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Private Schools C’ttee, Not For Witch-Hunt -Chairman …Set To Visit 1,629 Schools

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The Chairman of Rivers State Committee on Revalidation and Monitoring of privately owned Schools in Rivers State Prof Ozo Mercury Ndimele says the committee is not established to witch hunt anybody but to help improve on the existing standard in the running of the private schools  in line with the  state government educational policies.
Ndimele also disclosed that the committee was not planning to close down any private schools in the state as being speculated in many quarters, rather  the committee,he said  would work with the private school owners  to ensure that qualitative education and  conducive learning environment are attained.
He stated this while addressing proprietors and  school managers of privately owned primary and secondary schools in the state at a stakeholders meeting at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
He told them that the committee was a mere fact finding one that would make recommendations to the state government during the one month assignment.
“We shall do our work with human face. All you need to do is to cooperate with the committee to ensure the success of our assignment
“Our assignment is a serious one. We want to find out where our children are being trained and see if they conform with the standard,” he added.
Prof Ndimele who is the Vice Chancellor of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education as well as the coordinating chairman of the committee for Rivers East senatorial district  announced that the committee would begin visitation to 1,629 schools that are registered with the office of the Secretary to State Government from this week and warned them against any form of inducements.
“Let me warn, let nobody try to bribe or induce any member of the committee because the state government has adequately funded us. If you do your school will be blacklisted,” he added.
Also speaking, Prof Okey Onuchukwu, who serves as the coordinating chairman for Rivers South East averred that the committee would visit the schools to ascertain whether the minimum standards were being complied with, adding that the committee was an independent body not attached to Schools Board or UBE.
In his own speech, the coordinating chairman for Rivers West, Prof Philip Odari commended the private school owners in the state for their various contributions to the development of the state, adding that the mission of the committee would be on how to improve what they already have and not to destroy them.
Some of the private school owners, Elder Gospel Awara-jaja, Elder Abbey Caleb Osaroigwe and Dr Dennis Woruka who spoke at the event appealed to the state government to revalidate their registration rather than cancellation, noting that some of the private schools have existed for over 30years.
They also appealed to the committee to consider the new schools as well as to categorize the schools in their assignment.

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Lockdown: Online Educational Programmes ’ll Benefit Only Few Students -Experts

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Some educationists in Ibadan has said only few students will benefit from online educational engagements being carried out in some parts of the country due to the lockdown.
The experts told newsmen that many students would not benefit from the online educational initiatives due to lack of infrastructure.
Mr Kayode Adeyemi, the President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Oyo State, said power supply critical to the success of the online engagement as well as monitoring of the students to ensure they follow through with the programme were lacking.
Adeyemi said though the government and some private school operators had engaged students with online educational programmes, the impact would continue to be minimal due to the current challenges in the country.
“In terms of quality, even if you do online engagement, it cannot be as effective as being in the classroom or having teachers whom the students are familiar with and who have authority to teach them.
“Even at the online engagement level, we still have students who can’t login due to lack of data, some have flat batteries while some parents would claim they are not aware of the arrangement.
“Some schools that are very passionate in getting things done, however, go the extra mile to call parents to make sure that they have data,” he said.
According to Adeyemi, money to recharge data is also a challenge as many homes are managing their finances at this period.
“The priority of an average household now is on how to feed the family and survive the lockdown, not really to expend money on data or fuel to power television or radio.
“Some students will be given assignments online only for them to call back and say they didn’t see it clearly, some of them will not even respond or they would complain of network issue.
“That is the platform we say we want to migrate to because of lockdown. This alternative can only work for about 45 per cent of students who are serious minded and have the means,” he said.
Also speaking, Prof. Adams Onuka, an Education Evaluation Expert at the University of Ibadan, described the development as ‘ fire brigade approach’ due to lack of infrastructure to make it effective.
He noted that those in the rural areas would be left out as only the elites would benefit the most from the engagement.
The don said: “This is something that should be systematically planned and executed.
“The engagement is not taking into cognisance those whose means of livelihood had been affected and those in the rural areas who don’t have access to electricity supply.
“Though, it is a laudable idea but it is being done at a wrong time because we are not prepared for it and the people are not equipped for it as there is no provision for it to be successful.
“Most of the government’s resources now are spent on health care, There is no structure on ground to execute this, even radio that is not costly, some people might not have access to it in the villages.
“ What infrastructure do we have in place for its success?”
He, however, enjoined the government to use the occasion of COVID-19 pandemic to overhaul critical sectors such as health, education and infrastructure.

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COVID-19: Academic Activities Ongoing At NOUN -ACETEL

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The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) says academic activities are ongoing at the institution, in spite of the stay-at-home directives by the Federal Government following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
The instititution said in a statement by Mr Ambrose Gowong, Communications Officer, Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL) last Friday in Abuja.
It said that NOUN was the only institution in the country without dislocation of academic calendar following the outbreak of the global health crisis, COVID-19 pandemic.
The ACETEL is a centre at the NOUN, sponsored by the World Bank, with special interest on the development of human capacity and research in digital solutions that will lead to the utilisation of technology for education.
It quoted the Director of ACETEL, Prof. Grace Jokthan, as saying that NOUN, as Nigeria’s flagship Open and Distance Learning Institution (ODL) allowed learning at a distance, as it focuses on open access to education.
According to the statement, NOUN through ACETEL focuses on freeing learners from the constraints of time and place, especially online courses that concerns Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security and Management Information Systems.
“The Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced learning is a world class centre assisted by the World Bank at the Headquarters of NOUN).
“The online learning environment provides opportunities for students to connect with lecturers, using video conferencing technology wherever they are.
“Also, discussion forums and chat activities are integrated in each course to facilitate effective interactions within the learning community.
“Tutor Marked Assessments (TMAs), registration and some administrative tasks are all being carried out online,” Jokthan said.
She said that aside maintaining its steady academic programme, ACETEL organised and executed a five day online virtual training workshop for its course writers on how to use ‘Adobe Captivate’ to convert course materials into e-learning format.
“The workshop attracted over 15 learned heads from across the globe, including a World Bank expert, Dr Dimitrios Noukakis, who need not to bother about travel ban or the scare of COVID-19.
“Noukakis also need not bother about any logistics coming to Nigeria for the training as the training took place in the comfort of the various participants’ homes.
“The World Bank expert commended the Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, while urging other universities in Nigeria to tow the path of NOUN,”

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Matawalle Appoints VC, Principal Officers For Zamfara Varsity

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Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has approved the appointment of Prof. Mu’azu Gusau as the substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Zamfara State University, Talata-Mafara.
This was contained in a statement signed by the governor’s Special Adviser on Higher Education, Alhaji Abdullahi Gurbin-Bore, and made available to newsmen in Gusau, yesterday.
Gurbin-Bore said the governor also appointed Mr Bashiru Mafara as the Registrar and Mr Usman Bungudu as the Bursar of the institution.
He said that all the appointments were to take immediate effect.
Gurbin-Bore quoted Gov. Matawalle as imploring the new appointees to discharge their duties diligently.
“He (Matawalle), promised to give the institution all the required support to meet the demands of the new age and become a world-class university,” he said.
Our correspondent reports that the new Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Gusau holds a PhD in Toxicology from the University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom and had been a Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) since 2009 where he lectured and held various positions for 31 years.
Gusau, who had also served as Head of the Department of Biochemistry at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, also consulted for the Department of Petroleum Resources on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), on general toxicological issues.
The new Registrar, Mafara, who is currently pursuing his doctorate degree, was the Registrar, College of Agriculture and Animal Science (CAAS) Bakura, Zamfara, and had been in the tertiary education system for 20 years.
He occupied several administrative positions which included Deputy Registrar, Student Affairs Officer, while the new Bursar, Bungudu was, until his appointment, a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

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