UNILAG Crisis: FG Directs Babalakin, Ogundipe To Recuse Themselves From Official Duties

A photo combination of Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, Wale Babalakin, and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
A photo combination of Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, Wale Babalakin, and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

 

The Federal Government on Friday directed the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, Wale Babalakin, and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe to recuse themselves from official duties, pending the outcome of the Special Visitation Panel set up by the President.

The information was announced in a press statement signed by the Federal Ministry of Education spokesman, Ben Goong.

“Government also directs the Senate of the University of Lagos to immediately convene to nominate an acting Vice-Chancellor from amongst its members for confirmation by the Governing Council,” the statement added.

Babalakin’s Governing Council had, on August 12, sacked Ogundipe as Vice-Chancellor over alleged financial misappropriation and misconduct.

Ogundipe, however, rejected the Council’s decision, saying the University’s due process had not been followed.

The University’s Senate, alumni, and labour unions also put out statements saying the due process had not been followed.

But Babalakin, in several media reactions, insisted that due process had been complied with in terminating Ogundipe’s appointment.

The Presidential Panel, made up of seven members, is expected to determine whether the required steps were taken by the Council in sacking Ogundipe.

They are also expected “to make appropriate recommendations including sanctions for all those found culpable” in the investigation, which is expected to last for two weeks.

The panel will be inaugurated by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on August 26.

Members of the panel include Professor Tukur Sa’ad (Chairman), Barrister Victor Onuoha, Professor Ikenna Onyido, Professor Ekanem Braide, Professor Adamu K. Usman, Chief Jimoh Bankole and Barrister Grace Ekanem (Secretary).

 

View the Federal Ministry of Education Press Release below:

Federal Ministry of Education Press Release on August 21, 2020, over University of Lagos Crisis
Federal Ministry of Education Press Release on August 21, 2020, over University of Lagos Crisis
Federal Ministry of Education Press Release on August 21, 2020, over University of Lagos Crisis
Federal Ministry of Education Press Release on August 21, 2020, over University of Lagos Crisis

FG Releases Guidelines For Safe Reopening Of Schools After COVID-19 Pandemic Closures

'Call Off This Strike', Education Minister Begs ASUU
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.

 

The Federal Government has released guidelines for the safe reopening of schools after COVID-19 pandemic closures.

On its official website, the Federal Ministry of Education published the guidelines and outlined actions, measures, and requirements needed for the safe reopening of schools after the coronavirus pandemic is contained.

The 52-paged communique which was signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and Minister of State (Education), Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba was developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health, and health safety experts in the country.

Speaking about the guidelines, Mr Adamu Adamu said “Now is the time to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities. It will be recalled that at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, schools and all learning facilities were closed in order to safeguard the health and general wellbeing of our children, youths, teachers, and educational personnel.

“As a responsible government, it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch-free reopening of schools and learning facilities. We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers, education personnel, and families are priorities”.

According to him, the Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after COVID-19 Pandemic Closures outlines key strategies for implementing safe and efficient and equitable plans for school reopening and operations.

Mr Adamu further noted that the document focuses on attendance, social distancing, hygiene, cleaning, and non-pharmaceutical interventions for safe and healthy school activities and programs.

The minister noted that given that COVID-19 may be with us for a while, the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance-learning programs, adding that the government’s aim is to identify and strengthen programs that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic.

Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba gives an update on the COVID-19 situation in the country on April 21, 2020.

On his part, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba stated that the Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after COVID-19 Pandemic Closures is a strategy document developed to provide the necessary support to stakeholders for the safe reopening of schools and resumption of academic activities.

Mr Nwajiuba said the development of the guidelines involved a series of meetings, consultations, and deliberations with relevant groups, associations, and stakeholders on key areas of concern as the government plans to reopen schools and the best response strategies.

He noted that efforts were made to ensure that all inputs and suggestions
from our development partners, donors, civil society organizations, and professional bodies are adequately reflected to address critical issues of health, safety, and quality education provision as schools get ready to reopen.

Below is the guideline as published on Monday.

Jamila Shu’ara Appointed Permanent Secretary In Education Ministry

education1Dr. Jamila Shu’ara has taken over from Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan as the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education.

The change of leadership follows the recent approval for deployment of three Permanent Secretaries by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking during the taking-over ceremony on Monday, Dr. Shu’ara expressed appreciation for the warm reception accorded her by her predecessor and the directors at the ministry.

She stressed the importance of teamwork, and called for the support of all staff to move the ministry forward.

The in-coming Permanent Secretary commended Dr. Yemi-Esan for her doggedness, noting that her tenure witnessed a lot of achievements in the education sector.

She promised to sustain the legacy of the outgoing Permanent Secretary, adding that she would always tap into her wealth of experience.

Dr. Yemi-Esan, who acknowledged the magnitude of work in the ministry, thanked God for giving her the strength to cope effectively.

She also expressed appreciation for the support she got from the directors and the entire staff of the Federal Ministry of Education.

The departing Permanent Secretary has been posted to the Office of Head of Service of the Federation.

Dr. Shu’ara, until her deployment, was the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

LEDAP Seeks Court Order Abolishing Post-JAMB Test

JAMB-computer-examThe Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking an order that POST-UTME tests conducted by Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges before admitting students are illegal and should be abolished.

In a suit filed recently against Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) and National Universities Commission (NUC), the group claims that there is no law authorising the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges to subject candidates to a second screening or test after the UTME examination by JAMB.

The group also claims that the POST-UTME tests have become a source of boldface corruption in the universities, polytechnics and Colleges.

“Lecturers and admission officials charge candidates huge sums of money using the Post-UTME as smoke screen,” the suit read.

In the suit filed by Mr Chino Edmund Obiagwu, lead counsel for LEDAP, the group is also seeking the declaration that only the 1st Defendant (JAMB) has the statutory powers to conduct matriculation examinations for admission into all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria.

It also wants a declaration that the imposition and conduct of Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (Post-UTME) by Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria for candidates seeking admission into their institutions is illegal and unlawful.

Another relief the group is seeking is a declaration that the 2nd and 3rd Defendants (NUC and Federal Ministry of Education) have no powers howsoever to allow or direct Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria to further screen or conduct admission tests in violation of Joint Matriculation Board, Act.

It wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria from further imposition or conduct of Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (Post-UTME) or any other form of admission screening test in Nigeria.

One of grounds upon which the reliefs are sought are that the 1st Defendant is the only statutory body with powers to exercise general control of the conduct of matriculation examinations leading to admissions into all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria.

Another is that the Matriculation examination conducted by the 1st Defendant is the only test required by law under section 5(1) and (2) of the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board Act, for admission of candidates into all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria.

The LEDAP further reiterated that there was no other enactment enabling universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria to further screen or conduct post unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (Post-UTME) or any other admission test in addition to matriculation examination conducted by the first Defendant.

Commenting on the suit, Mr Obiagwu said that LEDAP was also currently pursuing a long line of cases in court to address the widespread corruption and declining standards in the education and health sectors and hopeful the court, as the last hope for the common man, would come to the rescue.

No date has been fixed for hearing.

FG Develops Guideline On Education Quality Assurance Policy

asupThe Federal Government of Nigeria has commenced the process of developing Guidelines on National Education Quality Assurance Policy to further strengthen quality education delivery.

To come up with a robust policy, the Department of Education Quality Assurance Services, Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) assembled stakeholders for a Workshop at Nasarawa State on Wednesday.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Folasade Yemi- Esan, in a speech told the gathering that the present outcome in terms of learner’s performance as evidenced by public examination results below tertiary level still leaves much to be desired.

He said it did not justify government’s huge investment in education.

“There is therefore no better time than now, for all stakeholders to come together for the production of implementation guidelines on the National Education Quality Assurance policy (NEQAP).

“It will ensure a unified and informed approach to Education Quality Assurance practices,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary, represented by the Director of Tertiary Education Department, Mrs Hindatu Abdullahi, stated that the 60th National Council on Education, held at Abeokuta in 2014, had approved the development of the policy implementation guidelines.

She commended the commitment of the Federal Government to education delivery, as demonstrated in the 2016 Budget and the plan to recruit and train about 500,000 teachers for the basic education level as well as the proposed school feeding programme.

Dr. Yemi-Esan acknowledged the challenges being faced by the FEQAS zonal and state offices and pledged to address them in due course.

She also commended international partners for their supportive roles in the education sector.

Earlier in a welcome address, the Director of Education Quality Assurance Services, Mrs Fatima Ahmed, said that the workshop was a follow up to the adoption of Quality Assurance approach to inspections and subsequent production of the Quality Assurance policy.

She explained that the Implementation Guideline being developed would provide clear direction for Inspectors to operationalise the policy.

Earlier on Monday, the Nigerian Union of Teachers called on the Federal Government to recruit only qualified candidates in the 500,000 teachers it promised to employ this year.

The appealed was made on Wednesday by the NUT President, Mr Michael Olukoya, at a meeting of the union in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Reps Call On FG To Review Downgrading Of Varsities

Reps Call On FG To Review Downgrading Of VarsitiesThe House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to review the downgrading of four Federal Universities to Colleges of Education.

The House mandated its Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to interface with the Federal Ministry of Education on the matter and report back to the House within two weeks.

In a motion sponsored by Honourable Ezenwa Onyewuchi and 32 others, the House noted that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan had upgraded some colleges of education to universities.

The House, however, said that the recent government directive reversing the upgrade of the four institutions, would worsen the already poor standard of education.

Buhari Decries Non-Payment Of Teachers By States

G-7President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday decried inability of some Nigerian states to pay teachers for many months.

Speaking after receiving a briefing from the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, President Buhari urged the three tiers of government to be more mindful of their responsibility to pay teachers their salaries on time.

Noting that the non-payment of teachers had resulted in long-running strikes by teachers in some states, President Buhari declared that the worst harm State governments could cause their citizens was to deny them good education.

“It then means that their citizens will be denied a chance to compete with others at the centre. Socially, it is very, very bad, if not irresponsible,” the President said.

The Permanent Secretary, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, briefed the President on the current activities of the Federal Ministry of Education and its many problems and challenges.

He also said that inadequate funding and insecurity in some parts of the country were hampering activities in schools.

WAEC Official Says No Mass Failure But Decline In Performance

WAECThe Head of National Office, West African Examination Council (WAEC), Charles Eguridu, has said that the results of the May/June 2014 WAEC examination only indicates a decline in performance and not a mass failure as reported by the media.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, Mr Eguridu noted that Nigeria does not have a uniform standard for the secondary school education, compared to other countries and therefore, judging success based on English and Mathematics was unfair.

He stated that the government had redesigned the curriculum which envisages that “not every child that goes into primary school will end up in university profession” adding that about 39 new subjects have been added to the curriculum, like GSM Repairs, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning amongst others.

Mr. Eguridu mentioned that it amounted to a misnomer for students to focus on passing English and Mathematics, leaving other subjects. He said that this was affecting the standard of education in the country.

He further noted that there were certain peculiar subjects in other member countries, different to Nigeria’s core subjects. Comparing Ghana to Nigeria, he said that Ghana’s core subjects were Integrated Science, Social Studies, English Language and Mathematics, while Nigeria’s core subjects are only English and Mathematics.

He maintained that the inability of a student to pass either of the subjects should not be seen as failure because these subjects do not determine success in some careers.

Mr. Eguridu also explained how WAEC develops its assessment of students. He noted that WAEC assesses students by the quality of teaching and learning that have taken place through questions developed by practitioners in the school system. “WAEC is to conduct exams in public interest, which is determined by the government”

He explained that a pool of examiners from WAEC member countries come together to develop the papers which are later given to candidates who are likely to write the exam – students in SS3.

“When an exam is too simple it is isolated, when an exam is too difficult it is isolated, so we have to be on an average level”, he added.

 

 

Minister of education lashes out at the civil service

The nation’s civil service has being described as the enemy of progress with its bureaucracy, which must be discarded if it won’t help deliver the nation.

These were the words of the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, where she criticised the bureaucracy in the civil service and blamed it for the setbacks experienced in the education sectors as well as other sectors.

Professor Rufai explained that the running’s of the civil service has become an obstacle for projects aimed at improving the lot of Nigerians and that most of the hitches being experienced in the education sector would be unnecessary if the bureaucracy was reduced.

“If we have a bureaucracy that is not working, then we don’t need it” she affirmed.

She expressed the immense constraints the executive arm of government is going through in getting job done. “Anything you are seeing us (me and most of my colleagues) doing now, we are doing it out of real struggle because the system is a kind of system that we don’t even understand” she stated.

“Civil servants must also change their attitude because they are creating problems to every minister in this administration; otherwise, things would have gone a long way by now.”

The Minister urged for reforms in the civil service, stating that “there is a transformation agenda under this regime, which means that within the next four years of Mr President’s mandate, everything has to change” adding that “we have to reverse to those good old days that will always make Nigeria, a point of reference and we can”.

She also decried the lack of initiative in the civil service and their failure to appreciate, stating that “in the civil service, they also supposed to have their initiative that will help but, when one has the initiative, getting the initiative all around is another challenge.”

She called for speedy transformation in the service if the federal government’s transformation agenda will succeed.