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Group Petitions ICPC over imposition of illegal fees by FCT Secondary Education Board

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A civil society group under the aegis of Citizens’ Rights, Accountability and Development (ICRAD) has petitioned the ICPC over what it described as illegal extortion of N1,500 levy on all students by
FCT Secondary Education Board led by Alhaji Yahaya Musa Mohammed whose tenure ended recently.

In the petition which was addressed to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) they queried such illegal imposition of fees and racketeering by the FCT Secondary Education Board.

The group had through the petition invited the anti-graft agency to look into the “illegal imposition of a “mandatory, unauthorized and illegal payment of N1,500 PTA levy” per annum on all students in JS 3, SS 1, SS 2 and SS 3 in the FCT by the Board; a levy which cumulatively runs into a hundreds of millions of Naira annually.
They stated that the N1,500 payment foisted on indigent students and their poor parents run contrary to legal enactments such as the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act, relevant Public Procurement Laws (i.e. the Public Procurement Act) as well as the Treasury Single Account (TSA) Regulations which are extant laws that ordinarily ought to govern such levy, its collection and/or expenditure – if it was actually deemed necessary and fair to be imposed in the first place.

The ex Chairman of FCT SEB was contacted for comments on the developing story by the popular “Good questions from the ex SEB Chairman for which he provided answers.

ICRAD indicated that many listeners who called into the program and many others who commented afterwards did not take kindly what they perceived or described as Alhaji Mohammed’s dismissive and/or condescending demenour throughout the interview.
“Many of them were particularly miffed and descended hard on the SEB Boss when he said that the “N1,500 levy is a paltry sum for which parents should not complain or make a fuss about”; after which he went ahead to declare that he was not going to make any statement or give further clarifications on the issue again.”
The group claimed that no students or schools benefited from the 1500 charged for the “ Phantom online classes for no students during the COVID-19 lockdown’
However, a thorough, painstaking and very detailed investigation which was conducted amongst students in different public secondary schools and in different classes failed to yield even a single student who corroborated the ex FCT SEB’S Boss’ claim as they all denied ever participating in or enjoying any Online Learning from their schools during the period or at any other time for that matter.
Similarly, no single parent out of the many that were interviewed including some PTA exco members, could attest to the fact that any of their children/ward had any online lessons during the covid holidays.
“It suffices then to say that FCT students, parents and Nigerians in general are waiting for Alhaji Yahaya Musa Mohammed and his Board to come out and name the schools in FCT that benefitted from what is increasingly beginning to look more like  ‘PHANTOM ONLINE CLASSES FOR NO STUDENTS DURING THE COVID-19 LOCK DOWN’ which exists only in the ex FCT SEB boss’ active imagination.
The group observed that ,before leaving the radio program, Alhaji Mohammed stated that his Board approved the N1, 500 imposed levy. However, concerted efforts by ICRAD to obtain a copy of a resolution by the Board to this effect proved abortive.
Sources within the Board denies such a resolution ever exists since, according to them, it was never ever tabled, discussed or taken in any formal meeting of  the Board.
The group therefore challenged the Board to produce a copy of its resolution where the decision to approve this levy and award the consultancy contract was reached.

In conclusion, the group called on the Honourable Minister of FCT, Malam Bello Muhammad to beam his search light on the activities of the Alhaji Yahaya Musa Mohammed led FCT SEB with a view to unravelling the corruption and illegality involved in the unconscionable imposition of fees on secondary school students in FCT and the utter lack of accountability, probity and transparency in the management of the fund realized from the imposition.

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Education

Don urges teachers to learn, deploy AI tools in teaching

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

Professor Kehinde Victoria Fatokun, a Professor of Science Education, has called on teachers to adapt to changes, learn and deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in the teaching profession.

Prof. Fatokun made the call at the 18th Inaugural Lecture series of the Federal University Lokoja (FUL) as part of her advocacy for resourceful teaching and productive learning.

The Inaugural Lecture had the topic: “Transforming Chemistry Instructional Practices: Navigating through Resolving Learning Intricacies and Integration of Innovative Pedagogy.”

She said that the world was evolving as methods and procedures continue to change with innovations and technological breakthroughs adding that the teaching profession should also adopt new technologies including the Artificial intelligence tools.

The Professor of Science Education called for the development of intensive research and knowledge transfer culture, permeating all teaching and learning activities.

She said that the development of appropriate skills in students should be paramount and learning should be made appealing to them, in order to produce competent graduates.

Prof. Fatokun stressed that Educational research findings on current pedagogical issues should not be ‘kept in the shelf’ but be made available to the ‘implementer’ in an applicable manner for solving most of the instructional challenges they often encounter.

The former HoD, Department of Science Education, Anchor University, Lagos, tasked Curriculum developers and Authors to strive at tackling issues of “difficult concepts” during curriculum reviews with the application of novel approaches.

She suggested that emphasis should be placed on simplifying instruction to demystify misconceptions while there should be flexibility in adapting the curriculum content to the global trend.

“Published books should be clear, simple to understand and all ambiguity that create additional learning concerns should be removed”, she urged.

She however urged the FUL Management team to organize workshops for all teaching staff with the aim of familiarizing them with innovations in teaching especially the use of modern techniques and learning technologies for their pedagogical skill development.

She charged the Quality assurance directorate to ensure proper monitoring of academics through specific metrics to ensure quality teaching.

Prof. Fatokun charged students to be intentional about learning, not just cramming and passing examinations adding that conscious effort should be made henceforth to ensure understanding and retention to aid the application of the knowledge gained.

Speaking earlier, the
Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi noted that the Inaugural Lecture series of the University had become “a beacon of intellectual discourse and academic excellence, showcasing the groundbreaking research and innovative thinking of our academic Staff.”

He described the Lecture topic, “Transforming Chemistry Instructional Practices: Navigating through Resolving Learning Intricacies and Integration of Innovative Pedagogy,” as both timely and apt.

The Vice-Chancellor noted that in navigating the complexities of modern education, the need to evolve teaching methodologies that would better address the diverse learning needs of students had never been more pressing.

“In the rapidly changing landscape of higher education, the integration of innovative pedagogy is crucial for preparing our students to meet the demands of the future”, he said.

The Vice-Chancellor who declared the Lecturer as “Discharged and Acquitted” after the delivery, described the 18th Inaugural Lecture as much a celebration of Prof. Fatokun’s achievements as it is “a testament to her collective contributions.” (Ends)

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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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Education

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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