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Teachers’ Day: Reps celebrate best principal, teacher

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The House of Representatives, Thursday honoured the best Secondary School Principal and best Teacher in the country, urging them not to relent in their efforts to educate the nation.

The Principal, Mr. Puis from Government Senior College, Epe and the teacher, Mrs Agnes Ilunishakin from Oriwu Model College, Ikorodu are both from Lagos State.

TIMELY POST learnt that their recognition came on the heels of World Teachers’ Day celebration.

Briefing Journalists, Hon. Babajimi Benson from Lagos State who sponsored the motion for their recognition said that the educationists were selected by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

In the motion earlier, the lawmaker noted that despite their contributions to the nations education sector, teachers in Nigeria remained the less paid.

He said: “The House notes that this year’s World Teachers’ Day (WTD) or International Teachers’ Day was celebrated on October 5, 2019, with the theme – “Young Teachers: The future of the Profession and was aimed at proffering ideas to attract and keep young persons in the profession;

“Aware that the celebration of teachers followed the United Nation’s Declaration in 1994 for the recognition of the World Teachers Day (WTD) or International Teachers Day to celebrate teachers around the World for their efforts towards shaping the minds of several children and the society at large even though they remain unsung heroes and heroines whose contributions to the society are underappreciated;

“Also aware that the United Nation’s in developing the thematic areas of concentration for the Sustainable Development Goal 4 Quality Education, recognizes the role of teachers as being key to the achievement of its Education by 2030 Agenda;

“Observes that the Federal Government, in marking the day, instituted the President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award to show appreciation for the immense contributions of teachers to nation-building;

“Worried that despite the contributions of Teachers to societal development, teachers in Nigeria are overworked and remain among the worst paid in the world, with poor welfare package and teaching environment;

“Also worried that currently none of the E9 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan) other than Nigeria, allocates less than 20 per cent of its annual budget to education”.

Also commending the teachers, some lawmakers which included the Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and Hon. Nkiru Onyejiocha asked them to remain steadfast.

On his own, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila thanked the teachers for their efforts and commitments.

“We thank them for your commitment to education, your students. You are higher achievers. Teaching is the noblest of all profession. Continue with what you are doing. We wish you the best. We will make sure that the prayer of the motion which is enhancing the budget is education is assured.

Adopting the motion, the House urged the urged the Federal Government to improve on the welfare and support schemes for teachers, especially in the area of training, using the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) approach in addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools in order to improve competitiveness in science and technology development.
It also urged the government to employ more teachers to address the issue of inadequate staffing and low productivity within the education sector and also increase budgetary allocation to the Education sector in the 2020 appropriation bill so as to equip teachers with the requisite training and adequate facilities in the schools.

The House mandated its Committees on Tertiary Education and Services and Basic Education and Service to ensure implementation.

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Education

Strike looms in Universities over unpaid salaries

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso chapter on Wednesday issued a ten-day ultimatum to the university management to pay their August, September and October salaries or face industrial crisis.

The ultimatum, TIMELY POST gathered, started on Wednesday, today, and ends on Friday, 15th November, 2019.

The union said it might resort to strike at the expiration of the ultimatum.

It was gathered that academic staff of the University are being owed eleven months pay.

But, Chairman of the union, Biodun Olaniran and Secretary Toyin Abegunrin in a congress resolution made available to TIMELY POST threatened to withhold the Semester results of 2018/2019 academic session until the salaries are paid.

According to the Union, LAUTECH academics deserved to be paid their earned salaries without begging.

It was gathered that the University Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Ologunde had attributed non-payment of salaries to non-release of subvention to it by the owner states.

ASUU maintained that the welfare of her members remained paramount in her demands and it would do everything at her disposal not to expose her members to undeserved economic hardship.

“The Union gives the University administration till Friday 15th November, 2019 to pay the salaries of August, September and October 2019 failure of which will cause the Union to hold a Congress on Monday 18th November, 2019 where necessary action deemed fit will be taken.

“That rain semester results of 2018/2019 academic session would not be submitted until the said salaries are paid,” it said

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Sex-for-marks: Dont go to lecturers unnecessarily – FG warns female undergraduates

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The Federal Government on Tuesday said it is embarrassed by increased allegations of sexual misconduct in the country’s tertiary institutions.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who made the remark at the formal presentation of Sexual Harassment Policy Document by the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) on Tuesday urged female students to stop going to lecturers unnecessarily.

The unveiling of the document followed the recent British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) sex-for-grades investigation report on some African universities.

Adamu, represented by Mrs Ijeoma Duru, an Assistant Director, Tertiary Education Department in the Ministry, urged students to take their studies seriously to avoid undue exposure to sexual predators.

“The Federal Ministry of Education is embarrassed with the allegations of sex-for-grades in Nigeria’s higher institutions.

“Girls should read their books and be able to defend their certificates and as such, make them less vulnerable to sexual predators.

“They (female students) should stop going to lecturers unnecessarily and also should not harass their lecturers,” NAN quoted him as saying.

The minister added that UNIPORT was the first university in the country to unveil a policy document against sexual harassment on campus.

According to him, the policy will go a long way in addressing the danger of sexual harassment in institutions of learning.

Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor of UNIPORT, Prof. Ndowa Lale, also stated that the university frowned at sexual misconduct and was taking actionable steps to tackle the menace.

He said the document defined the rules of engagement between lecturers, administrators and students, including visitors to the university.

“The document unambiguously defines what constitutes sexual harassment and the sanctions to be taken against those who wittingly and unwittingly infringe on its provisions in the line of duty.

“Henceforth, lecturers and administrators who do not remember to sow zippers in front of their trousers should be ready to bear the consequences of their amorous liaison with female students.

“Also, students who harass lecturers to award them undeserved grades should equally be ready to face the music if and when they are caught in the act of self-advertisement to their lecturers.

“Similarly, any randy Juliet (female student) who blackmails vulnerable male students or colleagues, and any visitor who believes that UNIPORT is hunting ground for cheap sex would be prosecuted,” he warned.

Lale added that any person accused of sexual misconduct would be presumed guilty until such allegation was proved otherwise, under the established rules of fair hearing.

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Education

Senate directs UNIMAID to suspend planned fees hike

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The Senate has directed the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) to suspend its recent decision to increase tuition and other fees by more than 400 per cent.

The lawmakers also mandated its Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND, to engage the Federal Ministry of Education and stakeholders such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), with a view to reaching consensus on a harmonised fee for universities in Nigeria.

The resolutions followed a point of order raised by Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North). The senator bemoaned the recent decision by the UNIMAID management to increase the registration and other fees of the school from N25,000 to N129,000, an increase of over 400 per cent.

A document signed by the university’s registrar, Tijani Bukar, said the newly-introduced fees will take effect from the 2019/2020 academic session.

Some students and Civil Society Organisations have kicked against the university’s new directive.

Leading the motion, Mr Kyari said half of the men in North-East Nigeria have no education at all, and this figure rises to over 61 per cent for women.

“It is imperative that schools in the North-East should remain of strategic national interest with overwhelming national security importance,” he said.

The lawmaker said education remains a repellent and potent tool to defeat Boko Haram and also revamp the North East from underdevelopment and poverty. He said 62 per cent of Nigerian children who are not in school live in Northern Nigeria.

“Borno State has the highest number of people that don’t have access to education due to the Boko Haram crisis in particular.”

He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to rise to the occasion to ensure that the fee increment is reversed due to the greater need to propagate empowerment through education at tertiary levels.

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