104 Unity Schools Ready To Reopen For Exit Classes – FG

A file photo of the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, at a press briefing in Abuja on July 6, 2020.

 

All the 104 Unity Colleges across the country are ready to open their gates to students in exit classes, the Federal Government has said.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said this in a statement on Monday by the Director of Press and Public Relations at the ministry, Ben Goong.

Ahead of the reopening scheduled to begin on Tuesday, the minister announced the preparedness of the unity colleges at a meeting with Commissioners of Education of the 36 states of the Federation via the Zoom platform.

He commended the principals of the schools for the comprehensive preparation put in place for the reopening of the schools.

According to the statement, the commissioners across states reported varying degrees of preparation and readiness for reopening of schools between August 4 and 10 for virtually all schools within their jurisdictions.

“From today (Monday), the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Permanent Secretary, and Directors will embark on an assessment tour of all Unity Colleges to ascertain and confirm the reports they have received from the Principals of Unity Colleges,” it said.

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covid-19 update
A map showing Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases as of August 2nd, 2020. Channels TV/Benjamin Oluwatoyin.

 

The statement added, “Federal Education Quality Assurance Directors deployed to the States have been directed to monitor compliance in their respective states.

“Honourable Commissioners from the States were enjoined to embark on assessment tours in their jurisdictions to ascertain the level of preparations for reopening.”

While most schools would reopen on Tuesday, Nwajiuba noted that others would continue to fine-tune their preparations in the coming days for reopening.

He asked all school authorities to communicate their specific reopening dates to their parents and students in order to avoid chaos in the system.

The minister also advised that all returning students should undergo temperature checks among other protocols before being admitted into their schools.

He met with the commissioners a week after he announced the dates of the examinations for students in various graduating classes in the country.

They include the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) organised by the National Examination Council (NECO) for students in SSS 3, and the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) examinations.

Others are the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) for JSS 3 students and the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) for intending primary school applicants into Unity Colleges.

50 Years After Civil War: Reconciliation Efforts Were Not Pushed Hard, Says Babangida

Former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida (retired) says all the efforts made to reconcile Nigerians in the aftermath of the civil war, which ended 50 years ago, have had limited impact because they were not consistently pushed by the authorities.

Babangida stated this during an interview with Channels Television’s Ladi Akeredolu.

The ex-military ruler who fought in the Nigerian army during the 30-month battle lauded initiatives such as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the unity schools set up across the country.

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He, however, wants the Federal Government to do more by consistently pushing hard to achieve their objectives.

“For example, the NYSC, unity schools.. I think we didn’t push it hard,” he said.

“We should have pushed all those hard so that people from different parts of the country can say that we met at unity schools together”.

THE FULL INTERVIEW WILL AIR ON CHANNELS TV’S Newsnight Monday AT 9:00 pm.

FG Restates Plans To Reduce Number Of Out-Of-School Children

 

The Federal Government hopes to increase the number of spaces in unity schools as a measure to accommodate more out-of-school children in the country.

This move was made known by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono in Abuja during the 2019 National Common Entrance Examination on Saturday.

He explained that each time there is an increase; the government had to recruit more teachers and provide more classrooms because every child deserves an opportunity to go to school.

“Part of our intervention is to ensure that we bring more children into the school system and reduce the number of kids who are out of school. We are having so many programmes and one of them is to increase the spaces available in our unity colleges.

“Each time we do this; there are other consequential interventions that are needed; additional classrooms, teachers.”

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Unlike 2018 which had 81,451 candidates write the exam, 2019 had a drop to 75,636; with Lagos state having the highest number of registration, while Zamfara had the least.

Acting Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), Abubakar Gana explained that the drop is due to political activities witnessed in the country.

“So far this year, we registered 75,635 as of Friday. But there is a drop because of the political situation in the country. Usually, this is an exam that has links with politics; everybody is struggling to ensure that his own candidate has gotten admitted into Federal school because of the quota issue.

“At such, the politicians that are used to bankrolling candidates for these exams were busy in the field,” he maintained.

Lagos state which had 25,751 registered candidates in 2018, dropped by 2,292 students to 23,459.

Zamfara maintained the least state with the number of registration with 59 students.

Unity schools are expected to admit only 24,385 students for the 2019 session across the country as the results are expected to be published on May 1, 2019.

FG Releases Common Entrance Examination Results

Nigeria, Education, Adamu Adamu,, Minister Explains Ten Pillars Of Nigerian Education Reform
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

The Federal Government has released the results for the just-concluded 2017 National Common Entrance Examination into Federal Unity Schools.

According to a statement by the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Husseini Adamu, a total of 80,421 candidates registered for the examination but only 77, 512 candidates actually took the examination.

The statement added that two candidates – Emeka-Egbuna Chinecherem C. and Onubogu Chinazom Joyce both from Anambra State – got the highest score in the examination.

They both scored 189 out of 200. On the other hand, eight candidates scored four points in the examination.

The ministry also disclosed that Queens College, Yaba Lagos was one of the colleges with the highest subscription of 5,524, while the least subscribed college was FGGC, Monguno Borno State with only 21 candidates.

It added that the placement exercise is scheduled to take place in July 2017.

Unity Schools Suspend Strike

Unity SchoolsUnion leaders of the unity schools across the country have suspended their over four week old strike.

The Unity Schools Staff Union embarked on the industrial action about four weeks ago demanding for the payment of promotion arrears owed them since 2007.

The Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants Of Nigeria, Federal Government Girls College Benin unit, Mr Aitokwehi Timothy, in an interview before the suspension of the strike told Channels Television that the unions decided to embark on the action to push for the payment after they discovered the recent release of about two billion naira for that purpose.

The Unity Schools decided to suspend the strike on Friday morning following promises made by government to address their demands.

Lawmakers Urge FG To Fence Unity Schools

House of RepsIn a bid ensure a more secure environment for students in schools in Nigeria, the House of Representatives has asked the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure the construction and repair of parameter fences of all unity schools.

During plenary on Thursday, a lawmaker, Mrs Evelyn Oboro, told the House that some government owned schools do not have parameter fences thereby putting the lives of the students at great risk, especially the female who are often raped by hoodlums.

She also questioned the lack of portable water in many of these schools which cause students having to go long and unsafe distances in search of water, a situation she said posed a great risk considering the present security situation.

After she raised the issue, the house mandated its Committee on Education to liaise with the ministry to ensure compliance.

Since over 200 girls were abducted by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram, on April 14 form their dormitory in the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, the need to make schools more secure has been emphasised by rights group.

During the World Economic Forum on Africa held in May in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, a Safe School Initiative was launched for the purpose of protecting schools in Nigeria with more focus on schools in the northeast.

President Goodluck Jonathan allocated  3.2 billion Naira to the initiative in June, with half of the amount coming from the private sector.

After a meeting on the initiative between President Jonathan, the UN ambassador on Safe School Initiative and former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and governors from the three least educationally developed states in Nigeria on June 17 , the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told reporters that the fund would help ensure that children in schools in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states got educated in a safe environment.

 

Boko Haram: House Wants Release Of Funds For Troops

Aminu-Tambuwal-2The House of Representatives says it is set to confront anyone responsible for not applying funds meant for troops in the troubled north eastern part of the country. 

The Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, said this when meeting with a delegation of the Unity Schools Old Students’ Association in the National Assembly.

“We cannot commandeer troops, we can only pass resolutions, we can only appropriate funds, we can of course oversee implementation but we have our limitations in following the money (appropriated funds).

“As parliamentarians, we might have to find new ways of improved oversight so that we can ensure that what is meant for the welfare of our soldiers, who have surrendered their lives to this country would be improved”, he said.

Mr Tambuwal warned, “A situation whereby we appropriate funds for our men to be well taken care of, to be well kitted, and for them to have the best of arms; and then somebody somewhere is playing politics or is not applying the funds judiciously is unacceptable and we are ready to take on whoever is involved in that.”

Mr. Tambuwal promised that the House would continue to support the Executive in the effort to bring the crisis in that part of the country to an end.

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School Admission: Don’t Sacrifice Merit For Zoning, Lawmaker Cautions Educatnion Ministry

The Deputy Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, House of Representatives, Victor Ogene on Monday urged the Federal Government not to “sacrifice merit on a platter of zoning,” referring to the National Common Entrance cut off marks published by the Ministry of Education.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ogene said that matter is of “urgent public importance” and during the 3rd session of the House of Representatives, a motion was passed to check the situation.

Mr Ogene, who spoke on behalf of Anambra state and the South East, expressed his objection to the fact that students from his state are required to score 139 marks on merit while “some others are made to score just 2 and 4 marks for the same examination”.

This, he said, runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution in chapter 42(1) – “No Nigerian shall be discriminated against on the basis of community, ethnicity, religion, tribe, gender”.

“We should not sacrifice merit on a platter of zoning,” he said.

The House of Representatives has passed a motion mandating its committee on education to interface with the National Examinations Council and the Federal Ministry of Education”

The committee is expected to send its report on Tuesday, 2nd July.

Merit Quotient

Mr Ogene also said many members of the house would like to raise the merit quotient to ‘about 50 or 60percent”.

He attributed the issue to “failure of governance at different levels” and accused several governments of concentrating on building more schools instead of focusing on the quality of education.