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Don’t Politicise Students Loan Scheme – FG Urges

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 Dr Akintunde Sawyer, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Education Loan Scheme (NELFund), has called on Nigerians not to politicise the student loan scheme because of its immense advantages.

Sawyer made the call in an interview on Thursday in Abuja.

NAN recalls that President Bola Tinubu signed the Students Loan Bill passed by the National Assembly into law on June 12, 2023 to help indigent youths to access tertiary education with ease.

The scheme was slated to commence between September and October 2023, but because of unforeseen circumstances, there was a revised timeline to January and now to March, 2024.

The Executive Secretary said the scheme was designed for the future leaders and all hands must be on deck to ensure its successful take-off.

“I want to implore Nigerians to support this programme however imperfect it might seem, because we will not get to perfection unless we start with something.

“I want to implore Nigerians to avoid politicising an issue that is so important to assist the youths.

“I am saying this because whenever there is a policy drive or something that impacts many people there will be some perceived losers.

“ You can’t please everybody and this is not just a Nigerian phenomenon. This happens all over the world.

“I am essentially saying that there are bound to be people who are not happy for one reason or the other,’’ he said

Sawyer appealed to Nigerians to support the scheme and make it work because of the enormous impact of the scheme.

It will be recalled that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had dismissed the Students Loan Act shortly after it was signed by the President.

ASUU’s National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, had said that “with over one million students in Nigerian public universities, the loan scheme falls short of providing adequate tuition coverage’’.

Osodeke had also said that the conditions for the loan were “not practicable, adding that more than 90 per cent of students won’t meet the “stringent requirements’’  to access and repay the loan.(NAN)

Education

Six Nigerian Universities to Benefit from EU’s €27m  Funding 

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By Eddy Ochigbo

No fewer than six Nigerian Universities have been selected to benefit from the 15 Intra-Africa Mobility Scheme Projects funded by the European Union (EU) with €27 million under the flagship Youth Mobility for Africa.

Permanent Secretary, of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs.

Didi Walson-Jack, who signed the agreement at the Global Gateway High-Level Event on Education in Brussels, said Nigeria would also benefit from the regional Team Europe Initiative on Opportunity-driven Skills, Vocational Education and Training in Africa

Under the initiative, the European Union would spend €27 million, allocating €1.

8 million to each of the Projects in the education and healthcare sectors in Africa.

These Projects, which are to be facilitated by various Universities, aim to enhance learning mobility opportunities for Students, Trainees, and Staff across the Continent, focusing on developing high-level green and digital skills.

The participating Universities include the University of Lagos, the University of Port-Harcourt, Ebonyi State University, the Federal University of Technology, and the University of Nigeria.

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Education

UTME: Police, JAMB Warn Candidates Against Patronising Fake Websitess

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the police have warned candidates preparing for the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) against patronising fake websites.

The two bodies gave the warning at a joint news conference in Abuja on Saturday.

The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said there were several fake websites created by unscrupulous individuals with the intention of misleading candidates.

He urged candidates to be wary of their tactics, saying the fake web sites were designed to deceive innocent candidates into providing personal details such as registration numbers, email addresses, and phone numbers.

“Both JAMB and the Nigeria Police Force condemn these fraudulent activities and hereby reiterate the readiness to safeguard the interests of candidates and maintain the integrity of the examination process.

“We urge parents, guardians, and all stakeholders to ensure that candidates print their UTME Notification Slips only from the Board’s approved website: www.jamb.gov.ng.

“Candidates can print their slips from the comfort of their homes or visit any of the over 700 accredited Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres nationwide,” he said.

Adejobi explained that the force was familiar with the tactics employed by fraudsters, especially during the annual assessment and admission exercises.

He, therefore, said that both organisations was actively sensitising candidates and the public about these deceptive practices.

“Any candidate who visits these fake sites will definitely have unreliable information and thereby miss out in the forthcoming exams.

“Candidates are advised to print their UTME Notification Slips before Friday, 19th April, 2024, to access vital information about their examinations.

“Any website other than www.jamb.gov.ng offering UTME slip printing services is fake and designed to defraud candidates,” he said.

He also called on candidates to beware of web sites offering ‘live’ questions and answers, as they were false and deceptive, saying that accessing such materials was prohibited.

He further said the board was partnering with the Nigeria Police Force National Cyber Crime Centre (NPF-NCCC) to address online scam-related issues seamlessly.

He assured candidates and the public of the force firm dedication to ensuring a fair and transparent examination process.

He also stressed that the Inspector General of Police had ordered the NPF-NCCC to go after scammers and fraudsters who engage in cyber related crimes and create phishing sites/portals.

On his part, the JAMB spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin, pledged the Board’s commitment to continue in playing its role

He, therefore, urged candidates to ignore any unsolicited messages noting that they were from elements who aim at defrauding candidates.

The 2024 UTME is scheduled to commence on Friday, April 19, and end on April 29. (NAN)

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TETFund to Upgrade NOUN Study Centres with Fibre Optics

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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) will upgrade all the study centres of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) with fibre optics to transmit information and data with the speed of light.

The Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters, said this during a pre-convocation news conference on Monday, ahead of its 13th convocation slated for April 13, in Abuja.

Fiber optics, or optical fiber, refers to the technology that transmits information as light pulses along a glass or plastic fiber.

Peters said the rate of technology advancement at NOUN attracted the offer from TETFund.

“Right now, our academics all over the faculties and departments have video components to assist our students and we deploy this with ease.

“And because of the manner we deploy technology, TETFund has offered to assist us with fibre optics in all our study centres across the country.

“It is a testimony to where we are in terms of technology,” Peters said.

He said that a lot of Nigerians were yet to understand how the university operates in spite of its years of existence in the country.

Peters noted that the institution had brought development to many towns and villages where the university had its study centres.

“The forthcoming convocation would be an opportunity to showcase what the institution can do with technology,” he said.

Peters said that 22,175 students in various disciplines across the country would be graduating on April 13.

He said the graduating students would join the convocation via technology from its 120 study centres across the country.

“Of this number, 15,768 are undergraduate degrees, while 6,407 are for postgraduate degrees, with the Faculty of Social Sciences producing the highest number of graduates.

“Twenty-two of these students are first class, 2,362 are PGD graduates, while 41 are Masters and six leaving the institution as PHD holders.

“This is an indication that the school is gradually moving towards establishing a more robust post graduate school,” he said.
Peters said the interesting part of the convocation would be the conferment of an investiture on the University’s new Chancellor, His Royal Majesty, Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, with Doctorate Degree, and his installation as the Chancellor.

He said that the convocation lecture would be delivered by the Vice Chancellor of Open University of Tanzania, Prof. Elifas Bisanda, with the topic: “Is western education still relevant for Africa.”

The NOUN VC said the lecture would direct Nigeria and Africa in general to areas which would be useful to citizens.

He added that the lecture would be followed by the conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degrees on Dr Innocent Chukwuma, the Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Motors, and Hajia Hafsatu Abdulwaheed, the first female novelist in Northern Nigeria, and an eminent activist.

“Dr Chukwuma is a well-known Nigerian entrepreneur and founder of Innoson Motors, and his creativity and commitment to local content, is one of the reasons the university considered it fit to honour him.

“The second person, Hajia Hafsatu, has dedicated her works to promoting education particularly for girls, and she believes in the transformative power of literacy to uplift communities and break the circle of poverty.

“These two awardees reflect the core values of NOUN which is entrepreneur ingenuity and knowledge-based content creativity,” Peters said.

He noted that the last time the university awarded honorary degree was in 2015.(NAN)

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