The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has assured that the 9th House would give adequate priority to the education sector.
The Speaker said it was for that purpose that the House included education as part of its Legislative Agenda, which he said will be pursued vigorously.
Speaking when he received a delegation of the Committee of Council Chairmen of Federal Colleges of Education led by the chairman, Dr Lawan Bukar Alhaji in his office on Tuesday, the Speaker said the House would ensure appropriate budget and carry out adequate oversight of the education sector.
“There’s no doubt about the importance of education. It’s one of our priorities in the 9th Assembly. The education sector is extremely important because it’s not just about the number of graduates. Beyond that, the quality of graduates also matters.
“We’ve seen embarrassing situations in some states regarding the capacity of teachers. So, in considering the quantity, we also have to consider the quality,” he said.
On the request by the committee for the House to amend the Federal Colleges of Education Act so that the age of retirement for lecturers in those institutions could be the same with those in universities, the Speaker said the House would look into that.
“We’re here to partner with you in whatever possible way. Myself, I’m a part-time teacher. I go out to teach from time to time. So, we’re here to make things work for you.”
On the issue of poor budgetary releases to the colleges, the Speaker said it cuts across all government agencies, saying it is usually as a result of issues with revenue generation.
“You can only release what you have, but I know the government is working very hard to address that,” the Speaker said.
Earlier, the chairman of the Committee, Dr Bukar appealed to the House through the Speaker to intervene on the problems facing federal colleges of education.
He said the issue of retirement age for lecturers in the colleges should be addressed by the House through the amendment of their Act so that they would be at par with their counterparts in the universities and polytechnics.
He noted that though budgetary provisions to the colleges are usually low, their problems are compounded by poor releases, which he said leads to many abandoned projects in the institutions.