Sen. Magus Abe, who represented Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the eighth senate, has called for a dynamic education system that will successfully prepare Nigerian children to contribute to national growth.
Abe made the call on Tuesday in Port Harcourt while delivering more than 100 pieces of HP Laptop computers to beneficiaries of his Education and work enhancement support scheme.
Abe also expressed worry over what he called alarming statistics on out-of-school children and poor educational facilities in public schools.
He said that such developments constitute defects as well as threat to national growth.
“One of the things that worries me as a citizen of this country is that today in this country, statistically, we are told that the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is over 18 million.
“This is more than the population of Sweden, Hungary and even the Netherlands. I don’t want to talk about the huge number who are in schools but actually not learning anything useful.
“My personal estimate is that more than 70 per cent public schools are actually nothing more than gathering holes for desperate children and parents who are knowledge-thirsty but are faced with empty schools.
“Yes, I am a product of free education at a time when government paid some needed attention to the seector.
“But today I feel disturbed when government claims to run a free education without the necessary teaching and learning facilities and good remuneration for teachers and staff,” he said.
Abe called for adequate budgeting, planning and implementation of policies that would encourage global competitiveness aimed at driving the sector which is key to development.
Responding on behalf of the PhD student beneficiaries, Mr Gogonte Emmanuel of the departmnt of Chemistry in the Rivers State University expressed appréciation to the senator for the gesture.
“Indeed these computers which have already been formated and programmed to aid research would enhance our studies,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Stanley Job, Chairman, Rivers Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), thanked the senator for supporting media practitioners in the state.
“The media had in many ways benefited from your developmental schemes ranging from scholarships to charities for the state council.
“On behalf of my colleagues and beneficiaries of this laudable scheme, I assure you that these work equipments shall be effectively utilized,” he said.
Journalists who benefited from the work enhancement scheme are Mr Collins Gbarawi of Treasure FM, Port Harcourt, Miss Lizzy Ikuru of the News Agency of Nigeria Port Harcourt, Mr Alwell Ene of Wish FM among others.
Former Cross River first lady advocates girl guiding in more schools
Mrs Onari Duke, Wife of former Governor of Cross River Donald Duke says there is need for schools across the country to embrace girl guiding to further protect the rights of the girl-child.
Duke made the call in her keynote address at the centenary celebration of the Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA) on Tuesday in Lagos.
The theme of the celebration is: ” Years of Inspiring Girls.”
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the association started in Nigeria on Sept. 16, 1919 and became a full member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in 1966.
According to Duke, the activities of the girl guides remain a sure way of equipping the girls with the requisite knowledge, morals, skills, confidence and leadership needed to take the country to its desired height.
“The fact is, in today’s world, beyond acquiring formal education, there is the need to stand out because the field is already saturated.
“To distinguish yourself, you need to inculcate a culture of service and excellence in your sphere of influence,’’ she said.
According to her, there is therefore the need for citizens to contribute their quota to national development and growth.
This she noted by inspiring and mentoring the younger generation with sincerity of purpose and to serve genuinely.
“True service will impact lives greatly and to impact excellence in service, we must set high standards and strive to keep them.”
Duke urged girls to always strive to acquire skills that would give them the edge over others, make strong and reliable leaders as well as successful and effective entrepreneurs.
She also emphasised the need for the girl-child to acquire planning skills that would tie their vision to practical steps that their chosen endeavours could take to realise that vision.
“This, in itself is a skill and a very important one because without it, your growth will be stagnated.”
The former cross river first lady further stressed the need for the girls and even young women to be innovative and acquire communication skills, which would be evident in all of their entrepreneurial activities.
This she said was necessary, adding that professional advancement was usually enhanced by innovation.
The Chairperson, Africa Region of the World Association of the Girl Guides Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), Mrs Larissa Cataria, from the Republic of Benin said there was more to be done in the area of advocacy, on the right and welfare of the girl -child in Africa.
“So as a guide, my take will be encouraging associations around the continent to keep sensitising our people in Africa, beginning from Nigeria.
“I believe the girl-child has the power to take up leadership positions, to be the voice of Africa and to be the change agent we all desire in our dear continent.
“These leadership qualities, start from the home, through to the larger society and therefore these girls must also be given the same opportunity as the boys, given that they do have the potential.
“It is not about going to school alone, but also being exposed to the same opportunity as the boys. We need to support them. “They need to be supported in order to perform better in school and outside school.
“The major challenge facing the development of the girl- child in Africa has always been the issues of the mindset and as parents, the issue is, how we see the girl-child matters in determining how far we want them to go.
“Therefore, I think for me, it starts from there.
So, once we change our perception about them, once we understand the importance of sending them to school, I think it will help get the change that we want to see,’’ she said.
The Chief Commissioner of the NGGA, Mrs Maria Sule, in her address of Wellcome said that the association had contributed immensely toward nation building,
This she said was through its numerous guiding and mentoring activities of the girl-child in the country through the years and still standing strong.
According to her, the association’s non formal training programmes are thriving, adding that girls in the country are becoming bold advocates of their rights wherever they find themselves.
“We, therefore, wish to call on the Federal Government and State Governments, and the National Assemblies at both the Federal and State levels to assist us in coming up with laws that will liberate the girl-child and women generally to fulfill their potential.
“We also want to appeal to them to assist us in completing our training centre in Abuja designed for the development and well being of the girl-child,’’ Sule said
Edited by Dada Ahmed
Ondo govt. promises to reposition Unity, Special Schools
The Ondo State Government has promised to reposition the five unity schools and four special schools in the state.
Mr Femi Agagu, the state Commissioner for Education, said this during a meeting with the principals and head teachers of the schools on Tuesday in Akure.
The commissioner said that the meeting was to deliberate on the various challenges facing the schools in order to proffer solutions.
He recalled that the schools were established to serve as models to others , adding that the state must maintain their status.
Agagu urged the head teachers to be responsible in the discharge of their duties and monitor the teachers and students under them to ensure better academic performance.
The commissioner also said that the government was deeply concerned about the welfare of the students in the special schools.
He admonished the head teachers to be proactive in their bid to make the students relevant in the society, adding that ” there is ability in disability.”
Speaking on security in the schools, the commissioner urged the head teachers to be more vigilant, noting that security guards must be alert always.
Responding, Mr Oyedeji Adegbenro, the Principal of Unity Secondary School, Epinmi Akoko, said inspite of the various challenges facing the schools, the principals’ efforts were yielding good results.
According to Adegbenro, beside improvement in internal examinations, the good results in the last West Africa Senor School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results was a testimony of the principals’ efficiency and government’s commitment to the sector.
Mrs Tolani Olaitan, who spoke on behalf of head teachers of the special schools, said efforts were being made to discover the talents of each student with a view to making them useful to themselves, their families and the society at large.
The meeting had in attendance the principals of Unity Secondary School Epinmi Akoko; St.John’s Mary Unity Secondary School, Owo; St. Peter’s Unity Secondary School, Akure; St. Helen’s Unity Secondary School, Ondo and Unity Secondary School, Ode Aye.
Also present were the head teachers of the Physically-Challenged School, Ikare-Akoko, Visually Impaired School, Owo, Hearing Impaired School, Akure and Mentally Impaired School, Okeigbo.
Ekiti varsity gets new VC
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Olanipekun was a former Dean of the School of Post Graduate Studies of the university.
The appointment of the 53-year-old don, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Yinka Oyebode, takes immediatel effect.
Olanipekun, a native of Ado-Ekiti and former Chairman, Ilorin Zone of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), replaced Prof. Olubunmi Ajayi who had been in acting capacity since December 2018.
Ajayi acted as the vice chancellor following the sack of a professor of Educational Evaluation, Sam Bandele, by the governor following the recommendations of a visitation panel.
Olanipekun studied Chemistry at the first degree level and Industrial Chemistry at both the Masters and PhD levels.
600m people lack access to electricity in Africa- Don
Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development Services, University of Lagos, says more than 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity.
According to her, the access rate to electricity in Africa has been slowly rising since 2000 and currently stands at 43 per cent.
“Africa accounts for 600 million of the one billion people globally without access to electricity.
“The projection for sub-saharan Africa is that access will double by 2030 but there will still be about 600 million people without access to it due to high population growth rates and uneven development.
“This low rate of access can be turned to a major advantage with the embrace of renewable energy such as solar energy,’’ she said.
Ogunsola advised the Federal Government to urgently work on how to control the growing population.
She said unless population was controlled infrastructure development would not match a geometrically growing population.
The don also advised government at all level to address health care problems holistically.
“For Nigeria’s health institutions to be ready for the future, it must digitise patient records in an electronic management system.
“Few countries of the world spend over one per cent of their Gross Domestic Product on research, Nigeria spends less than one per cent of her GDP on research.
“Government must invest in human capital development rather than in infrastructure; only a literate populace will develop infrastructure,’’ she said.
Earlier, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, said that African researchers must conduct locally relevant researches that would leapfrog the continent into a global power.
Olayinka, who was represented by the Provost, College of Medicine, Prof. Oluwabunmi Olopade-Olaopa, said African scientists were more relevant in solving Africa’s problems.
NDA alerts public against admission fraudsters
The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) has alerted the general public, especially applicants of 71 Regular Course who could not make the final admission list, of the existence of a fraudulent syndicate purportedly claiming to be admission officers of the Academy.
The Academy’s Public Relations Officer, Maj. Abubakar Abdullahi gave the alert in a press statement issued on Tuesday in Kaduna.
The statement said the fraudsters sent various messages to candidates requesting them to call certain phone numbers with a view to gaining admission in the supplementary list.
“The Academy strongly advises the public to disregard such messages.
“Such messages were not initiated by the Nigerian Defence Academy. Hence, the general public should note that there is no supplementary list of any kind for 71 Regular Course.
“The NDA uses only mainstream media, its official website (www.nda.edu.ng) and its social media channels on facebook and twitter (DefenceAcademyNG and HQ_NDA respectively) to dessiminate public information.
“Therefore, NDA will never direct you to call any phone number for admission or payment,” it said.
The statement advised the general public not to fall prey or have any dealings with the admission fraudsters.
“You are to report the activities of such fraudsters to the nearest military or police unit, ” it advised.