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‘Give universities autonomy, scrap JAMB’ — Leke Alder suggests ways to improve education sector

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Leke Alder, strategy, policy and brand consultant, has suggested ways to improve Nigeria’s tertiary education sector.

Alder spoke on Saturday at the 2022 edition of The Platform Nigeria, which held in Lagos and was themed, ‘A Better Nigeria is Possible; Why What, How?’.

Speaking on the possible solutions for the country to adopt, Adler listed key points such as job creation, cutting expenditure, and revamping education.

According to him, education needs to be linked to the private sector to be revamped.

“The private sector accounts for 80 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The private sector must have input in the designs of syllabi of universities and schools,” he said.

“Give the universities absolute autonomy. Scrap JAMB. Give the universities grants to manage the transition to full administrative autonomy. Create a better scheme for student loans so that students who cannot afford to go to those universities can at least take loans, and give them for a period of 20 years to 25 years.

“We have something like that in the country, but it’s hardly functional. Also, the loans have to be privately managed and not public.”

He also advised that polytechnics be converted into enterprises for fashion design, scriptwriting, interior design, digital art, among others.

“Why am I specifying these particular enterprises? It is because we have a creative generation and the best thing to create jobs is to put them in the way,” he said.

“The polytechnics are trying to reconfigure what the universities are doing and that is not practical; that doesn’t make sense. Let there be practical places where no theoreticians will teach in those places.”

Speaking also on education, Kunle Soriyan, founder and chief strategist, Kenneth Soriyan Research and Ideas LLC, said proper education is what is needed for people to be able to make informed decisions.

“We need to prioritise education. We need to emphasise education above academics. This education has to be informal, and there must be another way we have to begin to look at it,” he said.

“Africans by history don’t learn in classrooms. We learn in two ways; through apprenticeship and observation. It has helped us to do so many things in our history that I don’t have time to articulate.

“And shame on everybody who manages our education for their refusal to sit down and say, ‘it is not a problem for me to lose a wall that forced us into slavery’. But that the day we find independence, we must have the courage to ask ourselves who we are and how do we start again from where we stopped.

“We don’t have to bow to the reality of the assumptions of your colonial masters or your oppressors who define how you’re going to think about your life. Everything is on the table.”

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Education

Uniosun 500-level nursing student, Popoola Zainab, declared missing

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A 500-level nursing student of Osun State University, Osogbo, Popoola Zainab, has been declared missing.

It was gathered that the student was discovered missing on Sunday by the University authority and efforts to know her whereabouts have proved futile.

The School Public Relations Officer, Ademola Adesoji, who confirmed the incident on Monday, disclosed that the issue has been reported to the University security department and investigation launched into the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.

“We have reported the case. We got the information late yesterday and it was reported that she said she was going out and as soon as we got the information, we informed the Chief Security Officer of the University and he commenced an investigation.

“The report he sent to us is that they discovered that she dropped a note and we are trying to evaluate the note for now but we’ve reported the case to the police and DSS and they are currently investigating the matter”.

When asked about the content of the note, Ademola said, “I’ve not been able to see the note. So, I will not be able to talk about the content.

“She was staying outside the campus. We got the information when we discovered she didn’t attend class and some of her friends were posting some information about her online.

“The Student Affairs Officer tried to ask her friends some questions and that was how we were able to know of her disappearance. The chief security officer in conjunction with the Student Affair Officer commenced the investigation. It was their report that we used in informing the police and the DSS”.

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Education

FUT Minna laments shortage of hostels, says ‘We can house only 3,304 of 26,000 students’

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Faruk-Adamu Kuta, the vice-chancellor (VC) of the Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna, has expressed concern over the shortage of student hostels in the institution.

NAN reports that the newly selected VC described the shortage as a major challenge during his inaugural speech.

Kuta said since the inception of FUT Minna, the varsity has been able to provide hostels for only 3,304 out of 26,000 of its student population.

He also expressed worry about security and social challenges facing its students living off campus.

The VC sought the intervention of stakeholders, asking them to take advantage of the gap to build in the school.

“I am using this forum to request and appeal to FUT alumni, friends, and stakeholders that have the means at their disposal to take advantage of the offer,” Kuta said.

“Stakeholders should come to our aid through public-private partnership arrangements to provide hostels accommodation for the teeming students to ease their hardship.”

On internally generated revenue, Kuta vowed to ensure proper usage of the university’s income.

“Every loophole through which leakages and wastages are perpetrated will be properly blocked so that we can augment whatever comes from the federal government for the maximum benefit of FUT,” he added.

Kuta was appointed as the eighth substantive VC of the varsity on September 22.

Prior to his appointment, he was a deputy director of the university’s academic planning unit, head of the Department of Microbiology, director of the academic planning unit, and deputy vice-chancellor (academics).

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Crime

Ex-Federal University of Gusau VC, Magaji Garba, bags 35-year jail term over N260m fraud

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Magaji Garba, an ex-VC of the Federal University Gusau (FUGUS) has been sentenced to 35 years imprisonment over N260 million fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) secured the conviction on Wednesday in Abuja.

Maryam Hassan Aliyu, a judge of the FCT high court in Garki found the former vice-chancellor guilty of a five-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretense and forgery.

Garba was arraigned by the EFCC on October 12, 2021, for allegedly extorting various sums from a contractor on the pretext of awarding him a N3 billion contract for the perimeter wall fencing of the university.

The offense is contrary to section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

Count two of the charge reads: “That you, Professor Magaji Garba, whilst being the Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Gusau on or about the 15th of May, 2019 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira) from Alhaji Shehu Umar Sambo, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ministaco Nigeria Limited, a contractor executing the construction of the Grand Convocation Square of the Federal University, Gusau under the false pretense of awarding a project for the perimeter wall fencing of the University valued at the total sum of N3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira) which representation/pretense you knew to be false”.

Count three reads: “That you, Professor Magji Garba, whilst being the Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Gusau on or about the 1st [of ] August 2019 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N150,000,000.00 (One Hundred and fifty Million Naira from Alhaji Shehu Umar Sambo, Managing Director/Chief Executive officer of Ministaco Nigeria Limited, a contract executing the construction of the Grand Convocation Square at the Federal University, Gusau under the false presence of awarding a project for the perimeter wall fencing of the University valued at the total sum of N3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira), which representation/ pretense you knew to be false”.

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