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COVID-19: UK-based NGO launches homeschooling website

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in a bid to enhance the education of children during the lockdown, Universal Learning Solutions, a UK not-for-profit organisation, has launched the Nigerians Educate Everywhere at a Distance project (NEED).
According to Gary Foxcroft, CEO of Universal Learning Solutions, “the NEED project has been developed quickly as part of our response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Foxcroft stated further that the NEED project was developed to help support the call by the Universal Basic Education Commission, (UBEC) for states to develop programmes to ensure that young learners are learning at home whilst schools are closed.
“Universal Learning Solutions and UBEC deliver Africa’s largest and most effective English literacy programme in Nigeria – Jolly Phonics.
“This usually focuses on providing face to face training and support to Nigerian government school primary school teachers using this fun and effective English literacy method, which has been proven to dramatically raise Early Grade literacy levels in Nigeria and globally.
He explained that the organisation had to rapidly change its approach due to the COVID-19 situation and has created a range of amazing free distance learning solutions that can be accessed in a variety of ways.
Foxcroft added that as soon as school closure was announced, Universal Learning Solutions produced a 50 episode Jolly Phonics TV Lessons series to directly benefit Nigerian children.
“Nigerian Jolly Phonics trainers recorded a 42 part radio show for the North and South of the country and a free Jolly Phonics Apps and Africa-based Story Reading Apps have been made available on a dedicated website – www.jollphonics.ng – where all the audio, video and App content can be accessed.
“There are also a range of free worksheets and activities to keep children occupied in the home. For families with no electricity, Universal Learning Solutions will be sending SMS messages to as many parents as possible including a full Jolly Phonics lessons course, developed in bite-sized chunks for parents.”
He disclosed that State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) in Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Abia, Anambra, Jigawa, Niger, Lagos, Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Ebonyi and Ekiti States are already embracing the project through airing the radio show or television lesson on a range of stations.
“We wish to implore all state government and wider development partners to work with us to promote this Jolly Phonics distance learning programme and enable children to access the right to literacy from home.
“All resources are available for free on the website – www.jollyphonics.ng – and we wish to thank UBEC, who are presiding over this project, formaking this possible,” Foxcroft noted.
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RSNC GM Tasks Medical Practitioners On Emerging Pandemics

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The General Manager of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of The Tide Newspaper, Chief Ernest Chinwo, has called on medical practitioners in the country to assist the government find workable solution to the array of emerging pandemics, including COVID-19, Lassa fever and monkeypox currently ravaging the country.
Chinwo said this in his office during a courtesy call by organisers of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit 2022.
Represented by the Acting Chairman of Editorial Board and Supervising Editor, Mr Nelson Chukwudi, the general manager also stressed the need for the health professionals to come up with private sector-driven health insurance scheme for the country.
He said that it also behoves on them to pool resources together with a view to building mega hospitals in the country to stem the tide of medical tourism abroad while at the same time curbing brain drain.
The general manager also tasked them to check the incidence of quackery in the medical profession.
Chinwo commended them for the proposed summit, assuring of the cooperation and support of the corporation, especially in providing adequate coverage to their activities.
He said the corporation, since inception has been on the forefront in publicising health issues, stressing that it was against this background that a page was dedicated in The Tide newspaper for health, and called for medical experts to contribute to the robustness of content on the page.
He further noted that beside newspaper publishing, the corporation also does all kinds of commercial printing jobs, and solicited patronage from the health professionals.
Earlier, Secretary General of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit, Dr. Joseph Olawuyi, said the summit with the theme “Repositioning HealthCare services in Rivers state” earlier proposed for the 22 to 26 of August 2022 was moved to October 2022 to ensure mass participation by both government and non-governmental organisations.
Olawuyi said the summit which is being put together by private medical practitioners in partnership with government aims at refocusing the health sector for quality service in the state.
He said a lot of people both within and outside the country have started registering for the summit.
According to him the event will also be used to train health practitioner’s on biomedical engineering as well as encourage the utilization of abundant medical equipment by practitioners.
He urged for a health bank in the country to create access to soft loans by health practitioners.
Olawuyi said the event which will be declared open by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will be attended by people from all walks of life including members of the armed forces amongst others.

By: John Bibor & Oreoluwa Adigun

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FG Spends N18.69bn Daily On Subsidy, Minister Confirms

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The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that Nigeria spends N18.69billion daily on petroleum subsidies.
She stated this, yesterday, when she appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating oil subsidies.
The minister claimed Nigeria consumes 64million litres per day, and that the figure could have been influenced by smuggling.
Ahmed said the executive is also concerned about the increment in daily consumption.
She noted that some of the products are being smuggled outside the country, adding that during COVID-19 locked down, daily consumption dropped significantly.
She stated that the president alone cannot take the decision on removing subsidy, insisting that there must be a multi-stakeholder approach, including all political parties, who must sit to make the decision.
The minister disclosed that the landing cost of petroleum is N448 per litre and that the NNPC takes care of the rest through under recovery.
She further said the Federal Executive Council has also expressed worry about the figure presented by the NNPC, adding that as the Minister of Finance, she has no access to the bank statement of the NNPC.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Aliyu, questioned the figure provided by the minister.
Aliyu said even during the COVID19 locked down, Nigeria was still consuming high volume, which according to him was not logical.
He claimed the daily petroleum consumption was about 32million litres.
But the minister responded that she is not sure whether daily consumption has doubled and not also sure if the total number of vehicles in the country has doubled in the past 10 years.

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Over 20 Countries Arrive Abuja For 2022 INAC

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The 2022 International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC), themed “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”, was, yesterday, declared open in Abuja, by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe.
The 15th edition of the Expo holding at the Abuja Sheraton Hotels & Towers has in attendance no fewer than 25 countries and eight states in Nigeria.
Some of the countries already on ground include Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Syria, India, Philippines, China, Iran, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Malaysia, Benin Republic, Sudan, Lebanon, South Korea and Tanzania.
States in Nigeria that have arrived Abuja for the annual international event are Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, FTC, Kaduna and Katsina.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Runsewe said the aim of the expo is to better project Nigerian crafts to various countries of the world given that our stories are better told by us. It is also to promote cultural exchange programmes and improve inter-country collaborations in music, arts, drama, etc.
The expo, as usual, is expected to amongst other items, feature skill acquisition trainings for young people, free medical examination and care, display of countries art documentaries, exhibitions of countries’ arts, crafts and culture.
Runsewe said: “This is another opportunity we have to showcase Nigerian crafts to the world and to let the world know that Nigeria is a safe place to be. We want Nigerians to know that the creative industry is capable of tackling Nigerian insecurity problems by engaging the youths in our crafts for revenue generation.”
The 2022 expo holds from August 18 to 20, 2022.

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