Education students in some tertiary institutions in Ebonyi have commended the Federal Government (FG) for the reintroduction of bursary for students pursuing degrees and certificate programmes in education.
The students, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, said that the initiative would boost teacher-education in the country.
The respondents who lamented the shortage of trained and qualified manpower in the teaching profession said that the development had led to teaching profession becoming an all comers affair.
They said that many of the private primary and secondary schools employed under qualified teachers.
The respondents also said that the ratio of teachers to pupils and students fell below the approved standard prescribed by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF).
They identified high cost of acquiring teaching skills from the universities, colleges of education and other education training institutes as major constraint in producing qualified manpower for the schools.
According to them, the reintroduction of bursary scheme for education students will provide a major leap towards addressing the shortfalls and proliferation of non-qualified personnel in the nation’s primary and post primary schools.
Mr Monday Onwe, a third year student of Economics-Education, Ebonyi State University (EBSU), said that the reintroduction of bursary was a right step in the right direction.
Onwe appealed to the FG to develop a blueprint that would enable the programme to succeed.
He also urged state governments to cooperate with the FG to enhance its success in state-owned tertiary institutions.
“The FG has taken a good step which I believe, if well executed, will boost teacher-education as well as encourage people to pursue studies in education-related courses.
“A country can only develop according to the level and quality of education available to its citizens.
“So, the bursary will serve to encourage those with the ‘calling’ to enroll and read education as a professional course,” Onwe said.
Mr Anayo Egbo, a final year student, department of Computer Education, EBSU, applauded the FG’s initiative describing it as ‘laudable intervention’ to restore confidence in the education sector.
“I believe that the government will work out a good plan for successful implementation of the programme so as to benefit those it is meant for.
“In Nigeria, we have a problem of implementing good programmes but I’m confident that this one will be effectively implemented because education is the bedrock of development of any society,” Egbo said.
Miss Gloria Elem, a second year student of the Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo, said that the bursary, when implemented, would reduce heavy financial burden on parents and guardians.
Elem narrated challenges in meeting with academic requirements including purchase of text books, teaching aids needed for teaching practice and other sundry requirementsby students.
She said that the bursary would go a long in cushioning financial hardship faced by students.
“Let me to appeal to Ebonyi government to key into the bursary programme so that those of us pursuing programmes in various departments of education in the state’s owned tertiary institutions can benefit.
“The initiative will enhance manpower development, eliminate quackery in teaching profession by encouraging people to study education in tertiary institutions,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had at the 2021 World Teachers Day celebration in Abuja on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of the bursary.
He said the reintroduction was part of the resolutions of the National Implementation Committee constituted by the government following President Muhammdu Buhari’s pronouncement in repositioning the nation’s education sector.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries who would be drawn from students in public tertiary institutions would be made to sign undertaking to teach for five years upon graduation in their state.
NAN further reports that students pursuing degree programmes in universities will receive N150,000 while their counterparts in Colleges of Education will be paid N100,000 per annum. (NAN