ASUU strike: Hope rises as lecturers reach agreement with FG

For the first time since the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) began its indefinite strike on November 4, 2018, there came a gleam of hope on Monday when Labour minister, Chris Ngige, announced that the two parties (ASUU and Federal Government) reached reasonable agreements on the contentious issues in their last meeting.

Previous meetings held between them have deadlocked with the either sticking to its gun.

The union had directed its members in public universities across the country to embark on an indefinite strike to pressure the federal government to honour and implement agreements reached with it in 2009 during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

The agreements essentially border on proper funding of university education and autonomy for its governance.

Ngige told journalists after the meeting in Abuja that the majority of ASUU’s demands on the government, including the release of N15.4 billion for payment of salaries shortfall, have been met

“On the issue of salaries in tertiary institutions, especially in universities, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant- General provided evidence that as at December 31, 2018 the Federal Government had remitted N15.4 billon.

“Also on the issue of Earned Allowances in the universities system, they also showed us evidence that Mr. President has approved the N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012, audit verified earnings, in the university system.

“This money is being worked on, and will be released to ASUU as soon as the process is completed.

“ASUU has fulfilled its own side of the bargain in terms of NUPECO, which is the Pension Fund Administration Company that ASUU has floated to take care of pension for people in the university system.

“The Pension regulator, the PENCOM, has asked certain positions to be fulfilled and they gave ASUU a temporary license, which has expired.

“ASUU has submitted all the documents and fulfilled all conditions needed to get their license,” he said.

According to Ngige, the government is also considering ingenious strategies to fund the university revitalization agreement entered into with ASUU in 2009. The exercise was designed to affect 220 universities across the country over a period of six years.

Meanwhile, the ASUU has called on the government to show mercy on students and take concrete steps to address the issues that led to its (ASUU’s) ongoing strike.

The call was contained in a statement issues by the University of Ibadan chapter’s ASUU chairman, Dr. Deji Omole, in Ibadan on Monday.

The ASUU boss was reacting to an earlier statement credited to Ngige in which he was appealing to the lecturers to consider the impact of their action on the students and go back to work.

Describing the minister’s statement as “a merciless utterance”, Omole said ASUU’s action was based on patriotism to the Nigerian nation and genuine love for its people.

“We are patriots otherwise we would not go on strike. We would have been looking and allow everything to be destroyed. But we cannot allow our future (children) to be taught in zoo-like conditions. This kind of education system cannot give us a leader who will be kind to others if we are not kind to them by giving them the best environment to learn from. Nigerians should join us to beg President Buhari to meet our demands on time rather using keep them talking approach”

TRCN hosts conference to address falling education standard in Africa

TRCN

Heads of education regulatory agencies across Africa will converge on Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, for a week-long 7th African Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) conference to brainstorm on the possible ways to improve quality of education, among other critical issues affecting the continent.

The Registrar of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Segun Ajiboye, who disclosed this while interacting with journalists in Ibadan on Monday, said the event will be hosted by the TRCN from May 14 to 19.
Entitled “Teaching and Learning in Africa in the Context of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) and Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-2025” the conference is aimed at charting a sustainable strategy for the delivery of quality education in order to meet Sustainable Development Goals.
Ajiboye explained that the conference will provide opportunities for exchange of best practices between the statutory regulators of the teaching profession in Africa and members of the global community particularly the academia, ICT experts, employers of teachers, teachers unions and international development partners.
He stated further that the Conference as well as the Roundtable talks scheduled to part of it will feature presentations on the implications of terrorism, refugees and internally displaced for education in Africa as well as the professionalization of teaching in Africa.
“The TRCN is happy to host the convergence of AFTRA, which is the Africa Regional Branch of International Forum of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (IFTRA). This years’ conference will further deliberate on issues of professionalism as well as the challenges facing the teaching profession in Africa.
“The conference will exhaustively deliberate on the working conditions as well living conditions of African teaching with a view to suggesting areas of improvement to Ministers of Education in Africa who will also be part of the conference and round-table,” he said.
The Registrar, who noted that attending to poor quality of education in Africa is a continental resolve, said Nigeria is also interested in ensuring that the current poor WAEC results and underachievement in schooling is reversed.
He also informed that the African Union is hosting a special session in the conference where all Ministers of Education in Africa will discuss the progress on teacher professionalism and the teaching profession in Africa.
The TRCN boss maintained that while the last edition of the conference was hosted by South Africa the choice of Nigeria for this global audience is not unconnected with the committed zeal of the country to professionalizing the teaching profession and ensure that teachers in Nigeria get the best in their chosen profession.

408 students withdrawn from UI

The management of the University of Ibadan has announced the withdrawal of a total of 408 students over poor academic performance.
The decision was ratified by the Senate of the university during a recent consideration and approval of results of graduating and non-graduating students.
Sources within the system hinted that about three-quarter of the affected students were those in 100 level who were admitted into the university without writing the Post-UTME screening examinations.
The University of Ibadan had admitted a total of 3,483 for the 2016/2017 session when there was opposition to the conduct of post-UTME screening.
While speaking with journalists on the development, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Adeyinka Aderinto, stated that the premier university will continue to uphold its standards in accordance with the global practices despite dwindling funding it is experiencing.
He admonished parents of returning students to monitor their wards and ensure that those asked to withdraw from the university do not lie and continue to extort money in the name of being students at the University.
Aderinto added that the conduct of UI Model of Post-UTME screening has helped to separate ‘men from boys’ and helped the institution in maintaining its historical standard as a global brand.
“The University is determined to uphold standards. We are saying that being admitted to the University of Ibadan is a rarely privilege that require students to be up and doing in their studies. There are minimum academic requirements a student must meet at the end of the session and those who fall short of that would have to leave the university. UI has been able to invent her own model of screening applicants and it has shown that those who we screened performed far better than those not subjected to our screening after taking JAMB.”

Don admonishes old students to make positive impact on alma mata

Alma mata

The head of Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Osun State University, Professor Bolaji Omitola, has charged members of old students associations to endeavor to make positive impact on their alma mata, arguing that no such gathering is worth the name without meaningful contributions.

Omitola, who was the guest lecturer at the annual general meeting and re-union of the Alumni of Urban Day Grammar School, Elekuro, Ibadan (1985 Set) on Saturday, posited that the essence of forming old students associations goes beyond holding meetings and merry making, but essentially for members to see to the development of the schools that produced them as well as help colleagues to be their best in life.

The event, held at Jogor Centre, Ring Road, Ibadan, was hosted by the former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Oyo State, Ojo Adebayo, who is also the incumbent chairman of the association.

Not minding the fact that the school had been converted to a Technical School, Adebayo said the association still influenced the government to procure some sets of computers for its use last year, adding that moves are on to make the government revert it to its original status.

While delivering his lecture, Omitola urged his old students colleagues to always commit themselves to assisting each other in their chosen trades to empower one another to effectively contribute to the development of the school and mankind.

“I am very delighted and happy to be here with you, and I also wish to use this medium to advise you my colleagues to use this our annual gathering to affect ourselves and our Alma Mata positively. This will go a long way to help our association, as well as members to be receiving a lot of blessings if we can donate any useful materials to our Alma Mata”.

“I want us all to let us have the orientation of affecting ourselves positively in mind, and we can do that by patronising each other’s business. This, I believe will go a long way in helping ourselves. We should nevertheless be grateful to God Almighty for keeping us this far, because many have died and we are still alive, it is by His grace and not by our might”, he said.

Adebayo had, in his remarks, praised God for sparing the lives of members and helped them tremendously in their careers since 32 years they had left the school.

He thanked members for their efforts in making the year’s event a huge success.

Ajimobi pledges to further improve education standard

Education

The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has vowed to do everything within his power to further improve the quality of education in the State.

Ajimobi made the pledge on Tuesday during the official inauguration of a N50 Billion Education Trust Fund (ETF), held at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan to galvanize support from stakeholders to revamp the sector.

Though the governor said his administration had achieved unprecedented leaps in the sector, he noted that more needs to be done to get education where it ought to be.

“It is a deliberate effort to make education the task of all of us. We need to provide quality education and we must realize that providing quality education is not for the government alone. It has to involve all stakeholders, especially the private sector,” the governor said.

While stressing the need to be more serious about educating the youth, the governor submitted that the rich nations of the world are in recent times shifting attention from natural resources to human capital development to build the future of their people and the economy.

He said Nigeria could not be an exception, adding that Oyo was thinking outside the box to improve the quality of education n the state.

The chairman of the trust fund and president of Lagos State Chamber of Commerce, Onikepo Akande, thanked the state House of Assembly for speeding up the process of creating a legal framework for its operation.

She said she was optimistic of positive response from all the stakeholders in the project, adding that its success will have a direct impact on the state’s education sector.

The ETF, according to documents, was, among other things, created to provide finance to supplement the provision of education at all levels by the state government.

The organizers pledged to ensure accountability and transparency in its implementation.

At the end of the programme, the state was able to raised some money, while hinting that it would go after all the invited guests, who couldn’t make it to the event, for their contributions.

University of Ibadan demands special funding status

University of Ibadan

Top echelons in the management of the University of Ibadan took turns to demand a special funding status from the Federal Government on Friday, arguing that such is necessary for the university to maintain its place in the nation’s educational sector.

Led by the University’s Chancellor and Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad, the canvassers included the Pro-Chancellor, Joshua Waklek and the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka.

They all made the case during the 69th Foundation Day of the university, which climaxed its five-day graduation ceremony for the year 2017.

The programme held at the International Conference Centre, had eminent Nigerians, including the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwukah, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the Sultan, for the university to maintain its premier status, there is need for the federal government to jerk up its subvention.

This, he said, would avail it the opportunity to also come up with innovations that would help propel development in the university education system in Nigeria.

In his own word, Vice Chancellor cited, among his reasons for a special funding status, the need to recruit younger academic staff to fill the vacuum created by the exit of some professors, who have reached the stipulated retirement age and had to quit.

A total of 402 candidates from various disciplines were awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degrees, while one other bagged Doctor of Medicine.

Honorary doctorate degrees were also conferred on four Nigerians whose interventions have touched the university and mankind.

They include a foremost linguist, Emeritus Prof Ayo Bamigbose; former presidential Special Adviser on Petroleum, Dr Emmanuel Egbogah; seventh vice chancellor of the university. Prof Bankole Oyediran; and Chairman, Dubri Oil, and pioneer chairman, University of Ibadan Research Foundation, Dr. Chevalier Itsueli.

President Buhari, in his address delivered by Anwukah, pledged commitment to the federal government’s obligations to the universities under its watch to assist then performed at the optimum.

Buhari backs proposed Kaduna teachers’ sacking

Dapchi

President Muhammadu Buhari has applauded the decision of Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai to sack 21,780 primary school teachers who failed competency test conducted by the state government recently.

The president expressed his backing at a special retreat of the Federal Executive Council on the challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria on Monday.

Themed: “Education in Nigeria: Challenges and prospect”, the programme was organized as an open debate on how to improve education in the country.

Buhari described as very serious ‘a situation when teachers cannot pass the examination they are supposed to teach the children to pass’.

“It is a very tragic situation we are in and this our gathering, to me, is one of the most important in this administration,” he said, applauding the Kaduna State governor for taking the bold step in tackling the decadence in the education sector in his state.

The governor’s decision has received mixed reactions since it was announced penultimate week.

President Buhari noted that the summit was crucial to his government’s desire to improve the lot of Nigerians through provision of quality and functional education at all levels, saying no nation could progress beyond the standard of its education.

“Today, it is those who acquire the most qualitative education, equipped with requisite skills and training, and empowered with practical know-how that are leading the rest.

“We cannot afford to continue lagging behind. Education is our Launchpad to a more successful, more productive and more prosperous future.

“This administration is committed to revitalizing our education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive,” he said.

FG feeds 1.3m pupils with N3.77bn, engages 14,574 cooks

The Federal Government of Nigeria said it has so far expended N3.77 billion on feeding of 1,287,270 school children in nine states under its Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President, Laolu Akande, who disclosed this recently, also said the project has engaged a total of 14,547 cooks across the country.
He listed Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta and Abia as the currently benefiting states, adding that the money were released to them in tranches.
To ensure that the programme effectively impacts on the communities, the Ag President’s spokesman said the cooks were sourced from within the localities of the affected schools.
According to him, the Federal government pays the cooks directly, with a slight variation in Osun State where some of the food items, such as eggs, were bought centrally by an aggregator.
The National Homegrown School Feeding scheme kicked off in December 2016 with the feeding of primary school pupils in Anambra State.
The Special Assistant on Homegrown School Feeding Programme in the Office of the Vice President, Dotun Adebayo, said primary school pupils in Anambra State were excited as the feeding started in their schools.
Adebayo, who led a team of federal and state officials to some of the schools, said they witnessed the feeding in three schools in Awka: Community Primary School, Awka South; Central School Ameobi, and Central School in Nibo.