Why Do Colleges of Education Have The Lowest Cut-Off Marks?

It is no longer news that colleges of education have the lowest cut-off marks for admission into their various programs. Every year after the JAMB UTME, the examination body, sometimes through the Minister for Education. Other times through the JAMB Registrar, would announce the cut-off mark. Institutions of learning are not expected to go below the minimum cut-off point for admission. The cut-off point is usually released by categories of the institutions—universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

Going by this release, the universities usually get the highest cut-off point, followed by polytechnics, and your guess is as good as mine; the colleges of education come trailing behind them. Northern polytechnics and universities generally compete at the same low level with some colleges of education (COEs) in the south. However, most COEs nationwide maintain the lowest cut-off point.

Teachers from Colleges of Education: Why Do Colleges of Education Have The Lowest Cut-Off Marks

ALSO SEE: How JAMB Cut-off Mark Has Dropped from 2007-2022.

Why are we in this situation?

If you ask an average high school student their course of study interest after school, the responses are the same. You would get responses like Medicine, Nursing, Engineering, Law, and the most recent one, Information Technology. Hardly would you meet any high school student that would say Teaching. Did I say hardly? Well, for one, I have never heard anyone mention Teaching. If you suggested teaching as a profession to them, they would feel disrespected. To them, you view them as under-performers.

Every year, the courses that could be referred to as the top courses get a barrage of applications into their departments. Such courses are as we have mentioned above. What the admission bodies of these institutions and departments do is to up the cut-off points for admission so that they can get the best candidates into these “top” departments.

Moving down the rung, Education departments and colleges will be waiting for the “leftovers” or those candidates that could not score high in JAMB UTME to apply for their programs. What this means is that such candidates with low JAMB scores are the ones getting into our colleges of education, and most of the time, because that is the only choice left for them.

Why we should be worried!

Let us look at colleges of education, their purpose, expected qualifications upon graduation, and the relevant career trajectory of their graduates.

The system of the College of Education system is one of the tripods of tertiary education in Nigeria, with the others being universities and polytechnics and it has the main purpose of training teachers who will be awarded the minimum teaching qualification known as the Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE).

Being pivotal to national development, the Nigerian government took a bold step in teacher education in the early 1960s, establishing a higher level of teacher training institution, known as Advanced Teachers’ Colleges to train teachers for the primary schools. Only four of these colleges existed back then: Advance Teachers College, Ondo; Advanced Teachers College, Zaria; Advanced Teachers College, Kano; and Alvan Ikoku Advanced Teachers College.

The Ashby Commission report in 1958 condemned the quality of teachers in Nigerian schools then and raised the need for higher grade or more qualified teachers This report gave birth to those institutions to transform into today’s colleges of education. This they did in recognition of the fact that early childhood is a child’s formative years where they learn a lot of things that serve as the foundation for the things they would later learn in life within their families, from the communities, and learning institutions.

Most of the teachers’ colleges established in the 1960s made reasonable contributions to the development of teacher education in the country. Today, these Colleges of Education have taken on the challenge of training teachers for not only the primary schools but also the lower secondary school level.

As we mentioned earlier, most students that found themselves in the colleges of education did so as a matter of last resort or as an afterthought as against having to passion for the courses or being academically excellent.

Can one give what they don’t have?

It brings the question of what knowledge these kinds of graduates who are hardly passionate about teaching nor academically excellent seek to impart to their pupils and students.

Should we consider that the point of establishing the colleges of education has been defeated since the only candidates that they seek to admit are those that may be academically deficient?

Would increasing the cut-off point into colleges of education help abate the admittance of academically deficient students thereby leading to these institutions churning out more qualified teachers?

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