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iReader Joins Publiseer’s Expansive List of Store Partners

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Publiseer, Africa’s leading digital content distributing platform, on Monday announced that iReader, China’s leading mobile reading platform with over half a billion users, has joined its expansive list of online retail store partners.

iReader has a global reach, as it distributes over 600,000 book titles to 70 million active book readers in over 150 countries. This addition is to help Publiseer authors reach iReader’s global audience.

“Authors already distributing their books through Publiseer have to do nothing to get their titles on iReader. All they have to do is sit back and relax, and Publiseer will automatically send their titles to iReader,” says Chidi Nwaogu, CEO at Publiseer. “For those who want to opt-out from iReader, all they have to do is to shoot us an email, letting us know that they don’t want their titles distributed to iReader. Our partnership with iReader offers our authors exclusive featuring and merchandising opportunities, such as in-app marketing and promotions.”

Publiseer is a digital platform that helps independent and underserved African writers, musicians, filmmakers, and video game developers, typically those from low-income and disadvantaged communities, to earn above the minimum wage and live above the poverty line from the sales of their creative works. Every day, Publiseer discovers extraordinary local African creatives and gives them the platform to focus on doing what they love doing the most, which is to create, while Publiseer handles the tedious but important business of transforming their creativity into wealth for them.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Education

Buhari to N150,000 Bursary for University Students; N100,000 for NCE

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President Buhari - Investors King

The Federal Government has announced the reintroduction of bursary in universities and colleges of education across the country, with N150,000 and N100,000 earmarked for each undergraduate and NCE student, respectively, per session.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said this in his keynote address delivered at the 2021 World Teachers Day celebration in Abuja, Tuesday.

Adamu said the reintroduction of the bursary was part of the resolutions of the National Implementation Committee constituted by the government following President Muhammdu Buhari’s pronouncement in repositioning the nation’s education sector and the teaching profession in particular, during 2020 World Teachers Day celebration.

He added that the ministry would liaise with the 36 states’ education ministries, including the FCT Education Board, with a view to effecting the new scheme.

They would identify the respective courses of study required by each state, while “beneficiaries must attend public institutions only and sign a bond to serve their state for five years on graduation.”

“The fund would be sourced from UBEC, TETFund and managed by the Federal Scholarship Board.”

Adamu said his ministry “shall collaborate with agencies like NTI, TRCN, CPN, NUC, NCCE, UBEC, PTDF, TETFund, and non-governmental organisations to organise trainings in pedagogy and information and communication technology for academic and non-academic staff.”

He disclosed that “UBEC, TETFund and PTDF would assist in funding the annual training.”

“Government would partner with developers/recognised institutions like Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board, FGSLB, FME Staff Welfare, and NUT to finance affordable homes for teachers on build-operate-and-transfer basis.”

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Education

Senate Passes Bills To Establish Two Federal Universities in Ekiti, Nasarawa states

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University - Investors King

The Senate on Tuesday passed two bills seeking to establish two federal universities in Ekiti and Nasarawa States.

The bills are the Federal University of Health and Medical Sciences Iyin, Ekiti State (Establishment) Bill, 2021, and Federal University Lafia Teaching Hospital (Establishment) Bill, 2021.

Both bills are sponsored by Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), and Tanko Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa South).

The passage of both bills followed the presentation and consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), in his presentation, said the bill to establish the Federal University of Lafia Teaching Hospital was “necessitated as a result of the precarious health conditions faced by the resident.”

According to him, the bill to establish the Federal University of Health and Medical Sciences Iyin, Ekiti State, seeks to promote and emphasize teaching, research and extension of knowledge in the field of medicine and environmental sciences.

In a related development, the Senate on Wednesday passed a third bill to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards) Act.

The bill’s passage by the upper chamber followed consideration of a report by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).

Senator Oloriegbe in his presentation explained that the amendment bill seeks to amend the First Schedule to the Principal Act to include the University Teaching Hospital, Lafia and Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital.

In a related development, a bill seeking to establish the Federal College of Education, Kaiama, Kwara State, scaled second reading during plenary.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara North).

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after the bill was considered, referred it to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.

The Committee which is chaired by Senator Ahmad Baba Kaita was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.

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Nexford University, Sterling Bank Partner to Benefit Students, Corporates

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Nexford University - Investors King

Nexford University, a Washington D.C. based, next-generation online university – announces a major new partnership with Sterling Bank, one of Nigeria’s largest commercial banks.

The Sterling Bank and Nexford program is called ‘Fund Your Future’ and is part of Nexford’s wider ‘Learn to Earn’ project for emerging markets. It is designed to solve three major challenges:

  • Enabling employers to find qualified entry-level talent;

In the World Economic Forum’s index, Nigeria scored 44% on human capital development (measured by skills acquisition) trailing the Sub-Saharan African average of 55%

Nigerian employers faced the most difficulties in filling managerial, professional and technical jobs due to a lack of skilled applicants

  • Helping students with affordable access to university

50% of Nigeria’s high school graduates fail to gain admission to local universities and other institutions of learning;

  • Giving students skills they need to actually get jobs

Employers across emerging markets struggle to find qualified entry-level talent, and are forced to invest in expensive and time-consuming training. Paradoxically, despite high emerging market unemployment levels, employers still struggle to find this qualified talent. In a McKinsey survey of young people and employers in nine countries, including major developing countries, 40% of employers noted a lack of skills was the main reason for entry-level job vacancies. 60% said new graduates were not adequately prepared for the world of work.

For Sterling Bank, the benefits are multiple. First is access to student talent – which has been given an education – by Nexford – specifically tailored to their corporate needs. This saves Sterling money on current early-stage training to upskill graduates to the required level. Nexford’s competency-based curriculum also provides Sterling with multiple data points to evaluate applicants’ qualifications, thus saving time on filtering large numbers of applications and the wider recruitment process.

For students, Sterling Bank is playing two roles; it will underwrite loans to fund their tuition fees with Nexford. This will protect students against Naira foreign exchange fluctuations. These fluctuations, plus US dollar restrictions, make budgeting for degree costs difficult.  Sterling will put students back in control of their finances. Secondly, Sterling Bank is providing students with partial scholarships and internships during students’ studies, plus post-graduation job opportunities.

The wider context is, in markets such as the US, employer-funded education has grown significantly, with $82.5 billion spent on upskilling there in 2020. In 2020, the World Economic Forum also stated that 1 billion workers will need to be reskilled by 2030. While the need for upskilling globally is significant, young populations means emerging markets face significant shortages of qualified entry-level talent.

The ‘Nexford for Business’ program which launched in 2020 focuses on reskilling and upskilling employees. Large employers such as Dangote Cement in Nigeria, Indosat in Indonesia, and Hassan Allam Holding in Egypt are employers who have already partnered with Nexford to upskill their employees.

In each market, Nexford will partner with a different organization to fund, and several organizations on the employment side. Employers will identify the skills they need, and Nexford will identify the programs to deliver those skills. When learners complete the programs, they will have a far greater chance of gaining employment opportunities.

Nexford University’s CEO, Fadl Al Tarzi, said:

“Our partnership with Sterling Bank is a perfect example of how Nexford is helping bridge gaps between employers and higher education. We are committed to making access to qualified talent far easier for employers, while making education more accessible and relevant for learners. We are delighted to partner with an institution privileged to have such forward thinking leadership, the Sterling Bank partnership kicks off our global roll-out. This is a perfect match and surely the first of many such partnerships.”

Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head, Health and Education sectors with Sterling Bank, commented:

“The programme is designed to solve three major challenges of enabling employers to find qualified entry level talent, helping students with affordable access to university and giving students the skills they need to actually get jobs.”

“In the World Economic Forum’s index, Nigeria scored 44 percent on human capital development when measured by skills acquisition, trailing the sub-Saharan African average of 55 percent by 11 percent. Also, Nigerian employers face the most difficulties in filling managerial, professional and technical jobs due to lack of skilled applicants.”

Launched in 2019, Nexford’s leverages machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to create a data and skills-driven curriculum, specifically designed to match employers’ needs with its graduates’ skills. It has learners enrolled from over 65 countries, and has partnerships with Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning and IBM to provide access to tools, courses and programmes to enrich the learning experience.

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