Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education said it will constitute a national committee on the harmonisation of schools and examination calendar following the disruptions by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, made this known at the 2020 Annual Ministerial briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
The Minister said there was a need for the harmonisation so that schools, learners, teachers and examination bodies would be on the same page.
According to him, following the outbreak of COVID-19 by the end of 2019, the first step taken as a nation was to close down all the teaching and learning facilities nationwide in March 2020.
“Upon closure, we proceeded to float online learning facilities. The major challenges we had were electricity and internet access for teachers and learners.
” Consequently, while some learners continued their education, others, especially in the rural areas could not, thereby putting our learners at different levels of exposure.
“There is, therefore, the need for us to harmonise our schools and examination calendar be it state, Federal or private schools.
” This is because, at the end of the academic year, children in primary schools who want to proceed to our unity colleges will have to write the National Common Entrance on the same day,” he said.
He added that the committee comprising NECO, WAEC, NABTEB, JAMB and a representative of private school owners among others would be inaugurated before the end of January.
On the increasing carrying capacity in tertiary institutions, Adamu noted that four public universities, six polytechnics and six Federal Colleges of Education had been established in the last one year.
He added that four private universities and several polytechnics, colleges of education and allied institutions were also established to address the carrying capacities in higher institutions.
” A breakdown in terms of the number of universities shows that the country now has 44 federal universities, 50 state universities, bringing the total number of public universities to 94.
” As at last count, the country has 79 private universities bringing the number of universities in Nigeria to 173 with a combined carrying capacity of over 2.5 million.
” Nigeria has a total of 85 (federal and state) polytechnics, 61 private polytechnics, 117 monotechnic (federal, state and private), Colleges of Agriculture, specialised institutions and colleges of health technology,” he said.
According to him, the country has 158 Innovation Enterprise Institutions (federal, state and private).
“Total enrollment shows that the polytechnics have an enrolment figure of 348,326 students while the monotechnics have 33,338 with specialised institutions accounting for 5,197.
” Innovative Enterprise Institutions recorded 3,454 enrolments and the total enrollment in these categories of institutions stands at 385,118 students.”
The minister further explained that the government had added six federal colleges of education across the geopolitical zones and licensed 14 colleges of education with a combined carrying capacity of 49,500.
He said that the total carrying capacity of the nation’s colleges of education as of today stood at 495,340 spaces.
He also noted that the Tertiary Trust Fund had committed N395,032,375 to the development of infrastructure in tertiary institutions.
He said this was aside from budgetary allocation and revitalisation funds to universities.
He, therefore, added that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had witnessed massive investment in capital projects in tertiary institutions totaling approximately N1.7 trillion with universities taking two-third of the total sum