Sokoto releases N1.8bn to boost education, health, others

By Newsdesk

The Sokoto state government has paid N1.8 billion as counterpart funding in various projects signed with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to boost basic education, healthcare delivery and sanitation in the state.

According to the state government, investment in education, health, child protection, water management, sanitation and hygiene had played important role in effecting the desired change in the state.

The state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who disclosed the payment during opening ceremony of a three-day forum on high level Advocacy and Community Engagement (ACE), in the state on Tuesday, stressed that the projects would help improve standard of education and others.

Tambuwal said: “Our past collaborations have impacted positively on target beneficiaries and it is our hope that going forward, we can deepen access to quality healthcare delivery, clean water, nutrition and sanitation, especially in the rural areas.”

On his part, Chairman of the state Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ahmadu Mamman, said the Christian community would continue to support such initiatives for the well-being of the citizens.

UNICEF Nigeria’s Deputy Country Representative, Pernille Ironside, assured that the organisation was fully committed to supporting advocacy campaign in Nigeria.

“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the government and other stakeholders to ensure rapid development of life of women and children in Nigeria,” she said.

Ironside added that UNICEF fully appreciated the commitment of the government in routine immunisation, education, and other related sectors.

UI terminates 2016/2017 first semester over ASUU strike

By Newsdesk

Following ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, the University of Ibadan (UI), has terminated the first semester, shifting activities left in the semester, especially examination, to second semester.

According to the University, whatever was left in first semester examination will hold in second semester, to bridge the gap wasted.

It was gathered that students mostly affected by the decision were those under the institution’s Open Distance Learning (ODL) centre.

The centre in a statement signed by its communication officer, Dayo Olajide, said that a separate time table would be designed for the outstanding papers.

He said: “All outstanding 2016/2017 first semester examinations would concluded a week before commencement of second semester examination.

“Apparently, the basis for this new arrangement is to save learners the hassle of coming down to complete examinations whenever the strike is called off. You are to note that Continuous Assessment (CAs) of affected papers would be deployed this first semester.

“It is our sincere hope that issues surrounding the strike action would be resolved soon and it would eventually be called off. Whilst seeking for your continued cooperation, be assured of the Management’s commitment to eschew elongation of the calendar.

“It is then sufficed to say technically, and given the circumstances, that 2016/2017 first semester examinations have been concluded. You are strongly advised not to relent in continued studying second semester courses. Remember, a DLC learner is a self-paced learner.

“Please download your course materials and take advantage of the different on-line meditative platforms of the Centre, including those mediated by Academic Advisors,” he added.

Katsina varsity dismisses 12 students, staff over exam malpractice

By Newsdesk

The management of Federal University of Dutsinma in Katsina State has dismissed no fewer than 12 students and staff for allegedly involving in examination Malpractice.

According to the institution, the nine student and three staffs were caught engaging in malpractice during their semester examinations.

The Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Armuyau Bichi, disclosed their dismissal during an interview with newsmen on Monday in Dutsinma town.

Bichi explained that the varsity anti-malpractice committee investigation and recommendation stated that the 12 students and staff were involved in malpractices.

 

“The committee investigated both students and role played by staff and they were found wanting and the management of the university dismissed them.

“The university relied heavily on the evidence found against the students and the staff before they were dismissed” he added.

Bicihi disclosed that the university had given the students, academic and non academic staff the right to report any wrong doing to SERVICOM office within the university campus.

According to him, we have empowered the office in the university with the aim of protecting both the student and the staff from harassment by the authority.

“We have established cordial working relations with the academics, non-academics and student so as to achieve the desired goal.”

The Vice Chancellor, however, commended the Katsina State Government for investing heavily in the provision of infrastructure in the university.

He further assured that the school would continue to promote the interest of both students and staff, especially in welfare related issues.

Oyo bans automatic promotion in public schools

By Newsdesk

Apparently to prevent fall in standard of education in Oyo state,  the government has banned automatic promotion for pupils and students in public schools across the state.

The government lamented that automatic promotion has adversely affected standard of education not only in the state but in Nigeria.

Commissioner for education, science and technology, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, announced the ban in an interview with newsmen in the state.

Olowofela noted that the ban was part of ongoing cleansing in the state education sector to ensure pupils and students in the state compete favourably with their peers in other states.

 

He disclosed that aside the ‘No Automatic Promotion” policy, it had started a unified examination system as well as harmonized grading for S.S 1 and 2 students in public schools, aimed at improving the state’s performances during external examinations.

The commissioner hinted that efforts of the government has started yielding results with the state clinching second spot in 2016 National Examination Council (NECO) examination.

According to him, the spot was far better than 12th position in 2015, urging that the media should be wary of the reports they publish so as not to mislead the general public on the present rating of the state in external examinations.

Olowofela stated that the recently introduced School Governing Boards (SGB) for Public secondary schools in the state is a master stroke that is changing the schools’ system.

He emphasised that the paradigm has changed and the SGBs were improving standard of education and infrastructures in the state.

The commissioner posited that SGB model would outlive the present administration as it had started yielding positive results, saying one of our SGBs spent N125 million to renovate their school. They have also started raising N1 billion to embark on other projects.

According to him, the SGB is a master stroke that will change education in the state forever. The Government has also approved and initiated the process of renovating 100 schools with about N5 billion comprising of N3 billion counterpart funding and N1.9 billion. which is a combination of. funds generated from the students’ levies and state government’s internally generated revenue.

“We want our students to take advantage of our Oyo State Model Education System Intervention (OYOMESI) to build good character and the Ajumose Legacy Note for secondary schools to download text books from the web, while the hard copies are also available in the Ministry,” the Commissioner stressed.

Olowofela said that the Education Trust Fund (ETF) inaugurated recently by the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, would complement budgetary allocation, adding that 5 percent of Value Added tax (VAT) to State/Local Government will go to ETF as well as 1 percent from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and 1 percent paid by students of private schools will go into the pool.

The commissioner pointed out that The Technical University, Ibadan (TechU) will be self-financing, saying that the government is just midwifing the university that will develop the vocational skills of its students and promote technical education.

Imo governor, others bag LCCI awards on education devt.

By Newsdesk

The Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha and Vice Chancellor (VC) of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Rahamon Bello, have been rewarded by Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), for their contribution to development of education in the country.

Also rewarded by the Chamber under its maiden Education, Printing and Publishing Sector award were UNILAG former VC, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe and Senior Manager, Maharus-Deen Primary School, Bariga, Adeconde Abiola.

Okorocha, who represented by his Special Adviser/Liaison Officer, Lagos, Nze Asimobi, said that the governor had transformed Imo into a citadel of hope for all children to be educated irrespective of their class.

“Today, he has 13 Rochas foundations spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria where 2,000 pupils are admitted every year into these institutions,” he added.

Asimobi explained that the Okorocha foundation offered free education, accommodation and feeding, for all children to have qualitative education.

For Bello, who was adjudged best Vice Chancellor, education has helped to move the innovation aspect of research.

Bello, while receiving the award, assured that UNILAG would continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to improve quality and standard of education in the nation.

However, Ibidapo-Obe, won the Tertiary Education Lifetime Award 2017, for his selfless contribution to development of varsity in the country.

Covenant University emerged best Private University while Maple Education Canada Inc. bagged the most reliable international education support service provider 2017.

Abiola, senior manager, Maharus-Deen Primary School, Bariga, clinched the oldest serving teacher award for the year.

A teacher at Ilasan Senior Secondary School, in Eti-Osa Local Government, John Akinpelu, however emerged the oldest principal in service.

President, LCCI, Dr Nike Akande, who was represented by her deputy, Ruwase Paul, in her opening speech, said that no nation could achieve meaningful development without investing in education, and commended the awardees for their efforts.

“One of the most sustainable ways to grow an economy is to invest in human capital development. Many leading economies of today have no natural resources endowment; but they have quality human capital. This underlines the fact that it is people that make things happen,” she said.

President, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Lagos branch, Earlier, Olatunde Isaac, stressed that growth of any nation depended on collective development of its citizens and entrepreneurial activities.

Isaac, in his lecture titled: Creativity as a Driver for Entrepreneurship, emphasised need to include entrepreneurship education in secondary school curriculum to tackle unemployment,

He, however, noted that survival of the economy depended on the creativity and innovations of the entrepreneur, hence, the need to inculcate the skills early into school children to revolutionise the nation’s economy.

Borno conctructs two schools for Boko Haram victicms’ children

By NewsDesk,

As part of effort toward returning normalcy to Boko Haram ravaged communities within north-east of Nigeria, the Borno State Government has completed construction of  two model boarding primary schools planned for enrollment of the insurgent victims’ children

The Commissioner, Bonor State Ministry of Education, Musa Kubo, disclosed that the completed schools projects location is at Ngomeri-Barwee and that there were 303 Housing estates in Maiduguri.

Speaking to newsmen on Saturday Maiduguri, Kubo stated that embarked on construction of boarding primary and junior secondary schools after the Borno state government foresaw problem of  orphans left behind by the Boko Haram insurgency

He hinted that the government has plans to replicate the gesture across other areas ravaged by the Boko Haram, adding that, the state had constructed 16 classroom blocks in Maiduguri under its school integration programme, designed to integrate children and adult into formal school system.

The commissioner also informed that the government had constructed various two-storey building schools with 30 classrooms each, to address congestion in primary and secondary schools, just as he indicated that the structures were built in Government College Maiduguri, Government Girls College Maiduguri, and Yerwa Government Girls College.

“Others were Government Day Secondary School, Zajeri; Junior Secondary Schools at Bulabulin, Ngomari and Bulunkutu”.

Kubo said tat that the state government spent over N200 million on the projects and provided e-learning facilities to other schools in Maiduguri, Kaga, Konduga and Jere local government councils.

He revealed that the government had also embarked on massive construction and rehabilitation of schools ravaged by the insurgents.

The commissioner added that 22 mega school projects were still ongoing in liberated communities, pointing out that each of the school was designed with a 2, 000 pupils capacity.

“All boarding schools which closed down for two years were re-opened and commenced operation for normal academic activities.

“This year, the state government is paying N278 million for indigent students sitting for the National Examination Council (NECO) and Senior School Examination Certificate”.

According to him, the state government in collaboration with UNICEF has conducted psychological training for teachers traumatized by insurgency.

Kubo said the government would implement the State Education Programme Investment Project in partnership with World Bank, to enhance community participation in school management.

It was reported that over 15, 000 classroom blocks were destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents across 27 local government areas of the state.

Hundreds of students and teachers were also killed or abducted by the insurgents.

Religious prophet, Maharaj, condemns ASUU strike

By Newsdesk

The founder of One Love Family, Satguru Maharaj Ji, has condemned the ongoing indefinite industrial action embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), describing it as act targeted at drawing Nigeria’s education sector backward.

Maharaj Ji’s comment came barely three days after the lecturers embarked on the strike over Federal Government’s alleged inability to fulfilled agreement signed in 2009.

The spiritual leader in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, argued that the strike embarked upon by the Union would alter school calendar and further cripple Federal Government plans on economic recovery.

His words, “They (lecturers) should opt for dialogue with the government and I am sure the Buhari led administration will cooperate with them because it is in-line with his government policy of change.

“Looking at the ASUU strike, it is manipulation by the European witches to set the country’s backward again,” Maharaj Ji added.

Lagos moves to tackle illiteracy, organizes 10th book fair

By Newsdesk

Apparently concerned by lack of reading culture in Lagos state, the Government has concluded plans to organize 2017 edition of its annual Book Fair.

The event which holds between August 28th and September 3rd, was the strategy the government had designed to encourage reading among residents in the state.

Chairman of Lagos Television (LTV) Special event committee, Siju Alabi, added that the availability of different books on exhibition in various fields and disciplines would help promote book trade in the state.

Alabi stressed that the agency has sustained the initiative since inception due to its belief that books were an integral part of learning and play a major role in knowledge acquisition and transmission.

The chairman, ina statement by the Public Relation Officer, Funmi Salami, said that this year’s event, 10th in the series and tagged ‘The Internet: What Influence On The Youth?’, would not be limited to book sales alone but back to school items such as bags, school shoes/ sandals, opening of Students’ accounts.

FG urges striking lecturers to sheath sword

By Newsdesk

The Federal Government has appealed to Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to suspend its ongoing indefinite strike embarked upon barely 24 ago over unfulfilled promises made eight years ago.

Meanwhile, former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has appealed to striking lecturers and the Federal Government to return to the negotiating table and address their differences.

Both appeals came hours after the Union embarked on their industrial action which had crippled academic activities in over 40 federal tertiary institutions.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the appeal in a statement signed by the ministry’s deputy director of Press, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ngige appealed to ASUU to consider undergraduates and others in the institution whose academic future depends decision of their members.

He said: “The Federal Government therefore wishes to appeal to ASUU to consider students who are currently writing degree and promotion examinations. Please call off the strike and return to the negotiation table.’’

The minister added that the Ministry of Labour and Employment would ensure that a time frame is tied to negotiation this time around.

Ngige hinted that Dr. Wale Babalakin-led committee has commenced efforts to renegotiate 2009 agreement between government and ASUU.

“The Federal Government has set up the Babalakin Committee on 13th Feb. 2017, which is already addressing the issues raised by ASUU.

“Though the Federal Government did not wish to apportion blame, it is important to note that ASUU did not follow due process in the declaration of the industrial action.

“As it did not give the Federal Government, the mandatory 15 days’ notice as contained in the Section 41 of Trade Disputes Act, Cap T8, 2004.

“In fact, it was on 14th Aug., 2017 that the Office of the Minister received a letter dated 13th Aug. 2017 from ASUU, that is, one full day after it commenced the strike,” he added.

Ngige, however, noted that the letter was to inform Federal Government that ASUU has commenced strike, adding that this is not a declaration of intention to go on strike as contained in the Trade Dispute Act, 2004.

He further said that since the case was being conciliated, it was against the spirit of Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for ASUU to embark on strike as enunciated in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention.

He also noted that the necessary ingredients for fruitful social dialogue as well as adequate powers to negotiate and make recommendations to the Federal Government had been put in place.

Reacting over the ongoing strike during an interview with newsmen in Enugu, Ezekwesili noted that no matter the disagreement; dialogue and negotiation were the best way to go, in the overall interest of the students and the nation.

The former minister said that urgent agreement by both parties would help to protect the current academic calendar.

“Concerning the strike, what is urgent now is for the Federal Government and ASUU to return to the negotiating table.

“And for both parties to work on the basis of analysis on how the problem can be solved and both parties build a sense of solving the problem.

“I know that this negotiation will definitely lead to an understanding that will produce a better outcome. This is important, than not negotiating at all,’’ Ezekwesili added.

Nigerian varsities can be world-class — TETFund 

By Peter Moses, Ilorin
In order to improve global rating of Nigerian universities, Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Dr. Abdulllahi Baffa, has disclosed that funds allocated by the agency to varsities were aimed enabling tertiary institutions in the country become first class.

Baffa further disclosed that the agency is working with the National Universities Commission (NUC), the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) to ensure that quality and standards are improved and sustained.

The executive secretary disclosed TETFund plans for Nigerian tertiary institutions at a sensitization meeting with officials of the University on activities, guidelines and modalities for accessing intervention funds, held at University of Ilorin, Kwara state.
Baffa, who was represented by a Director at the Fund headquarters, Dr. Jacob Alada, revealed that in the year 2016, Universities, Polytechnic and Colleges of Education received N1 billion, N691 million and N679 million respectively for the development of benefiting tertiary institutions across the country.
Baffa further disclosed that remarkable progress has been made in the area of academic staff training and developments, noting that as at May 2017, a total of 17,482 academic staff have been sponsored by TETFund for Masters and PhD courses in top ranked universities both in Nigeria and overseas.
“Also, in 2011, the Fund launched the National Research Fund (NRF) with a seed of N3 billion to support cutting edge research in areas of critical national need and development. So far, a total sum of N1.7 billion has been accessed by lecturers to finance their research activities”, Baffa said.
The Executive Secretary explained that TETFund does not award contracts and does not get involved in the beneficiary’s contract award process except to monitor projects for which monies were provided.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, while declaring the sensitization meeting open, welcomed the TETFund team and admonished participants to take advantage of the meeting.
Ambali, who was represented by his Deputy (Research, Technology and Innovation); Prof. Gabriel Olatunji, assured TETFund that the University would take advantage of the sensitization to access more funds for the development of the University.