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Covid-19: Tertiary institutions will be opened “very soon” – FG

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Nigerian tertiary institutions may soon be opening their gates for resumption, the Federal government has revealed.

Recall that the educational sector was shut down in March in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The Minister for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, disclosed this during a programme aired on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Saturday.

said the federal government is also working to end the ongoing strike embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“Tertiary institutions across the country will open very soon,” he said.

“Private universities have written to us, requesting that they are allowed to reopen ahead of public institutions. Vice-chancellors have also requested that we allow them to reopen for their students in exit classes.

“We have also a lot of calls from bodies who want us to resolve the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities before reopening because some public schools which are not ASUU-prone want to take the advantage of the strike to move ahead, but that would destroy our public schools. So, we are working on all these calls.”

The minister added that the National Universities Commission (NUC) will carry out an appraisal of the state of tertiary institutions ahead of the reopening.

“We are waiting for the same from other tertiary institutions bodies so I can situate them and present to the PTF on COVID-19,” he said.

“I can’t give the NUC a deadline on this because our job at the ministry is to wait for their inputs. This is not a political decision alone.

“If you open the university system, you have opened the country.”

Nwajiuba appealed to ASUU to call off their strike because their grievances “have more or less been resolved.”

Nigeria has reported 51,905 COVID-19 cases, 38,767 recoveries and 997 fatalities as of August 22, 2020.

Education

Chibok students write WAEC exams for first time in six years amidst tight security

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For the first time in six years, students in Chibok local government area of Borno State are taking part in this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Chibok became popular in April, 2014 following the abduction of over 200 school girls from the Government Girls Secondary School by the terrorist group, Biko Haram

Due to this abduction and subsequent attacks by the insurgents; the Federal Government announced complete closure of other schools in the region in order to protect the students from further Boko Haram attacks.

This recent development was contained in a statement issued by the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC); 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Gen. Abdul-Khalifa Ibrahim, during a press briefing.

Ibrahim further confirmed that the school where the girls were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists, had been converted to a mixed school.

He said: “It will be gladdening to note that for the first time in the past six years; WAEC successfully held WASSCE in Chibok with the military providing security.

“We are all witnesses to what happened in the recent past like the abduction of the Chibok girls; the slaughtering of students at Buni Yadi, and abduction of students at Dapchi. These happened in the past and we have turned around that narrative.

“Let me equally say that the Chief of Army Staff has been making deliberate efforts through the education corps to post teachers to all schools in the North-East states.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International on Friday, September 11; urged Nigeria to release the findings of a report on rights abuses by security forces; three years after the government ordered the probe.
The campaigning group has accused security forces of hundreds of extra-judicial killings; rape; torture; as well as enforced disappearances claims the military has always denied.

A presidential panel was set up in 2017 and investigators submitted a report a year later; but it was never released to the public; a decision that Amnesty International described as “a gross display of contempt for victims”.

“Victims and the larger public in Nigeria deserve to see and scrutinise the findings,” said Osai Ojigho; Nigeria director of Amnesty in a statement.

“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfil the promise he made in 2015 to end impunity by immediately releasing the report,” he added.

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Covid19: ASUU blocks chances of schools reopening; says FG must adhere to its set guidelines

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan Chapter, has cautioned against the reopening of schools without provisions for schools to meet COVID-19 precautionary guidelines.

This was contained in a statement by its chairman, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Sunday.

Akinwole warned against the negative effects of the pandemic on the students, lecturers and other workers if the there is not enough plans for safety precautions in the schools, saying that no financial gains is worth more than the lives of people.

Akinwole noted that before COVID-19 pandemic, public varsities were overcrowded with students and hostel facilities took more than its capacity.

The ASUU Chairman then warned parents not to jubilate at the news of a possible reopening of schools.

However, they should ask the government to put measures in place so as not to have a surge in COVID-19 that might happen as a result of ill-thought out reopening, he said.

“What we are simply saying is that the Federal Government should adhere to their own set guidelines.

“Our position, as a responsible union in all these is that; throwing schools open in the midst of all these, is an open invitation to the tragic explosion of the COVID-19 scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak.”

He said that the union was aware that there had been agitations from some quarters for the government to reopen schools.

The renowned academic said that those leading the campaign are the proprietors of private universities.
He said, “ASUU is not in any way opposed to this call.

“However, Nigerians should honestly interrogate this position. Has the Nigerian government met the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) criteria on COVID – 19 protocols in our institutions?

“COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. It is in recognition of this fact that the government itself has rolled out certain conditions; to be met before schools are reopened.”

The ASUU chairman asked, “How many of our public institutions can confidently vouch for the safety of our children; given the available facilities such as: provision of running water for hand washing; social distancing among students?”

He listed others to include: the use of recommended face masks and shields; which are key components of NCDC protocols.

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Unlicensed Teachers: Federal Govt Gives Marching Order To TRCN

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The Federal Government is set to begin enforcement and monitoring of compliance with her directive that only qualified and professionals licensed by Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) teach in both public and private schools nationwide.

The Registrar TRCN, Professor Segun Ajiboye who stated this in Ibadan while speaking with newsmen added that the first phase of the compliance monitoring and documentation will take place nationwide between March 9 and 17.

According to Ajiboye, the task force has been activated to beam search light into the credentials of those teaching in government and private schools for appropriate commendation or sanction as the case may be.

The National Council on Education declared December 31, 2019 as the last day for unlicensed teachers to be registered with TRCN or get booted out of the classroom.

Ajiboye who maintained that no serious nation allows her future leaders to be misguided by quacks stated that the Buhari led administration has a dream to ensure professional teachers are given neccessary tools to excel.

In a related development, Ajiboye says TRCN takes exception to States recruiting teachers and treating her license as “added advantage” saying that TRCN certification is a must criterion of employment.

” TRCN Commences Compliance Monitoring across the country. As the December 31, 2019 deadline given by the National Council on Education for anybody who wants to practise as a teacher in the country to get qualified, registered and licensed by TRCN has passed, the regulatory authority is embarking on verification of compliance in all the States of the Federation and FCT. The exercise is however put on hold in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States due to the challenges there. The TRCN team in each State will be led by a Professor of Education or a Provost of a College of Education. The first leg of the exercise will start on the 9th of March and end on the 17th. However this exercise will be a continuous one as TRCN has created a Compliance & Enforcement Unit at its head office for routine monitoring. Prior to the commencement of the monitoring, a technical team was set up by TRCN and a meeting was held with all the State Coordinators where issues of logistics were discussed and harmonised. TRCN takes exception to some States making TRCN Certificate optional in their recruitment of teachers. This practice must stop because it is mandatory for anyone who wants to profit from the job of a teacher to be registered with the regulatory authority. It is therefore considered absurd for any State to say ‘TRCN Certificate will be an added advantage’. Whereas that is supposed to be the number one criterion. This is the global best practice. There is no serious Nation that allow just anybody into its classrooms to teach their children. There must be evidence of professional certification to practice as a teacher.

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