By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday resolved to intervene in the crisis rocking the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) over the disagreement between the management and staff of the institution.
Majority Leader, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, who moved the motion which was seconded by one of his colleagues, Mr Adedamola Kasunmu, stated that LASPOTECH had been embroiled in crisis which had paralyzed academic activities in the institution.
Speaking during plenary, Mr Agunbiade said, “I wish to present to this House the crisis in the only polytechnic in the state which is within my constituency.”
The lawmaker representing Ikorodu Constituency I explained that the issue had remained unresolved for the past five months, adding “it now degenerates to assault resulting to arrest where staff take laws into their hands.”
He recalled that similar crisis came up in Lagos State University (LASU) in the past which the House was able to intervene and got resolved.
While giving credence to the Majority Leader’s submission, the Chairman House committee on Education, Mr Lanre Ogunyemi, disclosed that his committee had initiàted move to resolve the issue but it failed.
He explained that the state government took the Union to industrial court but the issue remained unresolved as the court gave a ruling for status quo to remain.
In his comments, Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Mr Tunde Braimoh, stated that his committee had received two petitions over the crisis.
According to him, the union alleged that the school management used executive fiat to arrest its members and that students who are already graduates do not get their certificates due to the crisis.
Reacting to the debate, Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, directed the House committees on Education and Judiciary to work together on the need to resolve the crisis and report back in two weeks.
Meanwhile, four Bills scaled through second readings and were committed to their relevant committees that were directed to report to the House within one week.
The Bills are Lagos State Public Finance Management, 2011, Urban and Regional Planning Amendment Bill, 2018, Lagos State Employment Bill, 2018 and Electric Power Sector Reform Bill, 2018.
Oyo SUBEC Adopts Iwe-Kika For Out-of-School Children
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A literacy book, Iwe-Kika, has been adopted by the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board for implementation of Better Education Service Delivery for All in Oyo State.
Iwe-Kika is a fun and interactive teaching tool that uses phonics literacy teaching methodology in Yoruba language. The book is recommended by the Universal Basic Education Commission for BESDA States.
Speaking at the end of a 3-day meeting on content development and adoption of iwe kika in Ibadan, the Executive Chairman of Oyo SUBEB, Mr Nureni Adeniran, said the literary book was recommended to teach out of school children because of the way that it quickly provides children with the skills needed to read and write in Yoruba language.
He noted that the Oyo State Government in collaboration with UBEC and World Bank has purchased and distributed 31,302 Dandan l’eko and Jolly phonics textbooks to 1,200 schools in the 21 BESDA Local Government Universal Basic Education Areas.
Mr Adeniran added that the State Government and UBEC allocated N135.3 million on Dadan leko books in schools, while N9.3 million was allocated for Jolly phonics.
The SUBEB boss reiterated Oyo State Government’s commitment to the BESDA course of ridding the streets of out-of-school children and ensuring they are retained in classrooms.
Speaking earlier, a co-author of Iwe-Kika, Prof. Omobola Adelore said the books are designed to be kept in the hearts and minds of children.
She said the books would improve the literacy level of the children, as it has been designed to ease the learning process of the children.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Mr Olusanjo Adeniyi opined that the adoption and use of Iwe-Kika would improve the reading and writing skills of children within the basic education age.
He thanked the Universal Basic Education Commission and Oyo State Government for their timely intervention in salvaging the deficiency revealed through the constant monitoring by the SUBEB team.
Iwe Kika was written by the Department of Adult Education, University of Ibadan. Professor Duro Adeleke of the Department of Yoruba; Prof. Omobola Adelore, of the Department of Adult Education and others co-authored it.
UNIBEN’s Inordinate Circle of Fees and Harvests of Protest
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
Separate from the awareness that the euphoria which heralded the epoch appointments of Professor Lillian Imuetinyan Salami, a home economist/nutritionist and former Dean of the Faculty of Education, as the second female vice-chancellor after Grace Alele Williams, and the 10th substantive vice-chancellor of the University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, has faded and jeer overtaken the cheers of expectation while fears have displaced reason, resulting in an entirely separate set of consequences, irrational hatred and division, I must say that the recent news report that the students of UNIBEN, September 14, 2021, blocked the Lagos-Benin highway in protest over imposition of, but now reversed N20,000 late registration charges by the school management, did not come to be as a surprise.
Rather, like the generality of Nigerians who earlier believed that the appointment of a new VC, a few years ago will usher in fresh breathe too and save the students and their parents from financial emasculation, the recent protest convinced all that nothing has changed in the university’s love for visiting their students with unjust laws/policies.
As we know, a just law is ‘a man-made code that squares with moral laws or the laws and uplifts human personalities, while an unjust law on the other hand is a code that is out of harmony with moral laws.’
This assertion is predicated on two separate but similar realities. First was a similar protest by students of the school dated Friday, November 1, 2019, to register their grievances over the poor state of infrastructures and incessant fees charged by the school authorities.
The second reason enjoys a link with the first (the 2019 protest) but stemmed from the content of my earlier intervention/ reaction to the appointment of Professor Lillian Imuetinyan Salami as the school’s new VC; that was in 2019.
Aside from congratulating the new VC, the piece, which had as title; Tasks ahead of Professor Salami, the new VC of UNIBEN, highlighted how in recent time the institution has defined leaning too narrowly in a manner devoid of process and outcome fairness; got preoccupied with revenue generation without consideration to the students comfort or wellbeing; identify errors among students without beaming searchlight on internal occurrences.
It concluded by reminding the new VC that if she does nothing about this, it simply means our youths, and the nation by extension is faced with a bleak future.
Conversely, if she is able to correct the above challenges; it will be her most powerful accomplishment for earning new respect and emulation.
Presently, the impulse in the school particularly the recent protest and student’s description of the decision of the university management as harsh, as it did not take into consideration “the unfavourable economic situation in the country, explains that the institution is still characterized as a neck-deep in an inordinate circle of fees and should be ready to harvest from students baskets of protest.
More than anything else, the present happening stands as emblematic prove that the school management is still unmindful of the fact that ‘if learning must persist, teachers must also look inward, reflect critically on their own behaviour, and identify the ways they often advertently or inadvertently contribute to the institution’s problems and then change how they act, it more than anything else points to the fact that nothing has changed.
Admittedly, Nigerians and of course the global community particularly development professionals do not think that what the federal government is doing when it comes to perennial underfunding of public universities is the best way to encourage education in the country as such failures/failings and shortfalls daily impedes lecturers from carrying out scholarly researches, truncates academic calendar with strike actions, lace Nigerian universities with dilapidated and overstretched learning facilities with the universities producing graduates devoid of linkage with the manpower demand by the nation’s industrial sector. This partly explains the dilemma of public universities administrators.
But when one juxtaposes the above fact with the ongoing challenge particularly, the now reversed late registration charges; one will discover that if what happens in other universities is a challenge, that of UNIBEN is a crisis.
To support this claim, let’s listen to the UNIBEN VC as she talked about the reversal of the N20,000 late registration charges; “It is important to mention that this reversal in position will not break the University of Benin. I fundamentally believe that there are very few decisions that are irreversible and this is definitely not one of them. At this time, the N20,000 late fee is reversed and it is a closed case.
“UNIBEN is resilient and we will continue to move forward with a strong conviction to ensure that the university reaches its full potential as a premier academic institution,” she added.
The above comment naturally elicits the following posers; if the school leadership knows that reversing such a position will not break the University of Benin, why did they come up with it in the first instance? If they (as they claim) are aware that UNIBEN is resilient and will continue to move forward with a strong conviction to ensure that the university reaches its full potential as a premier academic institution, why are they overburdening students with a circle of fees?
Is the underfunding of tertiary institutions in Nigeria by the federal government UNIBEN-specific? If not, why are they in the habit of transferring such aggression to innocent students and their parents?
As the students noted, why is the school management not bringing into consideration “the unfavourable economic situation in the country before slamming N20,000 late registration charges on the students? Why can’t they (management) look for more civil/creative ways of generating income for the school without overburdening the students and their parents?
While answer(s) to the above is awaited from UNIBEN leadership, another argument by the VC that cannot hold water when faced with embarrassing fact is her statement that; “Early registration is critical for effective operations of the university; it provides insight into the students’ volume/demand and allows for smarter planning to ensure that we have enough staff, courses and funding supporting our students accordingly. It is important to note that in the past, other non-financial interventions in attempts to urge early registration have failed.”
If that is the true position, it may again necessitate the question as to the logic/reason behind outrageous and out of order acceptance fees charged by the UNIBEN management?
Take as another illustration, presently, new students pay about N63,000.00 for Education, Management and Engineering faculties, while Medical students are made to cough out about N75,000 as acceptance fees.
Comparatively, while UNIBEN charges the above, other federal universities such as; the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the Federal University of Petroleum and Resources (FUPRA), Warri, Delta State and the Federal University of Agriculture (FUUNAB), Abeokuta, Ogun State, receive amounts that are far low. These are verifiable facts.
By this analysis, the UNIBEN’s clumsy and discomforting attitude to the fresh students is led bare. Against this backdrop, the question that, begs for an answer(s) is; how did UNIBEN arrive at the above fees in the first instance?
I hold the opinion that the university needs a new vision and students-friendly reforms and policies that will re-engineer quality and affordable education.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via email@example.com/08032725374.
Oyo TESCOM Boss Urges Students to Shun Exam Malpractice
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Executive Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) in Oyo State, Mr Akinade Alamu, has cautioned students, especially candidates sitting for the ongoing school-based West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) nationwide, to shun all forms of malpractice.
Mr Alamu made this warning during an inspection of schools in the state, noting that the state government wishes students in the state well in the ongoing examination, reiterating the Oyo State government’s commitment to promoting education in the state.
Also, the Secretary to the State Government of Oyo State, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, has commended some young awardees for their brilliant performances at the just concluded Mathematics competition held in Kano State.
Business Post gathered that eight students of primary, junior and senior secondary schools in the state with various awards for their outstanding performances at the just concluded 2021 Nigeria National Mathematics and Olympiad competition were rewarded last Thursday.
At the awards ceremony held in Ibadan, the senior government official noted that the students, who represented Oyo State at the competition, have set unprecedented records and kept the flag of the state flying.
At the competition, Oladunni Success and Olarinde Pleasant won the first prize in the Primary category respectively.
Also, Ibrahim Muhammed, Ajamu Caleb, won second positions for the junior category, while Adeeko Toluwanimi and Aina Samuel won second positions in the senior category respectively.
In addition, Oladunni Success and Adeeko Toluwani won the second position in the Written Olympiad Competition for the primary and senior category, with Aina Boluwatife won the third position in the junior category.
Mrs Adeosun, who noted that the Oyo State Government recognises the students as champions, said, “Oyo State young ambassadors performed excellently well by winning through all categories of the Mathematics competition.
“Several schools in the 36 states of Nigeria participated in the competition, where the Oyo state representatives gained ascendancy over their counterparts from other states.”
While Mrs Adeosun appreciated the parents and principals of schools for their support, she commended the students and encouraged them to maintain the spirit of hard work in their future endeavours.
The SSG also reiterated Oyo State Government’s commitment to training teachers to improve the learning outcome in schools and to continue sponsoring educational programmes in the state.
The Oyo State scribe noted that before the emergence of the present administration, Oyo State was rated number 27 among thirty-six states of the federation in external examination.
She, however, said that as a result of the good interventions and commitment of the present administration, Oyo State was now rated number 11, hoping for better excellent performance in the education sector.
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