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FG flags off teacher training programme to reintroduce history in basic school curriculum

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The federal government has launched the first phase of a teacher training programme to reintroduce history in the basic education curriculum.

The development was announced on Thursday at an inauguration ceremony held in Abuja.

History was removed from the basic school curriculum during the 2009/2010 session — a development which has elicited sharp criticism.

However, in March 2018, the federal government announced a reintroduction of the subject.

Speaking at the event on Thursday, Adamu Adamu, minister of education, who was represented by Goodluck Opiah, minister of state for education, expressed concern over the non-teaching of history for more than 10 years.

He, however, added that 3,700 history teachers have been shortlisted for the first round of training to reintroduce the subject.

“History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in our classrooms, but for some inexplicable reasons, the steam of teaching and learning was abolished,” he said.

“As a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combinations our students could offer in both external and internal examinations, compared to the subjects that were made compulsory at basic and secondary levels in Nigeria.

“This single act, no doubt, relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could otherwise have been exposed to. It was a monumental mistake and we have already started seeing its negative consequences.

“The loss created by the absence of this subject has led to a fall in moral values, erosion of civic values, and disconnect from the past.

“More worrisome was the neglect of the teaching of this subject at basic and post-basic levels of education, which invariably eroded the knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria as a country.”

The minister added that the focus of the re-introduction is the training of teachers in order to enhance capacity development.

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‘Insensitive decision’ — Falana reacts as Ogun state government renames Tai Solarin College of Education

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Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has asked Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun, to review the decision to rename the Tai Solarin College of Education.

In July 2021, Abiodun had announced the decision to rename the college after Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland.

On November 24, Abiodun formally unveiled the renamed institution as Sikiru Adetona College of Education, Science and Technology (SACOETEC).

Reacting to the development in a statement on Sunday, Falana said while the traditional ruler deserves to be honoured, renaming the institution amounts to denigrating the record of Solarin, the late foremost educationist.

“It is indisputable that the late Dr. Tai Solarin, the founder of the Mayflower School, Ikenne, contributed immensely to the educational development of Nigeria,” the statement reads.

“In appreciation of the contribution of the late educationist, the Ogun State government rightly named a tertiary institution after him, the Tai-Solarin College of Education, Science and Technology (SACOETEC).

“Surprisingly, the Dapo Abiodun administration has announced its decision to rename the College of Education after a highly respected monarch, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode.

“The decision ought to be jettisoned as the governor has not adduced any reason for denigrating the indelible record of the late foremost educationist.

“However, in view of the contribution of the Awujale to the cultural development of Ogun State and his consistent defence of justice and fair play in the country, the Ogun state government is advised to name an important institution after the monarch.

“The governor does not have to assault the memory of the great Solarin in order to honour the eminent Awujale.

“Besides, the governor should be wary of the historical implications of such a seemingly insensitive decision.

“For the immense contributions that Solarin made to enhance our collective humanity, his memory cannot be honoured enough. Indeed, any country should be proud of the legacies of Tai Solarin and be interested in immortalising him.”

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Muhammad Zaiyan-Umar appointed VC at FUBK

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The governing council of the Federal University, Birnin Kebbi (FUBK) has appointed Muhammad Zaiyan-Umar as the new vice-chancellor (VC) of the institution.

NAN reports that Funmi Togonu-Bickersteth, the chairperson of the council, announced the appointment on Thursday.

Togonu-Bickersteth was briefing journalists after the council’s 25th meeting held in Birnin Kebbi.

“As you may be aware, the tenure of the vice-chancellor ends on December 3, 2022,” she said.

“The governing council at its 25th meeting held from Monday to Thursday approved the appointment of Zaiyan-Umar as the new VC.”

Zaiyan-Umar will take over from Bello Bala-Shehu, the outgoing VC, whose five-year tenure ends on December 3.

Togonu-Bickersteth, who is also the pro-chancellor, said the approval of Zaiyan-Umar as successor followed after an advertisement was put out in the national dailies.

She said the appointment also followed a subsequent interview by the governing council.

Zaiyan-Umar was the immediate past deputy VC at the Sokoto State University.

He is a professor of Political Science at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS).

The academic is currently the chairman of the board of the Centre for Open and Distance Education (CODE) at UDUS.

Zaiyan-Umar was, at various times, the acting head of the department for Political Science.

He was also the deputy dean and dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, as well as the dean of the postgraduate school at UDUS.

The new FUBK VC is a Fulbright Fellow who served at the University of Washington, Seattle in the US between 1988 and 1999.

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UK university workers begin strike over falling pay and brutal workloads

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Thousands of university and college staff in the United Kingdom, including lecturers, librarians and researchers, have declared a strike to demand pay increase and improved working conditions.

The University and College Union (UCU), the UK trade union for university staff, said the strike, referred to as the biggest in decades, is to improve quality in the education sector.

The UCU “represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians, technicians, professional staff and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK”.

“This is the biggest week in our history. Every single university takes strike action on Thursday and Friday. We need every member, student and supporter on our picket lines on Thursday to show the employers that this time is different,” the union said in a statement.

Announcing the strike on Wednesday, Jo Grady, UCU’s general secretary, warned of a “bigger action” unless employers improved their offers.

“Staff are burnt out but they are fighting back and they will bring the whole sector to a standstill,” she said.

“Vice-chancellors only have themselves to blame. Their woeful leadership has led to the biggest vote for strike action ever in our sector. Students are standing with staff because they know this can’t go on.”

The strike, which began on Thursday, will also hold on November 25 and November 30.

Commenting on the development on Thursday, Grady expressed satisfaction with the turnout of university staff.

“Today’s picket lines are huge. 70,000 university staff have turned out like never before, defying bullying tactics from management to show they will no longer accept falling pay, pension cuts, brutal workloads and gig-economy working conditions,” she was quoted as saying, according to UCL.

“If vice-chancellors doubted the determination of university staff to save our sector, then today has been a rude awakening for them.”

The strike has affected over 2.5 million students, some of who are standing in solidarity with their lecturers.

Lawyers, nurses, postal workers and many others have also protested to seek pay rises that match the soaring inflation in the country.

The latest protests come after the UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers announced on Tuesday that more than 40,000 rail workers will stage strikes in December and January, disrupting travel for scores of people during the festive season.

The union said members will have demonstrations for four days from December 13 and in the first week of January.

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