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SSANU, NASU issue fresh ultimatum to FG over withheld salaries

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The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational Associated Institutions (NASU) have issued a two-week ultimatum to the federal government over their withheld salaries.

SSANU and NASU have been at loggerheads with the federal government over alleged unfair treatment and discrimination.

Both unions expressed concerns that the federal government failed to pay them like their academic counterparts.

In a statement dated June 19, the joint action committee (JAC) of the unions issued the ultimatum to the government, demanding the release of the four-month salary of their members withheld during an eight-month strike in 2022.

In March, the unions issued a seven-day ultimatum and began a one-week warning strike on March 11, which led to a nationwide action on March 18.

The protesting staff shut down students’ hostels, cut off the power supply, and withdrew security and administrative services in public universities.

But the warning strike was called off after one week.

In their latest letter addressed to the minister of education, SSANU and NASU said the failure of the government to pay the salaries “is creating a high level of agitation and contention among our members”.

They expressed “regrets and dismay” that the government has not paid the four-month salary despite the “various letters, engagements, and assurances”.

The unions stated that they have given the government two weeks to pay the withheld salaries, after which they will shut down activities across universities in the country.

“We can no longer guarantee industrial peace and harmony on university campuses,” the statement reads.

“We demand the immediate payment of the four (4) months withheld salaries to our members not later than two (2) weeks from the date of this correspondence.”

Education

FG asks universities not to collect Post-UTME application fees from PWDs

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The federal government has urged universities not to collect Post-UTME application fees from persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Tahir Mamman, minister of education, gave the directive at the 2024 ‘Policy Meeting on Admissions to Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria’.

The meeting held on July 18 at The Body of Benchers in Abuja.

“It is not in doubt that the challenges faced by Persons Living with Disabilities in terms of access to education have remained intractable despite unprecedented efforts to ensure equal opportunities for studies,” he said.

“One of such reforms to encourage inclusive participation of Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) as contained in the Roadmap for the Nigerian Education Sector which I launched in 2023, is the waiver of application fees during the 2024 registration exercise.

“This has yielded positive results, with a significant increase in applicants this year. Efforts are ongoing to encourage more participation of PLWDs.”

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Education

JAMB issues audiobook for visually impaired DE, UTME candidates

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has issued audiobooks for visually impaired candidates seeking to take the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) or gain admission through Direct Entry (DE).

The latest innovation was contained in a document titled ‘Registrar’s Report on 2023 Admission and 2024 UTME’ and released at this year’s policy meeting which took place at Hairat Ade Balogun Auditorium, Body of Benchers, Abuja on Thursday.

The exam body said the audiobook aims to provide a level playing field for all candidates.

JAMB also disclosed that the material is a digital adaptation of the traditional reading book, adding that it is in audio file formats like WMV, MP3, WMA, AAC, etc.

The board said the innovation was suggested at the first national conference on equal opportunity of access to higher education in Nigeria between September 25 and 26, 2023.

“It is a digital adaptation of the traditional reading book. It is in popular audio file format like WMV, MP3, WMA, AAC, etc. It is compatible with all devices that can stream audio records,” the document reads in part.

“This helps the blind candidates to easily understand the subject/text.”

About 577 visually impaired candidates wrote this year’s UTME in eleven centres nationwide.

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Education

Some universities were admitting 10-year-olds, says Oloyede on new age limit

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Ishaq Oloyede, registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), says some tertiary institutions in Nigeria were found to have illegally admitted candidates as young as 10 and 12.

The ministry of education earlier pegged the minimum age for university, polytechnic, and college of education admissions at 18.

Oloyede, during JAMB’s policy meeting in Abuja, spoke on why it became necessary to adopt a minimum age for admissions.

He said some universities had admitted candidates as young as 12 and 10 outside JAMB’s central admission processing system (CAPS).

Oloyede cited the case of a Nigerian institution he did not name and a postgraduate applicant who was looking to study in Germany.

He said the student, documented to have enrolled in the university at 12 to graduate at 15, was discovered after they attempted to pursue a postgraduate degree in Germany.

Oloyede said the European Union, whose scholarship grant the student attempted to apply for, had contacted the board to verify the student’s credentials.

“The candidate applied for a postgraduate scholarship under Erasmus Mundus. The body found it strange that the candidate’s date of birth was 2007,” he said.

“By her passport, she started studying at a university in Nigeria when she was 12 and graduated at 15. The selection committee contacted Nigeria to confirm whether the candidate studied at a university.

“The EU asked if it was possible to graduate candidates at such a young age.”

Oloyede said such cases could negatively affect the perception of the larger pool of degrees awarded by Nigerian tertiary institutions.

“In the next two to three years, the EU could tighten its requirements and all graduates of Nigerian universities would suffer it,” he said.

“We found that [JAMB] never admitted the candidate because she was underage. The university admitted and registered the candidate. I couldn’t respond to the EU because I was embarrassed. I didn’t know what to write.

“Ignorantly, the vice-chancellor confirmed that the student attended the school but that they weren’t the VC at that time.”

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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