By Olayiwola Ibrahim // Paulinus Okwelle, executive secretary of the National Commission for Colleges of Education NCCE, says 160 illegal colleges and study centres were shut down across the country.

In an interview with the cable in Abuja, Okwelle said the commission embarked on the cleansing exercise to protect the integrity of the NCE certificate.

The executive secretary said during the investigation conducted by top staff of the commission, it was discovered that some colleges were operating centres outside their state of operations without clearance and approval from the regulator.

He said that in our first exercise ending 2022, we discovered about 160 illegal colleges and study centres notig that they are not registered and licensed.

They had no standard. Nobody looked at colleges to approve and supervise them.

So, we identified them, stating that Some that were running illegal study centres.

A college that approval was given to in Oyo state, has a study centre in Abuja. It is not peculiar to the colleges.

Even the universities and Polytechnic’s. We know about this.

To be fair, it was an exercise that we took a risk while director Our directors physically went to those remote places and identified them illegal colleges.

We did it such that we had very fruitful results. We first of all wrote to the government of those states.

So, when our team go to a state,  will report to the ministry of education in that state. The ministry of education in the state helped us to identify some.

Because for you to establish a private college, you must have a consent letter from the ministry of education of that state.

When we got the result and sent it to the minister, he asked us to take steps to close them down. So, the first step we took was that we wrote to the governors of each of the states Bauchi even published their own because they had the highest illegal centres were discovered in the state.

They were all closed down. Some of them came to apply for proper licensing.

Okwelle said the commission is currently conducting a revalidation of the colleges that were shut down to ensure that they have not resumed operation.

Be said that recently, we now had to go for another revalidation of the private colleges. In addition, looking out again whether there are other illegal colleges which we closed that have reopened.

The executive secretary said the exercise was concluded in December, noting that the result will be out soon.

As I speak now, we are collating that result. When we collate, we will filter because it is a legal thing. You have to be very sure so that somebody does not take you to court. Once that is done, we assure you by February we will be sending our reports to the ministry.

We have this record that many colleges don’t have students but we are seeing private colleges. What are they doing? We want to know. If students are not there, we might advise them to close down, unless they are using it for illegal business.

Sparking furtherly, he stated he was sure that at the end of that exercise, some colleges might be closed down. The whole essence is to strengthen the certificate in quality of education.

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