The Senate, on Tuesday, approved the upgrade of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State to a university of technology.
The development followed the third reading of a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Federal University of Technology, Ilaro and for Other Matters Connected therewith.
The piece of legislation was sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola, an All Progressives Congress senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District.
The bill was earlier sponsored by Adeola in the 8th Senate but could not be passed before the expiration of the 8th Senate and it was again presented again in the 9th Senate for consideration and passage.
The Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Sadiq Umar Sulaiman, presented the report on behalf of the chairman of the committee Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita.
The report stated that there was a need to expand opportunities for advanced education in technology.
He added that the upgrade of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro to a university of technology will be of tremendous benefits for host communities, provide employment as well as educational development to quickly increase avenue for degree awards in technological fields for teeming Nigerian youths.
The bill which was passed after thorough consideration of its clauses by the Senate in plenary is now set for concurrence of the House of Representatives and eventual assent by the President.
The President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan congratulated Adeola for the passage of the bill that he had pursued since the 8th Senate.
Adeola, who was elated at the passage of the bill, stated that the passage marks a fulfillment of one of his legislative agendas in relation to the institutional development of education at all levels.
He added that the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro already has enough facilities for the upgrade to take off immediately without much expenditure as would have been required for a brand-new university.
U.S. Facilitates $28M Scholarship For Nigerian Students in 1 year – U.S. Ambassador
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, says her country has facilitated 28 million dollars scholarships for Nigerian students to study in U.S institutions in the last one year.
Leonard said this on Thursday at the commemoration of the Student Visa Day organised by the U.S Mission in Abuja.
She said that the scholarship process was facilitated by the Education U.S.A programme of the embassy which was keen on enabling Nigerian students to pursue their academics and a future in the U.S.
“We are proud to prioritize Nigeria’s scholars in our consular process, as we recognise the value their success holds for the country’s future. With over 13,700 students fulfilling their American education dreams, the United States welcomes more Nigerian students enrolled than ever before. Americans view university study as an investment in a professional future.
“And I’m pleased that our Education USA team has helped Nigerian students apply for and receive more than 28 million dollars in scholarships and other educational funding to pursue their future. We know from us over 8,000 education and exchange programme alumni in Nigeria, the tremendous community impact that results when these ambitious students return to apply their knowledge and skills.
“Here at the U.S. Embassy, we are proud of the diversity in American educational institutions. There are more than 8,000 Students and Exchange Visitor Programme-certified educational institutions in the United States,” Leonard said.
The envoy also noted that beyond studying in the U.S, the programme provides the opportunity for Nigerian students to meet with U.S citizens and other nationals which will help in strengthening bilateral ties.
She said that with more than one million students from 220 countries and territories, the United States hosts more international students than any other country in the world.
She revealed that Nigeria sent more students to the United States than any other country in Africa.
“Students at our universities exchange ideas not only with American students but with students from across the globe. The educational enrichment that these types of discussions provide is priceless.
“As students, you will hear ideas and personal stories from your classmates and professors that will challenge your views. And also expand your understanding of the world; your ideas and stories will do the same for those around you.,” she said.
According to her, by studying together in the same schools, Nigerians, Americans, and students from all other nationalities will not only understand each other better but also see how many common challenges we all face.
“Students can work together to creatively solve problems and build long-term professional collaborations, increasing our countries’ economic ties”, Leonard added.
She, therefore, congratulated the beneficiaries, who were present as she urged them to stay focused on their studies in other to make a meaningful impact in the country when they return.
Ms Malate Atajiri, an Education USA Adviser said the opportunities fund programme seeks to identify and support high achieving low-income students who otherwise will not have been able to navigate or finance the process.
Atajiri said that the programme helps to support aspiring students towards securing full scholarships from top colleges in the U.S.
“The programme finances the process right from the testing stage, their application fees and even paying for their flight tickets after they have secured the funding. This year, the opportunity funds programme in Abuja supported 50 students to secure 4 million dollars in scholarships at some of the most competitive colleges and institutions in North America.
“Since the programme started, we have placed over 320 students with full funding in the U.S the programme also has a strong ethos of giving back. Although we have many students who have done and continue to do great things, Education USA is committed to helping young Nigerians who are interested in studying in the U.S.
“We help students to navigate that process and help them realize their dreams of a U.S education,” Atajiri said.
Atajiri added that the Education USA had six centers in Nigeria; Abuja, Lagos, Jos, Calabar and Ibadan where aspiring students could visit to learn more and get more information on the programmes and processes. (NAN)
Senate Passes Bill To End HND/BSc Discrimination
The Senate, on Wednesday, read for the third time and passed a Bill that seeks to end discrimination between First Degrees graduates from universities and Higher National Diploma (HND) holders from polytechnics in the country.
The passage of the Bill followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters; and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, during plenary.
Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, in his report, said: “The enactment of the bill to abolish and prohibit discrimination between First Degrees and Higher National Diploma for the purpose of employment in Nigeria will no doubt free holders of HND from stagnation and ensure balanced treatment with their counterparts from other higher tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”
He added that the abolishment of the existing dichotomy between HND holders and graduates of Universities would meet the huge manpower needs of Nigerians, ensure social justice and enhanced corporate governance as well encourage patriotic contributions amongst HND employees in both public and private sectors.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his contribution, said the passage of the Bill would serve as motivation for polytechnic graduates.
He called on the public and private sectors to ensure the implementation of the Bill’s provisions as soon as it is signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This particular issue has been in the front burner for a long time. I recall that in the House of Representatives between 2003 and 2007, this was one bill that was so important, and is one way of encouraging our Polytechnic graduates.
“That should not take away from the kind of training they receive, but, in fact, it is supposed to be a motivation for our polytechnic graduates.
“I pray that the Federal Government and all those government agencies and the private sector would start to implement this by the time the President assents to this Bill.”
The Bill which was sponsored by Senator Patrick Ayo Akinyelure seeks to resolve the lingering controversy, discrimination and wage and entry level disparity against HND holder in the public and private sectors of the economy.
It also seeks to promote Nigeria’s technological advancement by encouraging many qualified candidates to pursue polytechnic and technological studies.
It could be recalled that in his lead debate during the second reading of the Bill, Senator Akinyelure had insisted that discrimination against HND holders could ruin the nation’s core policy thrust of evolving a technological and scientifically based society.
Findings, he said, had proved that some polytechnic graduates were in some cases better on the field than their university counterparts.
“A government employment policy that places degree holders ahead of HND holders without recourse to skill and ability of the HND holder thereof does more harm than good to the nation’s development plans,” Akinyelure had said.
Buhari Submit Bill To Extend Teacher’s Service Year and Retirement Age By 5 Years
The Senate, on Wednesday, received President Muhammadu Buhari’s executive Bill which seeks to increase the retirement age for teachers in the country from 60 to 65 years.
The Bill also proposes increase in the years of service for teachers from 35 to 40 years.
Buhari, in a letter read on the floor by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, noted that the Bill provides for harmonised retirement age for teachers in the country.
According to him, the move to increase the retirement age and service years of teachers was pursuant to Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Buhari’s letter titled: “Transmission of the harmonised retirement age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill 2021 to the National Assembly for consideration,” reads:
“Pursuant to Section 58 subsection 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith the harmonised retirement age for teachers in Nigeria Bill, 2021 for consideration by the Senate.
“The harmonised retirement age for teachers in Nigeria Bill 2021 seeks to increase the retirement age for teachers from 60 to 65 years, and also increase the possible years of service from 35 to 40 years.
“While appreciating your usual expeditious consideration of this submission, please, accepts Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary referred the President’s request for the confirmation of Major General Farouk Yahaya as Chief of Army Staff of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Committees on Defense and Army for further legislative work.
The Senate Committee on Defence, chaired by Senator Aliyu Wamakko, was named the lead Committee to screen the newly appointed Army Chief.
It would be recalled that Buhari had in October 2020 approved a special salary scale and new retirement age for teachers in commemoration of the World Teachers Day.
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