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ASUU strike: FG is deliberately undermining education, says Prof Fawehinmi

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Immediate past deputy Vice chancellor (Academic) University of Portharcourt Professor Hakeem Fawehinmi has described the logjam in the Ivory towers over industrial action by lecturers as a deliberate effort by Government to undermined education.

Speaking in Abuja recently on the incessant strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Fawehinmi said the strike is a necessity

The Professor of Clinical Anatomy and Medical Anthropology said,

“I think the ASUU agitation is called for even though it is one strike too many but it is not the fault of ASUU. “You will notice that ASUU has been consistently asking for the same thing, better funding for the university, some form of university autonomy from the Government  and then this IPPIS platform that was recently introduced has been an issue.

“This is because it does not serve the purpose of the univwrsity. All over the world University staff are entitled to what we call sabbatical leave and are entitled to be visiting other institutions and when you are on Sabbatical it is expected that the new institution will enroll you on their payroll even as a visiting lecturer.

“The IPPIS did not make any provision for remuneration of lecturers on leave and that is very clear to everybody. 

“Nobody is going to go on sabbatical and go there to do it pro-bono, you go there you are expected to get paid so that you can sustain your life wherever you are doing it.

He said the IPPIS platform does not make provisions for sabbatical leave, there is no express provision and that is a very big deficiency. 

“So the ASUU  struggle is genuine and Germain.”

While throwing more lights on the issue he said, There was this agreement ASUU signed with the Federal Government way back in 2009 and the Federal Government kept postponing the evil day in the sense that it has not been able to implement that agreement wholeheartedly.

“Therefore ASUU would be forced to go into strike and would be called back, and there would be a memorandum of action and the Federal Government would not keep to its own side.”

He lamented that there is a very huge deficit in budget for education in Nigeria especially tertiary education.

“For a country like Nigeria that has a very huge chunk of it’s population as youth the UNESCO minimum of 18% should be adhered to but if you look at the Nigerian budget the education sector don’t even get up to 7%.

“We think that is a very huge deficit and it is affecting tertiary education totally because tirtiaty education, university education in particular is a universal thing and therefore the benchmark standard must be maintained, it is supposed to be all over the world. 

“The number of lecturers also has not been enough and that has been worsened by the ongoing brain drain and that is where the issue of earned Academic allowances comes in.”

He said, some lecturers are made to work beyond what their schedule is supposed to be. 

“They are made to be in several committee jobs  and so on. Because of this, there is this deficit in payment and if you look at the lecturers take home, the take home of a professor, you will know that it is not a takehome pay, it is not a living wage.

He therefore implored the government should look into that. 

“The earned academic allowances is not being paid as at when due and they were trying to mainstream it, so that we don’t come every year to keep talking about the same thing.

He observed that the Government on its side , particularly the ministries concerned ; education, finance and Labour have not really done what they are supposed to do in mainstreaming this Earned Academic Allowances, hence there is huge backlog to be paid. 

These he said are the issues coming on and on. In the area of funding for the universities, he said, “Funding of the university, of course you know that the population of Students has overwhelmed the infrastructural capacity and if you go to the students hostels, classrooms, you will see those deficits. 

“Therefore the Government is supposed to be proactive to make sure that they expand their infrastructure to match with the students population and that is part of the reason for the recurrent strike.”

He expressed sympathy with the Nigerian students saying that irrespective of the deficit in infrastructure and facilities to train them, their program has been serialy disrupted and it has reached a situation where it has become confusing not only for the students but also for the academic staff, the lecturers. 

“When you start a session, after the COVID-19 technically they lost a session and came back and trying to find their feet and create a part  for their academic existence, and all of a sudden it is truncated again, they go back home, maybe what they have studied they have already started forgetting and by the time they come back to get themselves attuned again there is another strike.

“So the whole process the student might become confused and tomorrow we argue that the kind of products from Nigerian universities does not suit the labour market. 

“You know, this sort of disruptions are not good for tertiary educational all. Even the lecturers themselves, we as professors have paid a lot of our dues to the system. 

“We can imagine how confusing it is, you start a course, halfway to it there is a 6months strike and then after the strike you come back, you start to think of where to start from because the students must have forgotten the trend and this reoccurring disruptions, the Government should be sensitive to the plight of the students and their parents. 

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Education

Inculcate critical thinking, Inspire, guide your Students – Poland Ambassador tasks teachers

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

Ambassador of Poland to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Ambassador Joanna Tarnawska has called on teachers to encourage critical thinking, inspire and guide their students or listeners to become innovative problem solvers.

Tarnawska made the call as a Guest Lecturer at the 6th Distinguished Public Lecture of Federal University Lokoja titled: “How to Effectively Pass Knowledge and Inspire Students in the Contemporary World.”

The Guest Lecturer said gone are the days when teachers were seen as encyclopedia and repository of knowledge. saying, “A teacher is not an encyclopedia anymore, a teacher is a book mark, a beacon who points to the relevant paragraph.”

Tarnawska stressed that teachers must be well grounded and knowledgeable in their respective disciplines, and urged them to guide, teach on how best to gather information and get the gist.

She said, “Know your subject matter and be ready to deepen your knowledge continuously, Know your audience, adapt your language and content to the listeners.

The Envoy said that with the influx and abundance of information with the world turned a global village, it is important to know the authentic from the fake and safekeep facts, especially now that everything can be checked online.

“Encourage questions, building an atmosphere of trust will be helpful to achieve this. Modern lessons should not only be teacher centered, Keep a balance and make time for student centered lessons.

“Never ask the question, “Do you understand?”, instead, ask questions to check your students understanding, always give practical examples,
be engaging and make sure your listeners are following you”, she said.

Speaking earlier in his address, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, Vice-Chancellor of Federal University Lokoja, commended Ambassador Joanna Tarnawska for the promptness with which she accepted to deliver the Distinguished Public Lecture.

Prof. Akinwumi noted that the topic of the lecture, “How to Effectively Pass Knowledge and Inspire Students in the Contemporary World” is not just timely but imperative.

He said, “In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, societal transformations, and global interconnectedness, the role of education transcends mere dissemination of facts.

“It therefore behoves upon us to instill in our students a hunger for knowledge, a love for learning, and a sense of purpose that extends beyond classroom boundaries.”

The Professor of History said as Vice-Chancellor of the esteemed institution, he was keenly aware of the profound impact that effective teaching and inspirational mentorship can have on the lives of our students.

Akinwumi urged all stakeholders to reflect on how we can collectively shape the future of Education, and recommit to the noble pursuit of empowering the next generation of leaders and innovators.

He enjoined all to embrace the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and lifelong learning as we listen to the lecture together. (Ends)

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22 NTIC students to participate in 3-day NMC’s Olympaid Camp

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The National Mathematical Centre (NMC) has selected 22 students of the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) to participate in a 3-day Olympiad Camp.

The Olympiad competition covers subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Arts, Music, Literature, History, Culture, Information Communication Technology among others.

The Managing Director NTIC, Feyzullah Bilgin, in a statement on Tuesday said, “In a remarkable display of academic prowess, 22 students from Nigerian Tulip International Colleges in Nigeria have been handpicked by the prestigious National Mathematical Centre (NMC) to participate in a rigorous 3-day Olympiad Camp.

“The selection of these bright minds not only highlights their exceptional mathematical abilities but also underscores the dedication and commitment they have shown towards their education.”

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Education

Federal University Lokoja Matriculates 4,925 For 2023/2024 Session

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

FEDERAL University Lokoja has matriculated 4,925 students into its over 57 programmes from seven faculties, for the 2023/2024 academic session with a charge for them to uphold the values and standards of the university.

Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi gave the charge during the matriculation ceremony at the Adankolo Campus of the University on Thursday in Lokoja.

Prof. Akinwumi urged them to maintain obedience to school authority and maintain good conduct adding that violation of their oath would be met with appropriate sanctions.

The 4,925 figure excludes the those admitted into faculties of Law, Agriculture and Pharmacy which were recently Resource Verified.

The VC noted that the mission of the University is to ‘Provide quality education, foster critical thinking, and produce well-rounded graduates who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to contribute meaningfully to society.

“Our vision is to
be the best among the universities in Nigeria and one of the top 10 universities in Africa. We aspire to become a world-class University recognized for excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement.

“These guiding principles serve as our compass, driving us towards academic innovation, social responsibility, and transformative impact”, he said.

The Vice Chancellor charged the 4,925 “bright minds joining our university family to bring unique talents, experiences, and aspirations to bear on their scholarship. We are excited to witness the contributions you will make to our academic community and beyond.

“However, as we celebrate your entry into our academic community, it is crucial to recognize the responsibilities that accompany this privilege. You are not just students; you are ambassadors of our university.

“Hence, as you take your oath today, remember it binds you to obedience to authority and maintaining good conduct throughout your stay in Federal University Lokoja. Any violation of this oath will be met with appropriate sanctions.

“I must also emphasize the importance of upholding the values and standards of our university. Federal University Lokoja has zero tolerance for social vices such as cultism, examination misconducts, and indecent dressing.

“Therefore, I urge each and every one of you to prioritize your academic pursuits and resist the temptations of engaging in such destructive activities”, he said.

Prof. Akinwumi urged them to remember that their actions not only reflect upon themselves but also upon the reputation of the university as a whole and he admonished them to be security conscious at all times.

He also reminded the matriculating students that it was essential that they remained vigilant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activities or concerns to the appropriate authorities.

Akinwumi further advised them to always prioritize their personal safety above all and urged them to avail themselves of the opportunities for personal and intellectual growth that await as they embark on this new chapter of life.

“Your time at Federal University Lokoja has the potential to be transformative, shaping you into leaders and scholars of the highest caliber”, he enjoined them. (Ends)

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