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5 Ways Technology Can Ease the Stress of the ‘Back to School’ Rush

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Back to School

Detty December is over and students, teachers and parents alike are all trying to get through the mad rush of Back to School and get back into the swing of things.

Parents, who are just settling back to work after the restful holiday, face multiple tasks such as beating morning traffic to get their children to school on time, making sure that daily school supplies are lined up and ready to use, while also taking time out of their busy schedules to help their children with homework, among other things.

For parents trying to ease their Back to School stress, here are five ways that technology can help:

Set reminders with Assistant: Setting reminders is a smart way to remember all the things that are important for school- from lunches to school events. You can easily create reminders with the help of Google Assistant. Using your mobile device or phone, simply say, “Hey Google, set a reminder”, or “Hey Google, remind me to dry clean my children’s uniform at noon tomorrow.” Google Assistant will go on to set a reminder and send you a notification when it is close to the time.

Beat the traffic with Maps: You can get real-time information about traffic jams and delays using Google Maps, helping to plan better routes for school runs. Parents preparing to take their children to school every morning can make use of Google Maps to check for alternative routes and the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) to ensure they get to school before the bell rings.

Complete homework with Search: Not all parents are subject matter experts but they do often have to play the role of designated tutor, or help out with homework. In some cases, parents have forgotten how to solve simple math problems or they may not have the answers to some basic science questions. A quick search on Google can help find solutions to difficult questions. Parents should, however, allow their children to generate the answers to their homework questions before searching Google for the answer.

Watch video tutorials on YouTube: YouTube is great for watching explanatory videos that are fun, informative and educational. For example, parents can watch videos that reveal how to solve a quadratic equation and brush up their knowledge to help their children with their homework. There are also a variety of educational videos for children that can help parents tutor children who wish to learn more beyond their school work.

Keep kids safe with Family Link: Children today spend more time online than ever before. As such, it is important to help them develop healthy online habits and make sure they are protected from ills such as online predators and cyberbullies. Family Link allows parents to set digital rules to help guide their children as they learn and explore online. The app helps children make good decisions about what they do on their devices and even shows teacher-recommended apps that can be added to their devices.

It can be overwhelming for parents to balance their own professional endeavours with the demands of their children’s rigorous education but technology can sometimes help to lighten the load.

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Education

Oyo Government Absorbs 2,000 Teachers

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teachers in Oyo

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

About 2,000 primary school teachers initially seconded to the post-primary Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) of Oyo State during the administration of late Abiola Ajimobi have now been absorbed by Governor Seyi Makinde.

The chairman of TESCOM, Mr Akinade Alamu, during the celebration of 2022 World Teachers’ Day in Ibadan on Wednesday, also stated that the state government has approved the promotion of civil servants in the state.

Recall that teachers, who teach in secondary schools across the state, had appealed to the Oyo State Government to either regularise their appointments as TESCOM teachers or revert their appointment as primary school teachers under the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (Oyo SUBEB).

At the event today, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Rahman Abiodun Abdu-Raheem, appealed to teachers to embrace the state government’s efforts in improving the education sector.

“It is pertinent to re-emphasise that the machinery of the state has the determination to transform the education sector,” he said.

Mr Abdu-Raheem said the state government unprecedentedly appointed 21 Permanent Secretaries/Inspectors General of Education and Permanent Secretaries/Tutors General to enhance effective monitoring of schools and service delivery.

He said Governor Makinde has put in place many activities to achieve his lofty ideas for the sector.

Also speaking, the Executive Chairman of Oyo SUBEB, Mr Nureni Aderemi Adeniran, said the board would continue to work for the welfare of teachers in the state.

“To whom much is given, much is expected; therefore, I appeal to you to key into the Government’s resolve to bring back the lost glory of the State in education by making sure our children excel both in internal and external examinations,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Oyo State Council, has honoured nine persons from the state. The Chairman of the union, Mr Raji Oladimeji, commended the state government’s various welfare packages, saying they have encouraged teachers to remodel the society and train students in the state.

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Education

ASUU Strike: Gbajabiamila Presents Recommendations to Buhari

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ASUU Suspends Strike

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

As part of efforts to resolve the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has met with President Muhammadu Buhari to present to him the recommendations from the meeting he had with stakeholders in the past few days.

Mr Gbajabiamila held meetings with the leadership of ASUU and top officials of the federal government, including the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Chris Ngige, who walked out of the gathering over comments by the ASUU president, Mr Emmanuel Osodeke, that Nigerians should not vote for those who kept their children at home for months.

Immediately after the plenary on Tuesday, the Speaker led a delegation of principal officers from the green chamber of the National Assembly to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Addressing newsmen after his meeting with Mr Buhari, the Speaker said, “After a series of engagements with ASUU and with people on the executive side, we’ve been able to come to some kind of decisions and recommendations to be made to Mr President for his approval.”

“As you know, what is on the front burner today, even beyond the politics, is that our universities, our lecturers, and our children are out of school.

“The House of Representatives decided to step in at that point four weeks ago, and we’ve had a series of meetings that lasted hours and we’ve been able to get both sides to shift ground to an extent, and that’s what we came to discuss with Mr President about those recommendations,” he added.

Mr Gbajabiamila also said he was hopeful that the crisis might soon be resolved as the delegation had a robust engagement with the President.

“Mr President, as usual, had a very good listening ear, he took the report of the House, accepted it. We discussed the details of the report at length, and he wanted to go through them himself.

“We have another meeting on Thursday between our good selves and Mr President for his final decision. We had a good engagement, with a very positive response.

“He asked us a couple of questions, in some grey areas which we clarified, and he accepted the reports, and he wanted a couple of days to go through it.

“We are working. We are hopeful that this (strike) will soon be a thing of the past. I know once this is agreed upon, the strike will be called off,” he said.

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Education

Education Sector and Nigeria’s Revolving Underdevelopment Doors

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Increase Funding to Education

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi

One recent occurrence that typifies the nation’s education sector as an area in urgent need of help is the current shoddy state of Ologbo Primary and Secondary Schools, Ologbo, Obarentin community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, formerly called Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria Primary and Secondary School, Ologbo.

In addition to signalling the gory tale of poor leadership, neglect and outright abandonment of responsibility by the Edo State government, the pictures and accompanying commentaries diverted attention from real threat deserving of healthy and appropriate fear, the federal government’s protracted inability to resolve their impasse with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It is more than anything else the ugly awareness at the school sowed confusion that portrays the Edo state as a state where leadership has drained people’s will and is now left with weakened rational character.

Expectedly also, many have risen in staunch defence of the Governor; saying that blame in the present circumstance may not be the smart thing to do; for when the verdict is passed on someone, it blocks the possibility of knowing who the person is and definitely creates biases, sentiments, prejudice, and also makes the mind become impervious and closed towards either seeing the good sides of the person or the bad sides of the person.

To others, the Governor should in the interim be excused because when it comes to making decisions or pursuing purposeful initiatives, leaders naturally fall victim to the trap of unexpected limitations such as inadequate funds among others.

To the rest, achieving sustainable development in a sector such as education is a systemic thing that takes time. Therefore, the Governor needs to be allowed more time to perform before subjecting his performance to critical scrutiny.

Whatever the true position may be, the truth is this piece’s latest condemnation of Governor Obaseki’s poor leadership habit is both natural, neutral and perceptual.

The reason is simple. Experience via observation has shown that in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta region, leaders are never mentally prepared for the task of leadership. They seem to forget that the more preparation, planning and activation of the execution process they make, the better they perform in the task of leadership.

Supporting the above assertion is the awareness that when one spends time thinking about how we approach leadership in Nigeria and asks important questions about how leaders in Nigeria set their priorities, time and funds, it becomes easy to situate the fact that the hallmark of poor performance in Nigeria is not Obaseki specific.

Take, as an illustration, a while ago, in a particular intervention, this author highlighted pictures of a similar shoddy state and wicked neglect of Oyoko Primary School, Abavo, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta state.

Like the Ologbo Primary and secondary schools situation, the referenced piece underlined disturbing pictures which showed visibly distressed structures with fallen ceilings, windows and doors. The piece concluded by concluding that from the pictures and accompanying commentaries, it cannot be characterized as an overstatement to describe such a ‘scene’ as deplorable, dehumanizing, troubling, in bad light bracingly in contravention of the international best standards and most importantly, a reality that all well-meaning Deltans including our dear Governor should worry about.

Broadly speaking, there are so many reasons why this author is particularly interested in bringing to the fore these poor courses of action/ inaction chosen ahead of logic by the public authority to address the nation’s education sector; their definition of the problem, the goals to be achieved, or the means chose to address the problems and to achieve the goals.

By analysing each of these elements, in turn, it becomes easy to understand the essential ingredients that made great nations what they are today, as well as answer questions as to why others, such as Nigeria, are unsuccessful.

To explain this point, it is believed that policies, plans and strategies are fundamental to the progress and development of countries, yet, right from independence, the problem with education in the country very much lies with underfunding, payment of lip service to, and inconsistency in policies driven by several panels set up by the government to recommend measures to enhance the quality of education in the country.  This problem is not so much with the recommendations of the various panels but their poor implementation by those entrusted to do so.

If not bad policy and poor implementation, how do we explain governments’ inability to heed the United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) budgetary recommendation on education? What other expression shall we say of a country’s education where researches are not adequately funded and yet, the President allowed hundreds of millions to go into replacing his plates and cutlery yearly? And what shall we expect from an educational ministry headed by someone who is not an educationist? This may however not be the only explanation.

As to what should be done, we must recognize two realities.

First and very fundamental, that is like in a business where no organization can grow consistently faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement such growth. likewise, we must admit that with the education sector’s present state, it will be difficult if not impossible to develop disruptive or constructive concepts that can shatter set patterns of thinking and provide solutions to the nagging challenges in the country until policymakers consider education as the bedrock of development; that with sound educational institutions, a country is as good as made -as the institutions will turn out all rounded manpower to continue with the development of a hyper-modern society driven by well thought out ideas, policies, programmes and projects. But such a tendency is clearly different here.

Secondly, policymakers must admit the fact that our children enjoy the right to education as recognized by a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognizes a compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, as well as the progressive introduction of free higher education/obligation to develop equitable access to higher education.

The nation must stop playing ‘casino’ with funding of the sector, and in its place, come to the realization that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our schools work and our children are properly educated at the right time and place.

As to closing the nation’s revolving underdevelopment door, there is an urgent need to rework the university system to meet the manpower demand by the industrial sector as a strategic consequence of this failure has made Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions in the country continue to turn out, every year several thousands of graduates that the industry does not need. This is made worse by the fact that there is a nation where uncalculated importance is attached to the possession of university degrees as against the possession of skills necessary for self-reliance and national development.

Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), a Lagos-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). He can be reached via Jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374

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