Education, News

Tinubu Tasks Govt. On Education

Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, on Tuesday urged government at all levels to give priority to the funding of the education sector.

Tinubu stated this at the University of Ibadan while delivering a lecture entitled: “ Education and National Development in Nigeria: Imperative for Proper Funding.’’

She also called on education administrators to outline priorities and put an end to the culture of waste in the country.

’’I was saddened to witness during oversight function the fact that tertiary institutions do not commit much of their budget to research.

“The culture of waste in our academic budget should become a thing of the past.

”As individuals, corporate bodies or organisations, we can donate a book, provide scholarship, stimulate interest in research and reach out in kind or cash,” she said.

She said Nigeria must strive to meet the minimum standard of 26 per cent of the national budget advocated by UNESCO toward achieving quality education.

Earlier, the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Prof. Olusegun Kolawole, said the lecture was organised to mark the 50th anniversary of the faculty.

He said the faculty, which was established in 1962, was saddled with the objective of producing highly qualified personnel for all levels of education in the country.

Kolawole lamented the decay in infrastructure, inadequate funds, overcrowded lecture rooms as well as inadequate office space for lecturers.

He said that the faculty could not possibly perform better than the level of funding available to the larger university.


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Education, News

Jonathan Reiterates FG’s Commitment To Providing Quality Education

Lagos, Jan. 19, 2013 (NAN) President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday in Lagos reiterated his administration’s commitment to moving Nigeria forward through qualitative education at all levels.

Jonathan gave the assurance at the second convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

The president was represented by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayyatu Rufa’i,

He noted that education played a critical role in any country’s economy, saying that the Federal Government would give priority attention to the education sector, if I must realise its transformation agenda.

“We shall put in more efforts in supporting the tertiary institutions for them to be able to attain their mandate.

“As you are aware, government has approved the establishment of three more universities which will further serve as a means of creating an environment conducive for realising national transformation.

“Efforts are also being made to improve the quality of teachers in our schools in order to give birth to quality products who would drive our economy,” he said.

The president said that the Federal Government would step up efforts in encourage the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode, to facilitate Nigeria’s realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in education.

He congratulated NOUN’s graduands and charged them to be good ambassadors of the institution, adding that Nigeria would rely on them to proffer solutions to its many challenges.

“Our doors are always open for suggestions on how to move the country to the next level,’’ he said.

Speaking in her capacity as the Minister of Education, Rufa’i said that henceforth, universities must ensure that graduands’ certificates were ready before convocation.

“We will no longer graduate students without issuance of certificates on the day of graduation.

“It is worrisome to see our young men and women roaming the streets in search of jobs without their certificates,” the minister said.

She congratulated NOUN management for issuing certificates to the graduating students at the convocation arena.

Earlier, the NOUN Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Vincent Tenebe, appealed to the Federal Government to increase the institution’s budgetary allocations, to enable it to tackle its challenges effectively.

Tenebe said that it was in recognition of NOUNs’ contributions to the development of tertiary education, particularly in ODL, that Nigeria’s bid was accepted to host the Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF7) in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

Tenebe said that the forum would hold in December 2013.

Tenebe urged the graduating students to contribute their best to national development.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a total of 7,220 students were conferred with degrees in various fields at the ceremony.

A total of 3,601 graduands received postgraduate awards.

NAN also reports that no first class was recorded.

NOUN did not specify the number that graduated in the various classes.

one of the highpoints of the event was the award of a posthumous `Honorary Causa’ to the late Minister of Education, Prof. Babs Fafunwa.


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Education, Kaduna, News

Making KadPoly A Varsity’ll Be Beneficial To Nigeria — Rector

The Rector, Kaduna Polytechnic, Dr. Muhammed Bello Ibrahim, in this interview with ISAIAH BENJAMIN, speaks about the challenge of running the institution, his relationship with the unions and his programme for internal revenue generation. He contends that turning the instituion to a university will bode well for technical education in the country. 

How has the journey so far been as the rector of Kaduna Polytechnic?

I would not say tough. But it is really quite a challenging journey. Here, you have an institution that came through crisis. We all know what happened to Kaduna Polytechnic over the years, specifically the crisis it went through, and for nine months the institution was closed down – no academic activities. The union and every sector of the institution was practically affected, in between, we had acting capacities. There were two instances and I just came in to actually serve. Within that period of crisis, the management was dissolved also the council.  There was a white paper recommendation and things like that. So when we came in, actually, the last regime managed to stabilize the institution. But we came in to inherit a great deal of challenges especially expectations from staff as well. Ever since we came in, our idea was that of maintaining peace and order and actually building on what we met so that the institution is fully stabilized. We specifically went into confidence building mechanisms that will actually bring about peace, harmony and understanding among the staff and equally also those measures that will actually reinforce assurance to staff that they have the people who can oversee the affairs of the institution justly and fairly too in all our activities.  I think, so far, if you take time and interact with staff, I think we are actually making substantial head way. It may not necessarily be that it has not been easy, because the stress in is there. You have to work from morning. You have to stay till evening and at times late at night with meetings all the time. That’s the challenges. But apart from those challenges is essentially that of meeting up with the demands of our unions.


One of the challenges that paralyzed the academic activities in the institution for three months was the allegation of financial misappropriation against the then management  by ASUP. You promised, when you came on board, to use all powers available to you to block all financial leakages; to what extent have you achieved this aspiration?

Very well, I think,. I can say with confidence that, so far, we have blocked substantially, all ways by which all monies are even lost or being siphoned away. We are looking for other ways, including the use of ICT and sophisticated technologies that we can muster within our powers and it is very important to do that, considering the meager resources that the institution receives and the large number in terms of population of both of staff and students. As you may know, the institution is the largest in West Africa, south of the Sahara; your guess is as good as mine that you need a lot of money to run an institution like that. So the little you get, certainly you have to jealously guard it. Our major revenue is essentially is from what we get from student registration, consultancy services and other affiliations we do. So we focus on all these and it has paid so far.  We are not recording losses because we know what we are expecting.  We compute these things and go on with mental arithmetic; on daily and weekly basis, we compile all financial and audit reports on what we have, every now and then. We don’t leave things to chances. What we want is to have a system.  It is when you have a system that is self accounting, and then automatically, the people that will man the system will equally be watched so that there are no rooms for any leakages.


What is your working relationship with the unions, particularly with ASUP, NASUP and SSANIP?

I am a unionist myself. We were the first group that introduced the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP). I was first executive from Kaduna Polytechnic. So I know the demands of the staff. Over the years that has gradually resulted in crippling the institution. It is a very painful thing. Nobody is happy to see where he is working crippled to standstill. But thank God we came out of it. We have actually substantially been engaging them. The first we did was to engage all the unions the academic ASUP, SSANIP and the NASUP.  We are constantly engaging and going into dialogue and discussion with them – in the office, at home, elsewhere when we meet. Any opportunity, we get, we discuss issues with them. As far as I am concerned, there is no barrier. If you were here yesterday, you would have seen us, almost three hours when we were together with NASUP. We were discussing areas the institution could assist them; the same thing with SSANIP. What I always tell them is that, fundamentally; we need to have the institution first before we have the union. We need to have a Kaduna Polytechnic first, before we can have the NASUP, ASUP, and SSANIP.  So first and foremost, our target is to make sure that the institution is there; not only that we have a Kaduna Polytechnic, but to serve as leadership to other polytechnics in the country. Our target is actually to make sure that we come out of the crisis. And we provide the leadership. So as far as relationship with union is concerned, it is excellent. There were some outstanding allowances. The first thing, I looked at a critical period, so before Sallah, we targeted to pay them.  In fact, they did not believe that it will be possible to pay them. We did it.  We put all resources together and made sure that allowances for the evening classes, particularly which was ASUP, were paid and that was the money most of them used to buy their sallah rams and other things for sallah preparations.  At the same time, before the Christmas and New Year, we packaged other allowances. That has actually made the union completely come to terms with the management on grounds of good relationships. They know actually we mean what we say and we follow it with action and the action is carried out within the stipulated time we give to ourselves.  I can assure you that all the unions are happy. Now we want to focus our attention to development of infrastructure in the institution and targeting our attention to making life conducive to our students who are our valued customers. You know without the students, there is no institution. We equally take them very seriously. We try to see that all their problems, and  complaints are equally attended to as much as possible and within the confines of our limited resources.


You also gave the assurance that you will pursue vigorously the conversion of Kaduna Polytechnic to a university; to what extent have you gone about the conversion?

The conversion issue is a federal government decision actually. Ours is actually to put pressure and the pressure may not necessarily be in the open.  Everything is in shape. I think that was actually the first comment by the minister. Now that it is the substantive institution to the extent of having a rector, hopefully the conversion issue will eventually pick up and we will make effort to actually put pressure directly or indirectly to the people that matter in the issue.  The conversion is a good process. You know the institution has come a long way in terms of history.  I think it is older than second generation universities.  In actual fact, it falls in line with first generation universities. In terms of size, facility and infrastructure, very few universities in actual fact can compete with what is on ground in Kaduna Polytechnic. You have a population of staff of about 2,600, very young and energetic. We have a total of PhD holders numbering about 270 or there about of those either finishing or already on ground.  I can assure you; this is a figure that not every university can boast of.  Most importantly too is the history and unique nature of the institution,  its position vis-à-vis technical education in Nigeria,  I can assure you, it has everything it takes. If given the opportunity, Kaduna Poly will take this country to greater height in terms of technical innovation and sophistication.  It is something that if the federal government sticks to it and allow its realization will bring tremendous development to the institution and to the country in general considering the history, size and opportunity abound within the institution.


Recently, you were quoted to have lamented the flight of PhD holders of lecturers from the institution; if this conversion to university becomes a reality, how do you think this will affect the institution?    

Positively, if it becomes a reality and it is converted to a university.  It means those running away to other polytechnics, not that they are going to other polytechnics, in most cases they rush to universities – because it is only logical that when you get a PhD the next thing is for you to attempt for is the desire to become a professor.  I told you, there are young people with energy in them. You don’t expect them to stand by watch their own mates move to the very peak.  It is expected that by the time we get the conversion, it means therefore we will be in position on our own actually, because I guess there are many around who would have been professors if it were to be a university, because what it takes actually is to carry out effective supervision of projects then convert those items for promotion. It is not that you have to go back to classroom where you supervise and it is adjudged that you have made the minimum requirement for becoming a professor. This is history where actually, given the upper hand of the university over the years, one  would have been a professor or associate professor. It is just that it does not exist within the polytechnic system and that explains why as soon as people get PhD they rush out to universities.  It is not good because here also we need them to supervise quality research that will actually be used for developmental purposes for industries to patronize our research works. The conversion could translate into positive benefit to the institution.  It means we want to retain them.  I told you we have over 50 of them over a year.  If that is the case, we have about 250 or more and some training abroad.  If we can retain these ones and others, then I can assure you, in not too distant future, we will be able to compete with any university around, especially with our plans on ICT and stuff like that.


What measures are you putting in place to ensure the security of the students, staff as well as infrastructure of the institution?

That is the area I don’t play with.  Having stayed for 10 years in Niger Delta, I know what security means;  I know what protection of lives and property is.  The first thing we did on my coming into office is that we re-invigorated all machinery in respect of security. We meet constantly. We have what we call rapid response committee that actually deals with any emergency situation that could be of security threat.  Only this (that) morning I called a meeting of all the security heads and we discussed how to continue to secure our boundaries and fences in making sure that our own students and staff are not unduly taken advantage of by hooligans or by anybody for that matter.  So what I demand everyday is that the acting chief security officer should present a situation report of security around our campus, so that I go through it every morning; in fact that is the first tea or coffee that I take. Until when I realize that everything is calm, then I attend to other mails of the day, otherwise I make it a duty to know what is happening before I start any day’s work.  We have a security consultant – a retired colonel, and he has a lot of experience in intelligence gathering and we have the SSS on ground which gives us security reviews. Everyday we communicate with them. We try equally to secure the environment of the institution to make sure our property is equally protected.


Any plans to improve welfare packages for the staff?

Yes.  You know everything borders on generation of internally generated Revenue (IGR). If I have my way, I would have introduced a salary like it is obtainable in the oil industry.  My target actually is to see an institution with a robust revenue base.  I even want a situation whereby we shouldn’t be waiting for government to pay us salary. From our own consultancy works, the industry that we intend to actually set up.  We actually intend to set up a situation in which we should be able to take care of our problems.  When we came into office, our table water was selling at N30,000 per week, now it is about N170,000 per week. Our bread was making about N3,000, now it is about N17,000.  We have other outfits like block industry which we intend to re-engineer to make sure that major construction work are actually carried out properly.  They come to buy our blocks.  We intend to establish skill acquisition centre where we intend to train our youth in partnership with government, and in such manner we help to generate revenue for the institution and help in addressing institution’s problems in Kaduna town and the state in particular and the north in general.  Our target actually is tomake billions in terms of IGR so that we should be able to compete with some of the state governments in terms of revenue generation. When we do that, we should be able to get special packages for out staffers. We have the capability to establishing automobile mechanic village, industrial park, where you can repair machines, vehicles, just like the Mandilas and other private companies. We intend to go into private practice seriously and ownership of companies.


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Education, News, Niger

Niger Spends N80m To Train 10 Pilots

The Niger Government has spent N80 million on training 10 pilots at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology’s facilities at the Minna Airport, the state’s Commissioner for Transportation, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammad, said on Sunday.

Mohammad made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.

“The trainee pilots had completed their ground training preparatory to their flying training.

“We are spending N8 million each for the training of each pilot, who had concluded their ground training, using the stimulators in Minna and the training facilities in Zaria.

“The trainee pilots have been joined by three students from Benue, one each from Kaduna and Kano, bringing the total number of trainee pilots at the NCAT Minna Annex to 15 trainee pilots,“ Mohammad said.

According to him, the college is expected to deploy four of its aircraft for the training of the pilots, who had to earn a credit of 15 hours flying with instructors and another 15 hours earned credit of solo flying to complete the first phase of their training.

 He said the college would give the successful students the Private Pilot License (PPL) but added that the students needed to attain 35 hours of credit earned flying before being given the Commerce Pilot License(CPL).

Mohammad said the college’s location in Minna would not affect the quality of instructions given to the trainee pilots.

“It is 18 months rigorous training, anyone that did not earn the required credit flying hours will be dropped or asked to repeat.

He said the State Government was committed to the training of pilots at the Minna annex and that it would be sponsoring another set of students in line with its vision of becoming the third most developed state by year 2020.

He said that NCAT had been allocated a large parcel of land for the construction of its annex in Minna.

The commissioner explained that the land was allocated to the college so as to enable the indigenes to have the opportunity of receiving training as pilots.


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Education, News

NTI Spends N11.5 Bn On Teacher Training, Says DG

The National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) on Thursday in Kaduna said it had spent N11.5 billion on the training of 425,000 teachers in the last four years.

The Director General of the institute, Dr Ladan Sharehu said this at a press briefing ahead of the flag-off of the Annual Nationwide Capacity Workshop for Teachers.

Sharehu said the programme, financed by the MDGs, was for the training of primary and Junior Secondary School teachers in the four co-subjects of English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports Sharehu as saying that N3.5 billion was spent in 2009 to train 120,000 teachers, N4 billion in 2010 to train 140,000 teachers and N2 billion used in 2011 on the training of 125, 000.

He said the current programme would involve 40,000 teachers spread across 109 centres in the country.

According to him, N1.9 billion will be spent on the procurement of training manuals, logistics and allowances for participants.

“ For this year the training of 40,000 teachers is going on in 109 centres in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT and will cover Junior Secondary Schools (JSS).“

Sharehu said the NTI had introduced new courses on special educational needs for persons with disabilities and  HIV/AIDs awareness.

“The introduction of these components was meant to ensure all-inclusiveness in our educational system as well as to educate the Nigerian citizens through teacher training about the dangers of HIV/AIDS pandemic.

“ The Institute intends to continue to explore other areas that will assist the Nigerian teachers to discharge their duties diligently.”

The Director General assured that all unsettled training allowances for teachers in 2011 would be paid in 2013 “ as soon as the appropriation is approved”.

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