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COVID-19: FG considering alternatives on WAEC, schools re-opening

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The Federal Government on Thursday says final year secondary school students may have to sit for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) in November if there is no shift in the timetable of the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

The Minister of State, Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said this while answering questions at the 52nd joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.

Nwajiuba said that government would meet with stakeholders again on July 30, to review the guidelines, provisions and preparations for safe reopening of schools.

According to him, sitting for the GCE may become the only option for Nigerian students if the country cannot convince WAEC to shift its examinations as requested for by the Federal Government.

“Should Nigeria be able to meet up with the WAEC timetable, there is already a negotiated timeline to move local language subjects such as Ibo, Yoruba and Hausa behind to allow all participating countries the needed time to write the general subjects at the same time.

“WAEC, unfortunately, is unable to wholesomely move the examination but we have also worked out a negotiated timeline with WAEC on what we call peculiar Nigerian subjects which in the language of WAEC are subjects that are only held in Nigeria such as Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba.

“The Ghanaians will take examinations peculiar to them. But they are all in the first part of the time table. So, we will work out a domestication module that will take our peculiar subjects behind after we have done general subjects.”

When asked to comment on the Oyo State Government that cancelled third term, the minister said that “education is on the concurrent list and while the states are expected to work together on common front, especially on the COVID-19 crisis, they are at liberty to evolve some measures on their own.”

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Education

Oil magnate advocates review of education curricula

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Oil magnate advocates review of education curricula
An oil magnate, Mr Babs Omotowa, has called on education administrators to adjust curricula to keep pace with evolving and disruptive trend on digitisation and be ready for the future.

Omotowa made the call while delivering the 19th Convocation Lecture of the Igbenidion University, Okada in Edo.

According to him, how capacity is built, and how knowledge is acquired will have to be different for Nigeria to compete in global developments.

He said that the traditional approach of memorising and regurgitating, as the basis of acquiring knowledge, was becoming less valuable as such knowledge could now easily be recalled by the push of a button on digital devices like phones.

Knowledge acquisition, he explained, had been digitised and people could now easily “Ask Anything’’ of Google and get the answer.

“Secondly, as the future will see less traditional jobs, the current education system that is geared to producing job seekers will need to change

“This is so for children to graduate as creative entrepreneurs, with business plans at hand.

“Universities have to evolve from “teaching knowledge’’ to “teaching how to learn and apply knowledge’’.

“The value of education will not be the certificate or courses that students graduate in.

“The value will be in their ability to think critically, select the right data, interrogate and extract new insights, make choices and take action to solve problems.

“If the capacities of our youths are built this way, Nigeria has the best opportunities to navigate the impact of the global trend.

“Thirdly, the quality of education in our universities needs to become much better and globally competitive in teaching, cutting edge research, innovation and international outlook.

“Our graduates will increasingly be competing with their peers globally, and a situation where no Nigerian university is ranked among the world’s top 400 universities is simply not where we should be.

“In some countries, our graduates are now required to undertake a two-year conversion course before they can be admitted to Master’s programmes.

“Fourthly, more collaboration between universities and private firms will be required.

“This is not just in endowments and grants, but also in the real-time intersection between research and application to enable innovations in new frontiers like on carbon capture.

“Such are seen in world-class universities like Yahoo’s 75 million dollars Energy Centre at Stanford University,’’ Omotowa said.

He noted that the world was slipping into an era of age imagination where creations that could match human beings intellectually were occupying the same space on earth.

This, he said, was arising from progress in Artificial Intelligence, alongside disruptions brought by digitalisation, automation, and virtual augmented reality.

“They provide great opportunities and challenges, which can be inspiring or terrifying.

“Most importantly and depending on how you respond to these, they enable those who can dream to hold the aces.

“Artificial Intelligence is applied in transportation, housing, education, business and medicine, among others,’’ he stressed.

Omotowa charged the graduates to embrace entrepreneurship as the key for the future as there would be fewer jobs as the world population grew.

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Education

160 students bag First Class as FUTA convocates Nov. 26

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One hundred and sixty students of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) will be graduating with First Class as the institution holds its 32nd convocation between Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.

Prof. Joseph Fuwape, FUTA Vice Chancellor, disclosed this on Friday in Akure at a news briefing heralding the convocation and the 40th anniversary of the university.

Fuwape, represented by the institution’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Phillip Oguntunde, said that out of 5,114 graduands, 3,205 are in the undergraduates’ category while 1,909 are in the post-graduate category.

He said that 1,334 students have Second Class Honours (Upper Division), 1,483 students have Second Class Honours (Lower Division) while 222 and six students are graduating with Third Class and Pass, respectively.

The vice chancellor noted that Miss Taiwo Oluyale of the Department of Building is the best graduating student with a CGPA of 4.89.

According to him, the institution which started in 1981 with 149 students and three schools now has 25,000 students, nine schools, a school of postgraduate studies and 55 departments.

Fuwape noted that FUTA had fully commenced its medical programme with the commencement of lecture by the pioneering students of the College of Health Sciences on Oct. 24.

He explained that the institution had duly justified the reasons for its establishment, saying that it had contributed to human capital development in the country and beyond.

The vice chancellor stated that the institution would bestow honorary doctorates on three Nigerians on Saturday for their outstanding contributions to the society.

“I am pleased to inform you that the university will confer honorary doctorate degree on Chief Adebimpe Aladejana-Ogunleye of the Obajimo Osupa Dynasty of Akure Kingdom. He is to be honoured with a Doctor of Science degree.

“Dr Haroun Adamu to be honoured with Doctor of Management Science and Dr Ephraim Fagba Faloughi will be honoured with Doctor of Management Science,” he said.

Fuwape said that three eminent three scholars would be honoured with the position of Professor Emeritus in recognition of their contributions to the academia.

“For the first time in the history of the university, three eminent scholars will be recognised as professors emeritus.

“They are Prof. Ekundayo Adeyemi, former Acting Vice Chancellor of FUTA; Prof. Olugboyega Ademosun, former Deputy Vice Chancellor and Prof. Oluwole Falaki, Pioneer Prof. of Computer Science in the university,” he stated.

Fuwape said that the convocation and the 40th anniversary lecture entitled “Innovation, Technology and Prospects of Prosperity for Posterity in Nigeria” will be delivered by Prof. Pat Utomi of the Lagos Business School.

He noted that FUTA had become the country’s most research-intensive university and had contributed excellently to the education sector in the country.

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NUT directs teachers not to participate in govt. planned test

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The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has directed its members in Kaduna State not to participate in the competency test being organised by the state government.

The Deputy National President of the union, Mr Kelvin Nwankwo, gave the directive in Kaduna on Wednesday, during a meeting with teachers in the state.

Nwankwo explained that the union issued the directive following plans by the Kaduna State Government to conduct competency tests for public primary school teachers in December.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) had in July announced plans to conduct competency test for primary school teachers to ensure quality teaching.

Dr Christy Alademerin, Permanent Member, Human Resource Management, Kaduna SUBEB had disclosed that the competency test was to ensure that the state has “the best of the best“.

“We are going to conduct the competency test to either weed out incompetent ones or whatever the outcome will look like, just to maintain the standards,” she said.

Reacting to the development, the state wing of the union in a communique on Aug. 18 declared that none of its members in public primary school would sit for the test.

The deputy national president said that the union’s NEC was behind the decision of the Kaduna state wing.

He insisted that the teachers’ competence had been proved by various accredited universities and colleges of education and were also tested before they were hired.

According to him, the NUT affirms and relies on the provisions of Section 1(d) Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) Act, CAP.T3 LFN 2004, which made provisions for the regulation and control of the teaching profession.

“As teachers who belong to a professional body, registered and licensed, we shall only subject ourselves to any professional recommendation issued by our Regulatory Council, but no other body.

“The NEC had unequivocally resolved that no teacher should be subjected to any form of competency test under any guise or colouration but advised that issues of quality education should be pursued vigorously by the state government and teachers at all levels and at all times,” he said.

He advised state governments to embark on a mandatory continuous training programme in line with the practice in all professions, such as nursing, medicine and the legal profession.

He added that the teachers were available and willing to participate in refresher courses, workshops, seminars, or training to fill knowledge gaps in their various areas of specialisation.

“However, we are opposed to any political ploy aimed at easing teachers out of service, with the pretext that such teachers had failed examinations,” he said.

The State Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Dalhatu, also stressed that only TRCN was legally empowered to conduct any form of competency test for teachers, adding that teachers would not subject themselves to any test conducted by any other body.

The state government had in January 2018 sacked 21,780 primary school teachers for failing a competency test conducted in 2017 and recruited 25,000 qualified ones.

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