By Suleiman Idris, Abuja
Principals of Federal Unity Colleges across the country have been charged to take responsibility for good or poor performances of their students in public examinations such as the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) and the National Examination Council (NECO).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Annual General Meeting of principals of the 104 Federal Unity Colleges in Kano, Anthony Anwukah, Minister of State for Education, said that some of the College Principals condoned indiscipline and indolence which made it difficult for some of the Colleges to fully operate as Centres of Excellence.
The Minister who was represented by Alhaji Auwalu Koko ,the Director of Human Resources Management in the Ministry, said that the Principals must proof their competences through improved performances of their students, even as he acknowledged the improved performances of many schools in the last examination, put at 59% for SSCE and 70% for NECO respectively.
Anwukah stressed that government on its part was doing everything possible to provide the enabling environment for them to perform their functions by strengthening the relevant departments in the Ministry and announced that states and the Federal Capital Territory have been sensitized on the need to weed out unregistered teachers from the system.
Sonny Echono , Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, speaking in the same vein, said the issue of teacher capacity was a necessity to bridge the gaps relating to students’ performances.
On that note, he commended the theme of the week long 2017 Annual General Meeting of the principals “Human Capital Development: A veritable tool for academic excellence in Federal Government Colleges”.
The Permanent Secretary, represented by Mohammed Karage , the Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry, commended the efforts of key stakeholders in college administration including the Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) and the School Based Management Committees (SBMC) for their complementary roles.
According to him, the opinion of these partners would always be sought before arriving at major decisions.
Echono commended the outstanding performance of a student of Federal Government College, Ilorin who obtained 9 ‘A’s in the last SSCE examination and urged other colleges to emulate “Your college is what you make of it,” he said.
Lami Amodu, Chairperson of the Forum of Principals of Federal Government Colleges, earlier in a welcome address listed a number of factors militating against smooth operation of the colleges and suggested some remedies including prompt and full release of budgetary allocation, engagement of new teachers in critical areas, absorption of PTA teachers and the need to motivate principals who have weathered the storm to excel.
Others are the need for improved supportive role for principals who may be invited by crime investigating agencies, especially where they are not direct culprits; the need to swiftly wade into crisis in schools to avoid escalation and for urgent resolution of all union issues threatening principals and possibly transferring staff who have overstayed in colleges and have constituted themselves into institutions.