Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) on Friday mobilised Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) and media to push Kaduna State Government to develop policy document to guide the implementation of its free education for girls.
AMDF’s Executive Director, Mr Iliya Kure, said that made the meeting in Kaduna was to galvanise the support of CSOs and journalists to ensure that the free education program was properly documented with a policy guideline.
According to him, the government’s declaration in 2018 of free education for girls in public secondary schools will remain mere pronouncement without a policy document and implementation framework.
He therefore called on CSOs to partner with AMDF in promoting girl-child education by supporting the advocacy for formulation policy guideline that would turn the pronouncement to reality.
“We have already paid an advocacy visit to the Kaduna State Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi, and he has indicated interest in our course to give the girl-child the educational attention she deserves.
“As CSOs, media and NGOs, we have the task of supporting the government to provide quality educational services to the people, particularly the girl-child, who have been left far behind.
“There is, therefore, the need for all of us to support the government to translate its free education pronouncement to reality so that the girl-child will enroll in school, learn, graduate and contribute to societal development,” Kure said.
Maigari explained that the project was designed to stimulate women and girls to rise up and transform their lives, families, communities and contribute positively to nation building.
“Free education for the girl-child is one sure way of triggering girls and inspiring them to be ambitious, focus and goal oriented for a better future.
“It is our hope that with the policy document in place, financial challenges will no longer stand on the way of the girl-child’s education pursuit.
“We are confident that with the partnership of the CSOs, the media and strong engagement of other key stakeholders, the policy document will be developed at most by mid-2020,” Maigari said.
Hajiya Amina Kazaure of Vision Trust Foundation, commended AMDF for the laudable initiative, describing it as ‘crucial’ in ending challenges affecting girl-child education in the state.
She assured of CSOs’ support to ensure that the policy document was developed so that no girl-child would be left behind as far as ducation in the state was concerned.
Similarly, Mr Isaiah Benjamin of Leadership Newspaper, also assured AMDF of education correspondents’ willingness to join the cause of making free education for girls in Kaduna state a reality.
VC urges inclusion of private varsities in TETFund support
Prof. Idika Kalu, the Vice Chancellor of Evangel University, Okpoto in Ebonyi has appealed to the Federal Government to include private universities in the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) support.
Kalu made the appeal during a media interaction in his office on Wednesday, saying that it was regrettable that private universities were excluded from the fund.
He said that denying private universities TETFund support to finance their academic programmes, including research and infrastructure development, amounted to great injustice.
He said that the main aim of every academic institution was to contribute to nation building through impartation of knowledge and character moulding rather than profit making.
Kalu said that the university, which is owned by the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria, was built to provide quality education in line with international standard.
He said that private universities offered the same academic services like their government-owned counterparts, hence should enjoy similar financial assistance from the federal government.
Kalu hinged the high fees charged by private universities on the enormous financial burden they bear in the attempt to maintain the best minimum standard required by the regulatory agencies.
He said: “The establishment of universities all over the world is usually not for profits.
“Most of the foremost universities in the world started as faith-based, some were established by individuals and families with trust.
“So, one cannot break even in a life time for establishing a university, no matter the fee the person or organisation charges.
“Imagine a university established with N10 billion, what fee will students pay within the life time of the proprietor to make him recover the capital.
“Students in private universities should be made to enjoy the education tax paid by oil companies operating in Nigeria, which is collected as TETFund.
“Our lecturers should also be given the opportunity to benefit from research grants from the fund.
“These private universities will still have to pay very high salary bills and meet up with the requirements of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and maintain their learning facilities for best academic performance.
“Because education is a highly regulated industry, we have to meet the demand and benchmark required of us.”
The vice chancellor said that the university, which began academic activities in 2012 at its temporary site at Okpoto, had a student population of at least 600.
He said that four colleges in the institution, including Physical Science, Management Sciences, Health Sciences and College of Arts and Social Sciences, had received full accreditation from the NUC.
He said that the university had zero tolerance for cultism, indecent dressing as well as sex or money for marks syndrome, among other social vices.
“The institution has zero tolerance for cultism and other social ills that are prevalent in most of our premier universities.
“We have a chapel where our students must show 75 per cent attendance to qualify for graduation,” Kalu further said.
Bank chief highlights benefits of artificial intelligence, says it has come to stay
A bank chief, Dr Dere Awosika, on Wednesday called on Nigerians to harness the potential that artificial intelligence was presenting in a growing economy.
According to her, artificial intelligence technology has permeated every industry and area of existence, with immense benefits.
Awosika , the Independent Non-Executive Director, Access Bank Plc, gave the advice while delivering a keynote address at the opening of the 14th University of Lagos Annual Research Conference and Fair.
The International Conference of the Humanities and Science has the theme: “Automation and Artificial Intelligence; Opportunities for 21st Research and Development”.
According to Awosika, Automation and Artificial intelligence have come to stay and make better the lives of the citizenry.
She said that engineers and researchers faced challenges ranging from sharp growth in demand in emerging countries, to market fragmentation driven by consumers’ taste for customisation.
According to her, budget constraints also required engineering teams to improve their productivity and efficiency.
“This is even as limits on the number of designs that can be considered and optimised against process capabilities restrict the predictability of product performance.
“Artificial Intelligence-powered technologies can help deliver more efficient designs than previously achievable by eliminating waste in the design process.
“ Innovation can also be brought to the market faster as these artificial intelligence facilitates lower process cycle times and increase focus on real-time negotiations and other interactions,’’ she said.
Awosika said that artificial intelligence would not make people lose their jobs.
According to her, on the contrary, job tasks that are more unstructured and involved managing people are harder to be replaced by artificial intelligence.
She said that with the job replacements and displacements generated by artificial intelligence, future job market and required skill sets would be significantly different from now.
Awosika added that higher education would be impacted by artificial intelligence in many ways but basically in the area curricula and enrolment.
Accordng to her, artificial intelligence will have a sweeping impact on curriculum in higher education since its strength is its speed, accuracy and consistency and will be used to teach subjects such as mathematics, science and engineering.
She said that some universities were already offering Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning courses to computer science students and business students.
“These persons will one day be business managers and executives who need to understand the capabilities, limitations and implications of artificial intelligence in the business world,’’ she said.
She said that multiple studies indicated that jobs that involved routine tasks and structures were easier to automate and would be replaced by artificial intelligence soon.
Awosika noted that universities were already exploring artificial intelligence applications that could improve student retention.
She said that some schools were already testing advanced analytics and machine learning to identify students in trouble and offer them support.
According to her, Civitas Learning and Salesforce collaborate on a service for universities that identifies and engages with students at risk of quitting.
She noted that the Salesforce tools used machine learning to recommend engagement strategies to optimise retention and graduation rates.
“The University of Lagos can be a leading light in driving artificial intelligence and automation to solve the rather unique problems in Africa by African institutions.
“ We in Access Bank, in our strive to be the world’s most respected African Bank, will be delighted to partner with the university,’’ she said.
In his address, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that the research conference and fair had become customary, noting that researchers from within and outside the university converged at the conference to share works and seek best possible solutions to challenges.
According to him, the core understanding that research is important and the realisation that government or universities alone cannot fund research, there was need for more collaboration with industries.
He said that several research grants had been won by the university and more submissions made to organisations such as the European Commission.
“In a bid to entrench our research driven hub, not just in Nigeria, the university of Lagos recently won the Ministry of Steel and Solid Minerals Research and Development Award.
“As part of efforts to enhance our research visibility, we have collaborated with organisations such as Vitafoam Nigeria, and this has led to the donation of a Polyurethane Laboratory worth over N20 million to enhance research in nanotechnology and materials.
“We also received equipment worth 200,000 dollars from the U.S. to support research in the Central Research Laboratory, among many others,’’ he said.
The vice chancellor said that although many argued that new technologies such as the artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics might take away jobs and increase unemployment, it was believed that the the fair would create superior arguments that would change the perception.
He lauded the efforts of the students who had been uniquely involved in research and innovation implementations.
According to him, this would enable them to acquire skills as problem solvers as well as make the desired impact on their future careers.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the three-day conference would also have in exhibition, a zero emission car, a solar refrigerator and other research products developed by a groups of students of the university.
The research fair is in collaboration with Access Bank Plc, Vitafoam, Union Bank Plc and other key industry players.
Edited by Ijeoma Popoola
ENSUBEB distributes N1.4b instructional materials to over 1000 schools
The Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) has distributed instructional materials worth N1.4 billion to over 1000 primary and junior secondary schools in the state.
The Executive Chairman of the board, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, made this known on Wednesday in Enugu, when the State House of Assembly Committee on Education visited the board on oversight function.
Asogwa noted that the educational materials were distributed to the schools to improve teaching and learning, adding that every primary school in the state benefitted from the distribution.
He said the board was also renovating dilapidated buildings and providing desks and sports equipment in schools across the state.
According to him, the project is being financed through the Universal Education Board Commission,(UBEC) fund.
On the recent recruitment of primary school teachers in the state, the executive chairman informed the committee members that the 1500 teachers were recruited on merit.
Asogwa added that the teachers would assume duty in the next academic session.
He gave the assurance that the board would cooperate with, and support the committee to ensure it succeeded in its assignment.
The Deputy Speaker of the assembly, Mr Uche Akadu-Ugwu, commended Asogwa for the achievements the board had recorded since his assumption of office as chairman.
He said the committee would not relent until total success was achieved in its assignment.
Earlier, the committee Chairman, Mr James Akadu, said the oversight was to ensure that the state government’s massive investment in education was secured in the interest of the public.
Akadu urged the board for collaboration to ensure that government’s policies and programmes were actualised.
The committee chairman commended Asogwa for his speed in project execution and diligence in duty.
He also commended Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration for the transformation of the education sector.
LASG releases results into model colleges, Upgraded junior secondary schools
Dr Oluwafemi Hassan, Director, Lagos State Examinations, disclosed this in a statement released to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.
Hassan said the candidates that sat for the Computer Based Test (CBT) had already received their results through messages and email addresses of their parents and guardians.
He added that the steps to check the results were provided in the portal.
Hassan, however, said the admission of the candidates would be determined by the Basic Education Services Department of the Lagos State Ministry of Education after determining the cut – off marks.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that over 11,000 candidates participated in the common entrance examination into Lagos State Model Colleges and Upgraded Junior Secondary Schools for 2019 /2020 academic session.
Gov. Zulum reconstitutes Teaching Service Board
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has approved the reappointment of Prof. Suleiman Bello, as the Chairman of the four-member state’s Teaching Service Board.
Gusau added that Zulum also approved the appointment of the three other members of the board.
Those appointed were Hajiya Hamsatu Laminu, Mr Mohammed Joji and Alhaji Makinta Monguno.
Gusau said that the governor would accord support to the chairman and members of the board while expecting them to uplift the quality of teaching in line with his education agenda.
While congratulating the appointees, Zulum reaffirmed his absolute confidence in them.