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Nigeria Launches e-Learning Platform to Combat Education Challenges

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has commenced plans to improve the educational standard in the country, which will promote open education and provide certified access to high quality of education across all levels. In view of this, the Federal Government has decided to launch a new e-learning programme to aid the plan.

The Nigerian Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu launched the new e-learning platform in Abuja, saying that it would help the country in combating the problem of children who are currently out of school, and also help to bolster the delivery of education for all people through the use of technology.

Since the initial stage of the pandemic, schools across primary, secondary and tertiary levels have started to make use of online methods to deliver their lessons. This has seen platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google Classroom, Google Meet, etc. take the stage as the leading learning platforms.

The new e-learning platform will not be making use of an app, but will instead be done through the web. He said that about two million people will be able to use the platform at the same time. In terms of execution, Adamu – who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono – said that those who have direct access to the internet will obviously be able to access all the materials provided. However, these learning materials will also be made available on other channels like radio and television, among others. He said that this is to consider potential learners living in rural areas.

According to Adamu, the Federal Government is not turning a blind eye to the growing need for an improvement in technologies and innovation, in order to improve digital skills and create new job opportunities for youths in this increasingly digitalised world.

Adamu referred to the COVID-19 pandemic and cited how the educational sector had to undergo a revamp concerning teaching and learning methods, calling it a new normal. This made the Federal Government develop a new COVID-19 education strategy.

Adamu stated that the country turned to the internet and technology so that those who would benefit from it would be able to access the learning materials at any place, and at any time.

 

 

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Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Extends Strike by 30 Days

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its ongoing strike by another 30 days, the union said in a statement signed by Emmanuel Osodeke.

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Asuu and federal government in meeting

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its ongoing strike by another 30 days, the union said in a statement signed by Emmanuel Osodeke.

In the statement, ASUU said the decision to extend the strike was made after a meeting of executives on Sunday. This, it said would give the federal government time to address its ongoing issues despite two previous extensions.

In February 2022, ASUU embarked on a warning strike to protest against the non-implementation of its various demands raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA).

On March 14, the union extended the strike by two months, citing failure to reach an agreement with the federal government. Again, on May 9, it extended the strike by another three months for the same reasons.

“The Union wonders why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement,” the statement reads.

“NEC acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the Union’s principled demand for a globally competitive university education in Nigeria. Nigerian universities must not be reduced to constituency projects that merely exist on paper and our scholars must be incentivised to stay back and do what they know best, here in Nigeria.

“NEC observed that non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Professor Nimi Briggs-led Committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide.

“NEC further observed that the on-going trial of the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed ldris, on allegation of monumental fraud has vindicated ASUU’s rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS). The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is enjoined to release reports of the latest tests on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) vis-à-vis IPPIS without further delay. ASUU shall resist any attempt to truncate the deployment of UTAS with all legitimate means available to the Union.

“NEC noted that cumulative indifference by the political class gave vent to pervasive atmosphere of insecurity which now threatens seamless provision of educational services in the country. The unceremonious closure of educational institutions in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following the recent attack on Presidential Guards, betrays a panicky measure to addressing a malignant ailment. Nothing short of a comprehensive overhaul of the security architecture of the country will sustainably address the problem.

“Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of Government’s past failures to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA), NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues. The role-over strike action is with effect from 12.01a.m. on Monday, 1st August, 2022.”

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Nigerian Student Studying in Morocco Named in the Top 50 Shortlist for $100,000 Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2022

Stanley Anigbogu, a 22-year-old student from Onitsha, Anambra State, has been shortlisted for a $100,000 award.

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Stanley Anigbogu

Stanley Anigbogu, a 22-year-old student from Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria, currently studying Multimedia Development on full scholarship at The National School of Applied Sciences, Kenitra, Morocco, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2022, an annual $100,000 award to be given to one exceptional student that has made a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.

Stanley Anigbogu was selected from almost 7,000 nominations and applications from 150 countries.

The Varkey Foundation partnered with Chegg.org to launch the annual Global Student Prize last year, a sister award to its $1 million Global Teacher Prize. It was established to create a powerful new platform that shines a light on the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who, together, are reshaping our world for the better. The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.

Stanley Anigbogu is a Nigerian-born changemaker, STEM advocate, entrepreneur and creative technologist studying Multimedia Development on full scholarship at The National School of Applied Sciences, Kenitra, Morocco. During his time in Morocco, he was recognized by the Nigerian Student Association as the most innovative/creative student in 2021. He is the founder of ArtecHubs Nigeria, a leading STEM skill acquisition company for young minds in southeast Nigeria, is passionate about closing the gender gap in STEM and reducing inequity among children in rural areas, and is also an internationally recognised, award winning innovator and filmmaker.

Stanley has also initiated a number of other projects targeted at addressing educational issues that affect children in Nigeria’s rural and suburban neighborhoods such as The Dream Box Initiative, Stem4Her which has to date equipped up to 1500 rural girls with skills in STEM, and Sparknuit, a disruptive startup providing reliable, available, and cheap sources of electricity for people in hard-to-reach areas as well as solar-powered lamps so that children may study and see clearly at night. Stanley’s initiatives have received global recognition from international organizations such as the Diana Award, and he has also participated as a facilitator and speaker at events such as the Nigeria Edtech Summit, Berlin Science Week, RDC Science Week, and Morocco Science Week.

Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, said: “Since its launch last year, the Global Student Prize has given incredible students all over the world a chance to share their stories, connect with each other, and reach influencers in education and beyond. Now, more than ever, students like Stanley deserve to have their stories told and have their voices heard. After all, we need to harness their dreams, their insights, and their creativity to tackle the daunting and urgent challenges facing our world.

“Our finalists this year have made a huge impact in areas from the environment to equality and justice, from health and wellbeing to education and skills, from youth empowerment to ending poverty. I can’t wait to see how this year’s inspiring cohort of changemakers use this platform to make their voices louder, and their work lift up even more lives”

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “I extend my warmest congratulations to Stanley. His story is a testament to the crucial role that education plays in building a better tomorrow for us all. It is the key to solving humanity’s greatest challenges, from war and conflict to climate change to growing inequality. As time runs out to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, it is more important than ever to prioritize education so we can face the future with confidence.”

Applications and nominations for this year’s Global Student Prize opened on Thursday 27 January and closed on Sunday 1 May. Students are being assessed on their academic achievement, impact on their peers, how they make a difference in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they demonstrate creativity and innovation, and how they operate as global citizens.

Last year’s winner was Jeremiah Thoronka, a 21-year-old student from Sierra Leone, who launched a start-up called Optim Energy that transforms vibrations from vehicles and pedestrian footfall on roads into an electric current. With just two devices, the start-up provided free electricity to 150 households comprising around 1,500 citizens, as well as 15 schools where more than 9,000 students attend.

The top 10 finalists of the Global Student Prize are expected to be announced in August this year. The winner, who will be announced later in the year, will be chosen from the top 10 finalists by the Global Student Prize Academy, made up of prominent individuals.

If students were nominated, the person nominating them was asked to write a brief description online explaining why. The student being nominated was then sent an email inviting them to apply for the prize. Applicants were able to apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. To join the conversation online follow @cheggdotorg.

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$221m Spent By Nigerians on Foreign Education Between Dec 2021 & Feb 2022  – CBN Reveals

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University - Investors King

In the wake of incessant strike actions by academic and non-academic unions in Nigeria, Nigerians have found solace in studying abroad to get adequate education. 

The Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), in a recent report, has now shown that Nigerians spent nothing less than $220.86m on foreign education in three months (between December 2021 and February 2022). 

According to the CBN data on the amount spent on educational service under the sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for foreign exchange for December 2021 to February 2022, in December 2021, the bank spent $90.67m on foreign education. Later in January, it spent a total of $60,202,730.84 on foreign education, while a sum of $69.9m was spent in February 2022.

According to a report by Punch, the CBN has not yet published the amount it spent in March, April and May, but has noted that the amount it indicated in December 2021 and January 2022 “might be subject to change in future.”

“This data from the apex bank shows that Nigerians remitted more than $220m to foreign academic institutions in three months without a notable “reciprocity” in form of inflows from foreign sources to the local education sector,” Punch reported.

The huge net dollar outflows has a two-way effect on the countries economy – an underinvestment in domestic education and creating pressure on the naira exchange rate. This is as a result of high demands for dollars to pay foreign educational institutions which affects Nigeria’s foreign reserves and increases pressure on the exchange rate.

Investors King gathered that over 70 thousand Nigerians were studying abroad as of 2018, according to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation. This is the highest from an African country.

During an interview with the media, National President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said the failure of the government to adequately fund education in Nigeria has negatively impacted the sector.

“You go to tertiary institutions and you see dilapidated buildings, lecturers and students alike are not happy, students do not have access to good equipment for practicals, at the end of the day, the system continues to churn out half-baked graduates.

“The only solution to this is for the government to invest fully in the sector. If we operate world-class schools in the country, there will be no need for people to go to other countries to obtain a good education”, he said.

The Convener, Reform Education sector, Olubunmi Olusanmi also noted that there is a need for the government to speedily increase its investment in the education sector.

“Education is the bedrock of any nation, you cannot neglect that sector and say you want to focus on infrastructure. Nigerians go to other countries to avoid some of the drama that goes on in our local schools.  Talks of strikes have been annual festivals and we have all seen it as normal.

 “We cannot continue to go on like this. The truth is that many individuals who have the resources or who can struggle to get the resources will continue to go out and get better quality education. The government needs to do better.”

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