The year of protests, poor education funding and unfulfilled promises
By Chika Abanobi and Gabriel Dike
In the 2016 budget, in which education was allocated N35.433 billion (current) and N369.6 billion for recurrent expenditure, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to initiate some policies and programmes to tackle the rot in the education sector in his bid to boost its service delivery capacity.
His words: “The future looks bright. And, I ask that we all work together to make this vision a reality. We will spend N369.6billion on recurrent expenditure for the sector in 2016. This will ensure that our teachers and many more critical service providers are paid competitively and on time.’’
Well, 2016 has come and gone, almost, but not much was achieved either with the speech or with the money. In fact, his administration did not match his budget speech with actions. Like the case with previous governments, the sector suffered poor funding and unfilled promises.
As stakeholders observed, the government failed to implement the budget as it affects the sector, hence the roadmap launched by the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, remained a pipe dream in the outgoing year. A month-by-month look at how we fared. And, why we failed in 2016.
Half salaries, no research grants for tertiary institutions
Under this administration and beginning from January 2016, workers in federal government-owned tertiary institutions received half salaries without the approved allowance because of the shortfall in their salary allocations. Also, in the year under review, none of the institutions received grants for research or projects. The unions have written several letters to the federal government on the issues but none have been addressed. The unions are warming up for strikes and unless the government does the needful, we may start 2017 with strikes.
Okowa laments decay in Nigerian education sector
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, during the Delta State Education Summit 2016, held on Tuesday, January 26, at the Events Centre, Asaba, lamented that the Nigerian education sector is suffering from increased enrollment, decaying infrastructure, obsolete curriculum, outdated teaching methods, and general falling standards in the quality of education. “In an increasingly competitive global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is knowledge, a good education is no longer an option; it is necessary,” he said. The governor who stressed the need to place greater emphasis on the training and support of teachers, also noted that the huge challenges in funding of the education sector now requires that parents and communities should be more involved.
Senate discovers N10bn hidden in education budget
THE Senate Committee on Education, yesterday, uncovered N9,982,258,479 hidden in the budget of parastatals by the Federal Ministry of Education. The committee, which discovered the amount at the commencement of its 2016 budget defence, said the amount was hidden in the ministry’s parastatals.
‘Concerned parent’ alleges teacher’s sexual assault of Queens’ College student
The month was more or less occupied by newsbreak from Queens’ College, Lagos, following the leaking of a complaint letter by one Chinenye Okoye, said to be the parent of one of the female students, in JSS 2, over an alleged sexual assault, by Mr. Olaseni Oshifala, a Biology teacher, on her daughter. She accused him of forcefully trying, in the dark, to kiss her and touch her private parts. But the report submitted by the commission of inquiry set up by the Federal Ministry of Education to thoroughly investigate the matter, exonerated the teacher, at the centre of the storm, of the allegation.
Violent protests rock four Nigerian universities
Violent student protests sweep through University of Lagos (UNILAG), Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), and Benue State University (BSU), and leaving its trail, battered bodies. Whereas the UNILAG protest was caused by the frustration that students faced over poor electricity supply, water and transport services and alleged exploitation of poor students by UNILAG Ventures, the university business subsidiary in charge of production and marketing of UNILAG water and bread, among other things (it was reportedly selling a bag of cellophane packaged water for N200 as against N100 price obtainable outside university campus), that of AAUA, was caused by the unfortunate death, in a motorcycle accident, of one Ojo Afolabi, a 200 level student of Economic Education. Though students of BSU and UNIPORT protested hike in school fees, of all the riots/protests, the bloodiest appeared to be that of UNIPORT where three students, including a final year student of Faculty of Management Sciences, lost their lives.
Dollar scarcity affects education remittances to overseas Nigerian students
Government public policy on the issuance of scarce dollars affects remittances to Nigerian students studying overseas. Nigerians spend $2bn on school fees, the Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institution and Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund), Senator Binta Masi, revealed at a public function.
31 Enugu principals demoted for aiding exam malpractice
About 31 principals were demoted and redeployed while some were suspended for six months without pay for allegedly collecting fees from students to aid examination malpractices during the May/June West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations. The state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uchenna Eze, who revealed this when members of the state command of the Anti-Corruption Awareness Organisation of Nigeria (ACAON) visited him, described as “horrible,” some of the scenes he witnessed at most examination centres he visited during the exam, and warned that such cannot, and should not be tolerated in any sane society.
UNILAG postgraduate students drown in beach during friend’s birthday
Two postgraduate students of the University of Lagos, on the verge of bagging Master’s Degrees in International Law and Diplomacy, drown in the Elegushi Beach during the celebration of their friend’s birthday. The deceased and their host were having fun at the beach around 6pm when they were swept into the Atlantic Ocean.
FG licences four new private colleges of education
They are: Oswald Waller College of Education, Shendam, Plateau State, Pan African College of Education, Offa, Kwara State; Diamond College of Education, Aba, Abia State and Biyaminu College of Education, Dass, Bauchi State.
FG promises to start school feeding programme with 5.5 million pupils
The Federal Government announces its plan to begin its National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) in September with 5.5 million pupils, said the National Programme Manager, Mrs. Abimbola Adesanmi, but till the year ended, the plan never materialized. Reason: states were not financially ready for the take-off of the meal project scheme.
Furore over alleged merging of Christian and Islamic Religious Knowledge
Heated controversy was generated among leaders and members of the two major religions, Christianity and Islam, over the alleged merger of Christian and Islamic Religious Knowledge in the newly introduced Civic Education syllabus.
UNITY SCHOOLS: PTA rejects alleged 300% increase in fees
National Parents and Teachers Association of Federal Government Colleges (NAFTAFEGC) was reported to have rejected over 300 per cent increase in school fees of unity schools across the country, although the Federal Ministry of Education, in a press statement issued later on the matter, vehemently denied either contemplating that or doing so.
Rumour breaks over alleged plan by FG to scrap HND certificate
Rumour spreads through the education sector about an alleged plan by the Federal Government to scrap HND certificate and replace it with Bachelor of Technology (B/Tech). This was seriously denied by concerned education authorities.
FG appoints 17 new CEOs into Education Ministry’s parastatals, agencies
The Federal Government appoints new Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to oversee various parastatals and agencies under the Federal Ministry of Education. They include: Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, for National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Lilian Salami (Nigerian Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Dr. Hameed Bobboyi (Universal Basic Education Board), Prof. Charles Uwakwe (National Examinations Council, NECO), Prof. Bashir Usman (Nomadic Education Comnmission, NEC), Prof. Sunday Ajiboye (Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN), Prof. Bappah Aliyu (National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) and Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa (Tertiary Education Fund, TETFund).
FG orders reintroduction of History in schools
History which had previously been suspended as a school subject was reintroduced into the secondary school curriculum this month. Making the announcement while addressing delegates at the 61st meeting of the National Council on Education Ministerial Session, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said that the teaching of History as a school subject has become imperative given the critical nature of the subject to the nation’s socio-political development. The reintroduction of History as a subject would give the Nigerian child the sense of self-identity, he noted.
10.5m Nigerian children out of school – Toyin Saraki, Wife of Senate President
Founder/President of Wellbeing Foundation, and wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, was quoted as saying that from the information available to her from the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), 10.5 million Nigerian children of school age are out of school. She was speaking at the year’s commemoration of International Day of the Girl Child.
The Sun Education shines at Nigerian Breweries Golden Pen Award
Gabriel Dike, The Sun education correspondent, wins the 2016 Nigerian Breweries Golden Pen Award “Report of the Year” with his incisive and insightful report entitled “Anambra Week of Glory.” The first runner-up was Gbenga Salau of The Guardian newspaper, while Charles Abah, of The Punch emerged as the second runner-up. All the winning journalists got cash prizes and high-end mobile devices as part of the reward package.
UNIOSUN sacks randy lecturer involved in sex-video tape scandal
The Governing Council of the Osun State University, Osogbo (UNIOSUN) terminates the appointment of Dr. Olabode Ojoniyi of the Department of Languages and Linguistics, Ikire Campus, caught on video having an amorous relationship with one of his students, one Mercy Ikwue. The female student was said to have been pressurised by Ojoniyi for sex. She eventually agreed but followed him to their rendezvous with a laptop computer from which she pretended to be watching a movie, Things Fall Apart. Unknown to him, the female student was actually recording their activities in the hotel room.
LASU demotes Professor to senior lecturer
The Lagos State University LASU, Ojo, announced the demotion of Olatunji Abanikannda, from professor to a senior lecturer over alleged lack of requisite papers and journals. Abanikannda, a former Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics, was the immediate past Director, LASU External System (part-time programme). The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, said the demotion of the lecturer was a decision taken by the governing council, adding that the university management only implemented it. But the last may not have been heard on the matter as Abanikannda is said to have gone to court to challenge the demotion.
Lagos school bans spanking of pupils
Saint Saviours High School, Ikotun, Lagos, where gory-looking injuries were inflicted on the buttocks of a female student leading to a huge public outcry in the social media and newspapers, in November officially banned the use of cane on students of the school after the school alumni’s association waded into the matter.
YABATECH: Fire destroys female hostel, academic activities suspended
A female hostel at Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), nicknamed “Bakassi” was gutted by a raging fire. The fire incident which started at about 5am while many of the students were deeply asleep, and lasted for about six hours, resulted in various degrees of injury for about 13 of them and led to the destruction of students’ personal belongings, ranging from laptops, books, flash drives and varieties of GSM phones before it was brought under control. Eyewitnesses say the fire initially started from the top floor of the three-storey double-wing building housing HND 2 Computer Science final year students, before spreading to other parts of the building.
WAEC releases Nov/Dec 2016 WASSCE for private candidates
WAEC releases Nov/Dec WASSCE for private candidates, with 38.50 making credits in five subjects, including English and Mathematics. Announcing the release of the results on Friday, December 16, 2016, at the WAEC national headquarters in Yaba, Lagos, the Head of National Office (HNO), Mr. Olu Adenipekun, said the percentage represents 66,497 of 172,699 candidates who sat for the examination held between October 26 and November 14, 2016. Adenipekun said only 29.37 per cent reached the benchmark in 2014 and 20.50 per cent in 2015. While 1,210 candidates representing 0.69 per cent will not be able to access all their results immediately because of errors being corrected, 13,488 (7.81 per cent) candidates’ results have been withheld and are being investigated for involvement in examination malpractice. Giving the statistics of candidates for the examination, the HNO said 51.12 per cent (88,290) were males, while 48.88 per cent (84,409) were females. Of the lot, 19 were visually challenged.
13 Auchi FEDPoly lecturers dismissed, 16 demoted, over sexual harassment
About thirteen 13 lecturers of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, were either sacked or demoted by the authorities of the institution over sexual harassment and extortion of students, although a total of 41 persons were reportedly involved. In all, five lecturers were dismissed, eight got their appointments terminated while 16 were demoted. Four others were warned, two advised, two cautioned, one recommended for mentoring while two students were denied further admission in the institution.
Ayatse, former VC emerges new Tor Tiv
James Ayatse, a professor of Biochemistry and former Vice Chancellor, of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, FUAM) and immediate past Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Dutsima, Katsina State, emerged the fifth Tor Tiv after a keenly contested session of the Tiv Traditional Council.