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Nigerians React To NUC Ban On Part-Time Programmes

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Stakeholders in the education sector, have described the suspension of part-time programmes in Nigerian Universities by the National University Commission (NUC) as in infringement on the fundamental rights of Nigerians to education.

A cross section of stakeholders who spoke to The Tide on the issue also described the suspension as ill-timed against the background of the move by the government to promote literacy at all levels.

In his view, the Head of the Department of Banking and Finance, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Dr T.A Ngerebo said that the suspension would deprive those Nigerians who want to acquire knowledge through the part-time programme.

“Suspending the programme is like telling most Nigerians that they cannot have university education’, he said.

Dr Ngerebo said that instead of suspending the programme, the commission needs to put in place a regulatory body that would ensure adherence to standard.

Also speaking, the Head of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in the university., Pastor Mathias Daniel opposed the suspension, stressing that part-time programmes were not peculiar to Nigerian universities alone.

He said that Nigerians who had overgrown the age for full-time or regular programme should be encouraged to go for part-time, stressing that apart from acquiring degrees, most Nigerian workers also get promotion through the part-time programme.

In his view, Prof Atuboyedia Obianime of the University of Port Harcourt complained that the institution runs one of the most standard part-time programmes , accommodating thousands of Nigerians.

He said that lumping the world-class part-time programme run by the university in the sweeping suspension order was inappropriate, and appealed to the NUC to take a second look at the decision.

Also speaking, Mr Nuka Wilcox said that the situation would discourage people from going to school, especially those of adult age.

Mr Wilcox who urged the commission to revise the suspension noted that the NUC needed to set a body to monitor the standard.

Chidinma Cyril, a civil servant said that as an OND holder, she did part-time to help her overcome her deficiencies in academics, and stated that if the government stops the programmes , it would affect millions of Nigerians, particularly those who do not have time for regular programmes on campus.

In Cross River State, Dr. Samuel Agim, a lecturer in the Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH), described the development as a welcome step.

He was of the opinion that, students who are desirous of studying should enroll straight in the conventional university, while those who want to study through part time should go to the open university of Nigeria.

He told The Tide in Calabar that the idea of part time programme had made many students lazy and consequently resulting in poor academic performance.

Chris Akpan Udoh of the University of Calabar recalled that the open university has conventional study programmes with materials to suit any student who wants to carry out part time studies while still be working or doing some other things at the same time.

Udoh described as an eye sore what goes on in the university environment these days. In order to stem this tide, he said the recent decision by the NUC was a good thing that would streamline academic pursuit in the country.

However, Joy Agba Njie and Solomon Ushie both part time students of the CRUTECH, argued that the scrapping of the programme would affect them as most of them may not have enough fund to register to the open university programme, let alone  their study materials.

“This is a good development, because the proliferation of the these programmes encourages quacks. This would help in solving the deteriorating educational standard in the country,” Chief Stephen Eyo-Omori, stated with all amount of certainty.

Chief Omori frowned at a situation where  a student would merely register for a programme and went his or her way and  only come back to sort during or after examinations.

To help raise the standard of education in this country, the NUC should not revert so as not to throw our integrity overboard.

Our correspondent reports that students in all the tertiary institutions in Calabar metropolis received the news with rude shock as they were seen in groups discussing the development.

In Lagos, The Tide reports that the recent pronouncement of scrapping of all part-time programmes in Nigerian universities by the National University Commission has been greeted with mixed reactions from civil servants, academicians, lawyers and other Lagos residents.

Some of those who spoke with our correspondent condemned it, saying government should give it a time frame.

According a staff of Oto-Awori local government development area,” what NUC should have done is to give it a time frame and not out-right suspension.

According to Mr. Jimoh Bale, with the suspension, it would be difficult for us working as civil servants to go to school as to broading and upgrade ourselves.

 

Eunice Choko-Kayode, Friday Nwagbara, Nkpemenyie Mcdominic

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DPR Plans Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy For Oil, Gas Industry

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it is formulating a Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to attain maximum value delivery from its oil and gas resources.

The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, made the announcement during a keynote address at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), yesterday, in Lagos.

The conference has as its theme, “The Future of Energy –A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market.”

Auwalu said the industry initiative was one of the outcomes of the work of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), Lagos inaugurated in January by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said, “Following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department identified the need to formulate the ‘Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy for Nigeria’.

“This is to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

“The framework for this industry action plan outlines six pillars or building blocks.”

Auwalu said the pillars were: Reserves Maturation and Production Optimisation, Exploration and Resources Maturation, Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Implementation Asset Stewardship, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Risk Management.

According to him, the draft framework has been shared with the industry, including professional associations like the SPE and the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists.

He said this was in preparation for an industry collaborative workshop to co-develop and enunciate this strategy for immediate execution.

“We count on the contributions and buy-in of all stakeholders on this crucial national assignment for our overall benefit and industry sustainability,“he said.

Auwalu said Nigeria was rising to the occasion as the ‘trigger’ for continental growth and economic transformation using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development.

He said the DPR would continue to foster innovative ideas and create opportunities for investments and sustainability in the industry.

Auwalu said, “As always, we are enthusiastic to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including the SPE, toward the realisation of government’s aspirations for the oil and gas sector.

“In our role as business enablers and opportunity providers, DPR will continue to promote efficiency to meet the needs of the industry, creating value, enhancing transparency, reducing barriers and transaction costs.”

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Pensioners Urge PenCom To Implement Unpaid 15% Increment

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Pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have appealed to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement their 15 and 33 per cent pension increment and other benefits.

The Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria (CPUN), South-West Zone, made the appeal,yesterday, during a peaceful protest held in Ibadan.

The CPUN President, Mr Joseph Idowu, while addressing newsmen said that PenCom has yet to implement the increment since 2007 and 2010 in spite of various promises.

Idowu said that their counterparts, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), had been enjoying the increment through the proactive stand of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

“The new consequential adjustment in pension due to the latest increase in workers’ salaries and wages are also being enjoyed by pensioners under DBS, neglecting the CPS pensioners.

“No CPS pensioner has received any interest on their accrued benefits since 2007 till date.

“We require your urgent attention to ensure that arrears on this are calculated and paid at the Federal Government official rate, as at the time of retirement,” Idowu said.

The president said that his members were suffering as some of them collect as low as N3, 000 as their monthly pension which was not accepted.

Idowu also said that his members were not happy with the delay in the payment of their retirement benefits, which the commission now paid after one year of retirement, contrary to PRA Act 2004 (Amended).

He said that Section 16 (5) of PRA Act 2004 says pensioners should be paid not more than three months after retirement.

Idowu, however, commended the commission for prompt payment of their monthly pension, urging them to prioritise welfare of pensioners under the CPS.

Also, a member of the union, Mrs Clara Fumilayo, called on the Federal Government to assist the pensioners,

Fumilayo said that their monthly pension could no more buy any tangible things based on the situation in the country.

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‘Only 29% Of Babies Breastfed Due To Reliance On Breast Milk Substitute’

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A professor of Paediatric and Child Health, Alice Romoke-Nte, says the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute by manufacturers was responsible for the gap in breastfeeding of children by mothers in Nigeria.

Nte, who is also the coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) said the advertising of these baby food weakens the confidence of the mothers and makes them feel that these breast milk substitutes are better off.

She said this has left only 29 percent of Nigerian babies breastfed as a result.

Nte said the UPTH, Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt and other stakeholders were using this year’s World Breastfeeding Week to carry out aggressive campaigns to raise awareness for the need of exclusive breastfeeding.

She said the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes would be included in steps to ensure full compliance of marketing these artificial body foods.

Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt that joined in the rally yesterday morning for exclusive breastfeeding to mark the World Breastfeeding Week includes, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Top Health, Seaport, Eco, Atlantic City, and Golf Estate.

Others include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Gateway, City Valley, Passport, Creek View, Sky Waves, and Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.

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