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Strikes: FG, ASUU, Others May Reach Agreement, Next Week

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The Federal Government has expressed optimism that the decisions reached at its tripartite plus meeting with the university-based unions would start yielding fruits next week.
A statement by the Head, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Mr Olajide Oshundun in Abuja on Friday, quoted the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige while addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting on the ongoing strike by unions in the education sector which inducde the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
The unions are pushing for improved welfare packages and better working environments.
“We had cordial and fruitful discussion; we looked at the issues dispassionately and reached some agreements, to the satisfaction of everybody in attendance,” Ngige said.
He said the discussion was moved out of the Labour Ministry to make it tripartite because the government brought in some interested parties in a bid to resolve disputes.
He said that the parties included the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) headed by the Sultan of Sokoto; Sa’ad Abubakar III and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by Rev. Sampson Ayokunle, NIREC co- chairman.
“We discussed. Everybody was happy. We reached some agreements and we hope that by next week, those agreements will start maturing.
“The four unions will also go and brief their members, so that they can call off the strike,” he said.
The minister also said some issues such as the 2009 agreement as it affects the renegotiation of condition of service and wage review could be concluded next week.
The statement also quoted the Chief of Staff to the President and Chairman of the tripartite meeting, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as informing the meeting that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed him to pilot the meeting.
Gambari said the team comprises of the Ministers of Labour, Finance and Education would work with ASUU leaders and stakeholders find a lasting solution to the perennial strikes in our education system.
He said that the perennial problems had culminated in the mutilation of the nation’s educational calendar.
“Not long ago, we had professors and students from universities in other countries coming to work in our universities.
“Not long ago we had a calendar and predictability of when a student enters the university and when he or she can graduate.
“But we all know that all of that have changed and the impact on our education system and even the reputation of our universities has been devastating,” he said.
Gambari assured that Mr President was determined to put an end to this negative development.
“We need predictable and quality education so that the human capital required to move our country forward will further be developed in a consistent manner.
“It is in this light that the meeting has  been convened and I want to commend, on behalf of Mr President, the efforts made by the co-chairs of NIREC in having meetings with ASUU,” he said.
In his remarks, according to the statement, Abubakar assured that all hope was not lost in the resolution of the strikes in the university system.
“Once we sit together to discuss a problem, we believe that the end is in sight as dialogue is the best option in resolving all issues”, he said.
He said as NIREC, they came on board as a show of concern and determination to end the industrial disputes.
“I don’t think it will be so beneficial to us that while our children are at home and threatening violence across the country, blocking roads and airports and we as elders sit down watching.
“The best thing is to go back to the classroom and we continue negotiation. We will continue sitting together until the final solution is attained. It is not impossible.
“There must be a compromise. At the end of it all, there will be no victor, no vanquished. It is important to see us working to put our educational system back on track.
“It will be very dangerous to allow our children to sit at home for the next three weeks. That is why we plead with the unions to see the need to call off while we negotiate,” he said.
On his own part according to the statement, Ayokunle commended the federal government for the confidence reposed on them to be part of the meeting.
He said the poor funding of universities was borne out of long period of neglect, ‘which snowballed to where things are today’.
“If others funded the education sector as much as the present administration had done like this administration maybe we will not be where we are.
He appealed to the unions to return to work in the interest of children’s and the future of the country.
Also, ASUU president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke urged the government to give quality attention to education, saying if it does, all the problems could be amicably resolved very soon.

 

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Expert Advises Linguists, Language Analysts On MCP Theory

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Linguists and language analysts as well as the populace have been advised to use Multimodal Critical Pragmatics (MCP) Theory and the Multimodal CPrag3SD, a multi-functional model for analysing meaning in all natural languages.
A Professor of Pragmatics in Communication at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Prof Ebiere Ken-Maduako made the call last Thursday,while delivering his inaugural lecture at the 39th Inaugural  lecture  series of the University in Port Harcourt.
Ken-Maduako,who emphasised the need for  users of words to consider the contextual and conceptual meanings to the choice of words used, so as to avoid being misunderstood as well as mis-interpreted .
“Having been given topics by my lecturer, on the title: ‘meaning of meaning’, after doing much research and understanding cleared, meaning became an intrigue. I seek and find meaning and different dimensions of meaning in everything I see, conversation I listened to, and activities that I observe, I read people’s body language effortlessly and I just seem to hear the “unsaid said” in every speech encounter.”
The Guest Inaugural Lecturer, stressed on what meaning is and how it should be applied in communications, adding that there were various forms of communication which includes verbal; non-verbal; written and visual as modes of expression with different forms of languages.
In her view on semantics, Ken-Maduako  argued that it is a branch of linguistics that is concerned with the scientific study of the meaning of words in a natural language, but lacks an in-depth expression of the meaning, while the pragmatic is the practical aspect of meaning and considers the engagement of context in meaning, interpretation or ultilisation of human language in social interactions.
She explained that humans and natural signs have different connotations such as “yawning”, which could mean sign of tiredness or hunger and “don’t be silly,” which could mean an advice to a child or close friend and an insult to an elder or distant person.
She revealed that literal semantic theory cannot adequately provide interpretation to the meaning of expressions in any natural language, while Multimodal Critical Pragmatics Theory and Multimodal as a multi-functional model for analysing meaning in all natural language.
On the topic: ‘Meaning And The Linguist’, the Inaugural Lecturer, Ken-Maduako stated that words have been used differently to mean different things.
She cited a scenario where the Bible says: “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you… Matthew 5:30 also in another scenario where drivers are held up in heavy traffic and they are looking for any possible opening to pass through, saying that words you hearing from them are: “ Madam, Oga, cut your hand to the left;” Oga na trailer you dey drive? ; Madam you no go cut your hand comot there or go your right? Which kind wahala be dis?; Abeg cut your hand comot there make I pass, concluding by asking if all the instances of the use of words above really mean to literally cut off one’s hand? No, but conceptually, the word cut, meant to leave the place, adding that in the above contexts, “cut” must have another connotative meaning different from it’s conceptual meaning,” The Prof added.
She conclude that the notion of meaning has been explored different levels, fields and contexts.
The multifarious nature of meaning highlighted immensely revealing how exceptionally ill-assorted it can be, emphasising that human language and the experiences of humans are so complex and multifaceted that a literal semantic theory cannot adequately provide interpretations to the meaning of expressions in any natural language.
The inaugural lecture thus proposed that the Multimodal Critical Pragmatics (MCP) Theory and Multimodal CPrag3SD as a multi-functional model for analysing meaning in all natural languages.
“This model has also been used in this Inaugural Lecture to foreground it’s efficacy in analysing language because it’s squeezes out the tiniest juice from the expressions under study.
She implored linguists as well as language users world wide to explore the multifunctionalism of MCP in their upcoming research and analysis of oral and written language.
“If you say this is the meaning of this, you may not be completely correct because in that context that may be the meaning of that word, but if you take it out if that context and put it  to another context, you will see that it might mean something entirely different to you.
“If I say you are a fool for doing that, I am simply telling you that you have done something wrong, so in this context, it can be seen as counsel. The Speech Acts might not be to accuse you, it might be to counsel you, to open your eyes to what you have to see may be you should have done something different.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Acting Vice Chancellor, I AUE, Prof Okey Onuchuku described academic research as relevant tool that profers solutions to problems for a better solution as well as promote innovation fir a better society.
Prof. Onuchuku commended the inaugural lecturer, Prof Ibiere Ken-Maduako for sharing her professional experience on the topic, adding that  the lecture will go a long way to better the society.
“ Professor Ken-Maduako has fully presented her work with in-depth analysis of the word meaning, remarking many now have a better understanding on Semantics, Pragmatics as well as the models to be used in analysing word meaning.”
Onuchuku added that knowledge gained from the lecture will go a long way to solve problems as well create space for further research, while enjoining the university Don not to relent in her academic research so as to engender a better society.
“Inagural lecture is what actually brings out a lecturer to explain what he/she has been professing and as witnessed today, the Inaugural lecturer has really explained what she has been professing over the years. If you check out on the reference aspect of her book presentation, you will see that there are several publications that she has done and most of her speeches were drawn from there.
“She is an example of a scholar that is serious, that knows what she is doing as she excellently delivered the Inaugural lecture today.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

 

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RSUBEB Holds Capacity Workshop For Servicom Officers

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A one-day Sensitization and Capacity Building of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board and the Local Government Education Authorities Servicom Committee Officers has come and gone with a call on the participants to ensure that the right thing is done after the training.
A  press statement by the Chief Press Secretary of  the Board Okechukwu Geoffrey said the  training  took place at the Board Headquarters over the weekend   adding that the director Special   Programme, Mrs Flora Timon, advised them to take the training seriously and ensure that they delivered quality service at their various local government areas.
The  atatement stated  that the director while thanking the participants for participating in the capacity building training,  informed them that Rivers SUBEB was the first among the 36 states of the federation to submit work plan after the training at Abuja held last November and commended the Executive Chairman of the Board Ven. Fyneface Ndubuisi Akah for his visionary and purposeful leadership.
Also speaking, Mrs Stella Benson (Servicom presidency Abuja) described Servicom slogan as ‘ Government’s solution and answer to poor public service delivery.
Benson who also was a resource person at the training further maintained that Servicom is all about service delivery as well as doing what we are employed to do and expressed hope that at the end of the training Servicom would be established in all the LGEAs of the state to ensure service delivery.
Some of the participants who spoke also commended government for organising the training which they said would go a long way to repositioning the system.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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Don Charts Path For Improved Healthcare System …Flays Medical Tourism Abroad

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A Professor of Chemical Pathology, Department of Medical Laboratory Science ,Rivers State University Prof Ebirien Bartimaeus, has said the medical tourism been embarked by prominent citizens of the country to other advanced nations can be brought to an end if the healthcare system is improved and medical research is encouraged .
Bartimaeus stated this while delivering his inaugural lecture titled “The More We Look The More We See and that is how it is, “at the 78th inaugural lecture series of the Rivers State University (RSU held at the new Senate Complex  in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday
He averred that to end the medical tourism ,all the health providers must work in synergy and function independently in order to meet up with the challenges of emerging and re-emerging infections and epidemics ,adding that with a robust medical laboratory services fully equipped and supported
with modern medical laboratory equipment and adequately trained professionals will salvage the nation ‘s health challenges .
He described Medical Laboratory Scientists as the life wire of the medical profession ,saying  that there is need for greater collaboration between all the players in the health profession.
The  erudite scholar while the explaining the intrigue of the lecture opined that medical Laboratory scientists are the unseen detectives and oracles of modern diagnostic medicine and def defined medical laboratory science as the practice involving the analysis of human or animal tissues ,body fluids ,execretions ,production of biological design and fabrication of equipment for the purposes of laboratory diagnosis ,treatment and research .
“The popular parlance in life is the more you look ,the less you see “vice chancellor ,sir ,in this lecture i will unravel the mystery of why my profession the paradigm shift is “the more we look ,the more we see “I will also inform us about what i have looked and see in the field of clinical pathology as part of my humble contributions in trying to provide solutions and insights into some of the myriads of medical problems affecting Nigeria and make it possible for us to understand why in modern diagnostic medicine it has to be like that “he stated
Prof Bartimaeus among other things recommended the re _opening the Diagnostic centre especially now that the university is interested in sourcing for ways to improve its internally generated revenue .
In his speech at the the Vice Chancellor ,prof Nlerum Sunday Okogbule represented by the Deputy vice chancellor ,Administration ,prof N .S Okoroma said the institution has kept faith with the monthly holding  inaugural lectures ,adding that it is an occasion a professor  used to  show case his academic expertise and make contribution for the betterment of the society .
He commended the guest lecturer for his erudite presentations  and described him as a  thorough breed scholar who has distinguished himself ,adding that the lecture topic was a new concept from the known margin as it was showded with  suspense.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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