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Tuition Hike: Protesting Michael Okpara Varsity Students Disrupt Exams, Traffic

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Some students of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Abia, on Tuesday shut down  the institution in protest against the increase of tuition fees by the management.

The correspondent, who visited the university, gathered that the angry students, who were in their numbers, stormed different halls in the university and chased students writing their first semester’s examinations.

NAN correspondent further observed that the protesters also destroyed the glasses and other property at the university senate building, secretariat of the Students Union Government (SUG), library, microfinance bank, main gate and others.

The aggrieved students sang anti-management songs such as “VC Iwe, reverse our schools, Say no to extortion, Allow us to write our examinations’’ among others.

They also barricaded the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road at the university main gate, thereby disrupting vehicular movements.

Shop owners along the expressway quickly closed their shops for fear of being attacked by the protesting students.

Also, it took the intervention of the police to disperse the protesters with tear gas and gunshots on the air.

Some of the students, who spoke with newsmen on the condition of anonymity, said they were protesting the insensitivity of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe and his management towards the plight of the students.

“We started our first semester examination yesterday (Monday) and the vice chancellor came to the hall and sent out those, who have not paid their schools fees.

“They increased our schools fees twice in 2023; some of us were paying about N50, 000, but it is now between N120, 000 and N150, 000.

“The vice chancellor insisted that students must pay it at once, even when we begged them to allow us pay in two installments for the two semesters,’’ one of the protesters said.

Another student said: “Some us were stopped from writing this examination because our names were yet to appear after doing our biometrics.

“The management introduced the compulsory bio data for students this semester and it is still ongoing but they said that no student will write examination without it,’’ he said.

Reports says that some of them, who said that they were final year students, complained that the action of the management would make it impossible for them to graduate with their set.

Efforts to speak with the SUG President, Emmanuel Chjioke, failed as neither him nor his executive members could be seen or reached.

Also, the Vice Chancellor, Iwe could not be reached, as he was not in the office as at the time of visit, and he did not respond to a call on his cell phone.

The Deputy Vice Chancellors, Academics, and Administration, as well as the school Public Relations Officer could not be reached for comment as well, as their offices were under lock and key. (NAN)

Education

Minimum Entry age to Tertiary Institutions18 Years – FG

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The Federal Government has directed that admission to tertiary institutions should not be given to candidates less than 18 years.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman gave the directive on Monday during a monitoring exercise of the ongoing 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory.

He decried the activities of some parent, who were pressuring their underage students to get admissions into tertiary institutions,

The minister said that the 18-year benchmark is in line with the 6-3-3-4 system of education.

“The minimum age of entry into the University is 18, but we have seen students who are 15, 16 years going in for the entrance examination.

“Parents should be encouraged not to push there wards too much. Mostly, it is the pressure of parents that is causing this.

“We are going to look at this development because the candidates are too young to understand what the whole university education is all about.

“This is the period when children migrate from controlled to uncontrolled environment; when they are in charge of their own affairs.

“But, if they are too young, they won’t be able to manage properly. I think that is part of what we are seeing in the Universities today,” he said.

On skill acquisition for those who will not be able to gain admissions into tertiary institutions, Mamman said the ministry is taking skills to pupils from primary school.

“ In overall, it is 20 per cent that can be admitted into the University, Polytechnic and Colleges of Education system.

“So, where will the 80 per cent go to? That is why the issue of skills acquisition is very important.

“Any student who is unable to proceed to tertiary institutions should be able to have a meaningful life after primary and secondary school’s education and the only solution to this is skill acquisition,” he said.

Corroborating the minister’s position on the benchmark of 18 years for admission to tertiary institution, the JAMB spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin said 18 years is the is in line with the 6-3-3-4 education system.

The Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu who was in the monitoring team applauded the conduct of the 2024 UTME, particularly, the introduction of online examinations as a way of checking malpractices.

He said the Computer Based Test (CBT) had reduced examination malpractices to the barest minimum.

Sununu commended the Board for setting simple but high standard for the examination. (NAN)

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Education

NECO Reschedules 2024 Common Entrance Exam into Unity Colleges

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The National Examinations Council (NECO) has re-scheduled the 2024 National Common Entrance Examination into Federal Unity Colleges and the entrance examination into Federal Government Academy, Suleja.

This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday by Azeez Sani, acting Director, Information and Digital Communication of the council.

Sani stated that the common entrance examination earlier scheduled for April 20, 2024, would now hold on June 1, 2024.

He also said that the entrance examination for Gifted and Talented Children into Federal Government Academy, Suleja, earlier scheduled to hold on  May 4,
2024 would now hold on May 25, 2024.

He added that the rescheduling of the two examinations was due to low enrollment of candidates.

He enjoined candidates, parents, guardians, schools and relevant stakeholders to take note of the new dates.

Sani said that registration of candidates would continue till the new dates of the examinations. (NAN)

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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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