Ask Nigeria Header Logo

Country’s higher education needs refinement

Photo of author

By Abiodun Okunloye

Certified educators are needed to fill many teaching positions in Nigeria.

Prof. Tunji Olaopa, the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, has expressed concern about Nigeria’s struggling education system, particularly regarding higher education and the issue of certification dysfunction. During the 25th Convocation Lecture at the Federal College of Education in Osiele, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Prof. Olaopa discussed a lecture titled ‘Who and What is a Teacher? And the challenges faced in reforming Colleges of Education in Nigeria. He praised the leadership team and all staff for their hard work maintaining the institution’s reputation. He emphasised the importance of certified educators in developing a solid human capital foundation for effective national productivity strategies.

He believed that the factor would be the catalyst for promoting both inclusive and sustainable economic development, ultimately sparking the anticipated transformation of the national economy. However, his discontent and concerns regarding the teaching profession becoming too easily accessible led to the creation of the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), to prevent the degradation of the teaching profession. Unfortunately, the national sense of unease has led to a shift in the balance of responsibilities among key institutions, favouring one over the others. The implication is that universities are solely relied upon to generate the workforce needed for Nigeria’s increase in productivity without recognising the valuable contributions that polytechnics and colleges of education can offer.

More essential human capital and skilled workers are needed.

Unfortunately, the structural disconnect has hindered workforce planning and utilisation, causing most COEs to lag behind universities. Nigeria faces a critical human capital shortage, with national manpower needs not being met. The statistics show that in 2021, only 1.7% of the 1,351,284 JAMB candidates, which is 15,747, chose to pursue education at COE. In 2022, the percentage dropped to 1%, with 24,062 applicants. The following year, out of 1,595,773 individuals who submitted applications for JAMB, only 141,976 explicitly applied for admission to either the polytechnic or college.

Despite the concerning statistics highlighting universities as crucial for developing the Nigerian workforce, the country still needs to work on the issue of certification without actual skills. This lack of proficiency leads to a persistent structural unemployment problem among Nigerian youth, creating a cycle of low-skill equilibrium that seems difficult to break. Nigeria’s current issue with higher education stems from the ineffective certification system, which fails to meet the country’s human capital needs. Due to deep-rooted structural issues, Nigeria faces a severe and persistent unemployment crisis.

Nurturing teachers with academic and practical skills will enhance NCE.

Furthermore, Nigeria needs to work on its education policy, which only superficially addresses skills and competency. The issue is further complicated by the focus on white-collar jobs in government pay and compensation policies, which require a significant overhaul if the nation aims to excel in the upcoming industrial revolution. Hence, it is imperative to introduce innovative elements into curriculum framework during institutional restructuring to facilitate the transition into dual-mode colleges. This balance between theoretical knowledge and practical abilities is crucial for aspiring teachers to become fully professionalised.

Rather than replacing or diminishing the NCE certification, the goal should be to enhance it by nurturing a group of teachers with a powerful combination of academic knowledge and practical teaching skills. Effectively managing dynamics and finding a balance between NCE holders with practical skills and Bachelor of Education certified individuals could lead to a significant shift in teacher education in Nigeria as colleges transition into dual-mode institutions. In conclusion, he recommends starting the journey of transformation with the goal of creating a platform for nurturing a new group of educators who are both academically excellent and serve as role models.

Related Article: Lecturer criticises education system

Teachers in Nigeria play a crucial role in shaping the future by moulding minds and acting as catalysts for real economic growth. Their work is essential in driving sustainable development and transformation in the country. Also, Dr. Soyele, the Provost of the Federal College of Education in Abeokuta, Ogun State, spoke prior to the 25th Convocation Lecture about the importance of colleges of education and urged the federal government to refrain from considering abolishing these institutions, emphasising that doing so would jeopardise effective teaching methods and hinder national progress.

Related Link

FCSC: Website

The content on is given for general information only and does not constitute a professional opinion, and users should seek their own legal/professional advice. There is data available online that lists details, facts and further information not listed in this post, please complete your own investigation into these matters and reach your own conclusion. accepts no responsibility for losses from any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of content contained in this website and/or other websites which may be linked to this website.

Fact Checking Tool -