Education in Nigeria requires innovation, adequate funding – Ibrahim-Imam, Ighodalo, Obi - Breaking News Nigeria
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Education in Nigeria requires innovation, adequate funding – Ibrahim-Imam, Ighodalo, Obi

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Prominent Nigerians have called for increased funding and innovative ideas for Nigeria’s education sector.

They made the call in Lagos at the Wellspring University discourse on ‘The future of education: Driving education through innovation’.

The Chancellor, Ituah Ighodalo, urged federal and state governments to ensure that schools get more attention and allocation.

The Trinity House Church Senior Pastor also advised institutions to add skills acquisition to their curriculum and find out from companies, what they can incorporate in the syllabus.

“I know how many messages for job and account numbers I get. You see young Nigerians selling gala, etc. When I see a young boy dragging cattle from Sokoto to Lagos, I say that could be another Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates.

“These are instances of the government failure. The doctor that attended to Ibidun and I in the UK is one of the most sought after. He is in his 40s, studied medicine at UNN Nsukka, left Nigeria before of the conditions and is doing well today.

“This country is pushing its brains out. I pray that years from now, Nigeria won’t be at the mercy of those that left because of leadership failure. Additionally, universities must begin to innovate. We must raise entrepreneurs, not people who look for jobs”, Ighodalo said.

Lagos Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, complained that some graduates are not fit and advocated education that is experiential, skills-based and community-influenced.

Adefisayo disclosed that the state government announced vacancies for teaching positions and got 100,000 applications for 2,000 slots.

“More than 50,000 were civic education applicants. But we wanted those that can teach sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, geography, Yoruba.

“We asked them to take tests, you’ll be amazed by what many wrote…poor capitals, punctuations, arrangement, clarity of thought. It is not the problem of a particular polytechnic or university, it is general.

“It is a big challenge and we are ready to work with the public. The quality of teachers and learning must improve. In Lagos, we noticed the educational curriculum was inadequate and came up with STEM.

“There is no way we can get out of this situation without adequate funding. Again, we are too exam-focused; we should go beyond lectures and focus on skills development so that after school, graduates can start up something”, she said.

Trustees of Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), Kashim Ibrahim-Imam expressed confidence that Nigerians will do more exploits with proper funding and investment.

“If you take out Nigerian-born doctors and other medical practitioners in America and Europe, their system will be affected.”

On the neglect of youths, the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain recalled the comment he made decades ago as Social Democratic Party(SDP) Chairman in Borno.

“Whenever our convoy passes through communities, kids run after vehicles. I said then that Nigeria will pay the price for not looking after these kids that should be in school. It’s happening now.”

Ibrahim-Imam said TETFund has made huge impacts since its creation, completing thousands of projects, with more being delivered.

Explaining that the agency was set up to intervene in public polytechnics and institutions, he confirmed the National Senior Secondary Education Commission (NSSEC) is focusing on high schools.

Former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi reiterated his passion for innovation and sufficient funding for education and schools.

“This is what I have always been clamouring for. Quality education is missing in Nigeria. Once we invest, the country, the people and the economy will be better”, Obi said.

The PDP 2019 presidential candidate, however, counselled TETFund to extend financing to private universities.

Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Lagos First Lady, was represented by Lagos State University (LASU) Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello.

The speakers and other dignitaries hailed the vision and efforts of Wellspring University Pro-Chancellor, Daniel Isimoya, the council and management.

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Education

Inside story of Ondo varsity crisis

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Students of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) on Monday protested the institution’s ‘No school fees, no exam policy’. It snowballed into vandalism and destruction of school infrastructure, leading to indefinite closure by authorities, reports KEMI ADEWALE (AAUA).

  • AAUA shut indefinitely over violent protest
  • Senate building vandalised

Students in tertiary institutions across the country have a predilection for protests. It is an avenue for them to express disapproval over policies that do not favour them. It gives voice to their pains and enables them to call for change.

Nevertheless,when  protests turn violent and become a battlefield of destruction, the essence is lost.

Authorities of the institution had announced that same day the indefinite closure of the school. This was revealed in a circular that was released and signed by the Registrar, Mr. Olugbenga Arajulu.

“Following the violent protest, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, on behalf of the Senate of the university, closed the school indefinitely.

“All students are, therefore, advised to vacate the Halls of Residence and the University Campus with immediate effect,” the circular read.

No school fees, no exam policy

This was introduced by the school management at the beginning of the first semester.

Students yet to pay their tuition fee for the 2020/2021 academic session would not be allowed to write the first semester examination which was to commence on Monday.

CAMPUS LIFE gathered that there had been agitations and speculations from different quarters that if the school was to uphold the policy, then students would embark on the protest.

Thus, students came out in their numbers, carrying sticks, burning tyres  on the street to show their disapproval of the policy.

It also led to the destruction of some school  facilities and the vandalisation of the Senate Building.

A 400-Level Economics student, who craved anonymity, said the management should not have tried restricting students from sitting for the first semester examination.

“The management should have found other means of ensuring prompt payment of tuition to avoid this protest. The management should have pushed it to the clearance period since students cannot avoid clearing their results before graduating. When it’s the clearance period, students would have no choice but  pay.

“A similar thing happened in May 2019 when the students were disallowed from writing test because they had not paid tuition fees. It sparked a protest and the school went  on  mid semester break for six weeks,” he said.

Students Union against protest

Prior to the Monday protest, the Adekunle Ajasin University Students Union (AAUASU)  in a statement on Sunday said the union was not a  party to any impending protest.

The statement partly reads:”The students union leadership under Ogunsanmi Kolade, wishes to inform the student populace that the union is not  involved in  planning any protest. Information reaching us has it that some unidentified persons are mobilising students for protest on issue relating to the examination which will commence Monday, November 22, 2021.

“We advise students to distance themselves from any protest that does not involve the  union. The students community should remain calm and prepare for their examinations and those with their tuition fee should endeavour to pay and carry out all necessary registrations in due course.”

Protest could have been averted

According to some students, protest should not have been held.

Samuel Ibiyemi, a 300-level Political Science  student, said the protest  should not have  held  if appropriate measures were taken by the Students’ Union.

“It was a protest that I feel some set of students planned to disrupt the processes for the conduct of peaceful examination,” he said.

A 400-Level Linguistics student who pleaded  anonymity said: “It was unfortunate that the circular released later on Monday which announced that students can write exam without school fees payment ought to have been released a day earlier. This protest would not have held. The management was already aware of students’ reaction to the policy but chose to test the waters. What hurts the most is the fact that some unscrupulous elements chose to go overboard.”

Another student who refused to be named said the situation was not properly managed by the school management and that the policy should not have been implemented.

He said:” I am still shocked. If at all there was going to be a protest, it should have been peaceful.

“I think the school management has a very bad public relations. Things like this wouldn’t have happened if the school management  had a standard medium through which they communicated with  students. I remember when I was in 100-Level, they asked us to do one mobile stuff. It is a medium through which they could reach all students through text messages and emails, but that mobile was not implemented even after making us to go through the stress of getting the mobile card for the registration.

“Before the protest turned awry, the school management sent out a circular that students could write the exams even without paying school fees, but  the information didn’t reach the students. I think the situation could have been controlled if the students got the information on time.

“Another thing is that, the no school fees no exam policy shouldn’t have been implemented at all. They should have allowed every student to write the examination.”

SUG seeks help to nab vandals

In a statement on Tuesday, Kolade appealed to students with useful information to come forward and help nab vandals. This, he said, would forestall a recurrence.

Amid concerns of possible payment of reparation fee upon resumption due to the level of damage done to  school properties, he said:  “The office of the President, vehemently condemns, in strongest terms, the wanton destruction of school facilities during the protest.”

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Education

NYSC: Corps members groan over biting economy, say ‘allowee’ now useless

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Members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, in the Federal Capital Territory have lamented the difficulty associated with serving in Abuja, saying the high cost of living in the nation’s capital is beyond their monthly stipends.

This is coming as prices of food items and other essential commodities continue to skyrocket in the FCT while the entire nation battles an economic crisis that has relatively made life difficult for commoners.

DAILY POST reports that the recent inflation in the economy birthed a new wave of hardship for Nigerians, especially for residents of the nation’s capital, Abuja.

Residents say the inflation affected the prices of all commodities in the market including something as essential as drinking water packaged in small sachets for ordinary Nigerians.

The sachet water popularly known as pure water is now sold for N300 or N350 per bag of 50 pieces as against the initial N100, this is aside from the general hike in prices of food items such as rice, beans, yam and others.

Some corps members who spoke to DAILY POST said the N33,000 monthly allowance paid by the Federal Government is no longer useful, lamenting that they now depend on parents and loved ones for survival.

It can be recalled that the Federal Government in 2019, increased the monthly stipend of NYSC members from N19,800 to N33,000 to correspond with the current national minimum wage.

But corps members in the FCT say the increment, which was implemented in January 2020, is no longer helpful, particularly in big cities as a result of the current economic reality of the country.

One of the corps members who identified herself as Jennifer said she exhausts the stipend in just one week and afterwards, survives on help from others.

“Honestly, the ‘allawee’ is nothing. I spend at least N80,000 every month on feeding and transportation from where I am residing to my Place of Primary Assignment, PPA, in Area 1 Garki.

The transport fare from Deidei to my PPA is not funny. I spend at least N1,000 daily and that doesn’t include my feeding in the office,” he said.

DAILY POST reports that most private organizations including schools in the FCT have no provision for accommodation for corps members, leaving them to their fate amid the security crisis in the territory.

Another corps member serving in a private school complained that since he was accepted, he had not received any help from the school.

He said, “I heard that the school used to give corps members 10k monthly before we came but since my colleagues and I were accepted, nobody has given us any money for either transport or feeding. It is just terrible serving here in Abuja.

“Sometimes I stay back at home because I don’t have money to go to work. I can’t go and steal to serve my country. The ‘allawee’ is nothing compared to what we spend in a week. The government should help us by increasing the allowance at least by %50”.

Another respondent, Miss Ola, also known as Corper Ola, who spoke to our correspondent from Lugbe, said the one-year compulsory service is the “highest level of school suffering.”

“I used to live better than this when I was still in the university. It is unfortunate that we are still facing another level of suffering which is even higher than what we faced in school. We expected at least, to live fine while serving our dear nation but the reverse is the case.”

When contacted, an official of the scheme who preferred not to be mentioned said NYSC has no power to review corps members’ allowance. According to him, until there is a new national minimum wage, the current N33,000 allowance stands.

“It is not our duty to increase corps members’ allowance. They should complain to the Federal Government or wait for the review of the current minimum wage,” he said.

DAILY POST also recalls that the Senate Committee on Sports had on Tuesday called for an immediate increase in the daily feeding allowance of corps members.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP-Ebonyi) had made the call in Abuja on Tuesday while submitting the 2022 budget defence report of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Ogba had expressed worry that corps members are paid N600 as their daily meal allowance despite their efforts in serving the nation.

He had decried the situation where the government pays inmates in correctional centres across the country N1,000 as daily feeding allowance but pay corps members who contribute to the nation’s economy only N600.

Ogba also condemned the decreasing yearly budgetary allocations to the ministry, calling for an increase of funds in the 2022 budget, given the importance of sports to youth development.

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Education

Ebonyi varsity reacts as lecturer allegedly defiles 13-year-old girl

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The Management of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi has reacted to the arrest of its lecturer, Prof. Felix Anyaegbunam for defiling a 13-year-old girl.

DAILY POST recalls that Prof. Anyaegbunam was arrested by the police command for sexually violating a 13-year-old house help.

Meanwhile, the Police spokesperson in the state, DSP Loveth Odah confirmed that the suspect was in their custody.

According to Odah, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aliyu Garba has ordered a discreet investigation into the matter as the medical screening of the victim is being awaited.

In a statement issued by the university’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ikechukwu Elom on Tuesday, the institution said it does not condone any form of criminality among lecturers especially the act of rape.

Elom noted that the school will act immediately on the case once an official report is submitted.

“The attention of the Management of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi has been drawn to the news making the rounds in both the traditional and new media about a lecturer in the university alleged to have sexually molested a minor and house-help.

“We wish to state as follows that the school management is yet to receive official report or complaint on the alleged crime; will act accordingly as soon as such report is made,” he said.

He dismissed reports stating that Anyaegbunam is a Professor of Geophysics in the university.

“Anyaegbunam is not a professor in our university but a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics,” the statement read.

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