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N-Power teachers can’t drive early childhood education – NUT

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N-Power teachers can’t drive early childhood education – NUT

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has said that the N-Power scheme of the Federal Government is not the best contingency approach to delivering quality education, especially early child education.

NUT National President, Dr. Nasir Idris, disclosed this during a four-day workshop on “Learning Through Play for Early Childhood Education Teachers in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), organised by the Nigeria Union of Teachers in partnership with the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators (BUPL).

Idris, who stressed the need of providing the child with an early foundation and formation in life, said there was the need to strengthen the capacity of early child educators to conform to international best practice for a holistic and functional development of the child.

The NUT President, who was represented by the 1st National Vice President of the union, Comrade Akosile Samuel, underscored the importance of providing the child with strong early foundation and formation in life.

He said: “The capacity of teachers to deliver cannot be achieved using contingency approach such as the N-Power scheme of the Federal Government, but a full-time employment of qualified, well-trained, competent and committed personnel in the education sector most especially as it affects the early child development component.”

Chairperson of Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators, Jonna Jul Gudyundsen, who expressed delight over the sustained interest of the NUT in early child development, however, noted that the Union’s 11-year partnership with BUPL had positively impacted on teachers and the school child development as learning through play is good for the child and the teachers.

“It is important to keep playing with the kids,” Ms Gudyundsen stated, adding that the workshop was a platform to share knowledge and experience between Denmark and Nigeria Teacher Union.

According to her, the participants would be exposed to new methodologies and ways to play with kids, which must be sustained activities in schools for children in their early stage of mental development.

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Sanwo-Olu approves N350m bailout fund for AOCOED

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Sanwo-Olu approves N350m bailout fund for AOCOED

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved the sum of N350 million as bailout fund and increased the subvention of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Otto Ijanikin Ojo from N200 million to N250 million.

This was coming after the governor announced the plan by his administration to upgrade the institution to a state University of Education.

The governor, while giving the approval, described his action as part of his administration’s commitment to the growth of education in the state, which, he said, is a top priority in the administration’s THEMES agenda.

New Telegraph learnt that the management and staff of the institution have been yearning for fund to fulfil its outstanding financial obligations from the previous administration over period of time.

But the Special Adviser on to the governor on education, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, who disclosed this at a meeting held in his office with the management and members of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) Adeniran Ogunsanya chapter, assured the management of better welfare.

He said: “The bailout will be a form of relief to the management and staff of the institution for the payment if inherited debt, unpaid honoraria and personnel cost.”

While appreciating the governor for his kind gesture, he advised the management to use the money for the specified purpose as well as for the growth and development of AOCOED.

Responding, the outgoing Provost of the institution Associate Professor Aina Ladele commended the governor for granting their request and promised that the bailout will be used effectively to up lift of the institution.

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Parents of 9-year-old who dropped out of varsity before making history blame school

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Parents of 9-year-old who dropped out of varsity before making history blame school

A Belgian boy who was on track to become the youngest person to graduate from college has dropped out, leaving his parents and school administrators quarreling over who is to blame.

Laurent Simons, 9, gained worldwide attention after finishing high school in just a year and enrolling at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands in March 2018.

Laurent and his parents chose the school after learning that a special committee would be formed to help him finish the three-year electrical programming in just 10 months, his father, Alexander Simons, told ABC News in a telephone interview Wednesday.

He was set to finish the program on December 26, when he turned 10, effectively making history. The current record holder is American Michael Kearney, who graduated in June 1994 at the age of 10 years 4 months, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

But when the family decided he would go to the United States for further studies after graduation and not Eindhoven, Simons said the school veered off course.

“We saw a change in the behavior after Laurent dropped the news to the university,” Simons said.

In an email shared with ABC News from Nov. 17, the organiser of the boy’s studies wrote to the examination committee at Eindhoven that there was “a realistic chance that Laurent can finish his program in 2019.”

But in a meeting with the dean and Laurent’s mentor on Monday, the three were allegedly told that Laurent wouldn’t be able to graduate in the 10 months they were promised, but instead it would take another six to eight months.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Simons said. “All of a sudden, in a few weeks, everything changes.”

Ivo Jongsma, a spokesman for the university, told ABC News that Simons “never made it a secret that he wanted his son to do a Ph.D. in the U.S., so in our perception there was no change of plan.”

He said even if there had been a change, “it would not have changed our attitude.”

Eindhoven defended its position not to let Laurent finish his studies by December 26 in a statement to ABC News.

The university deemed the timetable “not feasible and would be unfavorable to Laurent’s academic development.”

Instead, school officials proposed an agenda that would allow him to finish his courses and graduate by mid-2020.

“In our view, this timeline would offer Laurent the opportunity to sufficiently develop the skills associated with the final phase of the study program, such as insight, creativity and critical analysis, without undue pressure on this 9-year-old student,” the statement said.

Laurent’s father, though, wasn’t convinced.

“Do they think we are idiots?” Simons said.

He said if the school had initially told the family it would take three years, it wouldn’t have mattered to them.

“But this is not OK,” according to Simons. “It’s your university, do whatever you like, but it’s also Laurent’s life and it’s his decision to stay here or not.”

As for Laurent, he was both heartbroken and angry after hearing the news.

The plans to head for the United States are still in place, according to Simons, and the family is working on getting certifications from the university to prove that he passed his classes.

Simons would not say what universities in the U.S. they were looking at for Ph.D. programs but they have been in touch with some who have offered support.

“Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some,” Simons said, noting that he believes his son has a “great future ahead” no matter what.

“We also believe in karma,” he quickly added.

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US parent charged in college cheating case, agrees to plead guilty

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US parent charged in college cheating case, agrees to plead guilty

A California woman was charged and has agreed to plead guilty as part of a sweeping college admissions cheating scheme that has resulted in charges against dozens of parents and others, federal prosecutors said this week.

Karen Littlefair, 57, of Newport Beach, was accused of paying $9,000 to have someone from the company of the scheme’s alleged mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, take online courses so that her son could graduate from Georgetown University, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement Monday.

Littlefair will plead guilty at a later date to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, prosecutors said.

That charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, but prosecutors said they will recommend a sentence of four months in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $9,500 and restitution.

A lawyer for Littlefair, Kenneth Julian, said his client has “taken the earliest opportunity to take responsibility for her conduct,” The Associated Press reported.

Littlefair is the latest person charged in the scheme. Prosecutors in March announced charges against 50 people as a result of the FBI investigation called Operation Varsity Blues, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. The employee for Singer’s company completed four classes for her son at Georgetown and elsewhere, prosecutors said.

Huffman, a one-time Oscar nominee and the wife of actor William H. Macy, a one-time Oscar nominee and the wife of actor William H. Macy, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and honest services fraud in May for paying $15,000 to Singer to cheat on daughter Sophia Grace Macy’s SAT in 2017. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison and served her sentence and has been released.

Loughlin, known for her role in “Full House,” and her fashion-designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are fighting the charges. They were among those hit with a new bribery charge in October, and they pleaded not guilty in November.

Littlefair’s son graduated from Georgetown in May of 2018 using the credits from the online courses taken by an employee of Singer’s business, prosecutors said.

Georgetown declined to comment about any possible disciplinary action to the AP on Monday but said that the school can revoke degrees in cases of major misconduct.

Singer has pleaded guilty and is cooperating in the government investigation. He wore a wire for the FBI in the case.

In some of the cases, wealthy parents paid to have their children’s scores boosted or tried to get them admitted as fraudulent athletic recruits, or both, officials have said.

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Kano’s renewed agenda for education development

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Kano’s renewed agenda for education development
  • Kano, French govt sign scholarship agreement for 5 years
  • Ganduje: We need to overhaul our education sector

 

PARTNERSHIP

As part of moves to boost education development in Kano State, the government has entered into a fresh five-year agreement with the French Government in the areas of scholarship, staff training and development, students’ exchange and research, among others

 

 

Worried by the sliding fortunes of education, the Kano State Government has embarked on a fresh move that would change the narrative and reposition the sector for optimal delivery and qualitative service.

Under the renewed arrangements to return the ailing sector to the path of reckoning, the sector has begun to witness aggressive funding, renovation of existing schools and construction of new ones, and improved learning output through massive training and retraining of teachers and capacity development for lecturers at the tertiary level.

Recently, the state government, under Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, launched the Free and Compulsory Education Programmes to ensure that every child of school age in the state have unfettered access to qualitative education.

With his avowed commitment to provision of education, already no fewer than 52 Mega Schools are to receive direct funding from government to actualise the free education programme.

Similarly, under the free and compulsory education programme, the government has expressed the possibility to engage and integrate the Tsangaya Islamiyya Schools into the main education curriculum of the state.

In view of this, uniforms and other learning materials had already been distributed by the government to some Almajiri children as part of efforts by the Governor Ganduje-led administration to integrate the children into the free and compulsory education programme, in order to address the out-of-children problem in the state.

Besides, the government has also embarked on the constructions of new schools blocks that would accommodate the Tsangaya Schools pupils into the mainstream of formal education system.

To impact on and reposition tertiary education, and give the higher education global clout, Governor Ganduje recently led some critical stakeholders in the state’s education project on education tour to France to stimulate the Kano State-French Government Relationship, more specifically on educational development.

The visit culminated to the signing of educational bilateral agreement, which renewed the educational agreement between the state and French Government, under the Kano-France Governments Scholarship Agreement for another five years, beginning from 2020, when the existing agreement signed in 2016, would have lapsed.

According to the state government, the French educational visits came on the heels of the introduction of the free and compulsory education programmes, which is aimed at boosting the education capacity of the state.

While flagging off the Free and Educational Programmmes in early this year at the State Coronation Hall of the Government House in Kano, the governor said already no fewer than 1,180 schools and 834,366 pupils across the state would benefit from the programme.

Ganduje, who noted that the free and compulsory education programme would cost the state a whooping N200 million monthly, and N2.4 billion yearly, assured the people that his administration was energised to carry out a successful educational programmes in the state.

According to the government, apart from complimenting the free and education programmes, the Memorandum of Understanding signed in France, is aimed at advancing quality teaching and research in the state’s various institutions of learning through government-sponsored foreign scholarships.

Already, the MoU has scheduled some selected lecturers that would benefit from the French Scholarship with government taking care of the study expenses based on the counter-funding agreement between Kano State and the French Government.

Ganduje further explained that the extension of five years period was to enable those who would pursue doctorate degree programmes to have adequate period to complete their studies, in case of extension of their academic engagement due to peculiarity of their chosen fields of study.

On the existing academic partnership between Kano State and French Government, the governor said: “What we are doing now is tagged, the Targeted Educational Programmes, where we plan our educational programmes by training lecturers in our tertiary institutions, under the capacity development programme, who will come back and impact on their institution and students.”

However, during the visit to the state’s students at Campus France in Paris, sponsored under the agreement, the governor explained that his administration takes all stages of the education sector important for the attainment of higher level.

On behalf of the state government, the Campus France, which currently has 4,000 students under its watch, is the agency responsible for managing Kano-France Governments Scholarship Programme, among other responsibilities.

The agency works by collaborating with all the institutions of higher learning in France.

Addressing the students, Ganduje said: “We all believe that the education sector needs to be completely overhauled and that is why we said for the basic education, we will have free and compulsory primary and secondary education. This is a policy we have since started implementing and because of the quality of students that will be produced from our primary to secondary schools, we now said we have to prepare for quality tertiary education.

“Thus, we saw the need to further equip lecturers of institutions of higher learning to further their studies under French programme. And, in our efforts to prepare our tertiary institutions for quality response, we come up with the Targeted Educational Programme.”

While expressing satisfaction over the exceptional performance of the 26 postgraduate students, out of whom 19 are undertaking their Masters programmes and seven PhD under the Kano-France Joint Scholarship Programme, the Campus France, the coordinating organ of the programme, however, assured Governor Ganduje that more French universities were willing to accept more students from the state.

The Director-General Campus France, Beatrice Khaiat, during governor’s visit informed him that Kano State is leading many other countries in the number of postgraduate students.

Based on Kano State’s education programme, the French Education Attaché in the French Embassy in Nigeria, Mrs. Laila Matthew, encouraged the governor to ensure participation of the state in the Nigeria Day in France, when Nigerian institutions of higher learning would be in France to collaborate with several French institutions to open window of opportunities for postgraduate studies.

She also added that the agreement signed in 2016 with Kano State Government had opened more doors for Nigeria, as some other states and institutions had begun to show interest in the programme.

“We are sure that when we started with Nigeria the ball will keep on rolling and other African nations would take a cue from there,” Mrs. Matthew added.

The Education Attaché also spoke of plans to visit Nigeria with over 20 French institutions on a Study Tour under which to discuss and collaborate with institutions in the areas of Energy and Management Information System.

The French Committee of Vice-Chancellors during the visit also acknowledged the outstanding performance of Kano State students studying in French universities under the Kano-French Government Scholarship Agreement.

Gunduje, however, commended the students for being good ambassadors of Kano State and Nigeria in general, saying: “While commending you for your good character, I am also on behalf of the government and good people of Kano State commend you for your giant strides and outstanding performance in your fields of study.”

He, therefore, reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing quality education at all levels, noting that the government started this with the accreditation of higher institutions; free and compulsory education in primary and secondary schools, as well as the signing of MoU which French Government under the Targeted Educational Programme of the state government to take education to its loftier heights.

“The state was tilting towards science and technology so that we can continue to have productive manpower. While on urban development, we need to put that in place in Kano being a mega city. Areas of security, sanitation, transportation and demographic studies are our major concerns in our education development agenda,” the governor added.

Applauding the governor for his administration’s unrelenting efforts to reposition the state’s education, the Chairman of Kano State Joint Scholarship Awardees, Bashir Ado, said: “We do not experience any hitch in the payment of our fees and we are comfortably facing our studies. For your information, Kano State has the highest number of students studying in France institutions among all other states in Nigeria. We are grateful for that.”

According to the governor, the MoU would cover more universities in the thematic areas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as collaboration in areas of Visiting Professorship, Doctorate Degrees Co-Supervision, research, internship at Masters and Doctorate degrees, as well as general supervision.

Key stakeholders on the entourage of the governor were the Vice-Chancellor of Kano State University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil, Prof. Shehu Musa Alhaji; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Binta Umar Bala; the Executive Secretary, Kano State Scholarship Board Abubakar Zakari; the Programme Coordinator of French/Kano Governments Foreign Scholarship Programme, Usaini Jarma, among others officials.

Other institutions visited by the governor and his entourage are EPITA Bilingual School of Engineering and Computer Science, the first of all universities in France in the area Engineering/Computer Science, and which has evolved working relationships and synergy with over 2,000 companies; and the CY Universite Cergy-Pontois, among others, which the governor expressed the readiness of the Kano State Government to partner on quality education development.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of KUST unfolded some possible areas of collaboration and partnership between KUST and the French universities, saying: “Our interest is in the areas of research, teaching, students’ exchange and de-localisation of academic supervision.

According to Alhaji, the Chancellor of the university and Chairman of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhahi Aliko Dangote, had agreed to hire 15 international professors, whom he promised to bankroll their salaries and entitlements for four years.

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Firm sharpens 700 UI students’ skills in entrepreneurship

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Firm sharpens 700 UI students’ skills in entrepreneurship

 

The skills of no fewer than 700 undergraduates of the University of Ibadan (UI) have been sharpened by the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC), maker of Coca Cola, non-alcoholic beverage drink, in entrepreneurship, life and networking skills.

It was at a two-day workshop, under the company’s Youth Empowered Initiative, which is to prepare the students to start their own businesses and for meaningful employment drive.

The initiative is part of NBC’s commitment to give back to its host communities through empowerment of the youths and training of students in various skills.

While flagging off the workshop at the institution’s Large Lecture Theatre (LLT), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Prof. Olanike Adeyemo, commended the company for the novel initiative to assist in preparing the students for life outside the school environment and to harness their potentials.

She urged participants to take advantage of the unique opportunity by applying themselves to further learning throughout the duration of the workshop, saying: “This is a unique opportunity which you must take full advantage to upscale your skills and knowledge.”

The don added: “It is an opportunity of a lifetime, which may be difficult to come by again in the future. You have to make use of the two-day workshop and apply the principles learned to your life. I am confident that if you look back in five years’ time, you would appreciate the decision you have taken today to be part of this programme considering the impact it would have had on your career, life endeavour or business.”

On her part, the Sustainability and Community Affairs Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited, Ifeoma Okoye, described the initiative as one of the channels that NBC employs to empower young Nigerians to succeed in life.

However, Okoye stated that the campus version of the Youth Empowered Initiative was tailored to help undergraduates to achieve their career or lifelong ambitions by providing them with relevant guidance, support and mentorship as they transit from school into world of work or meaningful employment or self-employment.

The modules, she noted, covered in the intensive two-day training range from project and time management to business planning, negotiation, financial literacy skills, communication and sales skills.

According to her, NBC introduced the undergraduate campus version of the youth empowered programme to bridge the gap in skill training and acquisition.

“We noticed that most of the students in tertiary institutions found it difficult to attend the workshops being held across different states. Now, we are bringing this programme to their doorsteps. We are optimistic that this would mark a life-changing experience for them given that it would enable them to learn new things outside the school’s curricula,” Okoye added.

According to Public Affairs and Communications Director for NBC, Ekuma Eze, institutions that have so far benefitted from the campus edition of the youth empowered initiative across the country; include Obafemi Awolowo University; First Technical University, Ibadan; Bowen University, Iwo in Osun State; Lead City University, Ibadan; and Mountain Top University, Ogun State, among others.

Meanwhile, the Dean, Faculty of Arts of the university, Prof. Afis Oladosu, expressed gratitude to the company for choosing the institution for the workshop, describing the initiative as commendable, as it has a great chance of helping the students to discover themselves and be creative in their approach to learning.

He also urged the students to make good use of the opportunity, noting that he was convinced that the workshop would impact greatly on their future endeavour.

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MOUAU spends N400m on staff training, varsity’s ranking

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MOUAU spends N400m on staff training, varsity’s ranking

The Vice-Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Prof. Francis Otunta said that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) between 2018 and 2019 allocated N435,149,999.08 to the institution for the training of no fewer than 52 members of staff in local and foreign conferences and workshops.

He disclosed this while appraising the activities of the university during the press conference for the ninth convocation, which took place at the Conference Hall of the institution, where the Vice-Chancellor further explained that the training was in line with the commitment to promote and support impactful research activities and staff development.

Otunta, who said the training programme of different categories of staff, comprising 15 members of staff who were sponsored for their PhD programmes within and outside the country, and 25 for university-based research projects, added that his administration also placed the welfare of workers and students on the front burner.

Towards this end, the Vice-Chancellor told journalists that huge resources of the university were spent on renovation and fumigation of student’s hostels, saying part of the measures taken to ensure student’s welfare, include grading of Part One and Two courses by computer.

Through the Information Technology (IT) process, Otunta, however, noted that the lecturers and students no longer had the usual physical contact, especially after examinations, thus tackling the issues of ‘sorting’ to a very large extent, as well as reduced drastically the problems of sex-for-grade or money for grade.

According to him, the accreditation exercise carried out by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in October/November 2018, has placed MOUAU on top of the ladder among Nigerian universities based on the Commission’s review exercise of January-March 2019 in which the university placed ninth against the previous 57th position in the 2015/2016 exercise.

He attributed the feat to the full accreditation of all the 12 academic programmes presented to the Commission, which scored 80 per cent and above.

Otunta, the fifth substantive Vice-Chancellor of the university, who lamented that the Federal Government was yet to release the statutory N5 billion take-off grants to the institution since its inception in 1992, said 6,214 graduating students would be awarded first degrees, 160 postgraduate diplomas, 507 Masters and 144 doctorate degrees during the convocation.

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We train entrepreneurs, not job seekers – Ritman VC

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We train entrepreneurs, not job seekers – Ritman VC

Celestine Ntuen, a Professor of Industrial and System Engineering, is the Vice-Chancellor of Ritman University, Akwa Ibom State. A Faculty Fellow of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States, speaks with TONY ANICHEBE about his efforts at repositioning the private university, security and discipline, among other issues

 

 

The university is just holding its maiden convocation since inception, why is this so?

Well, the story I want to tell you dated to September 2015, when I assumed duties as the Vice-Chancellor of the university. We commenced academic activities in November the same year with 34 students. And, ever since then, we have been growing, but not at the rate that is expected. We have a capacity for 400 students, but we are yet to make up that figure.

Of course, as a university, we are determined to achieve our vision. Presently, all the entire academic programmes approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) have been granted full accreditation, which is a plus for us. The university has been operating with temporary license, but today we have a full licence, which we got in January this year. This is another milestone for the university.

The NUC also deemed it fit to increase our programmes by adding courses like Cyber Security, Biochemistry, Pure Chemistry, Micro Biology, Software Engineering and Mass Communication which I think is a positive achievement for us. So, we are growing our programmes and also hope to grow our students.

Indeed, we are very proud that at this level our first batch of students is set to graduate. When you start something new, you don’t immediately begin to count in billions, but first in dozens and so on. Presently, we have 23 pioneer graduating students, a figure which still falls short of two dozen. Out of the number, two students obtained First Class which is impressive and comparative, when put the percentage ratio side by side with other institutions that graduate more than one thousand students.

We are very proud of that and also happy that we successfully inaugurated the pioneer Chancellor of the university, who is Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs.

We believe that with the roles he is playing, things will change for better for the university, and importantly he has been very supportive of what we are doing as an institution.

Besides, we have a very strategic Governing Council made up of seasoned, experienced and people of cerebral minds. The governing council is led by the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman, Prof. Udo Mbaba, former Dean, Faculty of Law University of Uyo, now Professor of Law at Babcock University, with other members, who are Prof. Comfort Ekpo, former Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo; Prof. Akenereen Essien, also former Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo; Prof. Gabriel, a seasoned academician and current Director of Academic Planning, Akwa Ibom State University; Prof. Imelda Udoh, Director of Linguistic Laboratory at the University of Uyo and others who are vast in education development and also experienced in university administration.

We have some of the best facilities, which are well-equipped. For instance, our libraries; Physics, Biology and Chemistry laboratories are all fully equipped. We are now working towards developing the Cyber Security Laboratory, Bio-Chemistry Laboratory, Industrial Chemistry laboratory and Mass Communication Studio. Our studio is well-planned for those who want to study electronic journalism. We are very proud of our achievements so far. We have two standard football fields with one at the university and another on the college premises respectively. We have students who have won trophies for the institution in sports and other areas through their dedication to achieve glory.

What is your administration doing to provide adequate security for the students and other members of the university community?

On security matters, we are very serious about it. In fact, in the university it is security first and then education. The reason for this approach is that if one does not feel secured, he or she will not be stable to read or study, or do anything in such unsecured environment. We work in synergy with security agencies especially with the Area Commander Ikot Ekpene and apart from this we have also secured the approval to open a police post on the campus. So, we take the issue of securing the environment very serious.

More importantly, the university has stringent disciplinary rules for the students. For instance, if any of our students is caught smoking, engage in drugs or carrying weapons, definitely it is over for him or her in the institution, as such student will be shown the way out.

The parents are already aware about our strict disciplinary measures and other penalties for defaulters which are clearly spelt out in the Student’s Handbook. In fact, among other restrictions include bedtime rule, when to go out and return to the campus, among other regulatory rules clearly spelt out for students in the handbook.

Indeed, any violation of these rules attracts serious penalty and parents will be duly informed on any action taken by the university authorities. So, to a large extent, we operate our system here like a family where parents are critically involved. Parents come here regularly to check on their children and wards to know how they are doing. We don’t even allow our students to wear unkempt hair and to dress indecently on campus.

The success we have achieved so far is worthy of celebration because we appreciate the enormous contributions of our lecturers, who have also been so committed to the progress so far recorded. We have also instituted programmes that allow our lecturers who have Masters’ Degrees to go for PhD in other institutions within and outside the country. Based on this, we presently have one of our lecturers in Mexico and another in Sweden pursuing their PhD programmes. So, we want to expand the horizon of our staff through development training at all levels by supporting them.

Also, the university supports the lecturers financially to attend conferences since they are bringing the benefits back to the institution.

We are small, but we are growing daily. We are aspiring to get to the level of private universities like Afe Babalola University, Babcock and Covenant Universities. These are successful private institutions and we have to benchmark such institutions, understudy them and improve on what they are doing.

So, hopefully by the time we reach their present age of existence, something drastic would have also happened here. We have been authorised to offer courses in Medical Sciences, Agriculture, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, but for now we are still running on the earlier three Faculties approved by the NUC.

Of course, presently we do not have a Postgraduate School because the NUC guidelines stipulate that we have to graduate at least two sets of students before we apply for postgraduate school. And, the way we do our things in accelerated mode we may even apply for it next year, so that we can service the population of Akwa Ibom people who needed higher education. We are also exploring opportunities of running weekend programmes on Saturdays for the benefit of those who are demanding for such programmes.

Ritman University is proud to be where it is and we hope to achieve more success in the near future. Governor Udom Emmanuel has been very supportive of this institution he was very helpful when we were struggling for accreditation of our programmes.

No doubt, the institution has good facilities, management and lofty ideas to grow, however, what has accounted for the low student enrollment?

This is not the issue of stringent admission guidelines. The first issue, which I have been very vocal about, is that there is no systematic schedule of admitting students into the Nigerian universities. In fact, parents who do not have enough resources prefer to send their children to public institutions such as federal and state universities and these institutions do not complete admission of students on time.

Admission is very competitive in these institutions because the tuition fees are very cheap or low. The state university here charges N52,000 and that is very cheap. So, parents who cannot afford N52,000 will not likely afford N350,000. Ritman University is the cheapest university in Nigeria. When I assumed office as the Vice-Chancellor, the tuition was supposed to be N650,000, but I discouraged that because I like to charge per reputation.

As my reputation grows, I charge more. So, as we grow our reputation, grow our facilities and grow the university in excellence, we charge perhaps more in the mode of Covenant University or Babcock University. That is the reason we don’t have that crowd of students yet. Majority of people from Akwa Ibom axis are public school dependent. I am not saying that they don’t have money, but they seem to be more inclined to federal and state institutions.

Secondly, is the issue of professional courses like Medicine, Law, Engineering and so on, when we have those faculties, definitely things will change and the enrolment will grow as expected.

As a Vice-Chancellor, what is the university doing to improve its resources base, I mean Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)?

Yes, we have the Ritman Consultancy Services, which have been inaugurated and will soon take off. If you look at our curriculum you will realise that we have entrepreneurship programmes. We have also established carpentry and tailoring shop, poultry and all these things are available for students, and we have professionals who come regularly to train them.

We are exposing our students to entrepreneurship and we have been discussing with our Visitor to promote the entrepreneurship ventures and also encourage those who have shown exceptional commitment with N50,000 to start nurturing their business. If a student proved to be useful we can further help him to secure funds or fund such student to grow. That is also part of what we are doing as a university. In fact, in this university, we are training our students to be job creators and not job seekers.

Then, what is delaying the establishment of these professional faculties, when the university has the facilities?

Yes, we have the necessary facilities, but the Visitor of the university will like to push things with caution owing to his vision for qualitative education. If you talk of establishing Engineering Faculty, as an engineer, I will tell you that it is very expensive unless you want to put students through test tube and road side engineering which is very outdated. Talking of Medicine or Law, which is also possible, but they require so much resources to achieve and to make them better. So, we are approaching it with caution and I believe they will soon materialize.

Is the university in anyway ambitious to collaborate or open linkages with universities either in Nigeria or abroad in any area of academic development?

Well, I will like to state here that the university is yet to collaborate with any university in Nigeria, but outside the country we already have with two universities in North Carolina, United States, where I was before and those ones are strictly for exchange programmes.

Right now, we are seriously looking forward to have some collaboration with other universities in the area of academic programmes and that has also taken time because of the required strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that has to be put in place.

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Education

LAFROGRAMS tasks students to be focused, committed

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LAFROGRAMS tasks students to be focused, committed

The valedictory service and prize-giving day of Lagos African Church Grammar School (LAFROGRAMS), Ifako-Ijaye, Lagos has come and gone, but the management, staff and students, as well as parents of the school will not forget the event in a hurry.

It was a day that the graduating students of junior and senior secondary sections of the school for the 2018/2019 academic session were bade farewell in grand style.

Dignitaries at the event, which took place on the premises of the school, were the immediate past National Education Secretary of the African Church, Mrs. Victoria Odetunde and Venerable Solomon Olanloye, the Chaplain of the Church, among others guests.

The ceremony, which was heralded with praise and worship, and choir ministration by the school choirs, and a message by the Venerable Olanloye, also featured collection of colours, watchwords and other events.

While congratulating the graduating students for successful completion of their studies, the Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Adekunle Adams, said: “To our graduating students, today marks your passing out of LAFROGRAMS and to congratulate those of you who distinguished yourselves by winning academic and behavioural laurels to be awarded by the school management.

“Today, we shall send you forth, give you your testimonials and bid you goodbye as you are going into the larger world of unknown variables. In a way, it also indicates a milestone in your journey as alumni of this school. From tomorrow LAFROGRAMS will become your alma mater. It also represents the end of punishment for late coming to school, absenteeism, unobserved light out and so on.”

Adams, therefore, admonished the graduating students on the need be focused with abiding strength and discipline to be able to wade through the vicissitude of life, saying they should not forsake the moral lessons and discipline impacted on them by the school.

In her remarks, the Principal tanked God for the record breaking achievements of the school, saying God has indeed been faithful to the students, management and the school in general.

“All these achievements recorded this session could not have been possible without the commitment and support from the Proprietor of African Church Schools, the National Education Committee (NEC), National Education Secretary (NES) of the African Church, as well as the Chairman and members of Board of Governors, the LAFROSA, Parents Teacher Association (PTA), members of staff and students,” she noted.

She, therefore, congratulated the graduating students and their parents, even as he advised the students that they should see the sky as not only their limit, but the beginning, adding that for parents to be in their children’s memories tomorrow, they have to be in their lives today.

The Principal pointed out: “The 2018/2019 academic session has been an outstanding year; a year of high achievements that cover the school core values, anchored on child-centredness, integrity, service, fairness, respect and attitude not only at school, but also in the community.

Adams added: “While in the school you competed in the classrooms and on the field of sports. You shared beautiful occasions during co-curricular activities and excursions outside the school. You also shared the joys of victories in both internal and external examinations. After leaving school you will continue to remember these events and your personal school experiences. Some of the memories will be about the physical things, but others will be emotional and spiritual. You will remember your tutors who made the greatest impact on you. You will remember your school Matrons and House Masters. You will remember and compare your notes about the principal and other members of the management.

“You will remember many of your classmates and the pranks you played, the nicknames you gave yourselves and your narrow escapades. You will remember your seniors who have passed out and the junior students who right behind. You will remember the food that was not served well with what you call a ‘full hand.’ You will look at your lives and your relationship with God and many of you will come to the usual conclusion that “my secondary school days at LAFROGRAMS were some of the best days of my life.”

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Education

Hearty cheers for Molaks School’s proprietor at birthday

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Hearty cheers for Molaks School’s proprietor at birthday

It was a memorable day the Proprietor of Molaks International School, Mr. Kehinde Oladele Okeleye, as family members, children, friends and associates, as well as management and staff of Molaks School, gathered to celebrate one of their own on his birthday.

The event, which took place on November 17, at the X and Y Event Centre, Fagba in Iju, Lagos, attracted crème la crème in the society, including top government functionaries, educationists and traditional rulers, among others, who came to rejoice with the celebrant.

Okeleye, who gave glory to Almighty God for the gift of sound health and for sparing his life and those of his family members, spoke of his journey to success and road to stardom.

“Just like any other successful person, there was nothing as ‘fresh from the palm frond’ as road to success has rather been ‘tough and rough,” he said, adding: “I got my inspiration from a friend who was also a teacher at that time in a school.”

He said: “That my friend, a woman, was always complaining about poor salary and low income, and she decided to quit the teaching job. Her courage to leave the job geared me up and gave me the inspiration to strive hard to set up my own education institution. And, when God said it was time, it happened.”

The Proprietor, who almost shed tears of joy as he recalled how he had to work in a factory for one day for a means of livelihood, explained: “I was not born with a silver spoon as my parents had to struggle to make ends meet. And, as the last child of six children, I determined to make them proud. I had a kind of mother who was supportive and wanted all her children to be educated. But, she could only manage to get me through the Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE).

Okeleye added: “The road to success was not smooth as I told you earlier, I had to work in a factory for one day and I had to run away when I realised that the working condition was not human, as people were made to work like machines.”

According to him, this made him to pursue his teaching career at Rolam Preparatory School, Iju Road, Lagos, where he was employed as class teacher for Primary Three.

However, due to his efficiency, dedication and hard work, Okeleye said he was employed by God’s Gift Children School (now Heavenly Love Children School) at Abule-Egba as the Head-Teacher.

“With my flare and strong passion for teaching, I started a Summer Coaching school, which I later converted it to a school, now known as Molaks International School, a name crafted from the initials of my children’s names.”

He, however, pledged the readiness of the private school to always provide qualitative education that will equip the students for higher responsibilities in life.

Okeleye, who thanked his wife and children for supporting him in all he has been doing, said: “I am blessed with wonderful children and a wife, who really understands me. You know when you have a wife that is supportive, everything works out well. She also trained our children to be kind, loving and to support themselves.”

Okeleye, who was full of grace to God and radiated joy, however, expresses profound gratitude to those who had come to grace the occasion and rejoice with him on his birth celebration.

He said: “I am happy to have attained this age in life. I am grateful to my students, teachers, my family and friends, and all well-wishers who showered me with gifts and love on my special day.

I really cannot thank them enough.”

Meanwhile, he advised the youths, who also want to grow old and attain an age of responsibility that they should never relent in achieving greatness through hard work, dedication and honesty with the fear of God, adding that they should always bear in mind that the road to success is not always smooth.

One of his daughters, Oyindamola, the baby of the house, told New Telegraph that she was happy for her daddy for having come this far in life.

When asked about her relationship with her father, she said: “My dad and I are very close and love each other, and also everybody in the family. He is my hero and my role model. My prayer for him is that he will continue to climb the ladder to success and continue to soar higher.”

During presentation of gifts, various gifts and donations were presented, while the staff and students of Molaks School were not also left out in showering gratitude and affection to their proprietor, fondly called ‘Big Daddy.’

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Education

First Lady’s kitchen, Vice President’s lesson

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First Lady’s kitchen, Vice President’s lesson

The formal opening ceremony of the 2019 General Assembly and National Executive Council Meeting of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) that held on Friday, November 29, 2019 at the National Mosque, Abuja, has come and gone. Yet, the lessons of peace education and religious understanding embedded in the activities of the day will continue to resonate for a long time to come. One of the lessons of the occasions is that knowledge trumps ignorance and that bigotry in Nigeria is fuelled by lack of understanding.

At the event, themed “Islam and National Development”, both the President-General of the Council, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, who chaired the occasion, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, dwelled on the need for accountability and service among leaders. They also highlighted the symbiotic relationship between Islam and development especially as almost all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are consistent with the pristine teachings of Islam.

But of all the speakers at the event, including the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari, who spoke passionately on the need for leaders across board to improve the lot of the common man, the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, could be said to have stolen the show not only because of his status or being the only Christian speaker but also because of the profundity of what he said and how he said it.  Without doubt, the interventions of the speakers that day provided a wide window to the refinement that comes with real education, not just acquisition of certificates that is glorified among many Nigerians.

In his goodwill message, the Vice President revealed that the church where he worships in The Villa is just a few seconds away from the President’s residence and precisely the First Lady’s kitchen, adding for comic effect that his audience should not ask him if he always checked at the kitchen after service or not. He also stressed that the President, a devout Muslim, would ask him about how the service went whenever he visited him on Sunday. He stressed the need for tolerance as demonstrated by the first family.

Prof. Osinbajo quoted from Qu’ran Chapter 49:13 about the purpose of diversity: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous…” The message was clear that differences in religious, ethnic and political persuasions are for the purpose of enriching our understanding.

It is this lack of understanding that constitutes a clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress. This is because if everyone were to understand religion, everyone would have the same attitude displayed by Imam Abubakar of Nghar village of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State.

As the Vice President recalled, in June 2018, (precisely 23 and 24), Imam Abubakar provided shelter to hundreds of fleeing Christians from attacks in his house and mosque. He also confronted the attackers to whom he presented himself to be killed rather than those who he had chosen to protect. He used the incident to drive home a message of tolerance and sacrifice among Nigerians.

“It is my view that the weight of ensuring that this country is on the right track is on our leaders. We should be our brother’s keeper no matter the religion. We should always be ready to make sacrifices for one another,” he said.

When Lord Denning said ignorance is a misfortune, he might have had Nigerians who create ethnic, religious and political tensions in the country in mind. If these characters’ hearts were to be illuminated by understanding and discernment, they would realize that hatred is like taking poison and hoping it would harm the other person. 

Just as there is demonstrable religious harmony and peaceful co-existence in the nation’s seat of power, as revealed by the Vice President, Nigerians should also cultivate the spirit of live and let live and tolerate one another. Ultimately, it is the same humanity we share and the same race we belong.

For Nigerians to rescue Nigeria from the looming darkness of hatred and bigotry, the onus of the responsibility lies on responsible leaders accept diversity, promote religious understanding, advance inter-faith engagements and provide good governance.

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