Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

Monday, 24 July 2017

EDUCATION : Stakeholders warn against politicising education


• Bishop urges FG to train CRK teachers

The President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Samira Jibril has warned against politicising the education sector. Jibril, who is the Director of Glinsten international Academy, gave the caution in Abuja at the sixth graduation of the school.

He said education is the bedrock of development, saying: “People in control of the educational system must leave out politics and bias. All relevant stakeholders must be brought on board for decision-making, strategy and implementation to take the sector to the next level.”

The president added that government must collaborate with the private school owners to maintain a balance across board.He solicited quality education for Nigerian children, adding that that if the country must diversify from oil, the education sector must also be diversified from seeking white-collar jobs, to producing entrepreneurs with skills.

According to the Principal, Mr. Mike Salazar, the graduating class of 2016/2017 had the highest WAEC score in the history of the school, while one of the students scored 297 in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB

Meanwhile, the Anglican Bishop of the Diocess of Kubwa,Rev. Duke Akamisoko has urged the Federal Government to begin the training of teachers of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) to revive the subject among school children.

The bishop, who is the former National Treasurer of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) made the plea at the ninth graduation and award day of the Africa International College (AIC), Abuja.

The Minister of State Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, explained that with the diversification of the economy, there is need to train children in entrepreneurship programmes.Jibril explained that photography, block making, engineering and robot engineering are being taught in the school.

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EDUCATION : Obaseki orders arrest of teachers over examination malpractice

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

• UNIBEN gets first indigenous software for CBT

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday ordered the arrest of some school teachers who were allegedly involved in manipulation of the primary six school leaving certificate examinations.He assured that basic education in the state would be strengthened to achieve high standard of primary education.
Obaseki stated this when he paid an unscheduled visit to some of the examination centers in Benin City including Ebenezer Primary School, Ivbyenova Primary School, St Saviour, George Idah Primary School and Ologbosere Primary School in Ikpoba Okha council of the state.

Obaseki visited the schools with the state Head of Service, Mrs. Gladys Idahon, the Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele, and Special Adviser on Basic Education, Joan Oviawe, among others.

His words: “We decided that we will have the examination for primary six pupils today. As a policy, we decided that the examination will be a lot better and a more professionally organised.

“Private schools and public schools are being tested. We had a situation where teachers in primary schools tried to influence the examination so they can claim that children from their schools did better than the ones in public schools in the examination.

“It also gave us an insight into the level of preparations our children are given to seat for the exams, their level of confidence and I am quite satisfied with what we have seen today. I am also bothered about the corruption in our examination process. You could see a lot of parents have to be kept out.

“In one of the schools, they may have paid for their children to do well and they wanted access into the schools so that they can influence the examination but they were stopped.”

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to boost access to learning, the University of Benin (UNIBEN) has deployed the first indigenous software for its Computer Based Test (CBT) internal and external examinations.Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Osasere Faraday Orumwense disclosed this during the institution’s 2017 Information Communication Technology (ICT) Day.

Orumwense also said plans were underway to launch the Uniben Open Course wave, which would make the university top in Webometrics rankings.A statement by the university’s spokesman, Michael Osasuyi, said
the Director of Nigeria Research and Education Network (NREN), Abuja, Joshua Atah, made presentations at the event through a live streaming to the audience.

He added that the live streaming titled: “Unlimited Access to Learning for Everyone, Everywhere: ICT the Rostrum,” was aimed at boosting ICT efficiency in the 21st century.

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Friday, 21 July 2017

EDUCATION : Government reinstates Christian, Islamic studies as separate subjects

Adamu Adamu

• Water and oil were merged and it is not working, says minister
The Federal Government yesterday ordered the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to make Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge distinctive subjects in the basic education curriculum.

The merging of the two subjects under Civil Education in the current curriculum by NERDC has been a subject of controversy. The separation will douse this controversy and enhance mutual trust between adherents of the two major religions in the country.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, gave the directive for the separation of the subjects yesterday in Abuja, at a meeting with education stakeholders from the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The meeting attended by the commissioners of education from various states was part of the efforts to strengthen the partnership among the three tiers of government in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG4).

The minister noted that Nigeria has selected the Goal 4 of the SDGs, which emphasises inclusive and quality education for all and promotion of lifelong learning in view of the importance of education to national development.

Adamu, who spoke through the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, said the directive to separate the subjects became imperative in view of the various complaints by Nigerians, especially the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), that has been vociferous about the issue.

According to him, the collapse of the subjects was not done by the current administration but by the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to reduce the number of subjects offered by pupils and students in schools.

“There is this controversy over the merger of CRK and IRK in the school curriculum. There were complaints by parents that children were overloaded with so many subjects and the recommendation then was to merge one or two subjects. Unfortunately, water and oil were merged and it is not working. So, to save ourselves the agony, the two subjects should be separated. We push that to the NERDC,” he said.

In his keynote address on the occasion, Adamu reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to revamping the education sector. He appealed to the state governments as well as relevant stakeholders to support the Federal Government’s effort.

The minister also expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to achieving the SDG4 by 2030 in line with the global timeline. He said the Federal Government was aware that in the journey towards achieving the Education 2030 Agenda, key issues including the phenomenon of out-of-school children, insecurity in and around the schools and infrastructure decay must be addressed.

The minister said there was also the need to have credible and reliable data, and to address the challenge of poor teacher quality as well as teacher gaps, low carrying capacity in tertiary institutions, and poor learning outcomes.

Meanwhile, the founder of Glorious Living Singles and Married Ministry, Pastor Judith Daniel-Imagoro, has lauded CAN for speaking out in favour of teaching CRK as a separate subject in schools.

During a Dynamic Life conference at Gombi, Adamawa State, Daniel-Imagoro called on Christians to always speak with one voice on critical issues in the polity.A statement quoted her as saying: “Christians at this point in our nation need to be constructive and stand for what is right without allowing anybody to impose anything on them.

“If God, our Creator, could leave us with the power of choice, no government, its agents or any group of people should force a whole nation to accept what is not right, which was what the government wanted to do.”

The cleric blamed the government for merging the two subjects instead of tackling the real challenges of the sector. “For the government to have left all the educational needs of Nigerians and tried to subsume CRK in civil education is clear indication that it is up to something. Their aim is to subtly deprive Nigerian students, among others, of the knowledge of God .There are so many schools without useable toilets. A lot of them have no qualified teachers.”

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EDUCATION : ICPC mulls new curriculum to check examination malpractices

ICPC Boss, Ekpo Nta

• Investment in education yielding dividends, says Ugwuanyi
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said it would introduce national values into school curriculum to curb exam malpractices in schools.

Chairman of ICPC, Ekpo Nta, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said the commission had developed the National Values Curriculum (NVC) to expose children to a sustained value-based education that incorporates ethical standards into their academic programme from the early years.

His words: “Discussions on sanitising the educational system cannot be complete without the conduct of examinations devoid of fraud in schools. “The clean conduct of examinations authenticates the educational system and gives a sense of fulfillment to those who passed through the education system.

“No nation can rise above the level of its education because the education sector is at the forefront of bringing about change to any society.”He disclosed that the commission recently commenced a National Anti-Corruption Debate (NAD) for secondary schools in the six geo-political zones of the country.

While commending the ICPC, the Deputy Director of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Babatunde Benjamin Bamisaye, said it was better for the ICPC to be coopted into the process of curbing examination malpractices since the ministry and JAMB could not do it alone.

Meanwhile, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi yesterday unveiled the ultra-modern permanent site of the Post-Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), saying that the new edifice was another demonstration of his administration’s resolve to provide quality education in the state.

He also commissioned some equipment recently procured by the state government for technical and vocational schools and inspected craft and equipment built by students of technical schools.

Unveiling the PPSMB permanent site, he said the project would provide a friendly environment for workers as part of government’s efforts to promote job satisfaction, efficiency and productivity among the workers.

Ugwuanyi, who stated that the best investment of his administration was in education, disclosed that the decision to relocate the PPSMB to the permanent site and the release of funds for the projects were done to boost education in the state.

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

EDUCATION : Wolverhampton University UK honours FECA Provost

The University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, has urged her former students in Africa to come back home and impact their countries and humanity at large positively with the skills acquired from the institution.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Geoff Layer, iterated this during the alumni dinner and award nite last weekend at Sheraton Hotel and Towers Abuja, expressing confidence in their capabilities.

Layer, who was represented by the Regional Head, West and Central Africa, Mr Dare Ojo, said it was imperative to utilise the close ties with the UK institution for massive developments.

Though the institution noted the difference between the two continents that might want to discourage them from coming back home, he stressed that the greatest service they could render is to make it better for coming generations.

He added that six of the alumni members, who have distinguished themselves in their various endeavours as worthy ambassadors of the university were selected for the honour to propel them do more and encourage others.

The association conducted its first election as Mr Chima Victor Kalu emerged the president, while the Provost of Federal College of Agriculture Akure (FECA), Dr Samson Adeola Odedina got Outstanding Leadership Award and appointed Board of Trustees (BOT) member.

Odedina, who acquired a Post Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Education at the institution 26 years ago, formerly Wolverhampton Polytechnic,
mentioned the significant roles performed by the foreign education.

He emphasised that the skills acquired on agricultural value chain greatly helped to enrich and sharpen his career, enabling him to pass it on to a generation of Young Farmers in Nigeria.

The Provost hinged this on his renowned innovations on Bio-fortified Vitamin A maize and cassava, foreign and local partnerships under the Switzerland Government supported Capacity Building for Agricultural Education in Nigeria (CBAEN).

Reenacting foreign experience in Nigeria, he said FECA has been able to sustain "learn and earn" job opportunities for its students, train thousand of young farmers in agro-villages and secondary school students.

The expertise, according to him, earned the college a leading agricultural training institution in Africa, currently embarking on 2-week FADAMA Graduate Unemployed Youth Support (FADAMA GUYS) training in Akure.

"This collaboration has produced the first ever curriculum for value chain students in Nigeria, and the curriculum has been approved by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for use in value chain studies in all polytechnics and colleges of agriculture in Nigeria."

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EDUCATION : Specialised universities as the future of development

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, directed the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board ( JAMB)  “to delete all such courses on its portal.”

Although Nigeria’s specialised universities have been in the news for the wrong reasons, in this report Head, Education Desk, Iyabo Lawal writes that the institutions may be the answers to the dearth of manpower in some key sectors of the nation.

She held her forlorn face in her fidgeting hands as beads of sweat broke through her forehead. Her bulky frame shook as she sobbed. Her colleagues held on to her as she struggled to free herself from their grip.

Nimi West was not bereaved. She had just been scammed, as she claimed by one of Nigeria’s government-approved university. She had been studying Business Administration in one of the country’s prestigious specialised university until she was told that the course was never approved in the institution by the government.

But she was not alone. Hundreds of Nigerian students have been “duped” by various tertiary institutions across the nation by offering courses they were not authorised to run.

Take for instance, the University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM), established on January 1, 1988, as a specialised university having metamorphosed from the defunct Federal University of Technology which was established in 1980; but deviated in 2010 when the Senate of the institution approved the establishment of the College of Management Sciences. The college was created in 2011 with two departments: Department of Business Administration as well as the Department of Accounting and Finance.

But apart from the UAM, there are hordes of other institutions biting more than they can chew. Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, ran courses like Arabic/Christian Religious Studies, Business Administration, Home Economics, Marketing, and Accountancy – an exercise in anomie.

Recently, the Federal Government had to bar some specialised institutions like Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta ( FUNAAB); Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi; and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, from offering courses not in their original mandate.

Other universities are: Federal University of Technology Akure ((FUTA); Federal University of Technology Owerri ( FUTO);  Madibbo Adama University of Technology Yola;  Ladoke Akintola University of Technology( LAUTECH) Ogbomoso; Abubakar Tafawa University of Technology Bauchi;  and Bells University of Technology, Ota.

Early this year, the  Federal Government warned specialised universities in the country which have been running programmes that were “antithetical to their mandates” to stop such with immediate effect.

It urged the schools to stick to the core mandates for which they were set up “and desist from running programmes which have no bearing to their names and foundation.”

The government found it unbelievable that universities of agriculture could be offering programmes in Law and management courses such as Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration – which it described as an aberration.

Little wonder, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, directed the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board ( JAMB)  “to delete all such courses on its portal.”

He also warned all candidates who wanted to sit for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination, to avoid being hoodwinked into such programmes as they are illegal and are not provided for in JAMB brochure.

Specialised universities in the country are specifically set up to pursue specific courses and programme to generate manpower in particular sectors of the economy.
“Some of these specialised institutions include Universities such as Universities of Agriculture, Universities of Technologies, Universities of Medicine, amongst others. The Federal government has observed that these institutions have derailed from their statutory responsibilities, thereby running programmes that are antithetical to their mandates.

“The government notes the unfortunate situation were Universities of Agriculture offer programmes in Law, Management courses such as Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration, among others. As if that was not enough, some institutions change the nomenclature of some of the courses to read for instance Banking Engineering, Accounting Technology, among other names. This is an aberration and should be stopped with immediate effect,” an obviously displeased Adamu had stated.
Going a step further on its intent to sanitise the specialised universities unfortunate incursion into areas not designed for them, in March the National Universities Commission in March began a process of de-accrediting some courses being handled by specialised universities.

According to the NUC Director of Information and Public Relations, Ibrahim Yakasai, a meeting was held by the commission with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, and vice chancellors of specialised to harmonise the courses being offered by the institutions.

“We are looking at the courses that are actually related to the mandates given to them, looking at the courses that are relevant for the agriculture universities and those that are also relevant to technology universities; thereby delist those that are not relevant and ask them to stop doing them,” Yakasai stated.
But West mentioned at the onset need not weep because the Federal Government decided to give a soft-landing to students who have been caught in the web of specialised universities crookedness.

“We are not NAFDAC, we are dealing with human beings and not medicines that we can ban and discard. Whenever there is an order like this, we have to allow those already being enrolled legally to finish and their degrees will be recognised,” the NUC boss had pointed out.

There will also be reprieve for lecturers taking the ‘foreign’ courses in the institutions as the Federal Government promised to redeploy them to institutions where they will be useful.

As of August 2016, there were at least 150 illegal or unaccredited courses being offered in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

The 150 programmes cut across arts, science, education, law and engineering. One of the state-owned universities in the South-South ran five unaccredited engineering courses: civil, mechanical, petroleum, chemical, electrical and electronics. The details are in the National Universities Commission accreditation status of academic programmes in the nation’s 143 universities in 2016.

The President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, last year had asserted that the process was compromised by bribes given to the accreditation teams by the universities.

“When there are allegations that some of the people who conduct accreditation in the name of NUC receive brown envelopes, the NUC will ask: ‘are those who give or take the envelopes not your colleagues?’ But the NUC forgets one thing, that the accreditation bears NUC accreditation’,” Tomori had noted.

In May 2015, in the twilight of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, the Federal Executive Council approved the Nigerian Maritime University, the first of its kind not only in Nigeria, but in sub-Saharan Africa.

Located in Okerenkoko in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South West council area of Delta State, the institution is an initiative of the National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). And it is part of its efforts to boost the production of high-level manpower development in the country’s maritime sector.

The significance of the developments is viewed against the backdrop of the fact that the area symbolises the struggle of the people of the Niger Delta. In addition to this, it would also help in empowering youths from the Ijaw nation to have a say in how the resources from the oil and gas (which are sourced from their soil) are utilised in the country.

“Of course we know the importance of these projects, the Nigerian Maritime University, the Shipyard and the Dockyard. From the beginning, this country started quite well in the maritime sector, but just like in the industrial sector, we laid back and so many countries that Nigeria was ahead of them overtook us. Because we had shipping lines that were going all over the world, we couldn’t follow up,” Jonathan had stated.

Nigeria is said to be grappling with dearth of knowledgeable manpower in the specialised fields and has over the years been encouraging specialised university education.

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, also hinted that a specialised university for information and communication technology will likely be established.

In May this year, the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, had warned that allowing specialised universities to continue to offer courses outside their mandates could be counterproductive.

“I am a member of the Federal Executive Council and I stand with the decision and the wisdom of specialised universities limiting themselves to their core mandate. The laws creating these universities are very clear. What business does the university of agriculture have in producing lawyers and accountants? If we are not careful, in future they will produce imams and pastors.

“We have so many universities of agriculture that abandoned their specialty and they are producing accountants and mechanics, they will soon be producing footballers. After carefully examining the laws that created these universities, the Federal Executive Council took this decision. We came to the decision that these universities should concentrate on their specialty. It was not an arbitrary decision. It has broad consultation. The AGF was invited so I think what we did was the best for the country for now,” Dalung had said.

According to Prof. Kolawole Adebayo, an expert in Rural Development Communication, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), specialised universities were established with clear mandates in which most of them have performed excellently.

Using FUNAAB as an example, he said the institution, in meeting its mandate of teaching, research and extension, had produced high-level manpower to service the human resource requirements of Nigeria in agricultural and related sectors, with its research outputs among the best in the world, while the local relevance of its mandate is taken out to communities through the agricultural extension centre.

Similarly, Prof. Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale, Chairperson, Committee of Deans and Directors (CODAD), added that FUNAAB has definitely achieved it objectives in terms of teaching, research and extension with regards to capital development.

For Lateef Sanni, a professor of Food Science and Technology, Department of Food Science and Technology and Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), timely release of funds can slow the progress of specialised universities.

Professor Akin Omotayo, Director, Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), said about challenges facing such institutions as FUNAAB, “We do not have the practical equipment, the funds and other technical facilities to develop commercial farms for the purpose of providing optimal training for our students.  We need more government commitment in terms of funding, provision of modern technical facilities and field equipment to prepare our students properly as commercial farmers.”

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EDUCATION : SSG charges LASU to focus on innovative research

Lagos State University

The Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello has enjoined the management of Lagos State University (LASU) to channel  the institution’s academic programmes towards societal and entrepreneurial needs to ensure rapid development.

Bello who was the guest speaker at the 4th annual distinguished lecture and awards of Association of Nigerian University Professional Administrators (ANUPA-LASU) with the theme “The Challenge of Town and Gown Partnership in Lagos” said the university  must be able to think outside the box to tackle the socio-economic problems.

According to Bello, “We must begin to channel our energies in a direction that would ensure an effective tackling of our societal problems at large. This, he said would help in restoring significance of the gown as a credible symbol of intellectual attainment.

“LASU should stand to be counted in the historic challenge of unleashing the potentials of this great megacity as a catalyst for rapid transformation in Nigeria and Africa at large.”

With immense intellectual capacity at its disposal, Bello maintained that LASU academic community alongside its professional administrators can play an active role in helping to achieve the task of rejuvenating the state  and placing her on a trajectory of irreversible progress.

He said it is imperative for the institution to come up with ideas and relevant technology that can help the state in converting its wastes  into more productive and beneficial uses, stressing  that the task ahead of the university is far more onerous and critical than the path already traversed.

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EDUCATION : 65 % of Nigerian schools lack electricity, says UN chief 

Edward Kallon has disclosed that about 65 per cent of the 74,280 public primary and junior secondary schools in the country  lack electricity, making technology-based education impossible.

The United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon has disclosed that about 65 per cent of the 74,280 public primary and junior secondary schools in the country  lack electricity, making technology-based education impossible.

He spoke as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) announced the suspension of accounts of five states following allegation of financial impropriety.

They spoke at the 9th annual Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture series which held at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua centre at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The lecture was organized  by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), as part of activities commemorating the 83rd birthday of the Nobel Laureate.

At the lecture titled,”Light up, light in: Interrogating the nexus between electricity and basic education in Nigeria,” stakeholders including the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi and former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, posited that electricity is key to quality education delivery.

Kallon while deploring the state of electricity in the country and Africa generally said out of the 1.5 billion people who lack access to electricity globally, 57 per cent, amounting to 622.6 million are in Africa.

He said; “ Facts have shown that students who have access to electricity have been confirmed to perform better because they have access to modern facilities.”

According to the UN chief, Nigeria needs, at least 11,000 megawatts of electricity to serve the nation’s needs.

While announcing the suspension of some SUBEB accounts, Dr. Bobboye said  the pressure to pay salaries has forced some state governments to divert grants for basic education development to salary payment and other illegal spendings.

He faulted the data on the out-of-school children  in the country describing it  as grossly inadequate, saying the need for a technology-based data generation is required and must be done urgently.

In her remarks,  Dr. Ezekwesili lamented the gross neglect of the education sector, saying there is a correlation between poverty and public school system.

She described the public school system without power supply as an intergenerational dynasty of poverty, saying there is an urgent need to look at public expenditure.

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EDUCATION : Nigerians have received over $2m U.S. scholarships, says consul general

This year alone, students within the Lagos Consulate District have received numerous scholarships from several U.S. universities totalling over $2 million and more are still trickling in  through the wonderful work of our EducationUSA advisors.

10,674 Nigerians receiving higher education

Over $2m has been spent by the United States’ (US) government as scholarships  for Nigeria students in the ongoing year through its Education Opportunity Fund, US Consul General, F. John Bray has said.

Bray disclosed this during the 2017 Education USA Pre-departure Orientation programme, organised in honour of seven Nigerian students who are  attending various U.S universities this fall.

According to the envoy, “This year alone, students within the Lagos Consulate District have received numerous scholarships from several U.S. universities totalling over $2 million and more are still trickling in  through the wonderful work of our EducationUSA advisors.

“Of particular importance to me is that seven Nigerian students who received financial aid through our EducationUSA Opportunity Fund were granted full scholarships by various U.S. universities. These  students had their up-front costs of obtaining U.S. admission, including testing, application fees, and airfare covered by the Fund.  Five of them received funding for their doctoral studies while the other two will be pursuing undergraduate studies. I am confident you will be the next generation of leaders and scholars, scientists and artists, ensuring the continuity of Nigeria’s remarkable input in the global community.”

Bray stated that the recipients will attend prestigious universities like Howard, Syracuse,  Drexel, University of Wisconsin in Madison, University of Texas at Dallas, Wellesley College, and Rochester Institute of Technology to pursue a variety of majors, including engineering, public health, computer science, business, chemistry, and economics both at undergraduate and graduate levels.

On the number of Nigerians currently studying in the US, Bray said, “According to the latest Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report, Nigeria has experienced a remarkable increase in the number of students pursuing higher education in the US.  About 10,674 Nigerians are studying at more than 730 colleges and universities , making Nigeria the leading source of African students in the United States. It is also noteworthy that Nigeria ranks as the 14th nation worldwide with the most students in the United States.”

To the scholars, he said, “As you depart for the US soon, remember that you are going to be representing your country to many people who may never have met an African or a Nigerian before.  I urge you to be exceptional ambassadors for Nigeria and to take seriously your responsibilities to be good citizens and scholars.

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EDUCATION : Commonwealth varsities task scholars on research, national development

The association’s Project Officer, Sofia Apollonov who made the plea at a two-day workshop organized by ACU in collaboration with the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Association of Commonwealth Universities ( ACU) has urged seasoned scholars  to support emerging career researchers in a bid to  enhance the nation’s development.

The association’s Project Officer, Sofia Apollonov who made the plea at a two-day workshop organized by ACU in collaboration with the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

According to her, experienced scholars  must play active role in the development of the emerging career researchers by way of improving their skill and capacity to boost national development.

Apollonov acknowledged that Nigeria is doing well in the area of research adding that the country’s universities had over the years been  at the forefront of Africa’s research efforts.

This, according to her informed the continuous visit of the association to the country and its resolve to support  emerging researchers. She said: “As a multi-disciplinary area of research, we need scientists, social scientists and researchers who will be focused on how we can tackle it, and this is where our Circle Visiting Fellows (CVF) that forms the basis of this workshop comes in  handy.

“We have seven Nigerian CVF team who  are  researching  on how to combat climate change. Many of our CVFs have undergone fellowship programmes across Africa in climate change researches and what they are producing is really important not just to Africa but the world at large.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Research, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin  explained that the initiative was necessary to move the nation forward.

He disclosed  that the workshop woas to provide a platform for young researchers in the region  to engage in research that is “need -driven” in order to help their respective countries move forward.

“This is a programme that has attracted researchers from within and outside Nigeria  and narrowing it down to Nigeria, I make bold to say that there are lots of researches going on in our institutions, including UNILAG..

“In order to also complement the research efforts, the Lagos State government has just set up a research and Innovation council and this is the only thing that can truly bring our country out of its current multifaceted challenges.

An example is that of the recent flood that was experienced in some parts of the state and now we are bringing together experts that would rub minds and come up with a permanent solution to this,’’ Ogundipe said.

He stated  that the institution was currently repositioning to a university of need-oriented research work in order to accelerate transformation and national development.

The DVC  said the only way the nation could move forward was through intensive research, innovation, incubation and development.

Chairman, local organising committee of the workshop, Dr Musa Obalola while giving an overview of the programme, said, “Our responsibility is not limited to just teaching and learning, but also research and community development, so we need to ensure that skills are sharpened to enhance research that will improve the lots of the common man.

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EDUCATION : Dowen College partners foundation to support sickle cell patients

The Principal, Mrs. Olawumi Togonu-Bickersteth who spoke with reporters during a drama presentation in celebration of DCL 20th anniversary  said  the partnership was necessary following the foundation’s interest to bring the treatment to the country.

Dowen College Lekki (DCL) has concluded plans to partner with an international non governmental organisation, Sickle Cell Foundation to give succor to those suffering from the disease.

Already, plans are on to establish a bone marrow transplant center for patients living with sickle cell anemia in the country. The Principal, Mrs. Olawumi Togonu-Bickersteth who spoke with reporters during a drama presentation in celebration of DCL 20th anniversary  said  the partnership was necessary following the foundation’s interest to bring the treatment to the country.

“We are partnering with the foundation to raise fund to make the establishment in Nigeria a reality. Other ailments have received lots of public attention, so, we want to shift emphasis that there is another avenue we could channel our charity to.

“Before now, we have partnered with many different organisations that have brought succor to the people. We have helped people living with cancer, HIV/AIDS victims and others, this are charity projects that we do regularly. Our stride is to instill into our children the culture of caring for the less privileged.”

In her remarks, a member of the school board of governors, Dr Toyin Philips stressed the importance of getting the children along in contributing to the course of the less privileged.

Phillips noted that the move would make the children better citizens and responsible to the society. “Charity is very important because Nigeria is still classified among the developing countries; besides there is a wide gap between those who have and those who do not have. Students and children who are privileged to go to schools like Dowen college can be of help to others by encouraging them.

“A little out of their pocket money can be put aside to help those who do not have. That is the way to add to humanity to tell them that they can be their brother’s keeper and help in their own little way.

In the same vein,  Emeritus Professor Soga Sofola who is also a member of DCL board of governors applauded the school  for the partnership.

He said, “The concept of going to school is not just about reading, sports and  drama are also  part of the total development of the child. The sickle cell disease is very common among us, almost 25 percent  of the population.

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EDUCATION : TETFund seeks growth of higher institutions, allocates N213billion

Executive Secretary, TETFUND, Abdullahi Baffa

Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), Dr. Abdullahi Baffa has disclosed that government has set aside the sum of N213billion as intervention fund to boost learning in the nation’s higher institutions.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Central Research Laboratory, Technology and Science building of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Baffa explained that of the allocated sum, 60 percent is going to infrastructural development.

According to him, from the intervention fund, each polytechnic was awarded 691million, college of education N679million and each university, N1.9billion.

Already, the TETFund chief said each of the institutions have presented their proposals which has been looked into by the agency and have started to issue the funds.

He said, “We are happy with what we have seen at Yabatech. One of our mandates is supporting tertiary institutions with learning and laboratory equipment. We have supported Yabatech to put up the structure and procure the equipment that would make the Laboratory a world class. The learning equipment will help train Yabatech students on necessary skills, it will also help the students to compete globally. Marine Engineers can also be effectively trained in the marine laboratory. Yabatech has used the fund allocated by TETFund judiciously.”

The Rector, Dr Margaret Ladipo lauded TETFund for its support to the institution, which she said started in 1999.

“TETFund granted the college a pioneer intervention fund of N24, 709,302. Since then, its regular intervention to the college has grown significantly. YABATECH has over the years embarked on a course of academic expansion through the introduction of new programmes, which are relevant to the development of the nation’s economy. With TETFund as our supporting partner, we will definitely succeed in our mission to improve the standard of education in the country.

She however solicited more support from the agency to further develop the institution, adding, “The Epe Campus is indeed the future of YABATECH. It is a 45-hectare parcel of land, out of which less than five hectares has been effectively utilized for physical development. There is vast potential for growth with relocation of old departments and creation of new academic programmes and departments at the campus.’

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EDUCATION : TFN pledges to bridge educational inequality, inducts new tutors

To solve educational inequality in the country,  we need inspired and motivated young leaders from different academic disciplines to canvass and act for excellence in the education standards of Nigeria. 

Determined to address educational inequality in Nigeria, “Teach For Nigeria” (TFN), a non-profit organisation, has reassured of its resolve to expand educational opportunities in the country through the deployment of exceptional graduates in undeserved schools.

Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Folawe Omikunle, while speaking at the induction of 48 teachers as part of its first cohorts of fellowship for a two-year educational intervention and leadership programme, said the group was birthed in Nigeria to address issues of  injustice and inequity commonly found in public schools.

She noted that every child has the potential to thrive and be fulfilled if placed  in the right environment and equipped with the right  tools.  She said the platform which would be used to reach children who do not have the means of attaining quality education will ensure that every Nigerian child have good education irrespective of gender, social or economic background.

She said: “To solve educational inequality in the country,  we need inspired and motivated young leaders from different academic disciplines to canvass and act for excellence in the education standards of Nigeria.

“We are convinced that by preparing and equipping these groups of future leaders, the newly inducted tutors to take responsibilities of making an impact in high-speed schools, accelerated change is inevitable. The reason we are having challenges in the sector is because it is filled with those who do not understand its needs.

Chairman of the event, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode stated that TFN is committed to addressing the vexed issues in the sector, adding “In 20 years’ time, Nigeria is going to be the largest nation in the world. If we don’t address educational inequity now, we are doomed as a nation.”

Chairman, Association of Private Educators in Nigeria (APEN) and Founder, Oxbridge Tutorial College, Dr. Femi Olusanya, said the inductees are specially selected teachers who would go into the inner cities, to the low-income schools and introduce quality education to the students.

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EDUCATION : Collapse of education sector may lead to a failed nation, don warns

Education should take a central stage in Nigeria’s national development aspirations, strategizing and plan implementation. PHOTO: Shutterstock

A former professor of Economics at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Folayan Ojo, has urged government at all levels to urgently address critical issues in the education sector warning that the collapse of education may lead to a failed nation.

Ojo, a former Commissioner for Rural Development and Water Resources in the old Ondo State who spoke at the launch of the Volume Two of his autobiography “A dream Fulfilled” warned that disaster looms in the country if the crisis in the education sector is not urgently addressed.

He said, “The reality is that any country that cannot successfully cater for education will not make meaningful progress in any area of human endeavour. We should note that the collapse of education is the collapse of the nation. In essence, fixing the challenges confronting the sector is a sine qua non to tackling the challenges in other areas of our individual and national endeavour.

“More than before; and as it happened in the defunct western region, all the components of our education system need urgent and radical overhaul. Education should take a central stage in Nigeria’s national development aspirations, strategizing and plan implementation. Of course for such to happen, there is need for a reformed way of our doing things, including a frontal attack on corruption. The goal should be to attain a sound educational system that could sustain Nigeria and make it more competitive globally.”

He argued that rather than clamouring for more universities, and comparing or competing with other universities of the world in terms of numbers, the comparison should be related to other parameters such as resource availability, governments’ political will to take decisive actions and to efficiently utilise available resources.

According to him, “The carrying capacity of some of the existing universities is terribly low, they have relatively low numbers of students each. The federal government established universities indiscriminately and without much planning; some states did the same to the extent that some of them have three universities each; apart from the presence of a federal university in each of the states. Two examples readily come to mind, Ondo and Ogun States. How can a state government that cannot effectively pay workers’ salaries manage three universities? It is ridiculous. To really make the federal and state universities more functional and viable, some of them should be merged.

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Monday, 17 July 2017

EDUCATION : Coventry University secures its reputation with Gold ranking

Coventry University has secured its position as one of the UK’s top universities with a number of new awards including being ranked Gold in the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Following Coventry’s strong performance in the Guardian University Guide 2018, in which it climbed to 12th place – its highest ever listing – and regained its title of top modern university.

Coventry University received a Gold rating in the TEF, a new British government ranking of how well students are taught across UK universities published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Of the 134 higher education institutions which took part across the UK, Coventry was one of just 30 per cent to achieve the top score, and scored higher than several Russell Group institutions – which is a leading group of 24 research universities.

The TEF assesses universities on the quality of their teaching by looking at measures including student satisfaction, student retention rates and graduate employment levels.

The judging panel noted that Coventry has:

  • “Consistently outstanding student support services to all students, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds, that support retention and progression”
  • “A rigorous and critical approach to assessment and feedback that effectively supports students from all backgrounds towards progression and attainment”
  • “An outstanding institutional culture that places emphasis on recognising and rewarding excellent teaching”
  • “An outstanding focus on employability and developing entrepreneurship skills that are highly valued by employers.”

Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University said: “A new order has been established in university rankings, a clear message that universities must work harder for a recognised environment of success and that students are looking for more than historic reputation.

“They want to be taught by committed professionals who care about preparing them for the global workplace and TEF is a wake-up call that shows a philosophy of independent learning must be backed up by quality teaching.

“This result validates the hard work and support of our exceptional staff, proving that outstanding student experience and teaching leads to great graduate job opportunities.”

The news adds to growing awards for Coventry University which has also been named as one of the world’s top institutions under 50 years old, and confirmed its commitment to international experiences by sending more students abroad as part of their course than any other UK university.

With many undergraduate and postgraduate courses still available for September 2017 entry, not to mention January 2018 on the horizon, why don’t you experience Coventry University for yourself?

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Coventry University.

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Sunday, 16 July 2017

EDUCATION : Lagos schools shine at Nigerian robot Olympiad

Winners-of-World-Robot-Olympiad-Nigeria on Saturday

Lagos State Model College Meiran and Araromi Ilogbo Junior Secondary, Oke Afo on Saturday emerged champions of the 2017 Nigerian edition of the World Robot Olympiad.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2017 edition of the competition which took place at the School Hall of British International School, Victoria Island, was sponsored by Arclights Foundation for Educational Development and Improvement in Africa.

Arclights Foundation is the exclusive partner of LEGO in Nigeria and LEGO Education in West Africa, the organisers of the World Robots Olympiad, an annual event that draws participants from across the world.

LEGO Education organises a yearly challenge for the kids on how they can solve some problems on their own using robots made from LEGO plastic models.

The LEGO coach gets the annual challenge on the website and breaks it down to simple tasks that the children can understand and give those directions on how to solve them.

The kids on their own then brainstorm on how to solve the problem from the previous knowledge of the task; they also build the robots to solve the challenge given to them.

The sponsors of the competition, Arclights Foundation is the foremost robot designers in Nigeria.

By virtue of their performance at the keenly contested competition which tasked their creative intellect, the winners will represent Nigeria at the World Robot Olympiad scheduled for Costa Rica.

The theme of this year’s robotic competition is “Robots for Sustainability’’.

The Managing Director, ArcLights Foundation, Mrs Abisola Obasanya, told NAN that the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) had helped to build the students’ confidence.

She added that the competition was primed to assist the students to compete with other children in the world.

“Arclight Foundation is out to build 21st century children.We need generations of scientists that can impact positively on the society and that is why we are encouraging these young ones.

“We have been having good feedbacks from our efforts so far and within few years to come, we will reap the benefits.

“The project is work in progress, so we cannot be too hasty about getting sponsors, as times goes on, we will and everybody will be happy,’’ she said.

Mr Bayo Ibiyeye, Director, Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology, told NAN that the Lagos State government was passionate about promoting science and technology in the state.

Ibiyeye, however, urged the organisers of the event to create more awareness about the competition to attract more participants from all over Nigeria.

In the same vein, Mrs Adebukola Iloanya, Head of Ace Doors Schools, said that robotic competition makes students critical thinkers.

“The children’s participation in the competition will help them to be problem solvers and precise. It helps the students to build a healthy competitive spirit.’’

Mrs Olabisi Ijimakinwa, Coach, Imperial Gate School, Lekki, said that the competition had exposed the students to the need for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The coach, whose school won the 2016 edition of the competition and subsequently represented the country in India, described the competition as a great exposure for the students.

“It was when I got there that I knew we had a whole lot of work to do,’’ she said.

The coach of one of the winning teams of the open competition, Akinola Ogbeyemi, said that it was challenging putting the winners together, adding that the winners gave their best.

“It is not easy getting them together because they are from different homes. I needed to get the consent of their parents and commitments of the students before we made it work.

“The winners are the ones who designed and implemented their projects . I only gave them the guide and they are good at it.

“I am so surprised to win because this is the first time that everyone in my team is participating in the competition and it’s a pleasure wining,’’ he said.

One of the Winners of the open competition, Olukoya Oluwatodimu said he and his team were excited wining the coveted trophy in their category.

Also winners of the senior category, Opoola Roberts from Lagos State Model College, Meiran, said: “I am happy to have won the trophy being my last attempt.

“I am very happy to win this competition at last because this will be my last time at the competition as I will be graduating to the upper class next session.

“My team emerged third place last year, but this year with a lot of determination, we were able to come first with the efforts of our tutors.’’

NAN also reports that other winners include EVS Solvers who emerged champions in the open competition, Robos Stomerz came second in the same category, while 125 Pound came third.

In the Senior Category, Lagos State Model College, Meiran, came first while Iwerekun Senior High School Lakowe, emerged second and Oke Afa Comprehensive College, Isolo, third.

For the junior category, Araromi Ilogbo Junior Secondary School, Oke Afo led the pack, while Caleb International School, Abijo, came second and Igbowu Junior Secondary School, third.

In the elementary division, Team Invincible came first, Team United second and Team 105 from Heritage Homes third.

NAN reports that the winners of this competition will represent the country in the WRO at Costa Rica from November 10 to 12

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Thursday, 13 July 2017

EDUCATION : Increase in tuition as a disincentive for learning

ASUU National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi

With the recent announcement by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that some tertiary institutions have increased their tuition, Head, Education Desk, Iyabo Lawal, examines how such action can affect learning and the students.

Many of them gathered around the notice pasted on the wall. With books firmly clutched in their hands, their pensive eyes probed the information on the wall. It was in June that the news filtered in that there would be a new regime of tuition, starting from the 2017/2018 academic year for federal universities in the country.

A young man withdrew from the motley crowd. Without parental support, he fends for himself. It will take a leap of faith for him to be sure of being able to pay his tuition for the next session.

If the said increment of University of Lagos’ school fee from N14, 500 to N63, 500 is true, the young man may be faced with a nearly impossible mission of completing his education.

“I can imagine a lot of girls that will go into prostitution because of this hike in our school fee,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Specifically on June 26, with journalists milling around him, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Ibadan (UI) Chapter, Dr. Deji Omole, raised the alarm that no fewer than 38 Federal Government-owned universities across the country have increased their fees.

The disclosure is ominous given the fact that many homes are struggling to make ends meet as the country’s economic recession bites harder.

Omole condemned the hike and said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration seems designed to further impoverish the Nigerian masses and make education almost out of their reach.

“The latest increment might be attributed to poor funding by the federal and state governments as ASUU poorly rated the President Muhammadu Buhari in the area of funding of university education,” he said.

Tertiary institutions, experts say are already haemorrhaging due to insufficient budgetary allocation to the sector.

Apart from UNILAG which allegedly increased its tuition to N63, 500, the following institutions are reported to have taken similar action: Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) increased its tuition from N27, 000 to N41, 000; University of Nigeria (UNN), from N60, 450 to N66, 950; Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), from N19, 700 to N55, 700.

Others are Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), from N20, 100 to N65, 920; Bayero University, Kano (BUK), from N26, 000 to N40, 000; University of Abuja, from N39, 300 to N42, 300 and Usman Dan Fodio University, from N32, 000 to N41, 000.

Similarly, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) increased its school fees from N36, 000 to N41, 000; University of Benin (UNIBEN), from N12, 000 to N49, 500; Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) from N13, 560 to N83, 940; Federal University, Minna, from N20, 000 to N37, 000; University of Calabar (UNICAL), from N30, 500 to N42, 750; University of Uyo (UNIUYO), from N71, 000 to N84, 250; Federal College of Education, Akoka, from N16, 000 to N40, 000; and Osun State University, from N95,000 to N135,500.

Said to have joined the hike in tuition are Anambra State University, from N76, 000 to N139, 000; Lagos State University (LASU), from N96, 750 to N158, 250; Imo State University, from N120, 000 to N150, 000; Plateau State University, from N50, 000 to N100, 000 and University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) from N16, 000 to N75, 000, among others.

But in a twist of event, some of the named institutions have refuted the claims by ASUU.
For example, the Vice Chancellor of UNILORIN, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, said few days after the union’s claim, “There is no iota of truth in that online report. We never sat at the university management level to fix school fees or fees for the 2017/2018 academic session. We do not charge fees. We are FG tertiary institution and government’s directive is that it is tuition-free. Whatever we charge is just for utilities by our students. UNILORIN dissociates itself from the content of that publication.”

Other institutions also debunked the claim of ASUU.

According to the University of Benin’s Public Relations Officer, Michael Osasuyi, ASUU’s claim is unverifiable.

He stated, “UNIBEN has not increased any fees. We do not know where the issue of N12, 000 to N49, 500 came from. We urge parents to confirm from the school before giving money to their children. There is no increase. The report is false.

Speaking in the same vein, the Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, ‎Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, said the institution has neither increased its tuition nor has plans to do so.
“Be informed that contrary to the post on increased fees making the rounds, Igbinedion University, Okada has not increased fees, and has no plans to do so. In fact, rather than increase, we have lightened the burden of paying fees by allowing parents to pay in instalments.”

Similarly, the Deputy Registrar, information unit, UNILAG, Mr Toyin Adebule has denied claims of increase in tuition fees.
According to him, UNILAG as a federal university does not charge students for tuition. Instead, he clarified that what students pay for termed  “other charges” are accommodation, health insurance and laboratory services for those studying science-related courses.

He said, “ UNILAG as a federal university does not charge tuition fees, but students pay other charges.

The management of FUTA and University of Ibadan (UI) have also denied claims of increment in tuition fees.

While the institutions continue to react to the claim of ASUU, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has vowed to resist any hike in school fees by the institutions.

NANS President, Chinonso Obasi, noted that the institutions and the government have always made students to bear the brunt of “administrative ineptitude.”

He said, “In saner climes, education funding includes revenue from researches and consultative collaborations. Implementation of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) strategies, particularly commercialising research findings, should occupy Nigeria’s educational institutions rather than constant hike in tuition fees payable by hapless students. NANS believes that the planned hike in tuition fees would be the last straw that would break the cycle of obnoxious levy on learning and pursuit of education.”

Obasi pointed out that such increase could jeopardise the future prospects of youths studying in various higher institutions.

“Consequently, NANS wishes to serve a notice to the authorities concerned that Nigerian students will never endure any increase in tuition at this time of the nation’s socio-economic challenges. If administrators of Nigeria’s educational institutions have run out of ideas of funding and sustaining educational institutions in the country, they should feel free to liaise with students to explore new ways of funding the institutions.

“While we express our readiness to speak with chief executives of tertiary institutions, NANS wishes to reiterate the fact that Nigerian students have been patient with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The President Buhari administration should recognise that this is the time to reward the understanding and cooperation of Nigerian students with education subsidy, proper funding of education and adequate welfare initiatives for students.”

In May last year, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, promised that the Federal Government would harmonise tuitions of all federal universities to stop arbitrary charge of fees by some institutions.

“Since the protests started, we have summoned the authorities of the universities and sat down with them and we are going to harmonise everything. Because, I think it is N45, 000 that is the maximum that should be charged. I know that in some places, there has been other arrangement. But the ministry would harmonise everything and I believe there will be no more protests over fees,” the minister had said.

One year after, that remains a promise yet to be kept.

In 2016, the universities of Lagos, Ibadan and Port Harcourt were shut down following students’ protests over increase in tuitions, lack of water and power supply on the campuses.

In Nigeria, according to experts, national universities have always grappled with issues of admission, accommodation, education policies, student unionism, and funding.

Awards of scholarships to indigent and exceptional students have become the exception rather than the rule.

On the problem of hike in tuitions and inadequate facilities conducive for learning, Dr. Nkechi Okoli, noted that such inadequacies brought about the 1978 “Ali must go” saga.
Students had taken to the streets with some of them killed by Nigerian soldiers.

“In the early 1970s, governments were giving grants, subsidies and scholarships to as many as gained admission into higher institutions. Many candidates who were indigent and who never dreamt of seeing the four walls of a university had the opportunity to go to school,” Okoli noted.

By 1978, following the “Ali must go” saga, parents began to pay full fees for their children and that closed the doors to indigent candidates who could not pay school fees. Since then there has been steady increase in fees at the higher education level.

The Federal Government has made it mandatory for universities to find avenues of generating funds internally. It seems apparent that hike in tuition is driven by this mandate.

However, scholars have noted that increasing tuition especially while the country is going through difficult economic and political situation will result in damaging impact on students.

Enrolment in tertiary institutions will drop; and absenteeism will increase as some self-sponsored students go into the streets to see how they can support themselves – combining schooling and doing odd jobs, and so maximum attention will no longer be paid to lectures. Thus, poor performance academically sets in.

Add to that, many students will be unable to buy textbooks because of fees increase. They do not have easy access to the Internet to browse for research.
Not a few parents and students will hope that the announcement by ASUU is nothing but a ruse and that the claim by the institutions is correct.

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EDUCATION : Minister urges FUTA to lead research into flooding, climatic problems

Usman Jubril

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril has tasked the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), to lead the search for solution to the debilitating flooding and other effects of climatic change ravaging some parts of the country.

Jibril who made the appeal during his working visit to the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) domiciled in the university said with the equipment and quality of manpower at the centre, FUTA has what it takes to help the country solve its myriads of environmental challenges.

Briefing the minister and his delegation which included the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Shehu Ahmed and the Executive Director, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Dr. Adepoju Adeshola, on the operations of the WASCAL, the director, Prof Kehinde Ogunjobi said the centre was set up to train competent weather and climate scientists capable of providing solutions to climatic related problems in agriculture, water resources and allied sectors in West Africa.

Besides, Ogunjobi said the centre develops hazard and vulnerability maps for climate change adaptation and water resources management system for the sub-region and its ready to collaborate with the ministry to tackle the country’s environmental challenges.

To achieve its mandate and proffer solutions to increasing weather and climate change challenges, the director disclosed that the centre has succeeded in training students from across West Africa.

“Over the years, we have trained students from across West Africa sub-region on climate related issues.  We have graduated quite a number of doctorates and masters degree students who are spread all over the world ensuring that climate and weather related issues are properly managed.”

The director then took the minister with members of his team as well as FUTA management on a tour of the centre.

An elated Jubril said his ministry is open to receive suggestions from the centre on how to improve on the climate to benefit humankind.

Vice chancellor, Prof Joseph Fuwape said the institution have contributed immensely to tackling environmental issues and challenges and assured that it would not fail in this new task.

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EDUCATION : Government’s takeover of schools hurting sector’s development, cleric Onabanjo insists

Family Physician and cleric, Dr. Olumuyiwa Onabanjo, has described government’s interference and take-over of schools from the missionaries in the early 70s as a great mistake and a major setback for the sector.

Onabanjo, who is the guest minister at the 21st valedictory ceremony of Dansol High School, Agidingbi, Lagos, said if the schools had remained with the original owners, the issue of moral decadence and high level of delinquency adversely affecting the country would have been prevented.

He said Nigerians are confronted with strange situations because its education system is grooming youths without character and discipline, as well as a generation that lacks emotional intelligence.

“One of the greatest setback we had in our educational development was government’s hijack of the education system from the mission. It is the greatest mistake. The mission schools then were developing at their own pace; breeding students with high moral standard and has proven to be a structure with brighter future until government came and disrupted it. Today our education system is in total dilapidation.

“A curriculum without moral experience is indeed a disaster. Parents and schools must collaborate to ensure our children are well groomed in character and in learning. Education without character is a disaster. He charged the 2017 graduating class to be a shining light and ambassadors of change wherever they go.

Chairperson of the occasion, Dr. Stella Ogunmuyiwa, urged the graduating students to henceforth endeavour to make the right choices, pointing out that every decision taken without weighing the pros and cons will in the long run affect their personality.
“Use your brain wisely and make the right choices as poor choices lead to poor productivity in life,” she added.

President, Dansol Christian Mission, Mrs. Adun Akinyemiju, while assuring parents of the school’s continuous effort to ensure spiritual and academic growth of their children, emphasised that Dansol places high premium on character and moral education.

She urged graduands to keep in touch with each other to keep the fire glowing.

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EDUCATION : Varsity teacher advocates retraining of engineers to meet global challenges

A Professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering, Prof Micheal Adewumi has canvassed a paradigm shift in the training of engineers to make them globally relevant and in tune with present demands.

Prof Adewumi who is the vice provost for global programmes at Pennsylvania University, United States of America said the world has changed, hence training of engineers must be in line with global acceptable practices.

The university teacher who was the guest speaker at the 2017 annual lecture of the Nigeria Academy of Engineering (NAE) held at the J.F Ade Ajayi Auditorium, University of Lagos, described members of the professional body as the ‘best and brightest minds’ who should be influencing policy making on behalf of the government.

Prof Adewumi who spoke on the topic, “Training engineers for the global century,” at the event, which also featured life achievement awards and induction of new fellows called for a review of the curriculum to make it locally relevant.

He said, “When you look at the membership of NAE, it comprises of the best and brightest minds in the country; so these people should be influencing policy making on behalf of the government. For instance, a situation where everybody has to teach the same thing does not make any sense. In the university, we have professors, they have to be creative and come up with new ideas to disseminate.

“In terms of the curriculum, you adapt it to be locally relevant and globally competitive. Therefore, there is no point training Nigerians who do not understand the problem of Nigeria, unless you train them on that, they would disengage and once they disengage, you are losing the capacity.”

On why people prefer to hire expatriates to handle technical jobs, Prof Adewumi attributed this to global mobility of labour and knowledge, adding, “people are looking for the best and the brightest. So you need to begin to train high quality engineers who are globally competitive, once this is done, there is no reason to bring somebody else to come and do the job, we need to really put our house in order”.

While highlighting some of its objectives to include promotion of engineering education, NAE president, Mrs Joan Maduka said the academy is out to draw attention to the problems confronting the sector.

“This advocacy, for instance is to bring engineering out to the people, tell our government that this is what we want, but before we start persuading government and other agencies, we must put our house in order. We want to improve the quality of our graduates and the rest of the engineering family so that when we now come out and say use us fully; we know what we are talking about. Over the years, we found that engineering education has been declining, first because government does not have enough funds to even refurbish or replace some of the equipment and technology is improving everyday.”

Already, Mrs Maduka stated that the academy is attracting the attention of relevant government agencies and expressed hope that things would improve in due course.

Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu lamented that engineers in the country have not been given their dues over the years, especially in the civil service.

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