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Education Sector: FG Invests N1.3trl in Four Years

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As CBN plans support for Diagnostic Centres

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to providing quality of education in the country.

The President gave the assurance when he inaugurated the newly completed Post-Graduate Centre of Excellence at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, constructed and donated to the school by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Before unveiling the commemorative plaque to formally inaugurate the edifice that sits on a total floor area of 34,102.

81sqm, President Buhari said the construction of the project was a testimony to his administration’s effort at supporting qualitative learning from the primary through to the tertiary level.
According to him, his administration, in the past four years, had invested about N1.3 trillion in the educational sector of the country, excluding personnel and overhead costs.

The President assured that his administration, in its second term, in spite of funding challenges, will continue to accord education priority by ensuring adequate funding for the sector to make it affordable, qualitative and competitive with what was obtainable in more developed countries.

While lauding the vision of the late Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello in establishing the university, he commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for supporting the Federal Government’s investments in the educational sector as well as other keys areas of the economy tied to overall national development, he urged the Bank to sustain such funding support for research and overall economic development.

Welcoming the President to the complex earlier, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said the Bank’s involvement in the funding and infrastructural support in the educational sector was borne out of the conviction that an educated workforce played a critical role in the advancement of the Nigerian economy and the society in general.

He said the Bank’s analysis of the factors responsible for the growth of successful economies, indicated that investment in education played a prominent role in driving innovation and growth in advanced and emerging economies, while also contributing to significant reductions in inequality. Hence, he said the CBN, being a knowledge-driven organization, had to ensure the sustenance of improvements in institutions of higher learning across the country.

The Centre of Excellence, according to the apex bank boss, was also designed to accommodate the Central Bank of Nigeria Collaborative Postgraduate Programme (CBN-CPP), which he described as a child of necessity in the Bank’s intervention programme in the educational sub-sector. He explained that the project was conceived to produce a critical mass of skilled professionals that will be able to apply their knowledge towards supporting growth and continued innovation in our nation’s financial sector and the economy in general. “This was against the recognition that the dearth of skilled manpower constituted a binding constraint towards making Nigeria the number 1 hub for economic activity in Africa, he added.

He also disclosed that the three first generation federal universities in the country across the six geo-political zones (Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan and the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka) were selected under the first phase of the intervention programme. He added that the programme was later expanded to cover six other tertiary institutions across Nigeria, which are nearing completion.

He added that the project was mainly to ensure that students at post-graduate levels in Economics, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration and Statistics study in a serene environment that would stimulate effective learning with a view to building human capacity for the financial services sub-sector.

Emefiele assured that the CBN, working closely with all the participating universities, had taken steps to ensure that this investment yields considerable benefits. Specifically, he said the curricula for the target disciplines had been reviewed and harmonized across board to ensure students are provided with the optimum level of knowledge relative to their peers in other parts of the globe.

“We believe that the Centres of Excellence will help support the government’s efforts towards reducing the incidence of brain drain, and curtail the huge foreign exchange being spent on school fees for Nigerians studying in other countries,” Emefiele said.

While disclosing that the three Centres of Excellence in Zaria, Enugu and Ibadan will commence operation in October 2019, he said the CBN expected the universities to take maximum advantage of the world class facilities provided by the Bank to challenge their counterparts in London, New York and Dubai in the provision of training programmes in banking and finance-related disciplines for the global business community

He also thanked stakeholders in the Federal Ministry of Education, National Universities Commission (NUC), the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the contractor, Messrs Afdin Nigeria Limited, for their support in completing the project, stressing that such collaborations were necessary for progress.

The Post-Graduate School project, similar to the project inaugurated by President Buhari at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC) in January 2019, comprises a Faculty building and a block of rooms, as well as a 544-seater auditorium, four lecture and four tutorial rooms, traditional and e-libraries, and a telepresence room.

Meanwhile, the CBN Governor has disclosed plans by the Bank, in the near future, to also provide funding support for the health sector in the country, through the establishment of six diagnostic centres across the geo-political zones of the country.

He said the decision of the Bank to support the health sector was based on the realization that education and health formed the bedrock of development in any society.

Education

GJF 2024 Democracy Dialogue Calls on African Leaders to Prioritize Education.

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Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

Stakeholders has called on African leaders to prioritize functional education and effective leadership toward achieving growth and development for the African continent.

This was handed down at this year 2024 Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) Democracy Dialogue held in Benin, Edo State capital.

Participants at the dialogue comprised foremost African leaders, academics, development experts, politicians, civil society groups, traditional rulers and students spoke on the need for African leaders to develop innovative educational policies that will help guarantee growth and sustainable development.

According to a press statement by the Communications Officer Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Wealth Dickson Ominabo and made available to Daily Asset via email said, some of the dignitaries at the event were the former President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, former president of Niger, Thomas Boni Yayi, former president of Nigeria and Chairman of Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,   former Vice President of Zambia, Dr Mumba Nevers Sekwila and former vice president of Nigeria, Arch Namadi Sambo.

Others include, governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki,  former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri Balasubramanian, Director UNDP Sub-regional Hub for West Africa, Njoya Tikum,  Acting Executive Secretary National Universities Commission (NUC), Chris Maiyaki and deputy governors of Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, and  Bauchi.

Chairman of the occasion and former President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta in his remarks called on African leaders and policymakers to develop strategies and policies that will set the continent on a winning trajectory.

His words: “As African leaders gathered here today, let us take up this task with the seriousness that it deserves to the leaders of tomorrow.

“As a continent, we must look at our curricula in comparison with the changing global needs and embrace an education system that aims to foster critical thinking, innovation and creativity as this will bolster the continent to immeasurable heights.

“It is our task as leaders of this great continent, to empower our youth with the tools that will shape and prepare them to be great and active participants in the global economy.

“We must therefore intentionally invest in education to ensure inclusivity, diversity and equal opportunity for all our children. This will help foster a conducive environment for innovation and growth.”

Keynote speaker at the dialogue Prof Olubayi Olubayi in his address called on governments around the continent to rethink their educational policies to foster growth and guarantee inclusivity.

He said :  “Each country that wants to succeed must provide education for 80% of its population that is of average ability, but it must also, at the same time, provide education for the other 20% that is exceptionally highly gifted and highly talented. This is the better meaning of inclusion. Education for the 80% and education for the 20% in institutions that maintain symbiotic collaborations.

“The open secret is that for a country to have a genuine functional education it must have a two-sided strategy that is based on the pareto principle of 80/20.

“Our current school systems will continue to educate the 80% who are the majority.

“If we care for Africa’s future, If we care for our grandchildren, If we care for our dignity as human beings, If we care at all, we must ensure functional education within our home regions and countries.

“If we care at all, we must find a way to ensure that each African nation or state establishes at least ONE highly selective world-class university that will be the primary source and catalyst for effective leadership, innovation, technology, growth and development.”

Speaking further he said: we must each return to our villages or towns working or local government areas or counties or districts and start the sacrifice and hard work of mobilizing resources to set up the first highly selective world-class primary or secondary school as a centre of excellence for the free education of the less than 20% of the population of our children that is most gifted and most talented.

Speaking on the importance of the theme of this year’s dialogue, Functional Education and Effective Leadership as a Panacea to Growth and Development, the Executive Director of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Ann Iyonu noted that functional education and effective political leadership are interconnected goals that require concerted efforts from governments, civil society, and the private sector.

She said: “Functional education can empower citizens to actively participate in the political process, hold their leaders accountable, and contribute to the socio-economic development of their countries.

“Conversely, effective political leadership can create an enabling environment for education reform, investment in human capital, and the creation of opportunities for all citizens to thrive.”


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Education

NUC Accredits 43 Programmes at Federal University, Kashere

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The National Universities Commission (NUC) has fully accredited 43 academic programmes at the Federal University Kashere (FUK) in Gombe State.

The commission granted the approval for all the programmes presented by the institution for the  October/November, 2023 accreditation exercise.

This is contained in a statement by its spokesman, Mrs Janet Ezekiel in Gombe on Friday.

Ezekiel said the approval is contained in letterct with reference number NUC/ES/412/VOL.

14/327 addressed to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Umaru Pate.

“The document captioned: Result of the October/November 2023 Accreditation of Academic Programmes in Nigerian Universities indicated that in line with the provision of section 10 (1) of the Education (National Minimum Standard and Establishment of Institutions) Act CAP E3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“The commission has organized the accreditation of academic programmes at Federal University Kashere in October/November, and accredit all the 43 academic programmes that were presented in either Accredited, Full or Interim Accreditation Status,” she said.

Ezekiel said the exercise covered undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including those presented for initial accreditation and re-accreditation.

She said that four postgraduate programmes earned accreditation status, 32 undergraduate programmes got full Accreditation, while 7 other undergraduate programmes had interim accreditation.

“It is important to note that by implication any postgraduate programme with accredited status and undergraduate programme with full accreditation will remain valid for five years after which it will be presented for re-accreditation whereas, those with interim accreditation status will last for two years before re-accreditation,” she said.

According to Ezekiel, 98 academic programmes being run by the university got full accreditation including 49 postgraduate and 42 undergraduate, while seven undergraduate programmes got interim accreditation status.

The statement quoted Pate as expressing joy over the successful outcome, describing it as “a collective achievement”.

While reiterating commitment to consolidate on the achievement, Pate sought for the support of the staff to transform the university into a “real citadel of learning”. (NAN)

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JOSTUM Promotes 120 Lecturers To Professorial Cadre, Unbundle More Directorates, Departments.

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi 

The Vice Chancellor, Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University Makurdi(JOSTUM ), Benue State, Prof. Isaac Itodo, on Tuesday announced that, the university has promoted 120 members of academic staff to the professorial cadre between 2019 to 2024.

Prof. Itodo who disclosed this when he received members of correspondents’ chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists NUJ Benue State Council, on courtesy call in his office, explained that he met a deficit backlog of 130 academic staff who were due for promotion into professorial cadre since 2019 to 2024.

He stated after the rigour assessments by the university academic assessors, 

over 120 readers scaled through and were offered letters of promotion as full professors.

  

He also assured that the institution has make it deliberate that all those from the directorate cadres who were due for promotion as director, were promoted, stressing that staff no longer loss promotion.

He maintained that some academic programmes have been unbundled to accommodate more and effective teaching and learning, while they secured full restoration of the university College of Management Sciences that were withdrawn about five years ago by NUC.

According to him, out of 11 colleges, 6 are Agro related. 60 percent is Agriculture related, 70 percent resources spent on the 6 colleges with others been supportive.  

He Jamb requested and gave the university a total of 5,840 for Engineering but they could not even get 2000 because their courses are no longer attractive.

” Students who come to do 5 years do not graduate in 8 years. There are several neighbouring universities competing for students so, prospective students go for courses that they think can make a difference in their lives. Because of the high level of unemployment, nobody just want to read anything. 

“We have unbundled Engineering. We will get computer Engineering , electrical engineering, telecommunication engineering , automotive engineering, Mechatronic, water resources, environmental engineering, hence the life of the university depends on the unbundling. 

Prof. Itodo said the institution had received over 6 billion naira as Special Intervention from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND for 2023 which is being judiciously put into use.

 “The institution was receiving the intervention for the first time since it establishment more than 44 years ago. The funds is been applied judiciously to the building of an international conference center in the university. 

“The center when completed, will be a hub for holding conferences by different groups, pointing out that It will go a long way to shore up their Internally Generated Revenue, IGR. 

“We are going to build an Ultra modern drawing studio for engineers, technologists, physics and food science. This is coming as high impact intervention for 4 billion naira.  

“We are also, going to build a Plant Health laboratory for 2 billion naira which is a special Intervention of TETFUND undertaken by Israeli. The Annual intervention for 2024 is expected and we will apply to the award to project for 2024. We know that TETFUND does not delay”, he said.

“We inherited a non academic directory which was only 3. This was over burdening. Hence, we decided to unbundle and create 4 additional directory amongst them; Academic affairs directory, exams and record and directory of Senate affairs”h said. 

He however said the institution was notorious for not releasing results of students on time, maintaining that presently, only three (3) departments have not released results even as he disclosed that 8000 students have already been mobilized for NYSC.

“There are several neighbouring universities competing for students so, prospective students go for courses that they think can make a difference in their lives. Because of the high level of unemployment, nobody just want to read anything. 

“This University started in 82 years. If for 44 years with 3000 staff strength. You cannot compare that to some of the new universities that have 5,000. We are thinking of expanding to fill those programmes that have been unbundled. 

“We have committed most of our IGR to fix student hostels and make them conducive. Hitherto students did not want to stay in the hostels. 

“We have had security issues. Our female hostel was recently under attack. Nobody was harmed but handsets were collected from the students. Some armed men blocked the road at SRS junction and 4 persons were kidnapped including a one hundred level microbiology students

“A week after that, we learnt that some people came around the same place and macheted some of the villagers and the villagers got angry on the ground that the government has neglected them. 

“They blocked the road leading to the university and we can’t go out and come into the university. It was a big problem for us but with the intervention of soldiers, police and the traditional rulers the youths were able to open the road.

“A Joint Army/DSS patrol on a daily basis has commenced in the school. . We need to up our game. We have a standing squad and bought 5 motorbikes and Hilux vehicle to facilitate patrol and response on time. We are equipping our security men. There is a central control unit with drones and walking talkies”, the VC said

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