The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the conversion of four federal colleges of education to universities.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the council, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Minister of Information, Patricia Akwashiki, and Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, briefed State House correspondents of the meeting’s outcome.
Shekarau listed the affected colleges of education as Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo (now Adeyemi University of Education, Ondo); Federal College of Education, Zaria (now Federal University of Education, Zaria); Federal College of Education, Kano (now Federal University of Education, Kano);and Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri (now Alvan Ikoku University of Education, Owerri).
The minister explained that the colleges of education were part of the 21 federal colleges of education that had been awarding degree programmes in the last three decades under the close supervision of the different universities they are affiliated to.
He said the council considered the need for further quality in teaching service, hence the conversion of the colleges to universities since more graduates would be needed in the teaching profession.
“We are heading to having more graduates in the teaching profession and hence the need for these universities to produce graduates in education. If we need quality education, we need quality teachers,” he said.
Shekarau explained that the next step was for the Ministry of Justice to prepare amendment to the laws establishing the colleges.
This, he explained, would be followed by some administrative changes.
The minister added that the council had approved the establishment of the Federal University of Health Sciences in Otukpo, Benue State.
Until the approval, the university was said to be the College of Medical Health Sciences under the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
He said the institution had now been granted autonomy as part of continuous efforts to ensure quality graduates into the various fields of medicine and sciences.
“So, a total of five universities were approved at the council meeting today,” the minister added.