Upgrade Adeyemi College of Education to a University:
A Passionate Appeal from the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Dr. Victor Kiladejo
During the recent Toyin Falola Interviews, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Kiladejo, made three appeals. First, he urged Ondo indigenes in the diaspora to return home, as the state is safe. Second, he maintained that kings must have a role in contemporary politics. Third, the greatest gift he will forever cherish is if Adeyemi College of Education is upgraded into a university.
In the last months of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as Nigeria President, Adeyemi College of Education was made a university, but his successor reversed the decision. I recall visiting the palace of the Osemawe of Ondo with a delegation comprising Senators from Abuja, and the impression was that the upgrade would happen. In this concluding piece on the reflections on the interview with Oba Kiladejo, I want to lend my voice to his call. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a lifetime Fellow of the College.
It is long overdue that Adeyemi College of Education should be made a university. The reason for this is quite complex, but one thing is sure–this College of Education is renowned widely for its state-of-the-art resources and robust Internally Generated Revenue. This has been explicitly discussed and highlighted by the school’s former Provost, the amiable and efficient Professor Olukoya Ogen, during the 34th convocation ceremony of the College.
In 2015, former President, Goodluck Jonathan, elevated Adeyemi College of Education to a full-fledged university. However, because of the lack of an enabling law, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration opted to put the new status on hold in August of the same year. The National Assembly ultimately passed the Adeyemi Federal University Establishment bill in December 2018. Till now, it awaits the signature of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The reason for the change of mind and status remains a mystery to the people of Ondo and their supporters. However, history was made on Thursday, December 5, 2019, when Senator Ayo Akinyelure of the Ondo Central Senatorial District formally laid a bill to upgrade Adeyemi College of Education to Adeyemi University of Education, Ondo. The bill was read with the hope of an early passage of this into law. Sadly, no luck still.
On Monday, March 8, 2021, Mr. Abiola Makinde, a member of the House of Representatives from Ondo State, announced that the National Assembly’s lower house had completed legislative work on the elevation of the Adeyemi College of Education to a full-fledged university. This statement by Mr. Makinde gives the people of Ondo another ray of hope on the possibility of making Adeyemi College of Education a university. Comments and questions on how this can be made possible were directed to Oba Dr. Victor Kiladejo during the Toyin Falola Interview.
In response to the observations, the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom traced the origin of Adeyemi College of Education. According to him and by general conception, Adeyemi College of Education was founded in 1963 to produce teachers and conduct research and experiments on teaching methods. This school first opened its doors on May 22, 1964, with 93 students (24 women and 69 men) and has since evolved into a world-class college of education in Nigeria and the West African sub-region. The college is a conglomeration of numerous institutions that arose in the 1960s to meet the needs of secondary schools and teacher training institutes in the Western region.
Still answering the questions, the Osemawe noted that Adeyemi College of Education prides itself on the presence of many professors, doctors, and state-of-the-art facilities and resources. The institution holds affiliation with Obafemi Awolowo University, and with this partnership, it has been awarding the university degree since 1982.
Why a University Status?
According to Senator Dr. Ayo Akinyelure:
“Quality education is non-negotiable and should be accessible to all Nigerians.”
From the above statement, it can be ascertained that the people of Ondo deserve a better education. Professor Ogen, the former Provost of Adeyemi, has been persistent in the advocacy of making it a university. He summed up his arguments in a major document, Memorandum Submitted to the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tetfund on the quest for a University Status for Adeyemi College of Education. The basis of his justification is as follows:
State of the Art Resources
Adeyemi College of Education is an impressive educational center with cutting-edge facilities. The institution sits on 264 hectares of land, and only 41 hectares have been used. Thus, the landmass is enough to accommodate any development that comes with converting the college to a university. The college features multiple lecture halls, classrooms, dorms, laboratories, a contemporary sports pavilion, and a beautiful quadrangle in addition to the landmass. The offices of lecturers and non-teaching personnel are well-equipped for work.
Enrollment and Award of Degree Programs
It is instructive to note that there is constantly a low turnout enrollment for admission into NCE programs. In light of this, Professor Ogen, in his Memorandum, observed that:
It is curious to note that for a college of education whose primary mandate is the training of NCE students, only 842 students applied for our NCE courses compared to 9,111 candidates that applied for our degree programmes during the 2015/2016 post UTME screening exercise. Of the 12,536 candidates that applied for admission to the College during the 2016/2017 admission exercise, 10,315 were for degree programmes and only 2,221 applied for our NCE programmes.
Accreditation of 18 Degree Programs in the Institution
Another reason that should necessitate the conversion of Adeyemi College of Education into a university is the accreditation of 18 degree programs in the institution. Again, this achievement informs the need for the college of education to become a university. This is also implied by the notion that only a few other colleges offer the kind of degree programs available in Adeyemi College of Education.
The Cost of Affiliation
Another point and factor which is worth considering is the cost of running an affiliated institution. The continuous suspension of Adeyemi College of Education from obtaining a university status puts the college at an ever-increasing expense due to its affiliate status. The college’s affiliation for its degree programs has grown financially demanding. The costs of processing results, official travel fees to Obafemi Awolowo University and the inherent risks, cost of moderation and monitoring, teaching practice charges, and other miscellaneous costs are becoming unsustainable. This is consuming the institution’s IGR and constantly drowning its financial buoyancy.
Modern ICT infrastructure
In the education field, technology is not a new concept. However, new teaching and learning experiences are flourishing, thanks to modern computer technologies such as the internet and printed pages. Many technologies are interactive, making it easier to establish an atmosphere where students may learn by doing, receive feedback, continually improve their comprehension, and acquire new knowledge. Access to ICT opens up hitherto unimaginable possibilities in terms of research material and information in general. For an institution like Adeyemi College of Education that boasts of a scalable ICT infrastructure base, its place is not a college of education but a university. Also, in the case of security, there has been the deployment of modern IP security cameras in the school, and it must be noted that only a few institutions have the kind of modern security system that the college has, which makes the institution outstanding when issues of security in institutions of higher learning are discussed.
There have often been issues of funding when it comes to converting a college of education or polytechnic into a university. However, in the case of Adeyemi, the Internally Generated Revenue of the college is sufficient to run various aspects of the institution. Emphasizing this, the Osemawe of Ondo, Dr. Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, discussed that the College of Education does not need all the funds in the world for the conversion. All that is needed is the proclamation of the college as an institution that would, in return, promote the educational needs of the city, the state, and the country. The king appeals to the federal government to honour the wish of his people. This is his prayer. And I say, “Amen!”
(This is the final report on the interview with His Imperial Majesty, Kabiyesi Alayeluwa of the Ondo Kingdom, Dr. Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, on July 25, 2021. With the number of views now over 140,000 on eight platforms, there is a clear demonstration of city loyalty. For part of the transcript, see https://youtu.be/BpI0Oi6_zGM)