By Adedapo Adesanya
The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to the American poet, Ms Louise Glück.
According to the Nobel Committee on Thursday, Ms Gluck was awarded the prize for her “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
She was born in 1943 in New York and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States. Apart from her writing, she is a professor of English at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
The Laureate made her debut in 1968 with ‘Firstborn’ and was soon acclaimed as one of the most prominent poets in American contemporary literature. She has published 12 collections of poetry and some volumes of essays on poetry.
Her works are characterized by a striving for clarity. Childhood and family life, the close relationship with parents and siblings, is a thematic that has remained central with her.
Explaining their decision, Mr Anders Olsson, chair of the Nobel committee says Ms Gluck’s voice “is candid and uncompromising and signals that this poet wants to be understood. She has humour and biting wit.
“Even if her autobiographical background is significant in her works, she is not to be regarded as a confessional poet. She seeks universality … Three characteristics unite to reoccur in her works: the topic of family life, an austere but also playful intelligence, and a refined sense of composition.”
This makes Glück the 16th woman to win after Selma Lagerlof, 1909; Grazia Deledda, 1926; Sigrid Undset, 1928; Pearl Buck, 1938; Gabriela Mistral, 1945; Nelly Sachs, 1966; Nadine Gordimer, 1991; Toni Morrison, 1993; Wislawa Szymborska, 1996; Elfriede Jelinek, 2004; Doris Lessing, 2007; Herta Muller, 2009; Alice Munro, 2013; Svetlana Alexievich, 2015; and Olga Tokarczuk, 2018.
JAMB Generates N5.9bn from 2021 UTME, Direct Entry Forms
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has generated N5,887,628,900.00 from the sale of forms for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry (DE) examination to admission seekers into the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The cumulative figure was contained in the Financial Inflow column of the board’s weekly bulletin of April and May editions of 2021.
The registration for the exams started on April 10 nationwide and ended on May 29, this year with the exception of few candidates with special cases, who were given an extension of time to register.
The breakdown showed that 1,338,687 candidates registered for the UTME while 75,328 registered for the DE exam this year.
The examinations commenced on Saturday, June 19 and will end on Monday, July 5 in over 777 computer-based test centres nationwide.
The figures from the board’s bulletin showed that it generated N2,045,497,450.00 in the first few weeks when the sales of registration instruments opened to UTME applicants on April 10.
From the April 27 edition of the bulletin, the board said it raked in N739,050,000.00 from the sales of e-pins.
A weekly breakdown of the figures from the May 3 edition of the bulletin showed that the board generated N663,250,000.00 from selling e-registration pins.
In the May 10 edition, the figures showed that the board generated N682,200,000.00 revenue from sales of registration instruments for the examination.
According to the figures from the bulletin of May 17, edition, the board raked in N833,800,000.00 from the sales of e-registration pins.
Also, between May 23 and 31 edition, the board generated N810,131,450.00 and N113,700,000.00 from sales of e-registration pins.
Following Professor Ishaq Oloyede’s appointment as Registrar/Chief Executive of the body in August 2016, as part of its transparency and accountability goals, the board has been making returns in billions into the federation account.
In 2019, the board generated N5 billion from the conduct of UTME but remitted N3 billion to the coffers of the federal government after the government asked the board to invest N2 billion to enhance its operations.
Its highest remittance so far was in 2018 when it remitted N7.8 billion revenue generated from the conduct of 2018 UTME to the coffers of the federal government.
Oyeleye Unveils Every Beginner’s Chess Book with 215 Puzzles
By Dipo Olowookere
A book aimed to deepen the understanding of chess among youngsters and professionals has been launched by an International Chess Federation (FIDE) licensed Chess in School Instructor, Mr Olawale Oyeleye.
The book titled Every Beginner’s Chess Book with 215 Puzzles was unveiled at a virtual event recently to chess players, organisers, arbiters, coaches and corporate Nigerian.
The author of the book said at the unveiling that he was inspired to write the book when he noticed that young chess players in Nigeria and Africa lacked materials to learn more about the board game.
According to him, he nursed the idea for nine years before coming up with Every Beginner’s Chess Book with 215 Puzzles, expressing confidence that the book will benefit the readers because of the extensive research he did.
“I took time to research on the essentials of what is needed for beginners and today, we have a book which is full of illustrations to make the teaching of chess in schools and in clubs easy for youngsters,” he said.
Also speaking at the launch, the Director of TheJohnFawole Award and Bruvchessmedia, Fawole John Oyeyemi, commended the author for the piece, recommending its adoption as teaching material in schools.
“Chess books written by Nigerian authors are few. Mr Oyeleye has given us a book that speaks to the basics of the board game.
“You have done something great in the chess world. This book should be adopted by schools for their chess learning programmes.
With this book, Mr Oyeleye had moved chess a step further and it would also become a popular board game in Nigeria,” he said.
On her part, the ex-president of the Chess Players Association of Nigeria (CPAN), Ms Ayokanmi Ajayi, praised Mr Oyeleye for his immense contribution to the game in Nigeria, saying, “You have pushed forward the frontiers of chess with the text. This is a proper chess book to educate the Nigerian child. It is affordable and easy to understand.”
A member of the FIDE Athlete Commission and Chairman of ACC Players Commission, International Master Odion Aikhoje, commended the author for putting together a laudable book on chess.
He said the positive mindset of the author motivated him to see the project through despite the trying times that we are in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The book is dedicated to explaining the game of chess and talking about the benefits of chess. Previously encountered chess books are technical books but the extra illustration by the author can make one know more about the game.
The book helps to visualize and calculate the moves on the board and this piece of work will help develop players. A properly presented book will aid the learning of the game,” he stated.
The President of Togo Chess Federation and former secretary to FIDE, Enyonam Noel Fumey, said the book is a marvel and he wishes that all Nigerian educational authors will use it as an introduction to the game.
He charged the writer of the book to ensure that the work is translated into French so that Francophone-speaking countries can also benefit from it.
Mr Oyeleye, who is married to Mrs Caroline Adedoyin, is also the author of Levels 1-6 Chess Workbooks powered by Pedachess Educational Services Ltd.
He is an Accountant, National Arbiter, Tournament Director, Chess Trainer, Journalist, Public Relation Officer for CPAN since 2017 till date.
He was awarded the Arbiter of the year in 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively, and awarded the Tournament Director of the year 2018.
Nexford University Raises $10.8m for Education Accessibility
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nexford University, an online learning platform that offers next-generation learning experiences, has secured a $10.8 million Series A fund.
The funding round was led by Dubai-based VC Global Ventures and other investors including Future Africa’s new thematic fund (focused on education), angel investors, family offices and unnamed VCs from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Dubai, Switzerland, Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
The latest round brings the total funds raised by the company to $15.3 million, following a $4.5 million seed funding gotten in 2019.
The online school offers undergraduate degrees in business administration; 360° marketing; Artificial Intelligence & automation; building a tech startup; business analytics; business in emerging markets; digital transformation; e-commerce; and product management.
Its graduate degrees are business administration, advanced AI, e-commerce, hyperconnectivity, sustainability, and world business. Students study at their own pace once they get admitted into the school
The tuition structure is different from traditional universities. Its accredited degrees cost between $3,000 to $4,000 paid in monthly instalments.
In Nigeria, for instance, an MBA costs about $160 a month, while a bachelor’s degree costs $80 a month. The faster a learner graduates, the less they pay.
Nexford University has learners from 70 countries, with Nigeria being its biggest market. The school also has blue-chip partnerships with Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning, and IBM to provide access to tools, courses, and programs to improve the learning experience.
Speaking on the development, Mr Fadl Al Tarzi, CEO of Nexford University, “In 2021, it is not acceptable for less than 10 per cent of the world population to have a college degree, or for student debt in the US to be over $1.6 trillion. Now, with additional funding, we can invest in the technology and teams required to address these challenges.”
Adding his input, Mr Iyin Aboyeji, Future Africa’s founder and general partner, called the company a game-changer for higher education in Africa because it focused on the future of learning.
“During the pandemic, while many universities in Nigeria were shut down due to labour disputes, Nexford was already delivering an innovative and affordable new model of online higher education designed for a skills-based economy,” Mr Aboyeji said.
Launched in 2019 by Mr Fadl Al Tarzi, Nexford University is filling affordability and relevance gaps by providing access to quality and affordable education.
Nexford University is a Washington-based, tech-enabled institution that leverages machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to create a data and skills-driven curriculum.
The university was founded on the beliefs that a lack of education is the root cause of most world challenges and that people should be able to access economic opportunities irrespective of physical location.
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