By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Some Nigerian children will be engaged in interactive reading sessions this week by employees of Airtel Nigeria as part of activities to mark World Book Day.
This is to encourage pupils and students to embrace the reading culture, which is almost dead in Nigeria. The Airtel employees will also donate thousands of reading books to children across its adopted primary schools in Nigeria through the award-winning Employee Volunteer Scheme (Airtel EVS).
This will kick off on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at the Oremeji Primary School, Ajegunle, Lagos, and Yahaya Hamza Primary School, Zaria Kaduna while the train will move to the Iyeru-Okin primary school, Offa, Kwara state and Presbyterian Primary School, Cross River State on April 17.
The final leg of the programme will hold at St John’s Primary School, Ogun State and Community Primary School, Amumara, Imo State on April 28.
Airtel Nigeria’s Adopt-a-School programme is targeted at rehabilitating the physical structure of underserved, rural schools while providing educational resources for the children and capacity building support for teachers on an ongoing basis.
“Knowledge is power, and books are full of it. We want children, no matter their family background or economic status, to have their imagination stimulated and to expand their understanding of the world.
“Indeed, Airtel hopes to inspire and uplift as many children as we can – even underprivileged ones – so that they can strive for a better future and contribute to nation-building.
“Access to education is at the heart of our Sustainability strategy and I am glad that my colleagues are not just pursuing this vision at a corporate level but also at a personal level,” the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Surendran Chemmenkotil, said.
World Book Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on April 23, 1995. The theme for this year is You Are a Reader.
Telco Wants Robust Technology-Based Education System in Oyo
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A Nigerian multinational telecommunications company, Globacom, has expressed its readiness to collaborate with the Oyo State government to create robust technology-based education system in the state.
The Regional Head of Public Sector Enterprise for Glo in Southwest, Mr Adewale Adiatu, said the company could provide its e-learning packages and school data packs to the state government for the use of pupils in the state.
“At Globacom, we believe education is key, and we have come to seek collaboration with your board on e-learning and other school starter packs for pupils,” he said when he visited the chairman of the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr Nureni Aderemi Adeniran, in Ibadan, the state capital.
“Globacom hopes the Board will utilize the science of learning we offer. We have E-learning packages and School data packs, where every pupil could attend classes remotely,” he added.
In his remarks, Mr Adeniran hinted that the Oyo State government places premium importance on expanding its education sector and increasing pupils’ access to quality education.
“In Oyo State, we recognise the need to expand our education sector through the contribution of the private sector. We are ready to work with you on encouraging learning in Oyo State, bearing in mind that our government is known for providing quality basic education. The Board will gladly partner with you or any other private organizations to increase our children’s access to education,” he said.
Mr Adeniran said the board was open to limitless opportunities driven by technology for the benefit of pupils and students in Oyo State, adding that the Board has ensured the provision of quality education at no cost to pupils in the State.
“However, we are still exploring more means to reach out to our children.
“We know the importance of expanding education and increasing access to basic education for our pupils. Therefore, we are open to innovative and creative ideas that will expand our Basic Education sector,” he concluded.
Court Orders ASUU to Call Off Seven-Month Strike
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Industrial Court (NIC) has ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing strike.
Delivering a ruling on the interlocutory injunction filed by the federal government on Wednesday, Justice Polycarp Hamman restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action pending the determination of the suit.
Justice Hamman, who is a vacation judge, ordered that the case filed should be returned to the president of the industrial court for reassignment to another judge.
The judge further held that the industrial action was detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
He said the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.
Justice Hamman also upheld the application of the federal government, saying it was meritorious and granted.
The court, therefore, restrained “ASUU, whether by themselves, members, agents, privies or howsoever called, from taking further steps and doing any act in continuance of the strike action pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed.”
The judge also refused to sanction the federal government as demanded by ASUU.
This order comes a few hours after the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threatened not to allow any political campaign hold across the country till students of public universities return to classrooms.
ASUU has been on strike for the last seven months, precisely since February 14, to protest poor funding of education by the federal government, as well as demand for improved welfare conditions among others.
After several failed attempts to get the striking lecturers back to work while negotiations continue, the government opted for the current court action and prayed the court to compel ASUU to end the near seven-month-old strike in the interest of the nation and the Nigerian students who are suffering the most from the strike.
ASUU Strike: Reps Invite Finance Minister, Others for Clarification on UTAS/IPPIS Controversy
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has been invited by the House of Representatives along with other agencies of the federal government to clarify the disagreement over the use of a payment platform for university lecturers in the country.
The government had said it would pay the salaries of the teachers via the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) but members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) want the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), arguing that the platform captures the peculiarity of the university system.
The lecturers have been on strike over this issue and others since February 14, 2022. On Tuesday, the leadership of the House of Representatives, led by its Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, had a meeting with the leaders of ASUU led by Professor Emmanuel Osodeke to iron out some issues to resolve the matter.
Mr Gbajabiamila, while addressing journalists after a 4-hour meeting with the leadership of ASUU and the officials of the Ministry of Education led by the Minister of State for Education, Mr Goodluck Opiah, at the National Assembly in Abuja, noted that the Finance Minister is expected to brief the legislature on the issue of the deployment of the payment platform.
He said Mrs Ahmed would be required to appear on Thursday alongside the Accountant General of the Federation, the Auditor General of the Federation, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Chairman of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission.
The Speaker said after the meeting on Thursday, the House would meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on his return from the 77th session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to present the agreement reached with the striking workers.
Mr Gbajabiamila described the meeting on Tuesday as encouraging because some resolutions were reached.
The Speaker said as an independent arm of government, the meeting with the leadership of ASUU was meant to find a solution to the lingering labour dispute and the seven areas of their demands with the hope of resolving them, so the striking lecturers to go back to school.
According to him, the meeting enabled the House leadership to present the agreed demands to the President with the hope that the matter would be speedily brought to an end.
While thanking the labour leaders, Mr Gbajabiamila also expressed his conviction that the labour leaders would go back to their members and convince them of the need to buy into the solution with the House leadership to avoid undue delay in the resolution of the issue.
On his part, Prof. Osodeke thanked the Speaker and the leadership of the House for calling the meeting, which he said he hoped an amicable resolution would be reached after the lawmakers meet Mr Buhari later.
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