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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.”


Education

Navy Donates Educational Materials to A’Ibom School

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The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, under Operation Delta Sanity 11, has donated educational materials to Saint Paul’s African Primary School in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.

The Commanding Officer, FOB, Ibaka, Capt. Uche Aneke, who made the donation on Friday, said the gesture was part of the efforts to kick-start Operation Delta Sanity 11 and foster civil relationship with host communities.

Aneke enlightened the students that Operation Delta Sanity 11 was a renewed effort of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm.

Emmanuel Ogalla, toward ending the menace of crude oil theft.

He further enlightened them on the economic and environmental effects of illegal oil bunkering and smuggling of petroleum products as well as the security consequences on the Nigerian maritime environment.

He said that the Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) exercise, which involved educational outreach and community services among others, was used to drive the message in a non-kinetic line of operation.

He emphasised that under the current leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff, such community services would be constant and sustained.

The Commanding Officer urged the female pupils to take their academics seriously and observe good hygiene.

“Parents of  girls of school-age who are out of school within the community are also encouraged to enroll in school for a brighter future,” he said.

Aneke said Operation Delta Sanity 11 as well as constant surveillance of areas under the FOB Ibaka Area of Operations and Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility would be sustained.

He explained that the operations were aimed at flushing out all forms of criminal elements.

In her remarks, the Head Teacher of St. Paul’s African Primary School at Ibaka, Mrs Justina Uko, thanked the Nigerian Navy for the gesture.

Uko said that the initiative would enhance education in the community.

She emphasised the importance of girl-child in the country and prayed that God would continue to bless the Nigerian Navy for impacting knowledge on the pupils of the school.

“We thank and appreciate Nigerian Navy for what they have done to the pupils of the school; we pray that God should bless them more and more,” the head teacher said.

Highlights of the outreach included sensitisation lecture and the donation of exercise books and writing materials to encourage and support the schoolgirls.

Report says that the theme of the exercise was “The impact of Girl-Child Education on Community Development with focus on the Ibaka Community”. (NAN)

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Education

Additional 12 State-owned Tertiary Institutions Submit Student Data to NELFUND 

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The Management of Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has announced the onboarding of an additional 12 state government-owned tertiary institutions to the student loan application portal.

This is disclosed in a statement made available to newsmen by Nasir Ayitogo, Head, Media and Public Relations, NELFUND, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Ayitogo said that the expansion came following the successful submission and verification of data completeness and accuracy required from the institutions.

He said with the latest addition, the total number of participating state government-owned tertiary institutions had been increased from the initial 36 to 48.

Ayitogo urged all institutions yet to submit their students’ data to the Student Verification Portal (SVS) of the fund to do so to enable their students benefit from the scheme.

He advised states whose data had been captured and successfully uploaded to urgently sensitise their students to apply.

He said doing this would bring succour to students, who were struggling financially whilst also bringing guaranteed revenue to the institutions.

Ayitogo urged students from the newly added state government-owned tertiary institutions to visit www.nelf.gov.ng to apply for the loan, while noting that students’ data from 121 institutions was still outstanding.

He listed the 12 additional state-owned tertiary institutions as Abia State Polytechnic, Benue State University, Makurdi, College of Education, Waka-Biu and University of Medical and Applied Sciences Enugu State.

Others are Aliko Dangote University of science and Technology Wudil, Kano State, Kwara Polytechnic, Lagos State University of Science and Technology and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai, Niger State.

In the list are also Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Taraba State Polytechnic and Yobe State University.

(NAN)

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Education

MTN Foundation Sponsors 457 Students to MUSON in 17 Years 

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MTN Foundation (MTNF) says, since 2007, it has sponsored a total of 457 students on two-year training at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON).

The foundation said that in spite of the challenging economic situation, it had and would continue to support the  development of youths due to its commitment and deep responsibility to make good things happen.

The Executive Secretary, MTNF, Mrs Odunayo Sanya, said this on Friday at the 17th graduation of its sponsored students from the Muson Diploma School of Music in Lagos.

Sanya said that 2024 had been quite challenging, and that the Foundation could have stopped the sponsorship but for its commitment.

“The journey has been long, 17 years, and getting stronger over the years, but we will continue to support and be an inspiration to others.

“You are a gift that we wrapped. MTN Foundation has wrapped you as a gift and we are presenting you to the world so make a vow to be a worthy gift to the world.

“I am happy we saw members of the alumni also give back, even if you do not pay back in Muson, please continue to give back remember some people also took a chance on you and that is why you are here today.

“Another thing I will like to say is that at the foundation, we expect that the alumni body will become very strong.

”Over 400 people across the world can do wonders, but you cannot do it except  you come together and that is something  we would take very serious and support, hoping that the alumni body will make a change and have a voice in Nigeria.

”It’s been a journey of 17 years. What you are experiencing today is a testament that MTN has at heart, the Nigerian youth,” the MTNF scribe told the graduands.

Also speaking at the occasion, a Director of MTNF, Mr Dennis Okoro, urged the graduands to be the best in whatever they do.

Okoro said, “this programme tends as a launch pitch for talents to blossom, plenty doors for countless opportunities to transcend boundaries and bring about change.”

He said that the foundation had no doubt that the graduands had a chance to transcend nationally and internationally.

“So far, 457 have passed through this programme. Thank you Muson for accepting our support and for your mentorship,” he said.

In her address, the Director, MUSON/ MTNF School of Music, Princess Banke Ademola, said the school had witnessed 457 students in the  MTNF scholarship programme.

Ademola said that MUSON  and MTNF were specifically proud of those who had created a niche for themselves locally  and internationally, showcasing Nigeria’s rich and diverse culture.

She said that this remarkable  achievement would not have been possible without the foresight and generosity of the founding fathers, sponsors and donors.

According to her, they recognise the importance of quality education in music and saw the zeal of Nigerian youths and how the youths often lack opportunity, so they provided well enough the facilities being enjoyed today.

“The year 2024 with its inflation and economic pressures was particularly  difficult, but we are indeed still grateful  to God.

”This year has a significant expansion of which 45 students were graced with scholarship from MTNF and small amounts from MUSON,” Adeola said.

According to her, the new 45 students will be experiencing innovative training.

She encouraged the graduands to be the spark that ignited and illuminated the world, “be slow and steady and not explosive, because the world needs your light for a long time.”

Reports says that various awards were presented to the graduands from the Alumni, MTNF, donors and sponsors among others. (NAN)

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