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UNIPORT to run executive programmes on spirituality, business principles for clergies

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The Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, says an Executive Business School programme to balance spirituality and business principles for ministers will be introduced.

The Acting Head of Department, Dr Ngozi Iheanacho, disclosed this while giving his address of welcome at a conference on Pentecostalism and African Pastorate Profile by the department on Tuesday at the university.

Iheanacho said that the 2019 conference, Serie 1 was in honour of Port Harcourt-based Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, General Overseer of Omega Power Ministries (OPM), for his contribution to humanity.

He said that the project was in tandem with an aspect of the department’s knowledge thrust and quest for research and documentation.

According to Iheanacho, the project was aimed at promoting Town-and-Gown relations, community service and good working relations between the academia and industry players, cognate to their discipline.

“There is a global scholarship trend on the exploration of contemporary African Christianity, pastorate and nascent pentecostalism; and our design in this project is skewed in Pentecostal Christian Ethnography.

“We want to make UNIPORT and our department in particular, a major stop point for data on outstanding African Apostolates.

“We don’t want to wait for foreign scholars to write and, be the resource persons and custodians of the account of our own distinguished men of God,” he said.

Iheanacho saidd that pentecostal ministry and phenomenon flourished potently and loomed large in the society and individual cravings.

He said that it therefore, became plausible to honour and celebrate outstanding key players in the industry.

“From our pre-conference study, we identified the ministerial thrust and strength of Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere to lie on social gospel.

“It is against this backdrop that the department resolved to honour him with an award of Ministerial Excellence, as “Crusader of Social Gospel’,” Iheanacho said.

He said that the citation on the clergy undercored the department’s resolution.

“Many of the conference papers will discuss the details and nexus between Apostle Chinyere’s humanitarian activities and the social foundations of Jesus’ Ministry,” Iheanacho said.

Education

Bank chief highlights benefits of artificial intelligence, says it has come to stay

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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.

CCN/IGO

Edited by Ijeoma Popoola

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Education

ENSUBEB distributes N1.4b instructional materials to over 1000 schools

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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.

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Education

LASG releases results into model colleges, Upgraded junior secondary schools

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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.

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Education

Gov. Zulum reconstitutes Teaching Service Board

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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.

Malam Isa Gusau, the Special Adviser on Public Relations and Strategy to the governor, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Maiduguri on Wednesday.

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.

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While congratulating the appointees, Zulum reaffirmed his absolute confidence in them.

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Education

Former Cross River first lady advocates girl guiding in more schools

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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

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