Ending Ongoing ASUU Strike

Ending Ongoing ASUU Strike

By DUSTAN AGHEDO

As the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) strike enters its 74th day, DUSTAN AGHEDO, writes on a way to end the lingering crisis between the lecturers and the federal government.

Over the years, Nigerian higher institutions have suffered incessant strikes initiated by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

In the last two decades, LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that ASUU has gone on strike at least 15 times, in a bid to ensure that government listens and attends to its demands.

During the strikes, students are usually sent back home, thereby, wasting time which translates in a prolonged stay in the institution.

While the union has continuously gone on strike to seek government’s attention, federal government, on most occasions, doesn’t even take ASUU strike seriously, rarely regarding ASUU as a threat.

But could things be done differently, taking into consideration the fact that students are the ones at the receiving end of the strike actions?

It would be recalled that the ongoing ASUU strike has entered its 74th day and only time will tell when the strike would be called off.

The demand of ASUU has been the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU; 2012 and 2013), Memorandum of Action (MoA, 2017), among others.

However, if ASUU accepts the current federal government’s proposal of N15.4 billion to public universities for the sake of the students, it would mean postponing the evil day as the issue will resurface in future and the same union will go on strike again.

According to NOI Polls (NOIPolls) for 2019, most Nigerians want the government to mainly focus 49 per cent of its attention on Education, while highlighting poor funding as one of the major reasons for the deterioration and challenges in the educational sector, especially, tertiary education, which has led to frequent strikes by academic and non-academic staff since the early 1990s.

The report also shows that the federal government’s allocation to education in the last 10 years has been inadequate as only a total of N3.90 trillion or an average of 7.07 per cent has so far been allocated to the sector out of a total budget of N55.19 trillion.

No Lecture No Vote Campaign

While the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Joint Campus Committee (JCC) have thrown their weight behind ASUU, perhaps some would feel it is now time for students and their leaders to take a bolder leap of faith to decry, demand and make a stance on their rights.

As some students clamour for ASUU to call off its strike, others are of the opinion that the strike shouldn’t be called off as it could still come back to hunt them in the future.

According to LEADERSHIP Friday’s findings, students from at least six tertiary institutions from both federal and state comprising of; University of Lagos (UNILAG), Lagos State University (LASU), Ekiti State University (EKSU), Imo State University (IMSU), Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), amongst others, have opted to support a ‘No Lecture No Vote Campaign’ to demonstrate their displeasure about the present happenings.

Stakeholders’ Reactions

Speaking to LEADERSHIP Friday, the chairman, NANS JCC, Lagos axis, Abdulqowiyy Busari, said if the government refuses to agree to ASUU’s full demands, then, the students will do what they should have done before now.

‘There are plans on ground to stage a very gigantic protest blocking major FG roads in Lagos State,’ he stressed.

Reacting, Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Coordinator, Lagos State and a student of LASU, Nurudeen Yusuf, said the federal government needs to meet the demands of ASUU in full such that ASUU will not have any reason for going on strike nor students returning to poor teaching and learning conditions.

According to him, “The No Lecture, No Vote’, simply means, if there is no commencement of academic activities in Nigeria Universities, then no February 2019 general election.

“If we want to get it right, we should get it right once and for all. The federal government needs to meet the demands of ASUU in full such that ASUU will not have a reason for going on strike at least for a period of about 10 years. Yes, I want to resume, Nigerian students want to resume but not into the same old condition of campuses, where we have overcrowded lecture halls, inadequate teaching and learning facilities, poor hostels and electricity, limited water supply, hike in fees, among others.”

He added that, ‘We must resume with a commitment and hope that all of these challenges will be brought to barest minimum and the crisis resolved totally.’

Also speaking to LEADERSHIP, a final year student of EKSU, Stephen Oladele, said: “This campaign is not only agitating that we return back to our classrooms, it is also a campaign that seeks to put an end to the foundational problem in our educational system where the federal government pay lip service to education. If we continue to patch problems without strong will to end this unending unfavourable industrial action by lecturers, our future will face the brunt.”

Credit: Leadership

Abesan Senior High School Wins Big in Nigerian Bottling Company Award

Abesan Senior High School Wins Big in Nigerian Bottling Company Award

Good Samaritan facilitates donation of five sets of computers to school

The serene atmosphere of Abesan Senior High School, Ipaja, Lagos State was enlivened last week as the school got an expected gift of five sets of desk top computers courtesy of a good Samaritan, Mrs Adenike Wasilat Odulaja, who nominated the school as a beneficiary of Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) promo which she won.
The school principal, Mrs Florence Omotayo, Osinoiki, was surprised when she received some visitors who came to her office and disclosed that they had come to deliver five sets of desk top computers to the school courtesy of Mrs Odulaja who had won an NBC Promo which had endowment of computer to a school of the winner’s choice as one of the prizes.
Speaking to our correspondent, Mrs Odulaja who is an NBC product seller, she had taken part in a promo called Dapada organised by the NBC for mineral hawkers. She was asked to nominate a school to benefit from her winning and she nominated Abesan Senior High School.
Interestingly, Odulaja didn’t have any child in the school. She said she just picked the school among many schools in her area out of sheer interest.
According to a representative of NBC, Mr Gbenga Tokuta, the Dapada promo which literally means giving back in Yoruba was designed to give back to the society.

The Principal, Mrs F.O. Osinoiki, right, Mrs Adenike Odulaja and the Head Boy, Godwin Jonathan

It is targeted at hawkers of the company’s products. Representatives of the company interview hawkers at random. The emphasis is on courtesy and availability of Coke products.
The winners are empowered by the company which secures shops for them and in addition they are asked to nominate a school in their locality to receive five sets of computers.
The school Principal, Mrs Osinoiki, thanked Mrs Odulaja for nominating the school, while praising the company for taking the initiative to empower schools and aid teaching and learning.
She promised that the computers would be put to good use to aid teaching and learning in the school.

Examination malpractice: Edo suspends principals of 28 public schools

Examination malpractice: Edo suspends principals of 28 public schools

by Our Reporter

The Edo State Government has suspended 28 principals of public senior secondary schools over their involvement in examination malpractice in the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Commissioner for Education, Hon. Emmanuel Agbale, in a memo to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Edo State, said the decision to suspend the affected principals followed the receipt of “report of investigations on the issue, carried out and decision reached by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cancelling the results of affected candidates, and recognizing the schools for a period of two years, with effect from the WASSCE for school candidates, 2019.”

For private schools, Hon. Agbale ordered that a query be sent to 28 private secondary schools to explain in 72 hours, why they should not be deregistered/de-recognised for involvement in examination malpractice in the 2018 WASSCE.

He said this was after receipt of the report of the issue and a decision reached by WAEC to cancel results of the affected candidates in the 2018 WASSCE and derecognising the schools for a period of two years, with effect from the WASSCE for school candidates, 2019.

He directed that a strong warning and reprimand in writing be issued to proprietors of affected private secondary schools for complicity in examination malpractice in their respective schools/ institutions in the WASSCE for school candidates.

The commissioner said that seven other principals of public senior secondary schools in the state were warned and reprimanded for complicity in examination malpractice in their schools in the 2018 WASSCE for School Candidates. A total of 16 private and secondary schools got warning letters for complicity in examination malpractice.

On the suspended principals, he said they will “remain suspended as principals pending their arraignment before the Teachers Disciplinary Committee to determine their culpability.”

The public secondary schools whose principals were suspended include Ikpeshi Grammar School, Ikpeshi, Edo State (Centre: 4130101); Evboesi Mixed Secondary School, Evbeosi, Edo State (Centre: 4131303); Obanosa Secondary School, Evbuobanosa, Edo State (Centre: 4131306), Igbanke Grammar School, Igbanke, Edo State (Centre: 4131307); Iru Grammar School, Iru, Edo State (Centre: 4131323); Osasinmwin-Oba Secondary School, Osasinmwin-Oba, Edo State (Centre: 4131716); Government Science and Technical College, Benin, Edo State (Centre: 4132063) and Ojirami Mixed Secondary School, Ojirami, Edo State (Centre: 4130111).

Others are Dagbala Secondary School, Dagbala, Edo State (Centre: 4130134); Uma Secondary Commercial School, Imoga, Edo State (Centre: 4130105); Asoro Grammar School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4130210); Opoji Secondary Commercial School, Okhore-Opoji, Edo State (Centre: 4130301); and Afuda Secondary School, Afuda-Irrua, Edo State (Centre: 4139324).

More public schools, whose principals were affected include Anegbette Secondary School, Anegbette, Edo State (Centre: 4130704); Oguola College, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131107); Urhokuosa Mixed Secondary School, Urhokuosa, Edo State (Centre: 4131820); Egbede Community Grammar, Uvbe, Edo State (Centre: 4131816); Obadan Mixed Secondary School, Obadan, Edo State (Centre: 4131814); Ugiamwen Secondary School, Ugiamwen, Edo State (Centre: 4131813); Umagbae Grammar School, Adumagbae, Edo State (Centre: 4131803); Ikpiti Grammar School, Gelegele, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131748); Ugbine Secondary School, Ugbine, Edo State (Centre: 4131708) and Uzebba Grammar School, Uzebba, Edo State (Centre: 4131509).

Others are Ozalla Secondary Commercial School, Ozalla, Edo State (4131503); Holy Trinity Grammar School, Sabongida-Ora, Edo State (Centre: 4131502); Esigie Comprehensive College, Abudu, Edo State (Centre: 4131344); Oza Grammar School, Oza, Edo State (Centre: 4131310); and New Era College, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131213).

The public school principals who were issued strict warning include Ore-Nolomi Secondary School, Iguosodin, Nebudin, Edo State (Centre: 4131707); Mixed Secondary School, Ugboko Numagbae, Edo State (Centre: 4131305) and Osomhe Secondary School, Osomhegbe-Ekperi, Edo State (Centre: 4130713).

Others are Iruekpen Grammar School, Iruekpen, Edo State (Centre: 4130614); Ujoelen Grammar School, Ekpoma, Edo State (Centre: 4130606); Akugbe Secondary School, Emuhi-Ekpoma, Edo State (Centre: 4130603); and Uhiele Grammar School, Ekpoma, Edo State (Centre: 4130602).

Agbale said that private schools whose managements were queried are Federal Staff Business College, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4130272); Zenith Model Education Centre, Igbogiri, Edo State (Centre: 4131830); Hizbullah Secondary School, Auchi, Edo State (Centre: 4130961); Calvary Secondary School, Ekpon, Edo State (Centre: 4131016); Gracious Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131138); Eden City College, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131147) and Lilmak Secondary, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131268).

Others are Jobamoh Uni. Secondary School, Itsukwi, Edo State (Centre: 4130825); Jubilee Academy Secondary School, Isihor, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131733); Gabmay Secondary School, Benin, Edo State (Centre: 4130239); Ultimate College, Benin, Edo State (Centre: 4130236); Gentry National High School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4130270); Excel Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131124); Oman Christian Academy, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131193) and Ceta International Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131240).

The other private schools that received queries include God’s Favour Secondary School, Abudu, Edo State (Centre: 4131341); Oje Reliance Secondary School, Avbiosi, Edo State (Centre: 4131512); Highers Wisdom Academy, Igue-Iheya Qtrs, Isior, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131736); Leaders College, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131743); and Mcmidas Comprehensive School, Isiohor, Benin City Edo State (Centre: 4131753).

Others are Paulson Foundation Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131824); Rising Hope Academy, Ugbor, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4133025); Ralph Education Centre Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4132042); Powerline Academy, Uselu, Benin City, Edo State (4132025); Christ The Winners Schools, Benin-Auchi Road, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131827); Ogunbor Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4131112); God’s Grace Educational Centre, Evboriaria, Edo State (Centre: 4132932); and Winners Foundation Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4133001).

The private secondary schools whose management were warned are Zanna Royal Academy, Ekpoma, Edo State (Centre: 4130617); Simbridge College, Benin, Edo State (Centre: 4130268); St. Mathias Group of School, Ewohimi, Edo State (Centre: 4130536); Napoly Secondary, Ihievbe-Ogben, Edo State (Centre: 4131417); Imperial College, Benin, Edo State (Centre: 4131244); Excellent Education Centre, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4132057); Enina Secondary School, Ogida Quarters, Benin, Edo State (Centre: 4132066); Royal City College, Benin, Edo State (Centre: 4131293); and Oxonian Grand Academy, Benin City, Edo State (Centre: 4132040).

Credit: The Nation

Strike: We Have No Agreement Yet With FG ― ASUU

BREAKING: Strike: We Have No Agreement Yet With FG ― ASUU

By Tunbosun Ogundare – Lagos

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday debunked the latest claim by the Federal Government to have reached an agreement with the union over their lingering differences, saying the claim is not true.

The President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, refuted the claim in an exclusive conversation with TribuneOnline.

According to him, the negotiations between both parties in still inconclusive as the team that represented ASUU at the meeting has no final say concerning the decision making as a body on matters of such magnitude.

He explained that what they had on ground now is a proposal from the government which ASUU insisted must be written down showing her plans of action unlike all along since the commencement of the two-month-old strike that government always made verbal proposals.

It will be recalled that their last meeting happened to be the seventh time they held meetings over their differences without tangible outcome from the previous meetings.

Speaking further, Prof Ogunyemi said, “it was just yesterday (Tuesday) that government sent the proposal to us without waiting for feedback before going to the public that we have reached an agreement. ASUU does not operate in that manner.”

“The ASUU team that met the Federal Government,” he noted, “would have to consult our principal over the proposal which we are already doing.”

He disclosed that the said principal represents various organs of ASUU who will in turn pass any resolution at that level on to the National Executive Committee and then, final decision can be made.

“So, ASUU cannot make pronouncement on a mere proposal. Until our principal agrees, there is no agreement. And that is what we have always emphasised to government that we are going to consult our members and if after consultation, our members think the proposal is good enough, we will get back to government and tell them that now, we have taken a decision which becomes an agreement. But so far on government proposal, we have not taken a decision. And our strike is still ongoing,” he said.

But when asked if there were grey areas in the proposal that would need consultation, he said ASUU might not bother about further consultation on issues that are very clear.

Giving examples, he said: “If you say you are going to set up a committee and you have set up that committee, that one is clear. And if you say you are going to pay certain money for certain purpose and you have paid, that will not also cause further argument. But where we said you should release certain amount of money in five tranches within certain period of time, and you are saying well, you have paid N20 billion, or you have paid N2 billion or N15. 4 billion, it means you haven’t started.

“So, that is the level we are now. And we don’t have a final say on any proposal that is controversial. But for areas that are not controversial as I had mentioned, we will only need to confirm payment. If paid, fine. It then means that one is settled and we now move to another one that is yet to be settled. And the one that is not settled we will need to take feedback to our members and that is the position we are at the moment.”

Credit: Tribune

Varsities may resume next week as FG,ASUU reach agreement

FG, ASUU Reach Agreement; Varsities May Resume Next Week

By Clement Idoko –

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may call off the lingering strike this weekend to allow public universities to resume academic activities next week

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, gave this indication on Monday after long hours of conciliatory meeting with the representatives of ASUU led by its President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi.

He said the deliberations were fruitful and the government has presented the Union with offers for them to get back to their members and return on Thursday for an agreement to be signed by both parties.

He disclosed that over N15.4 billion has been paid to the lecturers across tertiary institutions in the country to offset arrears of salary shortfalls, while President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N20 billion to pay the outstanding arrears of Earned Allowance of the lecturers.

He said: “On salary shortfall in tertiary institutions, the Ministry of Finance and the office of the accountant general on having provided us with evidence that on the 31st of December, 2018, before the expiration of the current 2018 budget that they have remitted N15,389,940,335.71.

“This is to accommodate payment of shortfalls in all the tertiary institutions that have been verified by the Presidential Initiative.

“On the issue of earned allowances in the university system, they also showed evidence that the president has approved the sum of N20bn to be used to offset outstanding arrears of 2009, 2012 audit-verified allowances in the university system. This money is being worked out and will be released to ASUU as soon as the processes are completed.

“We also discussed the issue of the revitalization of public institutions which the then administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan agreed to inject about N220 billion into the university system every year for about six years,” Ngige said.

He added that government was committed to the agreement and that a token has been approved and would be released to ASUU.

He said the parties were working towards ensuring that the strike is called off this weekend to allow students to resume next week to schools.

The conciliatory meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU initially scheduled for 3:30 pm could not start until about 5:06 pm.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Ngige, at whose instance the meeting was held, in his opening remarks, said the meeting would be short since a lot of work had been done since the adjournment of the meeting December last year.

President of ASUU, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi, said the delegation would take to offer to their members and report back to the government.

However, when journalists were excused from the meeting for the technical session, President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) , Comrade Danielson Akpan, insisted that members of NANS and journalists be allowed to be part of the deliberations.

He said this would avoid the problem of discordance voices that usually come out of such meetings, he noted often leave the public without real facts of the deliberations.

He added that what journalists were always informed as of the outcome of such meetings by the government representatives, most often differ from what the Union would tell while briefing newsmen.

Akpan said the over 80 million students, he was representing were the ones that bear the brunt of the incessant strike and must be allowed to have the inkling of the key issues in dispute.

Ngige, in his response, however, appealed to the NANS President to repose confidence on members of the conciliatory meeting, assuring him that he would be happy with the outcome of the meeting.

He said the Federal Government was interested in revitalising university education to the extent on graduation the students would be happy with the quality of certificate obtained, he added would be globally competitive.

Since November 4, 2018, Public Universities across the country have been under lock and key as ASUU leaders insisted the ongoing strike would not be called off until key demands of the Union are met.

Credit: Nigerian Tribune

Strike: FG to continue negotiation with ASUU Monday

Strike: FG to continue negotiation with ASUU on Monday

by Agency Reporter

The Federal Government says it will continue negotiation process with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday to resolve ongoing industrial action embarked by the striking lecturers.

Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this in a statement signed on Saturday in Abuja by Mr Samuel Olowookere, Director of Press, in the ministry.

According to the statement, the meeting is in furtherance to efforts at resolving the on-going industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“The Minister of Labour and Employment Sen. Chris Ngige is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Executive of ASUU.

“The conciliatory meeting is scheduled to hold on Jan. 7, at Minister’s Conference Room by 30:30 pm prompt.

ASUU commenced an indefinite strike on Nov. 5, 2018 over certain demands based on agreement reached with government in 2009.

One of the demands is the replacement of Dr Wale Babalakin as the chairman for the government renegotiating team of the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government Agreement.

Other issues are non-payment of earned allowance, funding of revitalisation of the Nigerian universities, implementation of needs assessment report, poor funding of state universities, among others.

As part of efforts by the Federal Government to end the strike, it commenced meetings with ASUU leadership on Nov. 15, 2018 followed by the last one on Dec. 17, 2018 before Christmas break.

NAN

Sales of forms starts Jan 10 as JAMB releases guidelines for 2019 UTME

Sales of forms starts Jan 10 as JAMB releases guidelines for 2019 UTME

JAMB gives registration, exams guideline for 2019 UTME

By Dayo Adesulu

Sale of forms start Jan 10
.Bans 50 CBT centres
Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede , yesterday in Lagos announced the date of sales of UTME forms and month for the examinations.

Oloyede who debunked claims that JAMB had started sales of 2019 forms months ago, said that the Board would commence the sale of UTME forms January 10, 2019.

According to him, the sales will last for six weeks, followed by examination in March.

He said: “Sales of forms begins January 10, and it will be sold for six weeks.”

Addressing owners and managers of 817 accredited CBT centres across the country, Oloyede warned them against conniving with candidates in any form of malpractice, adding that 50 CBT centres that were found culpable in the last examination have been band.

Oloyede who warned every prospecting candidate to discard all unregistered cyber cafe centres, urged them to choose any of the 718 centres if they want to receive any major JAMB services.

Speaking during the meeting held at the University of Lagos, Oloyede explained what led to the ban of some CBT centres. He said: “There were more than five culprits in different part of country.

“Some of them used some technology to extend the place of registration, thereby duped the candidates. “Contrary to normal registration procedures, registering candidates off site, such candidates thumb prints will not be there and at the point of examination, the candidate will not be able to write the exam.

“They did that for so many reasons, including having access to our private network and a number of them have been arrested and we have interviewed them.

“At one of the centres at Igara in Edo State, they did a lot of infractions. One of it was that, a staff was writing for a candidate and because we monitored it from a far. “I came there personally and we moved to their system, unknown to them that we have copied it. They tampered with their CD and erased it from the CD by the time they were summiting to us and we felt that was a very serious infraction.

“They were extorting candidates, over charging and doing services they do not have the capacity to do.

Talking on the improvement in the various CBT centres, he said: “We are now moving to improving the services at the centres particularly the CBT offices across the country. They are in shambles and we want to pay attention to the facilities at the states level.

“We want to also provide incentives for our staff. We believe that some of them are forced by necessity to do unethical things and we believe if we increase their welfare, it will have more legitimate ground to sanction those who do what they are not suppose to do.”

For blind candidates, Oloyede said: “The blind candidates will have special centres. Some of our officials will be in UK next week where all the assessment bodies who are attending to the blind will meet with a way of finding the best technology to use for them at the cheapest price because of the rate of exchange.

“For those who can use brail machine, they are a available, we will give them but for those who are not used to such, we will use the best method and that’s why we have set up a committee of experts under Professor Peter Okebukola to look for all inclusive methods to attend and bend to suit the purposes of all these peculiar candidates.”

Credit: Vanguard

Our Varsities Have Enough Space To Accommodate Admission Seekers ― JAMB Registrar

Our Varsities Have Enough Space To Accommodate Admission Seekers ― JAMB Registrar

By Biola Azeez – Ilorin

Against perception among some people that there is paucity of space for qualified candidates into the nation’s universities, the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Is’haq Oloyede, has said that the available space of 600,000 in over 150 universities across the country is big enough to accommodate the greatest percentage of admission seekers.

Addressing a special forum of top officials of the University of Ilorin on the on-going 2018/2019 admission exercise in Ilorin, Professor Oloyede said that while about 700,000 candidates have a minimum of O’ level Credits in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics, which is a statutory prerequisite for admission, he added that the discrepancy does not justify the call for establishment of more universities that will, in the long run, suffer perennial under-funding.

The renowned scholar of Islamic Studies said that the establishment of more universities, particularly by state governments, will create more problems than they are meant to solve.

Professor Oloyede, who said that he had brought series of technology-driven innovations into the operation of JAMB, added that the measure had returned power of admission to institutions of higher learning.

He assured that for as long as such institutions adhered strictly to statutory regulations, the hiccups often faced by some universities in processing the admission of their intended students would become a thing of the past.

The JAMB Registrar, who is also the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), responded to various questions raised by the members of the audience on the admission issue, as he also applauded the glowing reputation of the University of Ilorin as the most subscribed, most internationalised and most peaceful in Nigeria whose contributions to human capital development are being felt across the globe.

Professor Oloyede commended the management and staff of the University of Ilorin for the support his board has enjoyed from them at improving the credibility of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations since he took over the leadership of JAMB.

While disclosing that JAMB had sought approval to use part of its annual revenue to support universities’ developmental efforts based on certain parameters, the JAMB Registrar encouraged the University of Ilorin not to rest on its oars as sister universities are working assiduously to upstage it in several areas where it is currently leading.

Earlier while welcoming Prof. Oloyede to the forum, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, thanked him for his relentless support for the growth of the University.

Prof. Abdulkareem added that the University of Ilorin is always proud of the industry, integrity, accomplishments and rising profile of Prof Oloyede as he assured him that the university will continue to work with JAMB to avert some of the identified inadequacies, in the on-going admission process in several universities.

OAU Sex-for-Mark Professor bags 6 years jail

OAU Sex-for-Mark Prof bags 6 years jail

By Gbenga Olarinoye, Osogbo

Justice Maurine Onyetenu of the Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Monday sentenced former lecturer of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Prof. Richard Iyiola Akindele, to six years imprisonment for demanding sex to pass his student, Monica Osagie.

Justice Onyetenu sentenced the convict to 24 months on count one, 24 months on count two, 1 year on count three and 1 year on count four.

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual harassment preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission, ICPC.

He had since then been remanded in prison custody following objection to his bail by the prosecution ICPC.

When the case came up on Monday, Akindele opted to change his earlier plea and admitted guilty of the offences as charged.

He was arraigned before Justice onyetenu on November 19 for alleged sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, efforts by the defence counsel to suspend the sentencing and negotiate for plea bargain failed, as Justice Onyetenu frowned at the rampant cases of students harassment by lecturers.

Justice Onyetenu said “the plea bargain is not absolute. The court still have discretion.

“This kind of issue is too rampant in our tertiary institutions. We send children to school, they come home telling us that lecturers want to sleep with them.

“We can not continue like this. Somebody has to be used as example. Even primary schools pupils are complaining. Telling me to suspend sentence does not arise. Plea bargain does not arise. Maybe the case will continue to occur and reoccur because someone has not been used as example.

“It is time for the court to start upholding the right of the children, especially female students. The case is endemic.

Counsel to the defendant, Mr. Francis Omotosho, informed the court that the defendant has lost his job and has learnt his lesson.

He told the court that the University has discovered the mistake in the marking of the examination paper of the victim and has concluded plans to compensate her.

The Counsel further told the court that plans are ongoing to make offices of the lecturers open by building the front side with glasses at OAU.

But, the Judge, who apparently not convinced with the prayer of the Counsel, said “do you think they do it in the office? They go to hotel.

Counsel to the ICPC, Mr. Shogunle Adenekan, urged the court to confiscate the mobile phone of the defendant and forfeit it to the federal government, saying that sensitive materials were discovered there during forensic.

He also urged the court to grant order, releasing the mobile phone of the victim, Monica.

After considering the plea bargaining entered and signed by the Counsels, the Judge said there is a need to deter other people because of the nature of the case.

In her judgement, Justice Onyetenu sentenced the convict to 24 months on count one, 24 months on count two, 1 year on count three and 1 year on count four.

She said the jail term should run concurrently. She also ordered that the Samsung X4 of the victim should be returned to her and the Samsung X8 of the convict be forfeited to the federal government.

Credit: Vanguard

How doctoral programs train the mind to think

How doctoral programs train the mind to think

By MD Aminu, PhD |

If there is any cue that I can take from my experience during my doctoral candidacy, it is the recognition of it as nothing more than the training of the mind to think. Before my registration as a research student in Cranfield University, a friend who completed his own doctorate in another UK university advised me that to be successful in the program, I must have my critical thinking mode activated throughout the duration of my candidacy.

For the entire periods of our education, from the elementary school and up to the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, we were typically taught to notice already established patterns, and to solve analytical problems. We take standard tests and examinations that only puts to trial our analytical problem-solving skills, and we miss out on an essential aspect of human intelligence: creativity. Because of our ability to notice these known patterns, or for our pragmatism in applying analytical skills to solve known problems, we may even end up being the best and brightest within our peers, yet we can be utterly uncreative.

To be awarded a doctorate, a person must demonstrate that they have pushed the boundaries of knowledge within that discipline they have researched on. This means they must have achieved novelty. To achieve novelty, they must have started their investigations from an unknown location and arrive at a known new and significant location. To conceive and deal with novel situations, they need creative intelligence. In the process of creating new knowledge, they are constantly drawn in on critical analysis for introductory and concluding justifications; validation of conclusions; distinguishing of facts and opinions; evaluation of the credibility of information sources; clarification of concepts and recognition of conditions, etc.

It is for this reason that some doctoral programs put in place a mechanism to help stimulate the mind on a critical thinking trajectory so that the student’s research begins by transcending the ‘pure discipline’, making the doctoral program to commence from a solid philosophical base that exposes the mind to tough arguments. Because of these emphasis on theoretical and methodological issues, the student can appreciate and can soon begin to question the underlying traditions and mechanisms across different spectrums of knowledge.

Then you go on to conduct research that gives you a lot of valuable experience such as the ability to write effectively and professionally; to learn to read from primary source formats, retain, and synthesize a lot of literature within a short time; to work in a team; to teach; to present at conferences and refine your public speaking skills; to learn to talk to different people in different ways (e.g. professors, colleagues, laboratory technicians, journal editors, peer reviewers, etc.); and to even do some administration. Due to the diversity of skills and experience that you get from the doctoral program, it cannot be denied that upon the completion of a genuine doctorate, a person should be able to construct and sustain complex arguments, ask interesting questions, and decide on appropriate methods to answer them.

It must be noted however that all these skills can equally be gained elsewhere (such as through a professional role in an office over some years), however, when a person has completed a doctorate, it is expected that such a person can develop and sustain some reasonable and appreciable level of critical thinking and evaluation; which are attributes for success in a postgraduate program. Although it must also be stated that the quality of doctorates can differ depending on several factors, which could include the structure of the program which varies from place to place; the excellence of the institution of study in terms of their research output and impact; the reputation of the supervisor amongst their peers; the strength of the results (and its scaled-up implications) in the sense of how acceptable they are for high impact journals; etc. Thus, the fluidity of any of these factors or a combination of it can influence the overall strength of the doctorate, and by consequence, the value of the experience gained from the process of earning the degree.

During my doctoral candidacy, I realized that the completion of the degree required creativity to elicit novel concepts and report the findings, as well as persistent practicality. My primary supervisor was a world leading researcher in his field and he published his work in the topmost journals in the energy discipline, believing that publishing in low impact factor journals can only do damage to a researcher’s reputation. I equally worked with a postdoctoral fellow as a collaborator, who published several papers in leading journals prior to receiving his own doctorate. These two people that I worked with not only imbued in me the qualities of ethical research, but they equally challenged me all the time by taking me onto paths of critical discussions. When my supervisor was convinced that any of his students were not critical enough, he could liken the student’s abilities to that of a technician, whose daily activity, he says, is mere routine work, that is artless and ingenuous.

During one of my progress review meetings, the committee chair advised that I read a lot of books on critical and systems thinking, and he equally confessed to me that as academics themselves, they do read a lot of those books every so often, to remain relevant in their jobs where they synthesize new knowledge.

When my friend, Mustapha Abubakar, presently of the United States National Cancer Institute, defended his doctoral thesis at the University of London, the last question he was asked by the external examiner was if the study program he had undergone had influenced his critical thinking abilities; required to become an effective academic researcher. His response to the examiner was that the program did not only influence his ability to be a critical thinker for effective researching, but that it has also made him a very critical person in his general approach to life. Many people agree that the ‘life lessons’ and thoughtful rigors learned from the doctoral study transcends knowledge in one area but shapes all aspects of our lives. Therefore, I expect it as the norm (rather than the exception) for all people who earned a doctorate to be critical thinkers, until they prove to me that they are not; which could then indicate that they might have gone through an irregular doctoral program.