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

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

EDUCATION : ASUU and the seasonal union shakedown

EDUCATION : ASUU and the seasonal union shakedown

Minister of Education, Professor Adamu  Adamu (left); Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige; President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; Deputy President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Victor Osoduko and President ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi during a meeting between Federal Government and ASUU in Abuja. Photo: Lucy Ladidi Elukpo.

Every couple of years, we seem to go through the same episodes. ASUU goes on strike due to the government failing to implement an agreement. Talks are held, and after deliberations, the strikes are called off, typically with some new agreement signed. In most cases, the strikes last a few weeks, although there have been instances where the strikes have lasted for months. The strikes are not unique to ASUU though. For some reason, the strikes are typically followed by strikes from SSANU, JOHESU, and a lot of other unions. Almost as if they operate on some type of schedule. But why do these strikes occur so frequently?

To get a grasp of this it is important to understand the political cycle and the constraints that the federal government faces. We have had four-year terms since we returned to democracy in 1999. The four-year term means the federal government faces a similar cycle in terms of its interaction with the populace, which presumably has the power to retain or remove the government. To this end, the government is at its freest immediately it is elected. Right after elections, it typically has the goodwill of the people, and more importantly, it has time to rebuild that goodwill in the event it loses it doing something unpopular.

However, as time goes on, and as it gets closer and closer to the next set of elections, the government loses that opportunity to rebuild goodwill if lost. What this means in practice is that the closer you get to elections, the more difficult it is to implement policy that is unpopular, even if it is a good policy. As is common knowledge in policy circles, if you have a difficult policy to implement, do it early and quickly, so you can demonstrate the benefits before the next elections come around.

The goodwill cycle also means that there are times when the government is at its most vulnerable. As you may have guessed, it is not when the government is just freshly elected as at that point, it can still rebuild goodwill. It is also not right before elections, as at that point it can just blame whatever hostility on politics. The point when the government is at its most vulnerable is somewhere in between the two, where it does not have enough time to rebuild good will but also does not have the opportunity to blame it on politics.

It is this vulnerability that ASUU, and other unions, have exploited since the return of democracy in 1999. Since 1999, ASUU has embarked on no less than 14 strikes, although some of those have been just week-long warning strikes. More recently, the strikes appear to have come at the time when the government was most vulnerable. The latest strike is coming just over a year before the next set of elections, at a time when the government has little room to rebuild any lost goodwill. In 2009, it went on strike for three months starting from June, shortly before the death of then President Umaru Yar’Adua. In July 2013, it embarked on another 5-month strike, which ended roughly a year before the elections. Here we are again in 2017, again just over a year to the election season.

Given the vulnerability, what is the best response by the government to the strikes? It is always to make a deal. A deal that reduces the potential for destruction of whatever goodwill the government has left. Goodwill that it will not have the time to rebuild. The deal is typically unimplementable and includes a pay bump and a gentleman’s agreement to not go on strike at least until after elections. The deal works for both parties. For the government it ends the strike, and even though the deal is unimplementable, it can worry about that later. For ASUU, the deal comes with a pay bump, but crucially a deal which will serve as the basis for a future strike. And so, the cycle continues.

To be fair to ASUU, its mandate is to fight for the wellbeing of its members, which unsurprisingly does not include all Nigerians but only those who are academic staff at universities. To that objective, it has done extremely well. It is also not the only union that uses this tactic so it would be unfair to only call them out. Still, it is yet another example of how many of our institutions have turned into rent-seeking agencies focused strictly on getting their share of the national cake.

How do we break out of this cycle of strikes and unimplementable deals? I don’t know, but sooner or later, someone is going to have to figure it out.

Nonso Obikili is an economist currently roaming somewhere between Nigeria and South. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not reflect the views of his employers.





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Monday, 18 September 2017

EDUCATION : ASUU, Federal Government meet today to fine-tune grey areas in demands

EDUCATION : ASUU, Federal Government meet today to fine-tune grey areas in demands

ASUU National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi


Striking university teachers will today meet with the government team to fine-tune the grey areas in their demands.National president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, who confirmed this to The Guardian, maintained that the five-week old strike would only be suspended if all the vexed issues are resolved.

Ogunyemi said members met at the branch level to review the negotiation process and identified some grey areas, which they insisted must be addressed before the strike could be suspended.

The Federal Government’s delegation to last week’s meeting led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said it would make funds available in September and October to back earlier agreements and to show its good faith.

In respect of the 2009 agreement, government proposed a seven-man committee with the union to work out a framework for the implementation.Ngige further said payments of earned allowances of the teachers had started as at the time while a pathway was proposed for registration of a universities’ pension management company, raising hopes of students and parents that the strike would soon be called off.

But Ogunyemi told The Guardian yesterday: “The strike has not been suspended; its true we consulted at the branch level but members directed us to go back and meet the government team to clarify the grey areas. Let us fine-tune the rough edges, as soon as this is done and provided that government does not renege again on the agreement, we will suspend the strike.”

Meanwhile, In view of the recent publications by the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos State University (LASU) chapter, claiming that the dismissed officers of the institution were being victimised by the university management, professors and associate professors of LASU, have distanced themselves from the claims.

The group, in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting held at the institution’s senate chamber during the weekend, and signed by Prof. Martins Anetekhai and Dr. Sylvester Odion-Akhaine, said it had become imperative for them to declare their true stance in the context of the new development at LASU in the face of the conflicting statements emanating thereafter.

According to them, “The body of Professors and Associate Professors is committed to the good image of the university, the welfare of the staff and the progress of our students. We totally dissociate ourselves from the recent publications by the members of the ASUU-LASU executives, which claimed they were being victimised by the university management. The dismissal of the affected staff was based on the extant rules and regulations of the university.

“However, the affected members of staff have the right within the ambit of the law to appeal to the governing council or seek redress in a court of competent jurisdiction. ASUU-LASU has always been at the forefront of ASUU struggles and we are totally committed to the ongoing national strike.

“We observe the undue interference of the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU (Lagos Zone) calling a press conference, the content of which did not emanate from the ASUU-LASU Congress and therefore, we totally dissociate ourselves from it. The union belongs to all of us and all hands must be on deck to ensure a united ASUU-LASU body.”

The communiqué also implored the Lagos State government and visitor to the university to honour whatever agreement is reached between the Federal Government of Nigeria and ASUU in the interest of the state.





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Friday, 15 September 2017

EDUCATION : NECO releases June/July SSCE results with 70.85% success rate

EDUCATION : NECO releases June/July SSCE results with 70.85% success rate


The National Examinations Council (NECO) has released the results of the 2017 June/July Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE).The Council says no fewer than 745,053 out of the 1,051,472 candidates that sat for this year’s June/July Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) got five credits and above, including English and Mathematics.

The figure, which represents 70.85 per cent, indicates 1.11 per cent increase in performance of candidates compared to 2016.The result also shows that 947,850 candidates, representing 90.14 per cent, passed with five credits and above irrespective of English Language and Mathematics compared to 88.61 per cent in 2016, which represents 1.63 per cent improvement compared to last year.

The Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of NECO, Prof. Charles B. Uwakwe, who announced the release of the results at the NECO Headquarters in Minna, Niger State capital, yesterday, said “this year’s Senior School Certificate Examination was a huge success.”

He stated that despite the Council’s zero-tolerance for examination malpractices, 50,586 (4.81 per cent) candidates were involved in various forms of examination malpractices, saying that 276 schools were involved in what he called “mass cheating” in 34 states of the federation.

The registrar pointed out that this figure shows 0.52 per cent increase in cases of malpractices compared to 2016, stressing that as a result of this, “six schools were de-recognised.”

According to the examination body, Ekiti State emerged top in performance with 85 per cent of its students scoring five credits and above, including Mathematics and English.

It is closely followed by Edo and Bayelsa states with 84.61 per cent and 84.52 per cent respectively.Kebbi State came first as the state with the highest cases of malpractices.recording 8,124 cases, representing 16.05 per cent.

Also, 23 supervisors, who aided examination malpractices in one way or the other, have been blacklisted.Uwakwe maintained that the success recorded this year could be attributed to both external and internal factors, adding: “NECO candidates are examined based on Nigeria’s modern curriculum while the new cream of members of staff, as well as synergy with other bodies responsible in designing Nigerian curriculum, contributed immensely.”





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Thursday, 14 September 2017

EDUCATION : FGGC Bwari laments insufficient overhead cost, ICT infrastructure

EDUCATION : FGGC Bwari laments insufficient overhead cost, ICT infrastructure

FGGC

Principal, Federal Government Girls’ College, Bwari, Mrs. Stellamaris Omu, has appealed to the government to look into the insufficient budgetary provision of the college, as well as its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) facilities.

She made the appeal during the audit exercise visit of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Senator Aliyu Wamakko.

The visit, which afforded the minister and the senate committee chairman the opportunity to meet with the Director/Principal of the college and other management staff to discuss their challenges also featured a facility tour by the team.

Omu said, “Some of the challenges confronting us are incomplete and broken perimeter fence, inadequate dining hall space, which compelled us to allow the girls to eat in batches and this affects our daily routines. Also, we have inadequate ICT facilities for the large number of learners as well as insufficient budgetary provision for overheads, amongst others.

“We pray that your coming will bring the college the needed enhancement of our existing facilities in line with quality education delivery for the girl-child. It is our desire that you will sometime, despite your tight schedules, visit us again and especially, during the academic session.”

While Adamu on his part commended the management and staff of the college for their warm welcome, Wamakko promised that issues relating to some of the challenges will be attended to in due course.





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EDUCATION : WAEC results as metaphor of collapsing education standards in Southwest

EDUCATION : WAEC results as metaphor of collapsing education standards in Southwest

West African Examinations Council (WAEC)

For some consecutive years, Nigeria’s Southwest states have stuck out like a sore thumb in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WAEC) with their dismal performance. In this report, Head, Education Desk, Iyabo Lawal, examines why education in the region, once the bastion of high academic standards, is heading down.

In 2014, when the West African Examination Council released the results of the Senior School Certificate Examination, all the states in the Southwest were missing in the top-five list of states with the best performance.

That year, a state from the Southeast, Anambra, topped the list with Abia coming second. In the South-South, Edo (third), Rivers (fourth), Bayelsa (seventh) and Delta (eighth) displayed sterling performances. The Southwest states, usually synonymous with high education standards had lacklustre outing.

In the last three years, the dismal performances were repeated, signposting a persistent rot in the states’ education system – at least, in secondary school education.

As a whole, in terms of education, Nigeria’s Southwest states are fixated on the past, lost in the present and without vision for the future.

In 2015, Abia led the pack again with 63.94 per cent; Anambra came second with 61.18 per cent and Imo was fifth. Osun was 29th; Oyo, 26th; Ogun 19th; and Ondo 13th. Ekiti came 11th. Only Lagos made a good showing but did not make the top-five – it came sixth.

The quintet of Abia, Rivers, Edo, Imo and Bayelsa states emerged the best performing states in the 2016 WASSCE.

Abia came out strong at 81.54 per cent; Rivers, 78.59 per cent; Edo came third with 77.41 per cent; Imo had 76.46 per cent; Bayelsa, 74.38 per cent and Anambra, 71.83 per cent. Ondo came seventh with 68.43 per cent; and Lagos, ninth with 64.31 per cent; while Ekiti, Ogun, Osun and Oyo were 14th, 19th, 24th and 29th.

“The ranking is sent to states so that those who are already doing well will not rest on their oars,” the Head, Public Affairs Unit of WAEC, Demianus Ojijeogu, noted. “And those who are not doing very well can look at what the states with best performing candidates are doing in order to improve. It is also to help states to implement their policies in terms of teaching and learning, pupils’ attitude, teachers’ training, among other things.”

In other words, WAEC is telling states especially in the Southwest to invest more in teaching and learning. How can that be done? The example of Anambra and Edo states will illustrate.

In 2011, ex-Governor Peter Obi, returned 1,040 primary schools to the missions that established them. Thereafter, he awarded N6bn to the schools as grants. Out of this, public primary schools had N489 million; the rest went to secondary schools. The former governor also donated buses, laboratory equipment, transformers, generators, dispensary consumables, sports gears, computers and other tools to the schools.

Little wonder the World Bank recommended the school standard in Anambra as the model for Africa and other developing nations.

In Edo, the erstwhile Governor Adams Oshiomhole was a stickler for training and re-retraining of teachers and his legacy is seen in the performance of WASSCE candidates in that state.

As a matter of fact, since 1996, states like Imo, Anambra and Delta have been producing the highest number of candidates in the University Matriculation Examination (UME)

In 1999, Imo had 44,274 applicants; Delta, 36,375; and Anambra, 34,206, making them the top-three states.

In 2007, the top-five states with the highest number of candidates were Imo with 93,065; Anambra, 64,689; Delta, 61,580; Edo, 57,754; and Akwa Ibom, 47,928.

With most of the Southwest states hardly making a great showing in nationwide academic performances, not a few stakeholders have become nostalgic of an era when the region reigned supreme and the Southeast was playing a competitive catch-up.

And, rather than look to the future, the so-called civilised west may have to look to its glorious past.

In 1952, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first premier of the old Western Region, comprising nine states, kicked off with the Universal Primary Education, committing not less than 40 per cent of the region’s budget to education.

Awolowo was reported to have cut down on capital costs on school buildings, cancelled housing subsidy for civil servants and opted for mud blocks for classrooms when he was faced with the task of juggling the N10m estimate for the UPE, free health programme and the projected 1954 expenditure that was N5m.

By 1956, Grade 3 Teacher Training Colleges were established with 11,000 teachers trained between 1955 and 1958. How many teachers have been trained in the last four years in the Southwest?

Despite Awolowo’s unprecedented and pragmatic approach to education and its many gains and enduring legacies, many beneficiaries who have become leaders in modern Nigeria – particularly governors – appear determined to bastardise the system.

Since the advent of democracy in 1999, education has been annexed to the political arena as few fanciful school buildings with exaggerated costs litter the western landscape; and many schools with classrooms that can only be fit for pigs found everywhere.

Teachers are hungry, ill motivated and harried because the governors will rather spend money on white elephant projects than on the future generation through provision of quality education.

It is not hyperbolic when the late Babatunde Fafunwa, an eminent professor of education, described Awolowo’s education policy as “the boldest and perhaps, the most unprecedented educational scheme in Africa south of the Sahara.”

Many education scholars note with worry that in spite of the fact that the region was the first in the country to receive Western education and was ahead in academic excellence, it is now struggling to catch up with restive region like the South-South and exhibiting results like ravaged states in the North.

In the past, the East and the West’s academic excellence were personified by literary giants like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka; Nnamdi Azikiwe and Awolowo; University of Nigeria, Nsukka and University of Ibadan (UI. The rivalry was healthy and progressive.

The dangers of the present reality that governors and those directly involved in developing blueprints for academic excellence are oblivious of are that the region will likely end up sub-par in terms of development, service delivery and capacity to fill top positions in the region and at the centre.

A foremost educationist and former vice chancellor of UI, Prof. Ayo Banjo, said concerning the problem at hand, “The complaint that is regularly made today is that there are no funds. But I don’t think this is a very strong reason for not continuing free education in the country. All it requires is giving education a priority in the budget. That’s the way to fund education.”

Many southwest governors scheming ahead of 2019 general elections, that priority may remain a mirage or at best a political jingle, with undisclosed war chest devoted to their do-or-die ambitions.

While the Southwest may have become the poster boy for dwindling fortunes in its education system, the country also has been struggling over the years to pay teachers – from primary, secondary to tertiary schools.

A survey of 30 countries by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development showed that the United States spends $809bn; Japan, $160bn; Germany, $154bn; Brazil, $146bn; France, $123bn; and the United Kingdom, $123bn each year on education. How much does Nigeria spend?

It cannot be over-emphasised that teachers in the Southwest must be adequately motivated, commensurately and promptly remunerated to revive the region’s lost glory.

Education experts also charge the governors and leaders in the education ministry to resist the urge to treat teachers with disdain or contempt.
In countries like Finland, the Czech Republic, China, Japan and South Korea, teaching is a prized profession.

According to the OECD data, teachers are treated like royalty in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Once, the affected states and Nigeria as a whole stop treating teachers like lepers and let their rewards be on earth, then the standards of education can improve beyond everyone’s imagination.

While efforts to get the reaction of some of the affected states proved abortive, Oyo state government on its part faulted the performance chart saying it has surpassed its previous performance in the last 19 years, by moving from 21 percent to 54.18 percent.

The duo of the commissioner for education, Prof Adeniyi Olowofela and his information counterpart, Toye Arulogun said government last year enforced the policy of “no automatic promotion” for its students, which has started yielding positive results.

“The WAEC examination we did afterward is 2017 and we broke the jinx with a record performance of 54.18 percent pass. This is indicative of the fact that Oyo State students did not do poorly in the 2017 examinations conducted by WAEC comparatively. As a matter of fact this result is the best result by students in the State in the last 18 years.

To mention in passing, it is ironical to note that education has become one of the biggest and fast-rising businesses in the Southwest, with a large number of prestigious private schools springing up side by side with mushroom ones.

It will be a shame, education stakeholders in the region said, if the state governors continue to play deaf and blind to the woeful state of education. It will also be a shame if the students and their parents do not rise up to protest the ignominy and dire straits policy makers and political leaders have subjected education in their region to.

It remains to be seen whether there will be marked improvement when WAEC will make public the next analysis of performance in WASSCE.





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EDUCATION : Revamped education will revive Nigeria, says Babalakin 

EDUCATION : Revamped education will revive Nigeria, says Babalakin 

Wale Babalakin

The Pro-chancellor and Chairman, University of Lagos (UNILAG) Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), has called for the reformation of the education sector saying this is the only way to revamp other sectors of the economy.

Speaking at a retreat organised by the Osun State University in Ede, Osun State, Babalakin said the nation is presently at a crossroad and only the overhauling of he education sector can bring the needed emancipation.

He said, “Once we get the education system on a sound footing, it will propel the other sectors of the economy. It is very unfortunate that a country with a population of about 150 million persons has no tertiary institution that has any favourable rating in the world. Various rating agencies have placed the most outstanding Nigerian University at 800 or below in world ranking. It is acutely hurtful that even in Africa, no Nigerian university is rated amongst the top 20. More saddening is that once upon a time, Nigeria had universities that were highly rated in the world.”

“I recall watching a television programme some time ago where Pro. Olu Akinkugbe, an outstanding academic and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) stated that at a point in time, the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan was rated as the fourth amongst medical institutions in the Commonwealth. The significance of this is more appreciated when we realise that commonwealth countries included the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India, Pakistan and Malaysia. And so what happened?”

Babalakin also lamented inadequate funding of universities and called on government at all levels to henceforth stop establishing institutions that they cannot properly provide for.

According to him, “universities must be funded from public and private sources. He subsequently tasked all stakeholders to harness their intellectual and other resources to create sufficient funding for tertiary education.

“In order to make a university achieve the standard we seek, greater vitality must be introduced into the management of the institutions. Within the Nigerian laws today, majority of council members in the university are internal members.

This act of grace from the Federal Government and some other proprietors of universities must be complemented by a high degree of discipline and responsibility from the internal council members. The university administration, as a citadel of learning, must reflect truthfulness, scholarship and fairness in all its dealings. It cannot be a place where there are divisions based on ethnicity or governed by cartels.

On his part, UNIOSUN’s Pro-chancellor, Yusuf Alli, said any serious university must be Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-driven because the current demand of the global community in imparting knowledge has moved greatly into the realm of information technology.





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EDUCATION : Nigeria Education Week begins November 13

EDUCATION : Nigeria Education Week begins November 13


The much-anticipated Nigeria Education Week (NEW), a project involving Guardian Newspapers Limited and Books and Sports will kick off in Porthacourt, Rivers State capital on November 13.

The weeklong event, billed to hold at the Hotel Presidential in the Garden City, will be declared opened by the state governor, Nyesom Wike.

The programme, with the theme, “The continuous success stories of Ivy League graduates: Peer review of Nigerian op universities”, will feature seminars, exhibitions from education service providers, marketers of science and laboratory equipment, publishers as well as universities who are expected to display their innovations and works.

Participants would be drawn from government regulatory agencies including the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), National University Commission (NUC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TEFFUND); as well as stakeholders including seasoned academics from the various institutions, the international community as well as members of the public.

Similarly, the British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright, who is the guest of honour is expected to deliver a keynote address at the event.

According to the chairperson, main organising committee, Prof Sidi Osho, three compendium would be launched at the event.

One of the compendium, named “Vade Mecum”, is a yellow –page publication containing information about accredited universities in the country and profile of their administrators.

Prof Osho added that the second publication, titled, “The Virtuosi”, is a grand compilation of intellectual discourse, which focuses on issues and problems confronting the nation’s tertiary education subsector and provides in-depth solutions to them.

She said, “ The publication cuts across the egg-heads from the various geo-political zones who took their time to identify the issues confronting the tertiary education subsector, their peculiar differences and set backs in these areas.

“The third compendium is titled “Thanking my alma mater”. The ideology behind this publication is that no matter how turbulent the nation’s education system is, there are some institutions that have been able to withstand the storm; not just churning out graduates who have excelled but also on their own have been pacesetters in the sector. “

Prof Osho explained that the publication would focus on those institutions that have excelled while graduates of these universities will have the opportunity to celebrate with them.





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EDUCATION : ‘We need mandatory universal coverage of literacy in local  languages, content’

EDUCATION : ‘We need mandatory universal coverage of literacy in local  languages, content’

Chris Uwaje

Dr. Chris Uwaje is the Africa Chair for IEEE World Internet of Things (WIoT),former President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON),the Director general of Delta State Innovation Hub and also past-President of Information Technology Association of Nigeria. In this interview with Ujunwa Atueyi, in commemoration of the 2017 International Literacy Day, which had “Literacy in a Digital World,” as its theme, Uwaje said there is an urgent need for government to create programmes that would enhance digital literacy in the country.

This year’s International Literacy Day, according to UNESCO examines challenges and opportunities in promoting literacy in the digital world, how would you rate digital literacy level in Nigeria?
By Nigerian population and in comparison with other African countries, our digital literacy is still very low in terms of coverage, local-languages and content. The art of learning and governance has changed forever. Innovation has disrupted education content and processes. Future education is currently being re-defined. However, one thing is clear, future education and socio-economic activities will be digital, multimedia and mobile. And so government and concerned stakeholders must work towards increasing digital literacy in the country.

What kind of digital literacy skills do we need to navigate in a digital world?
The new economy requires new skill for global development, this means that new employment landscape is emerging worldwide and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills transformation becomes imperative. Currently, there is global shortage of ICT skills in many areas. Therefore, Nigeria requires new skill in the areas of Internet of Things (IoT), Internet Protocol Version Six (IPv6), Nano Technologies, Digital Security, Electronic Governance, Financial Technology (FinTech), Digital Entertainment and many more.

What is the role of government and schools in achieving digital literacy in the country?
We must start with mandatory universal coverage of literacy in local languages and content. Government must urgently establish the office of the ICT General of the federation to coordinate and centrally manage the ICT Ecosystem in Nigeria.

According to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) 2016 statistics, there are about 10.5 million Nigerian children that are out of school (OSC). This accounts for the largest population of such OSC anywhere on earth, in fact, Nigeria accounts for about 47 percent of the world’s Out of School population. In comparison, the entire population of Libya and Liberia is 10,496,000 while the population of OSC in Nigeria is approximately 10,500,000.

UNICEF data further informs that over the last decade, Nigeria’s exponential growth in population has put immense pressure on the country’s resources and on already overstretched public services and infrastructure. With children under 15 years of age accounting for about 45 per cent of the country’s population, the burden on education and other sectors has become overwhelming. 40 per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country.

What kind of policies and programmes will advance digital literacy skills in Nigeria?
There is an urgent need for mandatory education for all Nigerians between the ages of 6-15 years, and also establishing digital audio content literacy for children and adult.   Indeed audio books are now very prominent in many bookshops. It is easy to listen and follow the instructions and narratives. There has been much talk about the emerging new world built around the concept of globalisation and technology. What we have not started talking about as a nation is how to fully prepare to engage the emerging new education-centric knowledge society.

How can digital technologies support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4?
Digital technologies can support achievement of SDG4 in various ways; first by retooling national workforce and deploying e-government policy and strategies, as well as accelerating digital education. There is also need to introduce ICT Industry Empowerment Bailout Fund; invigorating IT curriculum, introduce mandatory IT-training for all teachers and lecturers; revamp ICT skill development and entrepreneurship in primary and secondary school; introduce coding and software development in primary and secondary schools; startup and incubators. Government should also encourage e-Health, youth employment, women empowerment, state security, research and development.
Technology Innovation Investment Funding, Venture Capital and Angel Investors are also important.

How can digital literacy help reduce unemployment in the country?
The new economy requires new skill for global development, this means that new employment landscape is emerging worldwide and ICT skill transformation becomes imperative. Currently, there is global shortage of ICT skills in many areas; therefore, new skills are required in the areas of IoT, IPv6, Nano Technologies, Digital Security and Digital Entertainment among others.





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EDUCATION : Kano, French Governments plan scholarship scheme

EDUCATION : Kano, French Governments plan scholarship scheme


Kano state government has launched the second phase of its scholarship scheme with the French government. Under the programme, the French government will be responsible for the payment of £10,000 covering tuition, registration, social security scheme, cost of books and other materials for each student annually while the state government will cater for accommodation, upkeep and travel expenses.

Ten post graduate and 15 doctoral students are expected to benefit from the scholarship scheme.

The chief press secretary to the governor, Ameen Yassar while shedding more light on the scholarship scheme in a statement said the programme is aimed at building capacity of academic personnel who would later be deployed to state-owned tertiary institutions after the completion of their studies.

While presenting letters of admission and travel documents to 15 candidates at the Government House,  Governor Umar Ganduje described the initiative as a significant step towards reinforcing Nigeria-France bilateral cooperation.

He said,  “We remain focused on improving and building capacity through local and foreign training, so far £632, 872. 56 has been expended by the government to cater for students pursuing post graduate and doctoral programmes in five universities in France and the Near East University, Cyprus”.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, the governor noted that despite financial constraints, his administration would continue to give priority attention to the education sector.

He explained that the recent injection of funds into various projects in the tertiary education sub- sector was part of his commitment towards a functional education system in the state.

The governor urged beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity and be good ambassadors of the country to justify the huge investment, with the hope that the state would eventually be the bigger beneficiary of it all.

While thanking the French government and its embassy in Nigeria for their support, Ganduje promised that his administration would open up additional window of opportunities for bilateral relationship between the two parties, in other sectors of socio-economic development.

Shedding light on the selection process, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Dr. Bakari Ado Hussain, explained that after nominations were made from the higher institutions, a five-man committee headed by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, ((NUC) Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, screened the candidates based on certain criteria, while the French Embassy secured the admissions.

“All the qualified candidates were made to sign bond which made it mandatory that after their studies, they must come back and serve Kano state government at least for two years”, he added.





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EDUCATION : Parents aid examination malpractices, UNILAG don alleges

EDUCATION : Parents aid examination malpractices, UNILAG don alleges

Prof. Hope Eghagha

Professor of English at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Hope Eghagha has accused some parents of aiding examination malpractices by assisting their wards to cheat.

Eghagha lamented that such parents, through their actions are unknowingly sowing a bad seed in the life of their wards

Prof Eghagha, who disclosed this while addressing dignitaries at the 18th Bishop Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture held at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, in commemoration of the cleric’s birthday said the level of desperation among students has become so high.

The erudite scholar was the chief examiner at the recently held annual essay competition in honour of the cleric.

While expressing concern over the activities of ‘magic centres’ which he said are doing much damage to the children, Prof Eghagha said parents and teachers both have a responsibility to teach children about their environment.

He disclosed that of the 796 entries received for the essay competition, 27 were rejected for being plagiarised after cross checking with internet sources.

“After the first round of assessment in which we judged mechanical accuracy, use of language, originality of though and thematic focus, 10 participants were selected and eventually invited for the second stage, which was mainly a confirmatory procedure. At the end, Miss Alexandra Nwigwe of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls emerged the winner while Jesuduntan Mercy Ipinmoye of Corona Secondary School came second and Akingbade Gbenga of Emerald High School came third.”

In her lecture titled, “Made in Nigeria products: The vehicle for sustainable development,” former Minister of Industry and President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief Onikepo Akande said the federal government must encourage its citizens to patronise made-in –Nigeria goods.

Chief Akande said although the President Mohammadu Buhari administration has been making efforts to drive the campaign, it must continue to prioritise it in view of the prevailing economic conditions.

The LCCI president noted that with more patronage of made –in-Nigeria products, manufacturers would be encouraged to improve the quality of their products.

Akande said, “For our country to become an exporting nation, it has to patronise locally made goods to boost local production and the nation’s economy. Nigeria can only move from an import to export-based economy if more Nigerians form the habit of buying made-in-Nigeria goods and services.

The guest lecturer also tasked the National Assembly to come up with a local patronage bill that would ensure that made-in –Nigeria goods and local producers are protected.

According to her, “There is no country that has managed to transform itself without sustained industrial growth or complete dependence on home-made goods. Certainly made-in-Nigeria goods will boost the nation’s manufacturing sector and by extension create more jobs. Thus, there is a need for holistic overhaul of our importation policy to discourage items that can be locally manufactured.

On his part, Chief Eric Umeofia who is the Chairman, Erisco Foods Limited tasked the government to give priority attention to local manufacturers.
Umeofia lamented that lack of adequate policy against exporting countries like china to checkmate their activities can kill local industries.

He listed other challenges facing local manufacturers to include multiple taxation, cost of production, lack of infrastructure and lack of policy to encourage the growth of indigenous manufacturers.





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EDUCATION : Foundation, others immortalise Sofenwa

EDUCATION : Foundation, others immortalise Sofenwa

Friends, associates and family of the late pioneer chairman of the Ogun State Teaching Service Commission, Chief Lamidi Ayinla Sofenwa recently gathered in Abeokuta to celebrate the life and times of the foremost educationist with a book launch and scholarship scheme in his honour.

They also called for a post-humous national award for Safenwa, described as a systematic teacher who lived a perfect life of service to the nation’s education sector.

Late Sofenwa was a former principal of the famous Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro and also the Chairman, Governing Board of Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu-Ijebu.

The event was jointly organised by the Egba Science Education Foundation, Abeokuta Club, Ogun State Cricket Foundation, Old Student Association Comprehensive School, Ayetoro and Methodist Boys High School, Lagos to mark the first year remembrance of the renowned educationist.

The book entitled “Lamidi Ayinla Sofenwa: Quintessential gentleman and educationist: A Biography”, was written by Olasumbo Martins, Dele Sogbesan and Biodun Odetoyin.

Some of the eminent personalities that graced the occasion were the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, members of the state executive council, Dr. G. A Soyoye, who chaired the occasion, Chief Olatunde Abudu, Justice Deinde Shoremi, Niyi Lasaki, Dele Sogbesan and Bode Popoola.

Amosun, in his remarks described Sofenwa as a detribalised Nigerian, sportsman and renowned educationist who had contributed in no small measure to the development of education sector in the country.

“Clearly baba (Sofenwa) was a quintessential devoted man, an educationist per excellence and a detribalised Nigerian. He went to Postiskum in Yobe State and he worked to the extent that a hall was named after him there.

Also, Soyoye described the late Sofenwa as “a man with many parts”, adding, “He was a good man, worthy in character and learning and a colossus in education”.

Soyoye added, “He (Sofenwa) excelled everywhere he worked. He was a man who was respected and honoured both home and abroad”.

On the scholarship scheme, the chairman said, “If Sofenwa was alive, he would want to give scholarships to deserving students”.
He disclosed that all the proceeds of the launch would be channeled to the scholarship scheme.

The book reviewer, Dr. Taofiq Salisu said, “The book was well put together in a very simple, clear and concise language”.

According to him, “This book is centred on a man of honour and distinction, an educationist of great stature, a trainer, a great mentor, a loco parentis, an excellent sportsman, a great communicator and motivator.”





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Saturday, 9 September 2017

EDUCATION : LASU sacks ASUU chairman, deputy, 15 others

EDUCATION : LASU sacks ASUU chairman, deputy, 15 others

Lagos State University


The Governing Council of Lagos State University (LASU) has terminated the appointment of 15 academic staff and two non-academic staff for various acts of misconduct, while two others — one academic staff and one non-academic staff were also demoted.

The Council of the school took the decision to sack the affected staff at its Meeting of Thursday September 7, 2017, in accordance with Section 6(1) and (2) of the Lagos State University Law 2004 (as amended). Among those affected by sack are ASUU-LASU Chairman and Vice Chairman, Isaac Oyewunmi and Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu.

A statement issued by the Acting Head, Centre For Information Press And Public Relations of the institution, Ademola Adekoya, said the Council at its 115th Meeting considered among other issues the report of its Joint Council /Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee and the Joint Council (Administrative and Technical Staff) Disciplinary Committee.

The statement reads: “Pursuant thereto, the Governing Council with immediate effect dismissed 15 members of the academic staff, two (2) members of non-academic staff, and sanctioned others for different acts of misconduct. Details of those dismissed are as follows:

“Dr. Isaac Akinloye, Oyewunmi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education, Faculty of Education was established to have demanded the sum of N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira only) from 2003 modular year students of Political Science Education on the Sandwich Programme to process their results. He was found culpable of attempt to obtain money for himself as an inducement to carry out his duties, and consequently dismissed from the service of the University.

Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, Senior Lecturer and Acting Head, Department of History and International Studies, Faculty of Arts was established to have unilaterally altered the results of 12 students already advised to withdraw by the Senate in the Department of History and International Studies in the 2015/2016 academic session, thereby changing their status from ‘withdrawn’ to ‘good standing’. He also changed the results of some final year students and stragglers outside the scope of the departmental decision.

Dr. Adeyemi-Suenu also awarded grade point of 2.0 to two students in an examination from which they were absent. This is tantamount to manipulation of students’ results in contravention of provisions of the conditions and scheme of service for senior staff. He was therefore dismissed from the service of the university.

Mr. Olatoye Mubin Raji, Assistant Lecturer, Department of Religions, (Islamic Studies Unit), Faculty of Arts, was established to have falsified his November /December 2000 WAEC O’ level certificate. He was therefore dismissed from the services of university.

Dr. Olugbenro Bankole Odofin, Senior Lecturer, Department of Education Foundation and Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education was established to have altered 118 students results and also awarded scores to students who did not sit for the examination in a certain course.

He was therefore dismissed from the services of the university.Dr. Adebowale Adebayo Ademeso, Senior Lecturer, Department of Theatre Arts and Music, Faculty of Arts, was established to have altered grades in 16 courses. He was therefore dismissed from the services of the university.

Dr. John Olufemi Adeogun, Associate Professor, Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education, Faculty of Education was found culpable of acts of dishonesty, which is tantamount to misconduct. He was therefore demoted from the rank of Associate Professor to Senior Lecturer.

Dr. Scholastica Ebarefimia Udegbe, Lecturer 1, Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management Sciences was established to have effected corrections on 1,995 results of students during her tenure as Acting Head, Department of Marketing between August 2012 and July 2016, in breach of laid down procedure for effecting correction on students results. In the circumstance, she was dismissed from the services of the university.

Dr. Olufemi Olugbenga Soyeju, Lecturer ll, Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law was established to have defaulted on conditions of his training leave bond, and also abandoned his duty post. Consequently, he is to refund the sum of N7,919,972.84 within 30 days of this decision of the Council. He was also dismissed from the services of the university.

Dr. Olawale Ganiyu Raimi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science was established to have defaulted on conditions of his training leave bond, and also abandoned his duty post. Consequently, he is to refund the sum of N1,622,727.94 within 30 days of the decision of the Council. He was also dismissed from the services of the university.

Mr Ademola Olusola Adesina, Lecturer ll, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, was established to have defaulted on conditions of his training leave bond, and also abandoned his duty post. Consequently, he is to refund the sum of N6,688,204.74 within 30 days of the decision of Council. He was also dismissed from the services of the university.

Dr. Shamisudeen Olusesan Badmus, Lecturer ll, Department of Accounting, Faculty of Management Sciences, was established to have defaulted on conditions of his training leave bond, and also abandoned his duty post. Consequently, he is to refund the sum of N11,124,991.40 within 30 days of the decision of Council. He was also was from the services of the university.

Dr. Christiana Ibidun Obagbuwa, Lecturer ll, Department of Computer Science, , Faculty of Science, was established to have defaulted on conditions of her training leave bond, and also abandoned her duty post. Consequently, she is to refund the sum of N8,663,869.04 within 30 days of the decision of Council. She was also dismissed from the services of the university.

Dr. Emmanuel Sesofia Asapo, Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemical and Polymer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, was established to have defaulted on conditions of his Training Leave bond, and also abandoned his duty post. Consequently, he is to refund the sum of N2,610,269.57 within 30 days of the decision of Council. He was also dismissed from the services of the university.

Mr Lateef Babatunde Salami, Lecturer ll, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, was established to have defaulted on conditions of his training leave bond, and also abandoned his duty post. Consequently, he was also dismissed from the services of the University.

Olubukola Adetoun Oyeniya, Assistant Research Fellow, Center for Environmental Sciences and Sustainable Development, was established to have defaulted on conditions of her training Leave bond, and also abandoned her duty post. Consequently, she is to refund the sum of N6,180,233.04 within 30 days from the date of the decision of Council. She was also dismissed from the services of the university.

Dr. Fatimat Oluwatoyin Bakare, Assistant Lecturer, Department of Chemical and Polymer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering was established to have defaulted on conditions of her training leave bond, and also abandoned her duty post. Consequently, she is to refund the sum of N9,125,341.29 within 30 days of the decision of Council. Council also dismissed her from the services of the university.

Mr. Ernest Odili, Assistant Security Officer was established to have illegally collected the sum of N120,000 with the intention of upgrading the result of a part time B.Sc Computer Science student in 2012. He was accordingly dismissed from the services of the university.
Mr Ramon Ajose Alli (former Head Machine Operator) was established to have collected the sum of N20,000 from Achilike Kingsley to assist the latter substitute the falsified result in his personal file with another result. He was therefore dismissed from the services of the university.

Mr Emmanuel Baoku Babatunde, Senior Security Officer, was established to have been engaged in deliberate sabotage of the university security operations. Consequently, he is to be demoted with effect from February 13, 2015 to the next applicable level below his substantive post.”





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Friday, 8 September 2017

EDUCATION : Education minister tasks CPN on standards, professionalism in IT

EDUCATION : Education minister tasks CPN on standards, professionalism in IT

Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu


The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has called on the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), to register all individuals and corporate organisations that are into Information Technology in the country.

The minister, who made the call while inaugurating the 2017 – 2019 members of the Council in Abuja on Friday, urged the council to enforce the Act establishing it.

Mr Timothy Akpoili, Press Officer in the ministry in a statement in Abuja quoted the minister as saying that the global practice is for professionals to regulate their profession properly in order to ensure standards and best practices.

He said that the Council has the support of the ministry and government in its fight against quacks, imposters and all abnormalities and irregularities in the IT industry.

The minister also said that the Federal Government was not leaving anything to chances in its efforts towards making Nigeria a giant IT compliant economy.

He enjoined the Council to enforce the Act establishing it and also come up with initiatives that would help government achieve its set objectives.

“You are enjoined to partner with government at ensuring that we turn out new generations of youths that are properly equipped with IT knowledge and skills and positioned for global competitiveness,” the Minister stressed.

Adamu commended the council for the model successes it has achieved for the past few years, and challenged the new council to improve and sustain the tempo by working hard towards accelerating Information Technology growth and penetration in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the President of the Council, Prof. Charles Uwadia thanked the minister for his support to the Council.

According to Uwadia, CPN is the engine room from where necessary policy and directives geared towards the development of IT education and practice in Nigeria are made.

He added that the council was a torch-bearer of the IT profession and practice in the country.

He listed some of the enormous task before the new council to growing penetration of IT maximally that would impact effectively on the economy and other aspect of life.

He expressed belief that with hard work, commitment and wisdom, the council would elevate IT education to loftier heights in the country.





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Thursday, 7 September 2017

EDUCATION : Dickson applauds accreditation of 10 courses in Niger-Delta University by NUC

EDUCATION : Dickson applauds accreditation of 10 courses in Niger-Delta University by NUC

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa.


Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has applauded the leadership of the state-owned Niger-Delta University (NDU) for securing full accreditation of 10 courses by the National University Commission (NUC).

Dickson made the commendation when the Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, presented to the governor the NUC’s 2017 May/June Accreditation report in Yenagoa.

Dickson said in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, on Thursday in Yenagoa, that the government had released N200 million to enhance academic activities in the institution.

He said he had directed the vice chancellor to liaise with the state Ministry of Education for the release of the balance of N21 million.

“This government will spare no effort and resources, working with the university team, to ensure that NDU becomes one of the best universities in the country.”

Dickson urged students seeking admission into universities in the country, to consider NDU, adding that the state government would continue to support the school to enhance learning.

Earlier, while presenting the report, Edoumiekumo said the accreditation of 10 programmes was a feat in the institution’s history.

According to him, some of the accredited courses are Law, Medical Laboratory Science and Mechanical Engineering.





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EDUCATION : Is JAMB recipe for confusion in higher institutions?

EDUCATION : Is JAMB recipe for confusion in higher institutions?

Education Minister, Adamu Adamu

Nigeria’s tertiary education system is in a shambles – in terms of infrastructure, funding and academics – as it remains largely crisis-ridden for years. The recent reintroduction of the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, the latest cut-off marks imbroglio and alleged back-door admission policy of higher institutions reveal the ugly underbelly of the nation’s floundering education system, reports Head, Education Desk, Iyabo Lawal

In Nigeria’s tertiary education, it never rains but it pours. ‘JAMB reinstates post-UTME’; ‘ASUU begins indefinite strike’; ‘JAMB reduces cut-off marks, varsities kick’; and ‘New cut-off marks to favour private varsities’, so the headlines have been screaming in the last couple of days.

There is a conundrum of claims and counterclaims; an example is the issue of the cut-off marks for the 2017/2018 session.

Everyone is angry with Prof. Ishaq Oloyede and the organisation he superintends over – the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). Not a few vice chancellors of public universities have spoken up against the JAMB registrar and in the midst of the counterclaims and charges; nobody seems to be listening to the exam body, which has struggled over the years to remain relevant in its chequered history.

But left for the universities, a requiem would have been conducted on JAMB – as there is no love lost between JAMB and the institutions, especially when it comes to admission. Perhaps, it is time the Federal Government reconsidered the usefulness of the exam body, which in most recent times has been accused of formulating policies skewed in favour of private higher institutions.

With private universities, as claimed, more likely to accept admission seekers with low cut-off marks, public higher institutions seem determined to up their ante. There was also an allegation that JAMB’s latest policy on cut-off marks was designed to favour the North. With the current social-security issues in the North, fewer admission seekers are heading in that direction; that may sooner or later asphyxiate the continued sustainability of the universities and polytechnic in that region. Will JAMB’s lowered cut-off marks be enough incentives for parents to allow their children to head to the north for higher education in the face of daunting security challenges? Only time will tell, as many youths get frustrated with their inability to get admitted into the universities of their choice in the South.

There is obvious politics in the latest policy of the exam body, some analysts have claimed. They believe that no matter how hard it tries to shake off the various allegations levelled against it, JAMB will remain the whipping boy in terms of admission issues into tertiary institutions.

The recent volte-face of the vice chancellors is an ominous signpost that universities are succeeding in having their way while allowing JAMB to have its say, the exam board pressed between a rock and a hard place.

In 2016, at a Policy Meeting on Admissions, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, scrapped the Post-UTME, arguing that such exercise was not only unnecessary but placed heavy burden on students and their parents – that did not go down well with the universities that felt JAMB and the education ministry were being too meddlesome in their admission process.

At the 2017 meeting, however, Adamu reversed the ban, asserting that the nation’s tertiary institutions should be independent in terms of the admission process.

On August 22, it was agreed that the tertiary institutions determine their admission process and that cut-off marks should be fixed by each school’s senate, not JAMB.

At that meeting, all the1,200 representatives of the various tertiary institutions agreed to the new cut-off marks regime which many vice chancellors and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have kicked against as they described it as “sad policy decision,” and that it was in tandem “with the dream of the present government to destroy public universities in the country.” Universities are admitting students illegally and many of these ones did not write the UTME, JAMB insists.

“Today, we are where we are because many are afraid to say the truth. All heads of tertiary institutions were requested to submit their cut-off benchmark to the board, which will then be used for the admission.

“We are now starting the monitoring of adherence to admissions guidelines – cut-off marks inclusive. The cut-off marks being branded by the public were never strictly followed by most institutions as most of them were going behind to admit candidates with far less with others admitting candidates who never sat for JAMB,” a statement issued recently by JAMB said.

ASUU did not find that statement complimentary. “Where are those that JAMB registrar said entered universities illegally? Which universities admitted them? If 30 per cent did not take JAMB and found their way into the university system is that not corruption and a message that JAMB is not significant anymore? What sanction did those who did the illegal admission receive other than regularisation of illegality? We are watching because long before now we have said that JAMB has outlived its usefulness. Let the universities set their unique standards and those who are qualified can come in.

“Even in those days, 40 per cent was graded as fail. But now JAMB said with F9, which is scoring 30 per cent, you can be admitted. They deliberately want to destroy education. Even for polytechnics 100 marks is 25 per cent. It is sad. And that is where we are in Nigeria. They want to destroy public education at all cost. This is not setting standard for education in Nigeria. It is purely lowering standards and digging the grave for the future. This is why ASUU is currently on the struggle to influence the government to do the needful for education in Nigeria,” Chairman ASUU, University of Ibadan, Dr Deji Omole, said.

The history of Nigeria’s Ministry of Education, JAMB and that of the ASUU is a chequered one – there is largely no love lost between the two entities (the ministry and JAMB on one side and ASUU on the other side). The current stand-off between the education ministry (including JAMB) and ASUU is a reflection of their crisis-ridden relationship.

Last year, the union had staged a protest condemning the decision of the ministry to scrap post-UTME. Precisely June 2016, Adamu, at a combined policy meeting on admissions to higher institutions banned the examination.

That year, the lecturers breathed fire and brimstone, warning the Federal Government that the ministry of education’s scrapping of the examination portended a serious danger for the quality of education in the country.

In the heat of that development, the union also pointed out that the decision undermined the autonomy and powers of universities’ senates as the highest policy-making body on academic matters, particularly admission of students and award of degrees.

ASUU was even more livid because the education minister did not consult the union on the matter. “The cancellation of post-UTME to us portends a serious danger for the quality of education in this country. The argument of the federal government on the policy is unacceptable and potentially harmful to the future of the nation’s education system.

“We call on the government to rescind its decision and convene genuine stakeholders‘ meeting on the issue before making any policy statement,” the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, had said.

By August this year, that hotly contested decision was reversed. At the combined policy meeting with stakeholders where the controversial issue of new cut-off mark was arrived at, government lifted the ban on the conduct of examinations usually organised by universities for admission seekers after the UTME.

Making this known in Abuja that universities, polytechnics and other institutions are free to organise post-UTME screening as a pre-condition to gaining admission into public institutions, the education minister disclosed that the Federal Government scrapped the controversial examination in order to fully understand what is going on in the institutions.

Adamu, in making the announcement, also noted that his ministry has become wiser regarding the conduct of the post-UTME. He, however, urged the institutions and its authorities to make the fees for the post-UTME screening affordable in order not to impose huge financial burden on parents and students who fend for themselves.

“We are going to allow universities to have some choice. Universities can now decide to organise post-UTME, if they want. We have asked them not to impose huge financial burden on the parents. The burden should not be more than what they can bear,” the minister stated in a conciliatory tone even though he reiterated his confidence in the examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

The current decision is a volte-face to what the education minister promised to do after the initial scrapping of the exam – Adamu promised that machinery that would bring the post-UTME to its logical end would soon be set up.

The minister had felt that it was unnecessary for individual institutions to conduct a separate examination to guarantee admissions, when JAMB already performs such functions.

Not everyone had agreed with the initial decision to scrap the exam – while some stakeholders appeared to support the ministry’s action, scrapping the post-UTME because of inherent abuses, others had censured the Federal Government for taking a decision that would make it easy for a number of unsuitable admission seekers to gain admission into the universities and similar institutions.

To them, the post-UTME was vital to ensure that unqualified candidates did not slip into higher institutions of learning. However, the post-UTME turned out, according to some education experts, to become a money-making venture for universities.

Before his removal, the then JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, had argued that the post-UTME should stop following the introduction of the Computer Based Test (CBT) examination mode. It was thought that the CBT would eliminate examination malpractices. That must have inspired the minister’s infamous announcement cancelling the post-UTME.

The exam had its issues, ranging from extortion to corruption; some people felt that it was an overkill to subject admission seekers to two different examinations with the aim of gaining admission into just one institution.

Those in support of the scrapping argued that apart from financial burden of an extra exam to be passed by the prospective students, the time and efforts involved could be excruciating at times.

For instance, a university that has the capacity to admit just 4,000 new intakes has been accused of collecting post-UTME fee from about 100,000 admission seekers.

They, thus, advised the Federal Ministry of Education and the tertiary institutions to devise other means of assessing the successful admission seekers instead of focusing on written tests.

No doubt, it will appear that the Federal Government decided to change its policy that outlawed the post-UTME because it is making concerted efforts to placate ASUU, which is currently having an upper hand over it in the ongoing strike by the union.

So far, there is silence from the side of parents and would-be students of tertiary institutions.





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EDUCATION : ‘Why some private varsities opted for low cut-off marks’

EDUCATION : ‘Why some private varsities opted for low cut-off marks’

Vice Chancellor, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Osun State, Prof Sola Fajana,

As the debate on the role of private universities in the lowering of the cut-off marks for entry into the nation’s higher institutions intensifies, vice chancellor, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Prof. Sola Fajana, has blamed the situation on low enrolment and lack of financial support by the Federal Government to private institutions.

Fajana in a chat with The Guardian stated that the greatest challenge facing the contemporary private universities is low enrolment, which stemmed directly from the fees being charged by these institutions which he said largely influenced parents and candidates’ choice of universities.

According to him, low-fee institutions generally attract a large number of candidates, the reason the federal and state universities are mostly preferred by candidates seeking admission.

Fajana noted that it was against the backdrop of the current enrolment and financial uncertainties, that the 2017 JAMB stakeholders’ policy meeting put into consideration the autonomy of universities to regulate entry.

He said: “Naturally, the highest UTME scorers are found on the list of federal universities because they offer near-free education. Thus, in spite of the huge infrastructural investments by private universities, the perennial challenge of low enrolment is very visible and daunting. None of the private universities has been able to fill its admission quota. The challenge is currently accentuated by the on-going economic recession, and the policy, which excludes private universities from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

“These limiting factors are taking an unfairly large toll on the finances of the private universities. In recent times, the responses of some private institutions have included programme suspension (for those programmes with acute low enrolment), staff rationalisation and other forms of re-organisation.

He continued: “Private universities are currently suffering an unfair share of the effects of inflation, devaluation and the illiquid state of the Nigerian economy. Several students of private universities are deferring their studies and or examinations because of their inability to pay school fees on account of non-receipt of salaries or non-receipts of contract payments by their parents and sponsors. Private universities are now approaching financial institutions to obtain short-term loan facilities to meet up with salary and other recurrent obligations.”

He alerted that if the trend continues, “acquisitions and mergers among distressed private universities may occur. Justifying the decision of JAMB on the new cut-off mark, he explained: “The effect was that institutions’ senates were given the opportunity to determine their admission cut-off points. A graduated scheme was arrived at and agreed.  It was good news to some people, but also bad news to some others. The good thing about this agreement was that federal and some state universities opted for scores well above 200, and most private universities opted for scores above 160. The so-called bad news was that an all-time low score of 120 was being announced in the Nigerian university system.”

Describing the hue and cry generated by the new cut-off mark as unnecessary, he said, “What is in a cut-off point? It is only a minimum score below which no institution can operate. It is not an absolute figure, and thus it is not a pass mark, which would be relevant in an achievement test! The decision of the 2017 Policy meeting deserves commendation rather than condemnation, for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, in the previous years when the minimum score was set usually at 180, several Nigerian youths scoring below 180 could not access education in Nigeria, in spite of the adequacy of capacity especially in private universities.

“A score of 120 in addition to post-UTME screening and O level qualifications is overall a better test of the quality of entrants into university education than admission through only the O level results as obtained in other climes, more so with xenophobic attacks. I need to stress however that the preference for education in other African countries by Nigerian students is due to lower tuition fees.

“Secondly, JAMB and the policy deciders in 2017 have only given due respect to the rights of autonomy for our university senates. UTME scores suffered from reliability and validity challenges in the past; and have become less attractive to informed stakeholders. Reinstating the post-UTME screening is indicative of a possibility of conceding more to senates in the future.

He argued that private universities have the capacity to train both students with high and low cut-off marks, adding that the coping strategy is that extra efforts are usually expended on the students to bring them up to and exceed the performance achieved in federal and state universities.

He concluded that by the outcome of the 2017 admission policy meeting, “JAMB is now admirably returning to its role as a clearinghouse, ensuring quality and preventing multiple admissions into Nigerian institutions.

Fajana subsequently enjoined the government and concerned stakeholders to support private universities in their quest to genuinely partner government and provide quality education to Nigerian youths, since demand for tertiary education in Nigeria largely outstrips the supply.





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EDUCATION : Increasing access to learning through responsible leadership

EDUCATION : Increasing access to learning through responsible leadership

Olusegun Mcmedal, in his remarks said the Lagos NIPR stakeholders’ conference, which is fourth in the series “is a high-end thought-leadership talk-shop to proffer solutions to the endemic challenges plaguing the education sector.”

The need to address the crisis in the country’s education system, through responsible leadership informed the 2017 Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations (NIPR) stakeholders’ conference in Lagos.

Specifically, the conference with the theme, “Media, communication and the challenge of quality education for national development,” seeks to chat a new course towards widening access to quality education for all citizens. Increasing access to quality and affordable education, the speakers believe will accelerate national development and create room for a saner society.

Speakers at the forum insisted that leadership and good management at all levels of the sector is imperative, adding that all hands must be on deck in addressing the challenges.

They also emphasised the need for various media organisations to continually project positive image of the country through responsible leadership as failure to do so will allow foreign media bodies to perpetually tell negative stories about the country.

They also tasked the media to advocate for values that will promote provision of quality education in all the communities across the country and improve standards in teaching and learning.

Chairman, Lagos state chapter of NIPR, Olusegun Mcmedal, in his remarks said the Lagos NIPR stakeholders’ conference, which is fourth in the series “is a high-end thought-leadership talk-shop to proffer solutions to the endemic challenges plaguing the education sector.”

He said, “We all know that there is crisis in our education system. But the crisis is not that of money, men, morale or resources; the real crisis lies in leadership, management and perennial selfishness. The future of a state or nation is a function of the quality of education obtainable in the society.  We should never feel satisfied until all Nigerians have access to quality education for the nation to prosper, achieve and excel. I hope that the message from this congress will resonate with political leadership.

“There is an obvious depreciation in the quality of education obtainable in Nigeria today when compared to the past. Currently, the Nigerian education system is renowned for its out-dated syllabus, inadequate funding, epileptic power supply, poorly motivated staff and substandard facilities. That no Nigerian university was ranked in the top 500 and only one in the top 1,000 in the 2017 Times Higher Education World Ranking of University facilities is indeed very worrisome to say the least. The best Nigerian University was ranked just 601.”

Also, Founder and Chairman Silverbird Group, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, charged media organisations to educate the public and mobilise them to take up their own part in making Nigeria great.

He said in these days of fake news, hate speech and alternative facts, the media as a vehicle for projecting information about things that have happened, happening or will happen should not depend on others to tell our own story.

Founder/Chairman, Chrisland Group of Schools, High Chief Winifred Awosika, remarked that any nation that will survive 21st century challenges must not pay lip service to the issue of quality in education.





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EDUCATION : ‘Nigerian students have become globally less competitive’

EDUCATION : ‘Nigerian students have become globally less competitive’

Jacob Kehinde Olupona, has lamented the inability of Nigerian students to compete globally with their colleagues.

A Professor of African Religious Traditions at the Harvard University, Jacob Kehinde Olupona, has lamented the inability of Nigerian students to compete globally with their colleagues.

While noting that the country’s culture of learning is inappropriate to what is obtainable across the world, he said university teachers in the country lack the needed resources to teach the students.

He identified the lack of basic learning tools and conducive environment as the underlying factors, adding that the students are not effectively engaged with the practices that are considered to be global.

He said: “Part of the issue is that there is a serious problem with education, but some of us have come to the conclusion that we are not going to get ourselves involved in the politics of education in this country.

“Rather, we want to see how we can do our best to help the students, because the politics is not favourable to them, it has made the brilliant, up and coming Nigerians to look like folks who don’t know anything.

“We have become so local that when people start to ask why Nigeria is not part of the list of first hundred universities in ranking, we keep deceiving ourselves by saying all kinds of things.”

The professor of African and African American Studies at the university’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences lamented the gross underfunding of the education sector by successive governments, which has created a big gap between Nigerian students and their counterparts across the world.

According to him: “Most of the private universities are struggling, some do not have lecturers, while some were established by entrepreneurs for the purpose of making money.

“We are equating buildings with intellectual academic pursuits, but they are two different things. When former President Goodluck Jonathan had his education summit few years ago, I recommended that we should adopt the American system. It is a liberal arts approach, which focuses on undergraduate education, which is less cumbersome than the heavy-duty investment we make in our universities.”





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EDUCATION : Anchor varsity inaugurates lab centre to boost research, data analysis

EDUCATION : Anchor varsity inaugurates lab centre to boost research, data analysis

Head of Department, Biochemistry, Dr Olasupo Ilori (left); Dean, Natural and Applied Sciences, Prof Johnson Fatokun; guest lecturer from the University of Colorado, Prof Eric Vance; Coordinator, LISAC, OAU, Dr Olawale Awe; Head of Department, Urban and Regional Planning, OAU, Prof Abegunde Albert; Ag Librarian, Pastor Z.B.A Emmanuel; and Ag Bursar, Mr Femi Ayandokun, during the opening of the centre.

As part of efforts to boost statistical research and data analysis, Anchor University (AU) recently inaugurated a centre in partnership with Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis (LISA) of the institute of Colorado.

The laboratory will feature easy collection of data, analysis and the communication of its result for impactful research conclusion, improved business practices and empirically based policy decision aimed at sustainable growth and development in various fields of study.

In his remarks, the registrar, Mr Abimbola Olulesi explained that the centre will not only empower the students to get the theoretical training but also give them the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom into solving real problems.

“It is also a centre where scientists, business people and policy experts can come for specific statistical expertise, so they can collaborate with statisticians to do better works”.

Professor Eric Vance, an Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado and director of LISA applauded AU for positioning the institution as a world consultancy centre and its massive rush of data driven discoveries in the 21st century.

It calls for the need to understand the importance of high quality science aimed at improving human welfare worldwide.

On his part, the director of the institute, Prof Eric Vance stated that the centre is “high quality science to improve human welfare being,” using statistical research and data analysis to solve local and everyday problems as well as global problems at large.

“The LISA 2020 program seeks to maximize the extraordinary impact of data science and statistical collaboration by inspiring, training, mentoring, and supporting statisticians in developing countries to create statistic collaboration laboratories that train statisticians to become effective, interdisciplinary, who can move between theory and practice to solve problems for real impact”.

Professor Vance further added that the LISA 2020 programme was created in 2008, with AU as the seventh in Africa and the third in Nigeria, and identified the already existing institutions as Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and University of Ibadan (UI).

He disclosed that LISA 2020 programme has solved 2770 projects around the world. The vice chancellor, Prof Joseph Afolayan enjoined the students to take advantage of the opportunity and come up with great ideas.

“Whether Anchor University has the fundamentals of statistics or not, we are courageous enough to show competence that we will use this laboratory to the point where LISA will be proud of the collaboration,” he said.





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