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

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

May/June 2014 WAEC result:Mass failure as WAEC releases exam results

The West Africa Examination Council, WAEC has released its May/June 2014 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, results, recording mass failure in Mathematics and English Language.
Announcing the results, yesterday, at WAEC office, Yaba, the Head of National Office, WAEC, Mr. Charles Eguridu said: “A total of 529,425 candidates, representing 31.28 per cent, obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics.”
He noted that when compared to the 2012 and 2013 May/June WASSCE results, there was marginal decline in the performance of candidates as 38.81 per cent was recorded in 2012 and 36.57 per cent in 2013.

Eguridu, who disclosed that the results of 145,795 candidates, representing 8.61 per cent, are being withheld in connection with various types of examination malpractice said: “The cases are being investigated and the reports of the investigations will be presented in November to the Nigeria Examinations Committee, NEC.
”According to him, out of 1,692,435 candidates that sat for the examination, 791,227 candidates, representing 46.75 per cent, obtained six credits and above, just as a total of 982,472 candidates representing 58.05 per cent, obtained five credits and above.
In addition, he stated that 1,148,262 candidates, representing 67.84  per cent, obtained credits and above in four subjects, while 1,293,389 candidates, representing 76.42 per cent, obtained credits and above in three subjects.
He said out of the 161 visually-handicapped candidates, who registered for the examination, 21 of them, representing 14 per cent obtained credits in five subjects, including English language, adding, “blind candidates do not take mathematics and science practicals in the WASSCE.”
In his analysis, he said: “A total of 1,705,976 candidates registered for the examination, out of which 1,692,435 candidates, consisting of 929,075 male and 763,360 female candidates sat for  the examination.
“Of the total number of candidates that sat for the examination, 1,605,613 candidates, representing 94.87 per cent have their results fully released, while 86,822 candidates, representing 5.13 per cent have a few of their subjects still being processed due to some errors, mainly traceable to laxity on the part of the candidates and the schools, in the course of registration or writing the examination.
“Such errors are being corrected by the Council to enable the affected candidates get their results fully processed and released as soon as they are ready.
”Meanwhile, to curb examination malpractice, WAEC has announced the introduction of ICT-driven device which will enable supervisors and staff of the Council on duty to address and record in real time the processes on the day of the examination.
The HNO said: “With effect from the May/June 2014 WASSCE, the Council introduced a device known as Candidates Identity Verification, Attendance, Malpractice and Post Examinations Management System, CIVAMPEMS.

“This ICT-driven device enables supervisors and staff of the Council on duty, to address and record in real time the processes on the day of the examination.
“These include identity verification, capturing and recording occurrences as they happen, such as candidates’ attendance and examination malpractice and transmit same to our data base.
“With this, the Council is able to generate valid examination reports for each examination centre.”
He noted that the Council, beginning with the November/December 2014 WASSCE, will introduce customised, transparent mathematical sets, with in-built non-programmable scientific calculators, which conform with the rules and regulations of its examinations.

He urged all prospective candidates, for both the May/June and November/December WASSCE diets to note that, henceforth, bringing in any other non-approved mathematical set or calculator into examination halls would not be allowed.

“Models of the WAEC-customised mathematical set would be made available to schools to assist them in preparing their candidates for the Council”s examinations,” he said.
He also said that “the Council, with effect from 2014 WASSCE, is introducing biometric enabled certificates.
Each certificate will have a QR code with details of the candidate’s biometrics.”

Sunday, 20 July 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: My advice to Boko Haram and President Jonathan— Malala

To mark her 17th birthday, Malala Yousafzai, the young, precocious Pakistani girl who was shot and left for dead by the Taliban two years ago, visited Nigerian in solidarity with the over 200 girls abducted by members of the criminally-  minded members of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in English means, “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, and otherwise known as Boko Haram.

She met some of the girls who escaped from the group; and she also had audience with Nigeria’s Minister of State, Education, Nyesom Wike. But Wike, true to type, shot himself on the foot when he tried to explain the issue of out-of-school children.   He said of the 10.5 children, nine million were from the North, to which Malala’s father pilloried him: “I don’t know about   the system that is here, we only know that there are over 10.5 million children that are out of school. But it brings very bad name to the country”.

The issue is even if 10million of the out-of-school children are in the Delta Basin, they are still out-of-school children in Nigeria – the minister should have known that he was talking to people who are interested in best practices and not politics, the type he’s been playing in his home state of Rivers.
Below are excerpts of Malala’s modest intervention in a crisis that Nigeria’s leaders across the political divide have mishandled.

Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai (L) watches on July 14, 2014 Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan look at a book at the State House in Abuja. Malala on July 14 urged Jonathan to meet with parents of the schoolgirls kidnapped three months ago by Boko Haram. Malala, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012 and has become a champion for access to schooling, was in Abuja on her 17th birthday to mark the somber anniversary of Boko Haram's April 14 abduction of 276 girls from a secondary school in the northeast Nigerian city of Chibok.  AFP PHOTO
Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai (L) watches on July 14, 2014 Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan look at a book at the State House in Abuja. Malala on July 14 urged Jonathan to meet with parents of the schoolgirls kidnapped three months ago by Boko Haram. Malala, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012 and has become a champion for access to schooling, was in Abuja on her 17th birthday to mark the somber anniversary of Boko Haram’s April 14 abduction of 276 girls from a secondary school in the northeast Nigerian city of Chibok.
I thank the Nigerian people for the warm welcome. You are an incredible strong nation; you work every day to fight against your challenges through your unity, resilience and determination. Dear brothers and sisters, last Malala day, I told my story.

Last Malala day, I spoke about my life in Pakistan. I spoke about the rise of terrorism and the ban of girl education there in my home town. I spoke about the Taliban that took on my life and attempt to silence me forever.

I will repeat what I said last year. Nothing changes in my life except days. Weakness, fears and hopelessness die. Strength, power and courage were born. When I was shot by the Taliban, the world stood up. I, Malala, was the cry I heard around the world. I received thousands of good wishes cards and letters from people. I believe that God saved my life because of people’s prayers.

Today, this Malala Day, I’m not here to tell my story because I am not the only child who has been target of extremism. There are thousands who are suffering from terrorism, from violence and do not have access to education. I speak for those children whose right to quality education has been snatched from them.

I speak for the 66 million girls who are out of school. This Malala Day is the day for education of every child and it is dedicated to my dear Nigerian sisters who are going through the same rigorous situation.   I dedicate this day to my sisters in Nigeria.

I will begin with the story I am here to tell you about the girl whom I met yesterday. I am really sorry I cannot mention her name, but I will call her my sister. My sister comes from the Nigerian village of Chibok. She is 16 years old. One day, my sister was in school; some armed terrorists called Boko Haram came and tried to steal her dreams. They kidnapped her. But, she was one of the luckiest ones who escaped from the abduction.

Before that, her father got killed; and her mother and sister got injured in the unstable situation in the North of Nigeria. Since she escaped, because of insecurity, she can no more go to school and her fairest subject is biology; she wants to become a doctor.

Every day, Boko Haram razes nearby villages to terrorize the people. Over 200 girls were kidnapped and since have not returned. Next week, it will be 100 days; 100 days since they were taken. 100 days in captivity; 100 days out of school; 100 days without parents and 100 days under fear. My sisters and brothers, not only in Nigeria, but the situation all around the world, especially in the Middle East countries, African countries and Pakistan is getting worse every day. And when children do not have access to education, their studies are badly affected.

Around 157 million children are out of school. 10.5 million children in Nigeria do not have access to education. Around 400 girls in total have been abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Seven million children in Pakistan are deprived of education. Around 900,000 people are homeless in Pakistan. In Pakistan, they have to leave their homes for safety when military operations are going on against the terrorists. Because of that, many children now do not have access to education and they are out of school.

Girls from Syria who were once in school and learning are now living in camps and are made to understand a new life as refugees while the world is silent doing nothing. And, the children in Syria are becoming a generation lost! Because of conflict between Gaza and Israel, people are badly affected. And, children on both sides are suffering. Recently, many children died because of Israel’s strike on Palestine, unfortunately.

Dear sisters and brothers, issues are countless. I am here to tell you my birthday wish on this prestigious occasion and to ask responsible people to listen to the voices of the Nigerian girls and their parents for whom I am here today. This birthday is not the kind of celebration where I will be having any enjoyment, eating cake and those things. This birthday, I want to celebrate it, standing up with my Nigerian sisters and their parents who are right here behind me.
Malala Day is a day where we all stand together for those who are voiceless and must be heard.

But, for things to change, it must be of affection towards our organization, the Malala Fund; with this, about $200,000 that will be given to two Nigerian organizations: Girl-Child Concern and Centre for Girl-Child Education. The heads of the two organizations are here today. I am really thankful to them for the work they are doing and becoming partners with us which has helped to empower and educate Nigerian girls.
I know that my small contribution is not enough; we still need a lot to do. But, this is just a start. But, under a just God, this is what I could do in such a short time.

The question here is: What did the elders do? What will responsible people do? What will the leaders do to bring back our sisters? One thing that is important today is that I was able to meet with President, Mr Goodluck Jonathan. I met and told him that I hear the voice of my sisters. I am representing my sisters and their parents to you today.

‘And, as you are the elected President, you need to fulfill your responsibility. And, your responsibility is listening to your people that are saying “bring back our girls.’ “Luckily, the President did make two promises. He made two promises to me and to you, the people of his country. He promised the government will do its best to bring back the girls alive and safe. The second promise he made that is important is that he will meet the parents of those girls that were abducted. I am hopeful that Mr President will meet you soon because he promised to me, to you and to all Nigerian people.

Today, not only am I asking the President and government of Nigeria to take action, but I am also asking Boko Haram to stop misusing the name of Islam. Islam is a religion of peace. Islam allows every boy and every girl to get education by going to school. And, education is compulsory in Islam. The word ‘Islam’ means peace. Islam gives a message of prudence, patience, harmony and humanity. I want to tell Boko Haram, think about your own sisters; just think for a while; think about your own sisters. If they suffer the same way, the same brutal and harsh situation, how would you feel?

To Boko Haram, I ask, if your own sisters are homeless, if they are around the captivity of some people who are so wild and cruel, how would you feel? Those who are under your imprisonment are like your sisters. Islam gives a message of brotherhood. We are all sisters and brothers. You are misusing the name of Islam but you hang your Quran there. Release my sisters and release the daughters of this nation. Let them be free; they have committed no crime.

To Nigerian people, I will like to say that Nigeria is a rich country not because it has oil resources but because it has people that have bravery and courage. It has people with the heart of humanity. This is the wealth of people; this is the wealth of this country. This is my word to this nation. So, make your country stronger for unity and togetherness. Make it stronger. Do not judge each other on the basis of your religion, class, colour, creed.

These are just words of identity. We should treat each other as human beings. All human beings should treat each other as human beings. We should not discriminate against each other on the basis of religion and the language that we speak.
I call upon the world community to protect girls across the world; to protect girls from inhuman  hate and violence.

10.5 million children are out of school, specifically I want to highlight the issues of the the girls who were abducted and the girls who escaped, they are out of school now, there is no security for them and they are feeling insecure and so what should the education ministry do for them?

I am hoping that the three tiers of government would sit together and become united and they would consider the crisis in education as a national issue, especially on children that are out of school.   They shouldn’t blame it on each other; they should sit down together because this is the future of this country and if they want the future of this country to be bright and shining, then they should increase the efforts they are making on education and they should increase the budgetary allocation to education, as much as it can be increased.

Hopefully, by the time I come back to this country I hope there would be zero number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.   No child should be deprived of getting education and I am hopeful that the girls that escaped from the abduction are able to go to school and they get full protection. I have a lot of expectations from the government.

I know it is difficult for government to do things quickly but, hopefully, I believe by the time I come back, education would have improved in Nigeria.   And, hopefully, I want to see those girls in school  as well as the 200 girls rescued.


When we talk about Nigeria’s education crisis, the Federal Government must intervene and they should take the crisis as a national crisis; they should reach out to the state and local governments.   Make Nigeria   a good country where children go to school, I don’t know about   the system that is here, we only know that there are over 10.5 million children that are out of school.

But it brings very bad name to the country especially the abduction of the girls in Borno State. You, personally, should ensure that girls go to school and they feel secured when they go to school.

Friday, 18 July 2014

7,318 Nigerian students studying in U.S. – Official

The United States Embassy in Abuja says 7,318 Nigerian students are studying in more than 700 universities and colleges in that country.

Mrs Jennifer Onyeukwu, Head, EducationUSA Advising Centre (EAC), said this in Abuja on Friday during the pre-departure ceremony for those leaving for studies in the U.S.
Onyeukwu said no fewer than 150 students were preparing to leave for studies in the U.S by August.
She added that 80 per cent of them were given full or partial scholarships by the schools.
“The total, right now, of Nigerian students studying in the U.S is 7,318 at undergraduate and graduate programmes.

“This fall, which is Aug. 2014, we are sending more than a hundred students to study in the U.S., over 80 per cent had some form of scholarship or financial aid from schools in the U.S.”
The official also said there were 22 scholarships under U.S Achievers’ Programme, “which recognises academically stellar students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We give them the opportunity to compete for the few slots available.
“With the USAP programme, we help the students identify U.S colleges and universities that would offer them admission with full funding.

“Fifteen of them have got admission with full funding”, she said.
Onyeukwu added that six students out of those given full scholarship funds had scholarships from the
MasterCard Foundation.
“MasterCard Scholarship is a separate kind of scholarship that is given by the MasterCard Foundation in partnership with U.S colleges and some of the universities around the world.
“The six students under the MasterCard Scholarship received 311,140 dollars annually for four years.”
She said the foundation had earmarked 500 million dollars for “economically disadvantaged young people” in sub-Sahara Africa desiring to further their studies.
She said the scholarship was for a 10-year period and targeted students with academic talent, commitment to giving back and leadership potentials.
Onyeukwu also said the EAC, the education advisory arm of the embassy, sought to use its platforms to appropriately advice Nigerian students who desired to study in the U.S.
She added that the embassy and its consulate in Lagos organised free orientation sessions in their communities and outreaches in schools and universities in the country to sensitise students on available study opportunities.

A few students who were granted full scholarships to the U.S spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Hannatu Sadiq, who participated in the USAP, was one of the beneficiaries of the MasterCard Scholarship.
“The ECA officials came to our school n 2010 and I picked the courage from there to work hard and give them what they required and I got into USAP in 2013.
“I’m on MasterCard Scholarship to Michigan State University to study Chemical Engineering and I’m grateful for this opportunity because now my parents don’t have to pay anything for my tertiary education.”
Also, Moses Onyeabor, another MasterCard Scholarship beneficiary going to study biochemistry, expressed his gratitude in an interview with NAN.

“I got to know about the USAP while I was in the School for the Gifted and I decided to give it a try.
“I applied to seven schools and finally got admission into three universities but Arizona State University gave me a MasterCard Scholarship which covers everything including a living stipend.”
NAN gathered that Nigeria is the largest sender of students to the U.S from sub-Sahara Africa and students in 2013 received 2.9 million dollars’ worth of scholarship funds from top notch institutions. (NAN)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Almost100 days of Abduction of Chibok school girls, parents shun meeting with Jonathan

AN attempt by President Goodluck Jonathan to meet with the parents and some escapee girls earlier abducted from Government Secondary School (GSS), Chibok, Borno State, Tuesday failed as they shunned the meeting slated for the State House.

   The meeting would have been a follow-up to the commitment the President made on Monday to the Pakistani Girl-Child Education Campaigner, Malala Yousafzani, during an audience at the State House, Abuja.

   Briefing State House correspondents, the Senior Special Assistant on Public Communication, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said the meeting was scheduled for 4p.m yesterday following Malala’s request, which the President graciously agreed to.

   “Unfortunately, the #BringBackOurGirls# leadership prevailed on the parents of the girls not to come. What happened was that they actually avoided the meeting with Mr. President, because the foreign media and everybody were waiting for this meeting. They made it expressly clear to us that they were no longer coming,” Okupe said.

   He confirmed that the President had authorized that an official letter be written to the parents formally inviting them to meet him, and it is going to be sometime next week. He said all the rigmarole about the Chibok girls was a prelude to the 2015 general elections, regretting that the plight of the schoolgirls had become a political chess game to the local chapter of the #BringBackOurGirls# campaigners.

   And responding to accusations linking the party to the Islamist terrorist sect, Boko Haram, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said that mismanagement of national resources, massive corruption under the watch of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government and incompetent handling of the insurgency caused the festering violence in the country.

    The allegation was contained in a statement in Lagos yesterday by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, following a recent allegation linking the party to the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, and asking the United Kingdom (UK) to probe the conspiracy over interest that bother on 2015 general election.

   It will be recalled that intelligence believed to have been sourced from the ruling PDP has put even the UK Government under pressure to probe APC’s alleged link to the sect.

   It accused the PDP-led government of “aiding, abetting and benefitting” from the sect’s insurgency, adding that the Federal Government was using the fight against insurgency as an excuse to punish and witch-hunt the opposition, trample on civil liberties and abuse national institutions on a scale yet unprecedented in the country’s history.

   In another development, the Imo State Police Command yesterday drove away scores of street hawkers/traders in Owerri, the Imo State capital, and adjourning areas to guard against possible bomb attack.  

   The areas affected are Douglas, Mbaise and Cathedral Roads and adjourning streets, where street traders had resisted pleas from Governor Rochas Okorocha and government agents to relocate from.  

    Led by the Commissioner, Mr. Abdulmajid Ali, the police dispersed the traders with tear-gas, regretting that despite several warnings to vacate the roads to ensure free flow of traffic, especially in the event of blast, the traders had remained adamant.

   And as efforts continued to end the Book Haram insurgency, the Police at the weekend arrested the sect’s self-styled “butcher”. The 30-year old Mohammed Zakari, said to be a top member of the group, was arrested on Saturday in Bauchi along Darazo-Basrika Road while fleeing the ongoing counter-insurgency operations around the Balmo Forest.

   According to a statement from the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, Zakari is “the self-styled ‘chief butcher’ of the insurgent group at the Balmo Forest Camp and is linked with the recent slaughter of seven people, including women and children.”

   Zakari, who hails from Kaigamari, Daptchari in Darazo local council of Bauchi State, was said to have been tutored in insurgency in Gombe Forest by a fleeing insurgent, one Abba Taura, and moved to Balmo Forest only three months ago.

   He was reported to have actively participated in the April attack on Customs officers at Kari Town, along Maiduguri Road in Bauchi. Meanwhile, the Police Command has urged residents of the affected areas to be vigilant for any suspicious or strange character fleeing from the forest.

   Meanwhile, Igbo Leaders of Thought, led by constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, yesterday reviewed the security situation in the South East and resolved that the continued reign of Hausa/Fulani Muslim Police Commissioners was no longer ideal in the region.

   Calling on the Federal Government to immediately redeploy or juggle the commissioners in the zone with their indigenous counterparts from the South-East, the elders said the report that Boko Haram members have infiltrated the region and are being shielded was real.

   In a statement by the Deputy Secretary, Elliot Uko, after their security meeting in Enugu yesterday, the leaders articulated a security awareness programme for the South-East Governors’ Forum to work with to secure Igboland from Boko Haram insurgents.

   According to the statement, “the Igbo Leaders of Thought wonders aloud why all the Police Commissioners posted to the South-East should be Fulani/Muslims. Are there no police commissioners from the middle belt, South-South or South-West that could be posted to the South-East?

   “With the shielding of the six Boko Haram bombers arrested at the Owerri church by the Imo State Commissioner of Police, we hereby reject the continual occupation of the South-East by Hausa/Fulani Muslim Police Commissioners.

   “We hereby demand that CPs Abubakar Adamu Mohamed of Enugu, Usman Gwari of Anambra, Maigari Dikko of Ebonyi, Abdulmajid Ali of Imo and Adamu Ibrahim of Abia be immediately juggled and redeployed as we feel uncomfortable with the officers in charge of the South-East, as Boko Haram boasts of plans to attack to south.”

   However, the non-governmental Citizens Cultural Renaissance Initiative has asked the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague, to help expedite action towards the investigation of any link between any Nigerian politician or political party with the terrorist Boko Haram as demanded by the House of Commons.

   Reacting to last Sunday’s report in The Guardian that the British Government was being pressured by its parliament to investigate alleged link between the terrorist group and some Nigerian politicians, the group said that for the war against the sect to be won, the international community must help Nigerians by bringing to book high profile people with links and sympathies to the group.

   It regretted that Nigerian political elite rather engage in blame game and “sometimes quasi-celebratory mood whenever the terrorists strike.” The letter addressed to Hague and released in Abuja partly read: “We and several discerning Nigerians have in the recent past expressed concern over what, at best, could amount to nothing more than half-hearted condemnation of the activities of the Boko Haram sect by certain sections of the Nigerian opposition political elite.

   “We recall that a one-time former Nigerian minister, Fani Kayode, recently defected from one of the main opposing political parties citing as part of his reasons alleged sympathy by his erstwhile political party for Boko Haram.

   “Just last week, the news broke that during military operations in one of Boko Haram strongholds in the Darazo Forest, Bauchi State, arms and ammunitions as well as political party membership cards were recovered. Though the Nigerian security agencies are said to be investigating these finds, we doubt if the Nigerian mundane considerations will allow anything meaningful to come out of it.”

   Nevertheless, the APC contended that if the PDP-led Federal Government had not misgoverned the country since 1999, the country could have been spared terrorism, epitomised more than anything else by the Boko Haram insurgency.

   It accused the PDP of profiting from the insurgency it has always been dismissive of any genuine efforts to end the crisis. It alleged that the PDP was using the crisis to launder the image of the Jonathan Presidency by securing attendance and participation for President Jonathan at important international summits and meetings.

   “Curiously, Boko Haram has become a way of getting the international community to talk and meet with President Jonathan and gain international media coverage.

   “The PDP-led Federal Government is also using the crisis, especially the #BringBackOurGirls# campaign, to blackmail the main opposition party and the civil society, impose emergency rule in states and areas controlled by opposition parties, harass and restrict media freedom (through military clampdowns), and justify other illegal activities.”

   “It is also not a secret that billions of naira have been allocated to security in order to tackle the Boko Haram menace, yet our troops have not been adequately equipped to confront the insurgency. One wonders what happened to the huge funds allocated to the anti-terror fight.

   “Against the backdrop of the huge war-chest the Jonathan administration has amassed ahead of the 2015 elections, one can easily understand how such funds have evaporated into thin air.”

   It claimed that the status quo favours the PDP and President Jonathan ahead 2015 because Boko Haram operates in the opposition strongholds, hence the declaration of emergency rule and general atmosphere of insecurity will lead to the cancellation of voting in some areas and limit voters’ turnout in general to minimize PDP’s electoral losses in the north and enhance its likelihood of victory.

   The APC said the international community knew that government has been the biggest clog in efforts to tackle Boko Haram, apparently because the Jonathan-led administration has seen the insurgency as its surest ticket to re-election and international acceptance.

   “It is time to tell Nigerians that the only reason the insurgency has continued unabated is because the PDP and the Jonathan administration are benefitting massively from it. That explains their quick dismissal of our call for an international inquiry to unravel the sponsors and modus operandi of the terror group, while latching on to what remains a mere conjecture on the probe of Boko Haram links by the British Parliament.

   “If the PDP and its cohorts have nothing to hide, they would have embraced that call. We maintain that only an international inquiry can unravel those behind Boko Haram, and we thank Nigerians for their favourable response to our call.”

   The party drew attention to the testimony by a United States (U.S.) official at a House Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on Africa hearing in Washington last Thursday, “which identified human rights abuse and uncooperative attitude of the Nigerian Government and its military authorities” as hindering the U.S.’ security assistance from tackling Boko Haram.

   “The Congress also heard that the he Nigerian Government has appeared reticent in some cases to allow its security forces participate in U.S. training programmes,” while “multiple systemic factors further constrained the effectiveness of the Nigerian security force’s response to Boko Haram, notably security sector corruption and mismanagement.”

   According to the APC, it is indisputable that the sect emerged against the backdrop of intense poverty and political misrule by the PDP since 1999 because, “since the return to democratic rule in 1999, the PDP has ruled Nigeria till date, and has been responsible for mismanaging over 60 percent of national revenue.

   “Still, very little has changed in terms of improvement in the socio-economic conditions of most Nigerians. It is hardly a coincidence that Boko Haram emerged in the North-East region given that it is the poorest region with higher than national average rates of poverty, illiteracy, mortality rate, youth unemployment and social immobility.

   “Moreover, states in the North-East receive some of the least allocations from the national treasury individually and collectively. The region, reflecting broader national and even African patterns, is experiencing a ‘youth bulge’ that accentuates the socio-economic deprivations across the region.” (Guardian news)

Reviving and rebuilding Our Reading Culture

NIGERIANS read for profit. Not for most Nigerians the studious attitude with which people read books and newspapers in countries. The difference is not in the literacy level, as some are wont to suggest. Nigerians, except for a few, consider reading an unprofitable venture.
The attitude has infected schools. Our future leaders – our children – are growing up with even less attraction to books and serious reading. They like to watch television, especially the addictive cartoon channels. They surf the internet for “chatting”, social networking, various levels of entertainment and satisfaction of their other curiosities. Their “leisure” leaves them with little time to search for knowledge in books.
A nation whose young and old wallow in banalities, showing little quality interest in useful information and education is obviously doomed. Years ago under the Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency, a ministerial nominee under-going Senate screening did not know that NEEDS stood for National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy.

NEEDS had just been launched as the administration’s roadmap to revive a private sector-driven economy. The nominee, an economist, said NEEDS meant the difference between human needs and human wants! He failed the screening.

Many people in high offices do not read and are uninformed about happenings around them. Yet they are decision-makers, and many of them confidently pontificate ill-digested concepts they want to impose on the society, mainly ideas already overtaken by current knowledge.
We must make conscious efforts to return our citizenry to reading. We must re-ignite interest in the search for knowledge over the race for material acquisitions. Those who cannot read should not lead. Those who cannot read, cannot write because there is no knowledge to pass on to others, and no intellectual equipment with which to transmit it. We must support the work of several private organisations, such as the Rainbow Book Club, which launched “Revive the Library” campaign and most recently realised the making of Port Harcourt the 2014 World Book capital.

The club has been able to draw the attention to their book reading activities to revamp the appetite of young people in books. We need more book clubs for the task ahead. Every support should be given to efforts to get our people to read. It starts with parents reading; the children would follow the example. Government, through policies, should ensure books are affordable.

A major challenge for younger readers is the distraction the internet serves. Rainbow Book Club should extend its campaign to online reading of books, and use of virtual libraries.
Knowledge is power. Those who are blindly chasing money today would one day discover that those who pursued knowledge through close contact with books would decide what happens to society.(Vanguard)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

NUC rallies top U.S.-based Nigerian scholars to boost research in Nigerian universities

NUC rallies top U.S.-based Nigerian scholars to
 boost research in Nigerian universities
Seven federal universities are up for major international academic infusions as distinguished US-based Nigerian scientists are teaming up on voluntary basis with the National Universities Commission, NUC, to rekindle academic research in Nigerian universities and create global partnerships that will bolster scientific scholarship and innovation in the country, Empowered Newswire reports.

Under the new scheme announced in Atlanta, United States over the weekend, the NUC and the U.S.-based Nigerian scholars will work to “promote a culture of research and training excellence in Nigerian universities; boost the academic scholarship of the scientists; strengthen the applied biological, biotechnology and biomedical science curricula; and assure international recognition of institutional academic programs.”
Although seven institutions with biomedical and biotechnology programs (namely, University of Ibadan, University of Benin, Usman Dan Fodio University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, University of Lagos, University of Ilorin and Federal University, Otuoke) are initially chosen as the focus, the initiative is designed for all Nigerian universities and other higher institutions.

In fact the NUC Executive Secretary, Julius Okojie, a professor, has already successfully co-opted an initial team of eight notable names in U.S. and global medical and scientific community including one at Emory University, one of Atlanta’s topmost professors, Nelson Oyesiku, who has led the global association of neurosurgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) as President; University of Chicago’s Professor Funmi Olopade, who is currently on President Barack Obama’s National Cancer Advisory Board, and Professor Joseph Igietseme, whose expertise in the U.S. scientific research community is underscored by the fact that the American government through its agencies like the CDC-his employer- and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) earmarked about $20 million to support his research over the last decade.

Also on the team are Professor Charles N. Rotimi, the director of the U.S. government-owned National Institutes of Health’s Centre for Research on Genomics and Global Health, in Maryland; Professor Abba Gumel, a Mathematics professor at the Arizona State University in Phoenix; Professor Francis Eko, a professor in Microbiology, Biochemistry & Immunology at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta; Professor Innocent N. Mbawuike of the Department of Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; and Professor William Undie, Professor and Chair of Radiologic Sciences at The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

According to the statement, the NUC initiated the Promotion of University Biomedical Science Research Development, PUBSD, as an offshoot of the 2012 national summit on Biomedical Science Research (BSR) hosted by the commission and attended by representatives of several universities in the country.
The aims of PUBSD, the statement said, include building and strengthening research and training capabilities in basic, applied biological, biotechnology and clinical biomedical sciences in Nigerian universities according to the statement by the NUC and the new international body, PUBSD.

The NUC also established an International Coordinating/Advisory Committee of the PUBSD, and has mandated it “to actively recruit world-class and resourceful foreign and Diaspora-based Nigerian scientists.”
While Mr. Igietseme has been named as the International Coordinator of the PUBSD in the US, Prof. Eugene Okpere will act as the Nigerian-based National Coordinator of the scheme while Dr. C.J. Nwosu will be the NUC Coordinator in Abuja.
Speaking on the initiative, Mr. Igietseme, said the effort would produce “a thriving academic research enterprise that will enhance the national skilled manpower development of Nigeria, support and drive a profitable national Research and Development (R&D) for a growing bio-economy sector, stimulate and sustain national innovation, job creation, and contribute to national security and defense”.
He explained that the central objective of the PUBSD program is the building and sustenance of collaborations and partnerships between Nigerian academic scientists and active scientists [including Diaspora scientists] at research-intensive settings abroad, with the goal of elevating the research skills and productivity of Nigerian scientists toward contemporary global standards.
The statement added that in specific terms, the PUBSD program will provide a resource platform at the NUC for scientists in Nigerian universities to:
· Initiate collaborative research partnerships with researchers from top universities abroad, facilitating resource-sharing, training, and access to relevant and state-of-the-art research technologies/tools;
· Stimulate the development of viable research programs in Nigerian universities and ensuring the effective administration of research projects consistent with global best practices.
· Explore research funding and support opportunities globally with the aim of building and sustaining a world-class culture of research excellence in Nigerian universities.
And some of the anticipated outcomes include the following:
· Increased research activities, by Nigerian scientists, and publications in top high-impact international biomedical journals. This is expected to help enhance the global rankings of Nigerian universities.
· Stimulate new scientific discoveries and breakthroughs and support national innovation.
· Encourage patent fillings, translational ventures, academia-corporate cooperation, biomedical product development, boost national innovation. These will, consequently, contribute in accelerating the development of Nigeria’s knowledge-based economy (in line with Vision 20:2020).(PREMIUM TIMES)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Again, LASU students union reject new fees by Lagos State Government

The Lagos State University, LASU, Students Union, on Thursday directed its members not to pay the new tuition fees until a further reduction was made by the state government.
This was disclosed in a press statement, signed by the Union’s President, Nurudeen Yusuf.
It said that the tuition fee was high, in view of the economic situation of the state, when compared to the relative fees payable in other universities across the country.
The state governor, Babatunde Fashola, had on June 11, announced a 34 per cent to 60 per cent reduction on the LASU tuition fees. This was sequel to protests from the students and civil society groups.
The University’s Governing Council had on June 20 released a breakdown of the new tuition fees which ranged from N76, 750 to N158, 250.
It was against the increase in fees announced in 2011, from N25, 000 to N198, 000 for humanities and education, while medical students were required to pay N348, 000.
However, the students union insisted that the fees be reduced to N46, 500 for returning students and N65, 500 for fresh students, as proposed by them to the governor.
Meanwhile, the LASU management had on June 23 recalled students from recess, directing them to commence payment of the new tuition fees and their registration. This was in spite of the on-going lecturers’ strike that started on May 20.
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, LASU Chapter, had also been on strike since May 26.
The Students’ Union said its decision was taken at a meeting on June 30.
“Following the meeting, the union resolved that students should resume with immediate effect but strongly warns that no student should pay the fee, until further notice,” the statement said.
It, however, called for the reduction or withdrawal of some charges such as: acceptance fee, tuition, caution and field trip/teaching practice levy.
According to the statement, other charges the students requested for reduction include laboratory and practical/workshop/studio work.
The statement also rejected the July 6 deadline for payments and tasked the management to suspend payment of the fees until the union concludes negotiations with the government.
It also noted that students who paid cannot access the registration portal.
The statement added that the students complained that the management had yet to resolve some pending issues with the Quick Teller.
“SSANU is also on strike, hence there is no one to attend to issues relating to inability to register for our courses and problems with payment,” the statement noted.
It stated that the union remained unrelenting and consistent in its agitation against the hike, which it said, negated the founding ideology of the university.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Oluwadara, 24-year-old, gets Ph.D in Mathematics from Unilag

A TWENTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD Olaoluwa Hallowed Oluwadara Wednesday received a Ph.D award in Mathematics at the convocation ceremony of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for 2012/2013 academic session.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Police arraign 8 LASU students in court over hike in school fee protest

LAGOS — Eight protesting students of the Lagos State University, LASU, arrested by the Police on Tuesday were, yesterday, arraigned before an Ikeja chief magistrate’s court for alleged breach of public peace.

The students were arraigned before Magistrate Eniola Fabanwo for conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of public peace.
Moments after the charges were read to them by the court registrar, they all pleaded not guilty to the one count offence.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Lagos government plead with LASU lecturers to suspend strike

LAGOS—Lagos State Government has appealed to striking Lagos State University, LASU lecturers to embrace dialogue instead of continuing with their industrial action which it described as “an unnecessary drawback for its spirited efforts to boost the academic standing and reputation of the institution.”

The government in a statement weekend, through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, said the state government would not allow itself to be stampeded into acceding to demands that were inconsistent with its policy objectives, noting that it was imperative for Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, LASU to have a rethink on its proposed industrial action in the interest of the students and allow for dialogue.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Common Entrance NECO hold “another test’’

Abuja -The National Examinations Council (NECO) says it will conduct another test for candidates who pass its Common Entrance Examination to select the best for admission into Federal Government Colleges on merit.

The Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, made the announcement on Saturday when he monitored the ongoing Common Entrance examination in some schools in the FCT.
Wike, who was represented by the Director, Basic and Secondary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Daniel Uwaezuoke, said this was in line with government’s promise to ensure that 60 per cent of admissions into Federal Government Colleges were on merit.
According to him, 40 per cent will be allocated on the basis of quota system. He said the increase in enrolment this year was an indication that NECO was getting to a stage of perfection in conducting examinations and that parents were beginning to have confidence in the body.
Also speaking, the Registrar of NECO, Prof. Promise Okpala, reiterated government’s resolve to ensure not only access but also quality in enrolment at all levels of education. Okpala said the increase in enrolment this year was a proof of parents’ confidence in the quality of education service offered by the schools.
He said a total of 95,926 candidates registered for the Common Entrance Examination into Federal Government Colleges in 2014 as against 88,444 in 2013.

The registrar said that 18,726 candidates registered for the examination in the FCT alone, while Lagos State had the highest number of enrolment with 26,926 candidates.
He disclosed that there was, however, a decrease in some Northern states where Borno registered 218, Yobe 176 and Adamawa 318. Zamfara, he said, recorded the lowest number of enrolment with only 113 candidates. (NAN)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

50 UK University Institutions to visit Nigeria, Ghana for 6th UKEAS edu fair

One of the leading educational advisory organizations in Nigeria, the United Kingdom Education Advisory Service (UKEAS) is set to bring representatives from over 50 UK Universities and colleges to Nigeria and Ghana for an International Education  fair this April and May.
The Fair will hold on the 29th of April in Abuja and on the 1st of May in Lagos before moving on to Ghana for the Accra event on the 3rd of May. The aim of this event is to provide prospective students who are desirous of an international education and degree with the opportunity to meet face to face with representatives of these Universities and get all their questions about studying in the UK answered.
It affords all participants the opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with the University representatives and even the possibility of getting on-the-spot admission offers from these international institutions if all academic qualifications are adequate.
“There are a number of ways to access information on international education and one of the best ways is to have a one-on-one discussion with the UK Universities themselves. This is why we have organised this Study Fair, so participants can have that face to face meeting and ask all their questions right there” says UKEAS Regional Manager Nigeria & Ghana, Bukky Awofisayo.
Entry to the Fair is FREE and UKEAS is also offering Free study and career advice, Free application processing, Free visa processing and Free access to scholarship information.
The 6th UKEAS Education Exhibition will be the largest yet with over 50 Institutions attending the event in Lagos and Abuja while over 30 of the Institutions are expected to be at the Accra event in Ghana.

Monday, 24 March 2014

How Online Learning and Technology-Assisted Learning Helps the Abroad Students

students from all over the World who study abroad have to face many challenges during their education in an alien land. The same case repeats for international students who study in India. The challenges for both the sets of students would be frequent moves, different cultures, transition from one educational institution to another and perhaps scarcity of educational services as well. Considering these issues, the facilities of online learning and technology-assisted learning were designed for which students do not have to wait, but just make use of the virtual mode of learning as per their convenience.

The advantages of an online learning program:

1.An online learning program can be made use of anywhere since it travels with you to any part of the world. It just needs internet connection.
2.The students do not have to wait for the courses to start. For example, the offline courses may start at the beginning of a month.
3.Online learning programs are in no way inferior to the offline learning programs.
4.These programs allow the students to graduate at their own comfortable pace.
5. These courses give choices of courses for students to choose from. It is left for the students to choose courses which they like and they can also choose to master the courses at a level they want.

The advantages of technology-assisted learning:

1.If students and teachers have a class blog, they can easily communicate with their class and teacher even while at home if needed. It brings a feeling of unity and connectedness for the students. Technology used for a positive purpose like this can create a strong relationship between the students and their education, also with their home environment and school or college environment.

2. A strategy like Storybird helps students to develop a deeper understanding of narratives. It also teaches how visual and textual aspects help to create an imaginative story and helps students to think creatively and logically.
3. Student learning has to be supported by multiliteracies and multimodal approaches. Those approaches develop the way students learn, create and improve themselves.

4.Computer serves as an instructor or tutor in a technology-assisted classroom. Computers can assist teachers in bringing those students who are lagging behind to the forefront.

The advantages of online and technology-assisted learning outweigh the disadvantages they have. People of the pre-computer era do not quite understand the all-pervasive impact technology has on us in the present day. Some others are against the idea of using technology in the teaching-learning process. Online learning programs do totally replace the physical form of classroom, teachers and students with the computer system and the tutorials. People become individualistic relying too much on technology is the oft heard complaint today. Considering the umpteen permutations and combinations of choices we have in an online learning set up and in technology-assisted learning, the disadvantages are not worth consideration.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Mass failure in NECO, WAEC in Nigeria Educationists blame government

Groups says Education Sector in Nigeria requires good politics to have good education

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s education sector have said that government’s inability to alleviate the fundamental challenges in the sector is responsible for the poor performance of students in the qualifying examinations organised by the National Examinations Council (NECO) and the West African Examination Council.
Leading this call was the WAEC Chairman, Professor Pai Obanya, who was the lead discussant at a forum for stakeholders in Lagos last weekend.
At the forum, themed: Education: Building Viable Frameworks for Sustainability, Obanya insisted that, “there should be an assessment of the education sector as a whole as a way of ensuring appropriate policies, programmes and processes. Examination failure is a surface manifestation of system failure, this is why constant system assessment is paramount.”
According to the don, it requires good politics to have good education, because good politics would provide good policies, which would result in good programmes and in turn compel good processes.
Continuing, he said: “Strategic planning means indepth – not cause – analysis to address the challenges from their very roots. There must also be situational analysis, policy planning, action planning and an in-built monitoring and evaluation framework.”
Stressing that quality is about inputs and processes, Obanya lamented that social recognition for teachers and professional support for them are lacking.
“Yet, education is about producing the human-ware that will produce the hardware and the software,” he added. The WAEC boss declared communal involvement in education as another imperative for the revival of the sector.
In his words: “The popular term: Public-Private Partnership (PPP) must now be ‘Public-Private-Community Partnership as far as the education sector is concerned. Until this is done, we will keep talking grammar.”
Also speaking at the forum organised by ThistlePraxis Consulting, a Professor of Counselling and Psychology, University of Lagos, Professor Ngozi Osarenren, said continuous development of teachers is very critical.
Teachers, she stressed, must be aware of updates in the sector, especially as it affects teaching. They must be aware of new teaching methods and provided with teaching materials, she advised. Osarenren declared that 95 per cent of teachers in public schools do not have the syllabus.
“How can a teacher be teaching without copies of recommended textbooks?” she asked. She also challenged the Organised Private Sector to begin to show interest in teachers and the teaching profession, even as she commended Etisalat Telecommunications firm for sponsoring the event.
For the Chief Academic Officer, Kepler University, Kigali, Rwanda, Chrystina Russell, no efforts should be spared in support of education because of its impact on employment and productivity.
The Lagos State Team Leader of Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), Mr Olabode Oyeneye, said that a shift of focus from certification to functionality is an imperative in the quest for viable frameworks for sustainability in education.
In his words: “Certification has been so much glorified to the detriment of ability, capability and performance.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), West Africa Vocational Education, Misan Rewane, canvassed some measures to boost education.
According to Rewane: “Can we use idle pension funds to train and empower students if they will come back to teach? Because access to education is key, can we have students’ financing models? Can we leverage on technology to provide more education opportunities? And how do we encourage entrepreneurs to do what government is not doing?”
Earlier in the forum, ThistlePraxis’ CEO, Mrs Ini Onuk, in her welcome address, said the organisation’s latest initiative was targeted at feasible and workable solutions to meet the nation’s educational needs. “The Millennium Development Goals are due in 2015. So, how can we fastrack our progress in this critical sector? This is part of our concerns,” Onuk said inter-alia.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ambrose Alli University gets new Vice chancellor

As Oshiomole confirmed Mrs. Cordelia Agbebaku as the substantive Vice Chancellor of the state-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma.

AFTER almost three years in acting capacity, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole yesterday confirmed Mrs. Cordelia Agbebaku as the substantive Vice Chancellor of the state-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma.

   He said the decision was borne out of the fact that the vice chancellor has brought stability and development to the university.

   Agbebaku was appointed in acting capacity after a visitation panel to the school discovered that there was no comprehensive record of students’ population and inadequate management of the school’s finances and abuse of contract award processes.  

   The governor made the disclosure when he received traditional rulers from Edo Central Senatorial District who were at the Government House, Benin City where he said, “we are confirming the Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University.

I believe she brought some stability to the institution. They tried to politicize the whole thing by bringing ethnicity into it, but Edo will be driven by merit because we recognize merit.

   “Politicians create this divide. One of my objectives is to remind ourselves of our common ancestry and common dialect. I want to thank you for all you are doing to promote the cause of peace and sharing information with security agencies that has led to the reduction of crime in the state”, he said.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

FG suspends UNN chairman of governing council

Abuja – The Federal Government on Tuesday in Abuja suspended Dr Emeka Enejere, the Chairman/ Pro-Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Governing Council with immediate effect.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, the Special Assistant on Media to the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike.
The statement said that the suspension was announced by the supervising minister of education.
Enejere was appointed as the Chairman of UNN Governing Council in April this year. (NAN)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

ASUU signs MoU with FG, to call off strike in a week says ASUU President

ABUJA – The Federal Government and the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, led by its President Dr. Nasir Fagge yesterday, signed Memoradum of Understanding on the restructured 2009. Agreement.
ASUU President, Dr. Nasir. Fagge said the document signed would be presented to the union to take an affirmative stand on the suspension of the 5 months old industrial action.
He said with the signing of the MOU the 5month old strike would be suspended in a week’s time.
According to Fagge, “This is the response to the letter we wrote to Mr. President and this document would now be forwarded to our members and our members would give us direction. We are hoping that we would be able to meet with our members in less than a week.
I don’t have the power to call off the industrial action, it is only our members that can do that. And our members gave us a message to give to the Federal Government which we have done and within one week our members would meet. We already have the document which shows that Government is committed”.
The ASUU President said the development and revitalization of Nigeria’s education sector is the work of everybody.
“It is never too late for the nation to turn a new leaf and do what is right. Other countries that are smaller and less powerful than Nigeria have done it and have succeeded. It is rather unfortunate that Nigeria is not close to some of these smaller nations around us. It is now, we must properly fund our universities, we have lost lot of capital to nations like Ghana and Togo”, Fagge said.
He therefore assured Nigerians that ASUU would not take long in ensuring that the right thing is done as soon as possible.
The Supervising Minister of Education, Barr. Nyesom Wike, who led the Federal Government team said the fact that ASUU signed the resolution shows the strike has already been called off.
Wike said, “Today is historic. We have a duty to restore normalcy into our schools. What this meeting shows is that all the contending issues have been resolved and ASUU President said they have a tradition and so he has to go back to report to their members even though all the issues have been resolved. It is clear; we believe that very soon our student would go back to the classroom”.
Among those at the meeting were the Supervising Minister of Education, Barr. Nyesom Wike,  President Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Abdulweed Umar, ASUU National President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof Julius Okojie, and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala,

Saturday, 30 November 2013

ASUU’s fresh demands, sabotage-UNICAL don

A lecturer at the University of Calabar, Dr. Edidiong Ebitu, has described the new demands by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as an act of sabotage of the education sector. He made the declaration on Friday in Uyo in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). Ebitu, who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Marketing in the university, said he was in support of the Federal Government’s directive that lecturers should resume classes. “The various branches of ASUU had already voted to resume classes. The over four-months strike has done enough damage to the system. “The president had made reasonable concessions, so ASUU should resume for other things to fall in place,” he said. However, reacting to Ebitu’s views, the Secretary of the University of Uyo Branch of ASUU, Dr. Aniekan Brown, debunked the claim that ASUU was making fresh demands. “ASUU is not making fresh demands, ASUU is asking for the implementation of the 2009 agreements. “If any ASUU member says ASUU is making fresh demands, I doubt if that person is an ASUU member, that person is not informed,” Brown said. NAN reports that ASUU is demanding among other things, immediate payment of all outstanding salary arrears and allowances of members withheld during the strike. The union is also demanding a written commitment from the president that N225 billion will be committed to funding universities annually for the next four years. The Federal Ministry of Education had on Thursday directed the authorities of federal universities to re-open classes immediately and to treat lecturers who refused to resume work as having resigned.-THE NATION

ASUU strike Union leaders adamant

Following threats from the Federal Government, leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday relocated from Abuja to their various campuses in readiness for expected crackdown. It was gathered that President Goodluck Jonathan might no longer be directly involved in negotiation with the lecturers because he is angry angry with ASUU leaders for three reasons, namely their contempt for the office of the President, their decision to issue new conditions and their alleged backing by some external forces. Investigation revealed that after spending almost a week in Abuja for the resumption of talks, the ASUU leaders were left with no option but to go back to their various campuses. It was learnt that the leaders felt disappointed that in spite of the fact that they had avoided making the negotiation talks a media affair, the Federal Government bungled the opportunity to wrap it up. A top leader of ASUU, who spoke in confidence, said: “Our leaders have returned to their campuses. They were disappointed with the Area Boy or Agbero method adopted by the Minister. “The military style of the Minister of State for Education will only compound the situation. “So, we are back to our trenches as it was the situation during the military era. We are ready for the worst now. “If the situation becomes uncontrollable, we will also go underground and resort to guerilla tactics.” There were indications yesterday that the Federal Government might level sabotage allegation against the lecturers if they remain unyielding and the strike paralyses universities. A senior government official, who confided in THE NATION, said: “We hope that they will not overreach their bounds, because what they have done in the last four months amounted to economic sabotage. “If they continue to take the law into their hands by paralysing activities in the universities, we may try them for economic sabotage. This is also the extreme end the government may go too. “Let them study the enabling laws to see what they have been violating. We are not yet disposed to wielding the big stick, but if the government is pushed to the wall, it will invoke relevant laws to manage the situation. We are waiting for what they will do.” Top ASUU leaders were said to have been placed under security watch at the time of filing this report. A different source said: “All the security agencies have been directed to protect lives and property on all the campuses nationwide, especially in the universities that have reopened. “Union leaders are also under watch to prevent recourse to self-help, which may lead to wanton destruction of property. “The government will not tolerate any intimidation or harassment, and any violent union leader risks being arrested. But those who restrict themselves to the confines of the law have nothing to fear.” A government source yesterday said that President Goodluck Jonathan might no longer be directly involved in negotiation with ASUU to preserve the Office of the President. A government source said: “We are trying to insulate the Office of the President from further negotiation with ASUU if at all the union will allow such or there will be room for such. “We think relevant ministers and the Committee of Pro-Chancellors/Vice-Chancellors should be able to handle the rest of the talks/negotiation.” According to investigation, the December 4, 2013 ultimatum given by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, followed the directive of the Presidency. The government source added: “The President is angry because he over-indulged ASUU leaders. It is only in Nigeria you see the President sitting for 13 hours with union leaders on any issue and at the end of the day, there will be no courtesy from the union. “While the President was expecting feedback from ASUU leaders within 72 hours, they kept him in suspense for two weeks or more. “And instead of feedback on where the talks stopped, ASUU leaders came up with fresh conditions when even during the negotiation, they admitted that some of the clauses in 2009 agreement cannot be implemented. “The President is human. He now has every cause to believe that the strike action seems to have the backing of external forces seeking to bring his administration down. That was why he decided to come down hard on ASUU too.”-THE NATION

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

UniJos ASUU wants end to strike Chairman

Jos,Nigeria – The University of Jos chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), who voted against ending the four-months-old strike, says it will resume classes if directed by the national body. “Yes, the local ASUU chapter voted 159 to 88 against ending the strike at its congress on Monday, but we shall abide by any decision taken by the national body on Wednesday,’’ its Chairman, Dr. David Jangdam, said in Jos on Tuesday. ASUU’s central body is expected to meet in Kano on Wednesday to take a final decision on whether or not to end the strike after collating resolutions from various local branches who considered the offer by President Goodluck Jonathan during their congresses on Monday. Jonathan had made the offers toward ending the strike during a meeting with the striking lecturers who are seeking better funding for the universities and improved welfare packages for the teaching staff. Jangdam said in Jos that the decision of the national body was final and binding on all local chapters. “Even the strike was not supported by all the universities. Many local chapters of ASUU opposed it, but majority wanted it and we embarked on it,’’ he said. He explained that ASUU’s decisions were usually from bottom-to-top with representatives at meetings having to revert to the local branches before any decision would be taken. Jangdam, however, rejected suggestions that the local branch’s position was influenced by the internal disagreement with management over the conduct of the post-UTME examinations during the strike. ASUU had condemned that action, and declared that the examinations were “illegal, wasteful and of no effect’’. “At the congress meeting yesterday, we made it clear that no local issue will be discussed. “Our focus was solely on the issues related to the national strike. Other local disagreements shall be tackled locally and therefore had no effect on our stance yesterday,’’ he said. He said that the lecturers voted against ending the strike because they did not trust the federal government to fulfill its promises and therefore wanted something concrete to be seen on ground before resuming classes. Jangdam also rejected suggestions that the lecturers had not been fair to university education in the country. “I think the questions should be if the system is fair to the educational sector; Nigerians should ask the leaders why the educational sector is usually the least in their priorities,’’ he said. He said that it was wrong for Nigerians to blame the lecturers for the bad situation in the universities, saying that the search light should rather be on those in authority that decided what should go to the ivory towers at budget planning sessions. “Sometimes, I find the situation a bit perplexing; I wonder why should Nigerians complain about poor quality of graduates and heap the blame on the universities and the lecturers even when they know that not much attention is paid to the educational sector?,’’ he asked. (NAN)