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EDUCATION

N683bn Grant: Your Directive To TETFund Will Not Stand, State Varsities Tackle Reps

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Nigeria's Minister of Education

The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-Owned Universities (COPSUN) has protested the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) decision to halt the implementation of the 2024 TETFund intervention in state universities.

The organisation therefore called on the House of Representatives Committee on TETFund to rescind the directive and allow for further consultations, if necessary.

The National Assembly halted the N683 billion TETFund intervention projects planned for 2024 and requested that all universities submit drawings, designs, specifications, procurement details, and other relevant documents to the committee.

But COPSUN in a statement by its Secretary Suleiman Abubakar Mahdi, on behalf of the chairman, expressed concern over the directive.

According to him, the action is not only an encroachment on the autonomy of the Universities but also an infringement on the doctrine of separation of powers, which, he said, could potentially lead to conflict among the different tiers and branches of government.

He said, “It should be noted that the Governing Councils of the various state-owned universities are, by law, empowered to award or approve the award of contracts after due procurement processes and are exercising this executive prerogative.
“Therefore, the directive, even if valid, should not apply to State-Owned Universities. Furthermore, time is of the essence in executing these contracts, and with the upward trend in the dollar exchange rate resulting in inflation, this could ultimately increase costs.”

 

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EDUCATION

Zulum Appeals To Tinubu To Shelve Merging Army University With NDA

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Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reconsider the decision to merge Army University, Biu, with the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna.

Tinubu had approved the implementation of the Oronsaye report, which was made public following Monday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. The report recommended, among other things, the merger of several government agencies and parastatals, including the Nigerian Army University, Biu, which will be merged with the NDA Kaduna.

Zulum while reacting to a question by journalists in Maiduguri on Thursday, said: “Let me begin by commending the Federal Government for this great initiative because this effort is geared towards reducing our spending; it is an excellent initiative. However, I want to appeal to the President on two things. One, on the merger of the Army University, Biu, with the Nigerian Defence Academy. Borno State has been facing a serious crisis for the last 15 years and as a result of this, many of our children could not have access to education. As a result, this university is critical to the residents of Borno State and the entire Northeast.

“I am appealing to Mr. President to look into this issue so that the Army University, Biu, will remain autonomous. If this cannot be possible, we still want to appeal to the President to allow the Federal Ministry of Education to take it over to become a conventional university.

“If possible, the Federal Government should allow it to function as an Army University, considering the importance of education in this part of the country. We are all aware that Boko Haram’s primary mission is to truncate western education. So, collapsing the Army University as a Faculty within the NDA is like helping the insurgents to achieve their objectives.”

“But in all fairness to the Federal Government, this decision is long overdue and timely, especially now that the government is working to reposition the economy and block leakages.

“That notwithstanding, we the people of Borno and the Northeast, are appealing to the Federal Government to reconsider the decision to merge the Army University with the NDA.”

“In Borno, we need education more than ever, and the Army University is vital in achieving that. If you look at Biu, for example, it produces many applicants seeking university admission,” Zulum added.

“I am requesting that Mr. President look into this matter so that the Army University in Biu can remain autonomous.

The Governor stated that, “I also want to comment on NCAM. I was in Ilorin a few months ago and visited NCAM. I have seen them fabricating a lot of agricultural machinery, which I think is very important now.

“When the Federal Government is looking to promote food security through sustainable agriculture, NCAM is the only government mechanisation outfit in Nigeria saddled with the responsibility of fabricating agricultural tools. ,

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EDUCATION

832 Boko Haram Orphans Graduate From Vocational Schools, Get N1.2bn In Kits, Grants

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The Borno State Enterprise Institute has graduated 832 artisans, the majority of whom have been orphaned as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency that has lasted more than ten years.
The event was presided over by the Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum on Tuesday at the Muna Vocational Enterprise Institute, along the Dikwa-Gamboru highway in Jere Local Government Area.
The trainees were chosen from Borno State’s 27 local government areas and trained in 14 different trades, with 54 graduates specialising in aluminium fabrication, 29 in bricklaying, 48 in carpentry, and 73 in information technology.
Others include 41 specialising in barbing, 46 in electrical work, 85 in leatherworks, 40 in plumbing, 72 in mechanics, 67 in solar technology, 148 in tailoring, 18 in tie and dye, 59 in welding and 53 in hairdressing.
In his address, Zulum said similar vocational institutes were established in Biu, Shani, Mafa and Magumeri. At the same time, revealing that plans are being made to revive vocational centres in Dikwa, Kaga, Ngala, Gajiram and Monguno.
The governor noted that the vocational institutes were established to address the challenges of youth unemployment and provide a means of livelihood to the people.
He stated, “One of my administration’s primary goals since taking office has been to empower young people. We were acutely
aware of the devastating impact of insurgency on our communities, leaving many without means of livelihood and leading to widespread unemployment, idleness, and despair. As
the saying goes, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
The governor added: “To address these challenges head-on, we established Vocational Enterprise Institutes, focusing on admitting vulnerable individuals, particularly those affected by the insurgency, to equip them with skills for sustainable livelihoods.”
Earlier in his address, the Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Engr Lawan Wakilbe said with funding allocated by Governor Zulum to the Technical and Vocational Enterprises, the output across all centres is targeted at over 4,000 artisans annually.
Meanwhile, the governor has approved the distribution of starter kits worth N847,277,297 to each of the 832 trained artisans in addition to another N349,440,000 one-year labour-intensive public work grant that will help them attain self-reliance.
Zulum also approved N41,600,000, with each 832 graduating artisans getting N50,000.
The governor equally approved automatic employment for the 64 best artisans who have achieved over 90%.
He said: “I understand from the remarks by the Hon. commissioner that 64 out of 832 have scored above 90% in both their specialised trades and the academic assessment. I, therefore, direct that all 64 of them be employed and deployed to other vocational institutes throughout the state.”

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EDUCATION

Igbinedion University To Begin Manufacturing Of Lightweight Electric Vehicles, Says VC Ezemonyen

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The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Igbinedion University, Okada, IUO, Edo State, has begun the design, fabrication, and eventual manufacture of lightweight electric vehicles.

Prof. Lawrence Ikechukwu Ezemonyen, Vice Chancellor of the University, announced this at the 25th matriculation ceremony of Nigeria’s Premier Private University, saying there will be periodic public lectures at various stages of the project.

Prof. Ezemonyen, who stated that students in the Mechanical Engineering department are expected to develop research projects at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, also announced that the National Universities Commission, NUC, has approved the University’s Distance Learning Programme.

According to him, Igbinedion University’s Distance Learning Programme began in earnest after being approved by the National Universities Commission, with B.Sc. Accounting.

“Other programmes that will soon be introduced under the second phase include B.Sc. Nursing Sciences, B.Sc. Computer Science, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPA), etc.

“The programme, established by the Centre for Distance Learning, aims to provide flexible and accessible learning opportunities to a broader range of students who may be unable to attend traditional on-campus classes.

“This initiative is consistent with Igbinedion University’s commitment to increasing educational access and providing quality learning experiences. This will allow people from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations to pursue their educational goals without the constraints of physical attendance.”

Speaking about “Future Ready Students,” Ezemonyen stated, “Recognising that the jobs and challenges of the future may be vastly different from those of today, Igbinedion University deliberately emphasises the importance of cultivating versatile, agile learners who can thrive in diverse environments and contribute positively to society in an ever-changing landscape.”

“As a result, we provide students with the knowledge, skills, and mindset required to thrive in a rapidly changing world and effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities of the future.

“Our students are prepared not only with academic knowledge, but also with critical thinking abilities, creativity, adaptability, problem-solving skills, digital literacy, communication skills, collaboration skills, cultural competency, and a strong sense of resilience.

“Masterclasses with industry facilitators are a regular feature of our curricula, and they are designed to expose students to life skills that go beyond theory by leveraging the industry-academia interface.

“Similarly, our Masters and PhD programmes are designed to have one academic and industry expert each-supervisors or to ensure that our products are well grounded in
Theory and practice of their professions.”

The VC also discussed the significance of matriculation, stating that the matriculation ceremony is a significant and symbolic event in the life of every university, representing not only the formal induction of new students into the academic community but also the start of a transformative journey.

“Today, as we witness the university and its newest members joining hands, we are filled with hope, excitement, and anticipation for the great things that will undoubtedly unfold in the coming years.

“Our new students are not just entering a university; they are joining a vibrant and diverse community that values knowledge, inquiry, and discovery.

“Our university is a place where ideas are generated, challenged, and refined. It is a place where you can learn not only from textbooks, but also from the diverse experiences, cultures, and perspectives that surround you.

“As you embark on this academic journey, keep in mind that education is about more than just memorising facts and figures; it is about developing critical thinking skills, encouraging creativity, and cultivating a lifelong love of learning.

“Indeed, education is the foundation upon which we build our future, and this is consistent with an ancient Chinese proverb that states that “learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

“Our faculty and staff are available to guide and support you. They are committed to giving you an enriching educational experience that goes beyond the academic curriculum. Take advantage of the resources available, participate in discussions, and seize every opportunity that arises.

“I thank the parents and guardians for entrusting us with the education of their children. We recognise the importance of this responsibility and are dedicated to creating an environment that promotes academic excellence, character development, and overall growth.

“Let me also express the congratulations of the Founder and Honourable Chancellor of our great university, Sir, Chief Sir Dr Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, CFR, Esama of Benin Kingdom, on this historic occasion.

“A renowned trailblazer, the Honourable Chancellor’s contributions to the development of Nigeria’s educational landscape cannot be overstated. We take advantage of this opportunity to recognise his visionary leadership in creating a nurturing environment for the development of future global leaders.

“As we begin the new academic year, let us all strive to create an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity, celebrates diversity, and values mutual respect. “Let us work together to build a community that is not only academically competent but also socially responsible and globally aware,” he declared.

Earlier, the University’s Chancellor, Chief (Dr) Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, represented by the Deputy Chancellor, Chief Dr. Lucky Igbinedion, former governor of Edo State, urged the students to stay focused on their studies, describing the University as a place of excellence where they would be exposed to all the good things in life.

The matriculation lecture, titled “Innovation and Creativity in a Digital World: Future Ready Tool Kit” was delivered by Mr Darlington Onyeagoro, the guest speaker.

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