FG Tasked To Increase Funding In Education Sector

The Federal Government has been tasked to increase funding for education in Nigeria or risk further stagnation in the sector and in the development of the country.

At a national dialogue on education and good governance in Abuja with Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education and H.E Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto in attendance, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Former Vice President of Nigeria said Nigeria risks being left at the lowest rung of development with the unchecked decay in the sector.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that of the 61 million children out of school globally, 31 million are in sub-Saharan Africa and out of that number 10.3 million are Nigerians.

Recent UNESCO data also shows Nigeria ranking last out of 136 countries on the list for public spending on education.

Improper funding of the sector led to the closure of public universities with the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), and the situation has graduated to a worrisome state for Nigerians, hence the move to capitalise on the strike action as a platform to sanitize the nation’s education sector as the starting point for the sanitization of the sector which has brought key players and products of Nigerians post-colonial education system together to brainstorm on ways to salvage the sector.

They however challenged Nigerians in all sectors to get involved in making informed demands on government, make valuable contributions that will lift the education sector and future of Nigeria out of the doldrums as quality and good education at all levels in Nigeria is no longer a federal government business alone.

ICPC Boss To Sanitize Nigeria’s Higher Institutions

The Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has promised to sanitize the Nation’s educational Institutions, and for a start, by bringing to book 67 illegal Universities who have been operating in the Country.

The Chairman of the ICPC, Ekpo Nta made the promise in Calabar while presenting a paper on Corruption and National Security at the 22nd Annual International Conference on African Literature and English Language (ICALEL) at the University of Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.

The Chairman started his presentation full of eulogies for African literature by saying that, African literature had in the past been in the forefront of the fight against colonialism. Today more than ever, it must continue to throw its weight in the war against corruption and help democratic institutions develop.

Addressing students, Academic and non-Academic staff drawn from different universities in the country on Corruption and National Security, the ICPC boss said, Nigerians have continued to live in fear due to the worsening security situation in the country, a situation he blamed on corruption from various sectors of the economy.

He explained that, in shaping the consciousness of Nigerians, the commission is committed more than ever to promote ICATEL, with emphasis on the role literature and writers have played in enriching the fight against corruption.

Corruption, he added is responsible for underdevelopment, unemployment and the security threat which is ravaging some parts of the country, leading to the loss of lives.

The ICPC chairman said the commission has established an Anti –Corruption Monitoring Unit (ACTUS) in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including Nigerian Universities to monitor corrupt practices, which might come in form of sexual harassment from lecturers, duplication of results, and unnecessary delay of graduates’ transcript with the support of the National Universities Commission.

The Commission believes that Corruption should be discouraged from primary schools, a step which the Ministry has taken by including this aspect into schools curriculum.

ICPC Prolific writer, Elechi Amadi, whose works were adjudged to have dealt sorely with the issue of corruption in the country, encouraged Nigerian ICATEL Students on the need to generate more ideas focused on dealing with the issues of corruption.

China Achebe’s novel No Longer At Ease (1960), Anthills of the Savannah (1987) and Wale Okediran’s Tenants of the House (2009) among others were the focal points used at this year’s conference which gives an insight into the evolution of corruption in the society.

NANS, Others Condemn Planned Scrapping Of JAMB, NECO

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists and the Coalition of Civil Society Groups have criticised the planned scrapping of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the National Examination Council (NECO).

In a communique signed by the national president of the student body, Yinka Gbadebo, the association says scrapping the examination body will compound the sufferings of ordinary Nigerians who may not be able to secure admission into tertiary institutions.

Also in a press statement signed by the national vice president of the National Association of Women Journalists, missus Ifeyinwa Omowale, the association appealed to the Federal Government not to scrap the unified tertiary matriculation examination saying it will have serious adverse effect on the masses.

The president of the coalition of civil society group for transparency and good governance in another press statement said the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board has put smiles on the faces of many families by allowing merit to prevail in the admission of students into tertiary institutions.

FG Targets Infrastructure Growth In Telecoms Industry –Minister

The Minister of Information and Communication Technology; Omobola Johnson said government is on the driving seat of improving and developing the ICT industry in Nigeria to meet up with countries like India, Malaysia, claiming the Ministry has set Key Performance Index targets for itself.

In order to achieve this and more, the minister said the ministry is actually going into circulating internet connectivity across the nation and strengthening ICT business economy in the ranges of Small, Medium and Large scale enterprises which will be ICT focused and contribute to the nation’s GDP.

”In terms of the KPIs we’ve got some very clear targets that we have set for ourselves in terms of connectivity (broadband infrastructure) across Nigeria and ICT economy’”

The Minister said the ministry is keying into the potential of an ICT-driven economy in a developing economy like Nigeria, which will highlight development  in the economy and  governance as well.

Talking about the sustenance of these policies with a focus on improvement in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, the Minister said “the ministry is working with the World Bank, Ministry of education and the USP Fund in providing higher Institutions in Nigeria with a 10-GigaByte fibre optic link and afterwards connect them all to the internet so research and development can be easy for these institutions”.

Nigerian Universities Should Be Funded Based On Performance – Braimoh Bello

To address the current woes in the nation’s educational sector, the Nigerian government has been advised to mainly provided funds to tertiary institutions based on the quality of performances and achievements.

Mr. Braimoh Bello, a medical lecturer with the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, made the observation on our breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, where he noted a similar system is what obtains in South Africa.

According to him, “universities should be fund on performance and achievements” as he noted that “in South-Africa, funds are given to universities based on the number of Masters and PhD degree students produced in a year.

He also added that it is time for lecturers to come together and ask themselves, whether they are truly educating young Nigerians and what kind of education are they providing.

He also enjoined to become creative and think of ways to make good use of the meager resources they have, while he argued that majority of the lecturers in Nigeria are more interested in their pocket.

“The students have large roles to play but the lecturers have a bigger role to play” he stated.

Mr Bello is currently a PhD student with Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

Yobe House of Assembly approves N8.6 bn for reconstruction of burnt schools

The Yobe State House of Assembly today approved the sum of N8.623 Billion as supplementary budget for the construction of schools that were burnt by the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram, barely 25 days to the end of the 2012 fiscal year.

The approval came just one week after the Speaker of the State House, Rt. Hon. Adamu Dala Dogo, representing Karasuwa constituency narrowly escaped impeachment.

Some of the money approved by the House will be used for the settlement of over ten thousand graduates, HND, NCE and Diploma holders recently employed by the Yobe state government.

Part of the money is to also cater for the recent increment in the salaries of judiciary in the state as well as another ten thousand youth for training by the state ministry of Youth and social development aimed at engaging the youths in gainful ventures.

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Adamu Dala Dogo, said that the decision of the House to give the supplementary budget a speedy passage is to allow speedy development in the state.

“We must not allow development to suffer in the state. The government needs the money to reconstruct those schools that were burnt down by unknown gunmen. The salaries and emolument of the graduates newly engaged by the Yobe state government needs to be settled without delay. The judiciary have just increase their salaries and government have to take care of all these need which were initially not in the 2012 budget”, the Speaker explained.

The House in session therefore directed the executive arm to redirect the N500 million meant for the purchase of buses by the ministry of Transport and Energy into the supplementary budget.

Meanwhile, the House also ratifeied Khadi  Shuaibu Talba as the new Grand  Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal  of the state following the demise of late Khadi Ibrahim Ahmed

Also today the House appointed Hon. Ishaku Sani Daya as a replacement for the former deputy majority leader, Late Hon. Adamu Abubakar Degubi, who was killed by unknown gun men four months ago.

FEC approves report on strengthening Nigerian universities

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the tertiary education report which is aimed at strengthening Nigerian Universities and eliminates the weaknesses that have brought down the standard of education in the country.

Briefing state house correspondents after the weekly council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said that apart from the issue of poor funding there are other systemic issues relating to the vision of the various universities, improper utilisation of resources as well as regulations that need to be tackled.

“The report which was ordered by the president following the last ASUU strike brought together stakeholders in the tertiary educational system to examine the state of development of our universities and to look at all the issues that have continued to lead to friction and also lower standards in the university system.

“So in order that we would be able to come up with a very, very comprehensive intervention policy, Mr President felt there was a need to draw in other stakeholders, particularly state governments. And after the presentation to the National Economic Council, Mr President will then proceed to agree on an intervention formula following a thorough analysis of the report that has been presented to us today,” Mr Maku said.

The Minister said the Council also recommended that it has become necessary for the National Universities Commission to begin to enforce basic minimum standards in terms of infrastructure, staff/student ratio and facilities, to ensure that the universities meet the best standards compared to any other in the world.

The Council also approved the Nigerian sugar master plan to reverse the decline in sugar production in the country.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga decried the situation where over 90 percent of sugar used in the country is imported.

He said that Nigeria will benefit from the master plan which will enable the country produce 1,797 tonnes of sugar annually as well as generate 400 megawatts of power.

“Sugar is a very strategic commodity. It is strategic because it creates a lot of jobs. For you to have a sugar manufacturing firm, you have to have sugarcane farms. Sugarcanes farms create a lot of jobs,” Mr Aganga said.

“It also produces ethanol which is a source for electricity. This will help to save a lot of foreign exchange,” the Minister added.

Universities in Nigeria advised to embrace new technologies

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okogie has enjoined all universities to embrace new technologies that would facilitate speedy ordering and transfer of transcript papers.

The Deputy Director, information, communication and technology, Mr Kayode Odedina who was speaking at a forum in Abuja observed that many students had lost job opportunities owing to slow processing of transcript papers by the universities.

According to him, transfer of transcript can now be electronically processed, adding that registrars in the universities can now address the lingering problems of delay of transcript processing with ease using emerging electronic technologies.

JAMB failure: We focus on schooling rather than Education – Tam George

In reacting to the recent press statement made by the UTME boss Professor Dibu Ojerinde concerning the 52 centres that compromised the strict regulations laid down by the university examination body over the just concluded UTME examination around the nation,Sunrise Daily crew had Austin Tam George to view issues on bothering the education sector of the country.

Sunrise Daily had Dr.Austin Tam George a lecturer at the Pan African University,fomer lecturer University of Capetown and the Executive Director of Institute of Communication in the studio.