?
Currently many teachers in Kano State don’t have teachers’ education certificates. Some three years back, a census was conducted and out of 50,000 on-the job teachers, 50 percent were not qualified. Therefore, the Kano State government created an opportunity for them to get the appropriate teaching qualifications. So, my college, Sa’adatuRimi, FCE Kano, FCE Bichi, which are basically teachers’ education institutions in Kano State were contacted to come up with a plan to train these unqualified teachers, considering the pronouncement of Federal Government that all teachers must have at least an NCE qualification.
So we came up with a plan and a timeline on how this can be done. I think in a couple of months to come, the final batch of these teachers will graduate. When they do, I think Kano State can say if not all, most of its teachers are qualified. When we presented this issue to international development partners in Abuja, it was welcomed and they promised to support each state that implements teachers’ upgrade programme.