By Adedapo Adesanya
In line with efforts to improve innovation and drive technological advancement in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has promised to provide endowment funds to more universities in the country.
The commission, according to TheCable, said there were further plans to expand the list of institutions who will benefit from the funds that will be released.
In the report, it was noted that the agency in 2019, handed N40 million research fund to Bayero University, Kano (BUK) and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) with each receiving N20 million.
The NCC charged students of both institutions who benefited from the funds to seize the opportunity and actualise their potentials as the commission would do more if the objectives of the funds were realised.
Providing information on the research grant to be released, the NCC said: “This is in tandem with its tradition of driving technology innovations through funding relevant researches in tertiary institutions.
“The fund will be utilized by universities to drive innovation, research, and development in the digital space. There is an ongoing commitment to expand the list of benefiting institutions.”
Also alluding to a recent lecture at the Federal University of Technology (FUT) in Minna, Niger State, Mr Isa Pantami, the minister for communications and digital economy, had emphasised the role of academia in prospering Nigeria’s economy.
Mr Pantami said that large amounts of data are being generated in the ICT-driven world, adding that managing such data holds great potential for Nigeria’s economic prosperity and security architecture.
“The academia and young innovative Nigerians such as those graduating have a key role to play in datafication to prosper the economy,” the minister explained.
“Datafication of objects or data transforms their purpose and turns the information into new forms of value. Data drives the digital economy and the digital economy drives the growth of the traditional economy,” he further said.
Contestants to Win N7m in MTN Spelling Bee Contest
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
Over N7 million in cash prizes, laptops, phones and mPulse goody bags would be won at the 2021 mPulse Spelling Bee organised by telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria.
The contest, which is opened for primary and secondary students in Nigeria, comprises three rounds as the first round is currently being run alongside the ongoing registration.
The acting General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria, Mr Idowu Adesokan, noted that the deadline for the registration has been extended to Sunday, October 24.
“We took the mPulse Spelling Bee competition online to advance digital literacy and guarantee safe participation from students across Nigeria regardless of their location.
“We believe that every child qualified to participate should have the opportunity to and our extension of the deadline accommodates and encourages this,” he explained.
According to Mr Adesokan, the first 1,000 students who come out with the highest scores in the first round will then proceed to the second round.
Explaining the healthy and competitive nature of the challenge, he stated, “Students have the opportunity to compete in this online competition from anywhere in Nigeria, with a chance to win cash prizes, laptops, smartphones and many more gifts for themselves; while their teachers who supported them in preparing to get rewarded with cash prizes and devices too.”
To participate, students across the country in Primary and secondary schools must be within the age bracket of 9 to 15 years.
He said that interested participants can still register in the MTN Spelling Bee contest on the website (https://mpulse.mtnonline.com/).
However, to do this, they need to migrate to a current and active mPulse plan which can be done by sending impulse text to 344 or dialling 3441# on their MTN line.
The grand finale of the previous edition, which took place virtually on Saturday, December 12, 2020, saw the emergence of Snow George, an SS3 student of Starville School, Abuja who received a scholarship grant worth N2 million, a laptop, and a smartphone among other gifts.
Nigeria to Host International Conference on School Safety
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The fourth edition of the International Conference on Safe School Declaration (ICSSD) will hold in Nigeria, the federal government has confirmed.
This is the first time the event will take place in Africa and it is coming at a time Nigeria is working tirelessly to tackle the incessant kidnapping of schoolchildren by terrorists in the northern part of the country.
It was gathered that other 112 members of the group will converge on Nigeria for the event to exchange experiences, learning, and present their strategies, progress, as well as challenges in making the commitment to safe education a reality for all children in conflict situations.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Adamu Adamu, disclosed on Sunday, October 17 that the conference will build on previous events by galvanizing support for the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) and monitoring UN member states’ progress in carrying out the declarations commitments to better protect learners and learning institutions.
The conference tagged Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice will commence on October 25 and finish on October 27, 2021.
According to the Minister, the programme will also serve to maintain and amplify the momentum of the SSD and its commitment to making safe education for all a reality.
It will also be used to strengthen implementation of the declaration by sharing good practice in implementing key commitments in the declaration, inspire other states to adopt the practice within their own context and forge global cooperation in the protection of education and deterring military use of schools and universities by bringing together education, defence, and foreign affairs ministries.
In addition, the confab on school safety will also be a forum for multilateral and civil society organizations to discuss prevention and response measures, and Identifying actions that governments can take to better achieve accountability for attacks on education and justice for the victims by building and strengthening international and national legal mechanisms.
He said Nigeria is co-hosting the conference with the African Union Commission (AUC), the governments of Argentina, Norway, and Spain, as well as the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).
Oyo Threatens to Revoke Unexecuted Contracts
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Oyo State Government has threatened to revoke unexecuted contracts on renovation and construction projects under its 2012-2018 UBEC/SUBEB Intervention Project from defaulting contractors in the state.
This threat was made on Thursday by the Executive Chairman of the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr Nureni Adeniran.
Speaking with the 22 contractors in Ibadan, the state capital, Mr Adeniran this action may likely be taken under the breach of contract terms.
He noted that many of the contracts, including those awarded by the previous administration had been dragging since 2018, adding that this is in contravention of the time frame of the contractual agreement which stipulated two weeks for completion of borehole and a maximum of 24 weeks for completion of model schools.
Mr Adeniran said the board would not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions against these defaulting contractors, who have failed to meet project specifications in the execution of UBEC/SUBEB jobs in the state.
He added that the contractors may answer queries from the anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), after the November 2021 deadline, adding that they also risk being blacklisted by UBEC for further contracts of UBEC/SUBEB nationwide.
“The message here is clear, the job has taken too long, your failure to deliver on the agreed dates is affecting the wellbeing of our children, we will reverse the contract,” he said.
“We have issued several warnings, this is about the third time. We need to revoke the contract and give those that will do the job. The guideline is clear and we are not going to compromise,” he warned.
The SUBEB boss, who was at the meeting in the company of the management staff of the Board, queried the rationale behind the contractors’ refusal to deliver results, despite the mobilization fee Government had given them.
The educationist noted that as part of concerted efforts to enforce standards, as well as ensure that there are only appropriate executions of projects, the board in 2019 did not revoke their contracts, despite the fact that they were issued by the former administration.
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