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Over 140 Nigerians get Erasmus+ 2024 postgraduate scholarship

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The European Union (EU) has awarded scholarships to 142 Nigerians through its flagship Erasmus+ programme.

During a pre-departure orientation in Abuja on Thursday, Samuela Isopi, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the scholarship recipients will begin their studies in September 2024.

She said the programme allows students to study for 12 to 24 months at a minimum of three different universities in various countries.

Isopi said the pre-departure orientation was designed to help the recipients leverage the opportunities provided through the scholarship.

“The 142 Nigerian EMJMD awardees are among the initial batch of beneficiaries, announced by the organisers of the programme in Brussels. The number is likely to increase. Most awardees will start their Erasmus plus journey in September 2024,” she said.

“The pre-departure orientation aimed to provide the recipients with hands-on tips on how to make the best of the immense opportunities inherent in the prestigious scholarships.

“The programmes will run for 12-24 months, with each beneficiary studying in at least three different universities in as many countries within and outside the EU during the period.”

Isopi said the postgraduate programmes for which the scholarship is awarded will cover several advanced fields.

She said this includes renewable power systems, chemical innovation, public health, bio-refinery, marine environment, soil science, sustainable engineering, and shipping.

The ambassador said the students will receive a joint master’s degree from the consortium of universities involved in their chosen programme after successful completion of their programmes.

Originally established by the EU in 1987, the Erasmus programme aimed to foster closer cooperation between universities and higher education institutions across Europe.

Over time, it has expanded into Erasmus+, encompassing a broad framework for transnational cooperation and mobility in education, training, youth, and sport across Europe.

At 142 recipients for 2024, Nigeria retains its number one spot among beneficiaries of the EU postgraduate scholarships in Africa for the sixth year.

The country also retains its place among the top five recipient countries globally.

Education

Mercy Chinwo, husband offer scholarships to 100 UNICAL students

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Mercy Chinwo, the Nigerian gospel singer, and her husband Blessed Uzochikwa have offered full scholarships to 100 University of Calabar (UNICAL) students through the Mercyisblessed Foundation.

The couple announced the gesture before a crowd of students during their tour of the university on Friday, July 12, 2024.

In a statement, the lovebirds disclosed that the scholarship entails full payment of school fees and other compliments that foster stability in learning for indigent and bright students of the university.

“The criteria for selection and other modalities to shortlist eligible candidates would be communicated through appropriate channels. The scholarship is with immediate effect,” the statement reads.

The philanthropic gesture is not the first from Chinwo and Uzochikwa, a pastor, in 2024.

In April, the couple also awarded scholarships to 50 undergraduates at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) on behalf of their foundation and Charis, their son.

The ‘You Do This One’ hitmaker had revealed that the scholarship is a token of giveback to a society that raised her.

“Port Harcourt is home to me any day. The memories are fresh of a city where I dared to dream and hope for a purposeful life. I thank the Lord for His work in me and through me so far. The scholarship is to inspire students that their dreams and ambitions are valid and not to give up because there is a God who has ‘Excess Love’, ” she said.

The singer recently unveiled a 12-track album ‘Overwhelming Victory’, which she recorded while she was pregnant.

Chinwo is also credited for hit projects like ‘Elevated’, ‘Wonder’, and ‘Confidence’, among others.

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Education

Governor Mutfwang orders closure of Jos collapsed school

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Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang has visited the collapsed structure at the Saint Academy, Busa Buji, Jos North local government area of the State on an on-the-spot assessment as he ordered the immediate closure of the school.

The school has 284 Secondary students and 145 Primary pupils. Its structure collapsed on Friday morning killing 22 persons and leaving 154 others injured.

The statistics obtained on Friday evening showed that 154 people have been rescued from the debris, and 22 individuals have been confirmed dead while 132 are hospitalized. Injured students and staff receive medical treatment at various hospitals in Jos, the State capital.

39 of the injured are at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, 32 are at Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) Hospital, 55 are at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital and six are at the Jos University Teaching Hospital.

The State government directed all major hospitals in Jos to prioritize the treatment of the victims, regardless of documentation or payment.

On visiting the site of the incident on Saturday morning, Mutfwang also commiserated with the family of the deceased children and promised that the state government would bear the cost of the treatment of the injured students.

He said, “… Whoever built this school, did not do well. I am not a technical person but all I can see on this debris is sand. It is a two-storey building as a layman, I know there has to be a proper mixture of sand and cement but what I can see here is pure sand.

“You have endangered the lives of innocent children for no reason. We can’t continue like this, it is no longer time to spend time praying against demons and Satan, this is human negligence.

“We cannot allow this school to function for the parents, it is unfortunate what has happened but what it means is that this school is closed down immediately.

“We can’t take any further chances and we need to send this message particularly the owners of private schools the drive for profit must not overshadow the safety of lives so we taking steps immediately to do a technical audit of all the schools. We will test their structural integrity to ensure human beings can habit such buildings.”

He added, “Some buildings were not built in the right places, some built without approvals, without the right materials so we will correct these things. I won’t just blame the school but also our public officials who were supposed to supervise but didn’t do their jobs.

“We are setting up a committee to investigate this incident and bring in building professionals to investigate this and anyone found culpable will face the wrath of the law. This is why we signed Executive Order 003 to bring sanity into the environment.

“When we insist that some building be demolished, we are not wicked, we are concerned about the safety of lives. When we see buildings on waterways, in marshy places, we will bring them down. We can’t afford to have this kind of mishap again. May God grant the parents of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss and grant the injured a quick recovery.”

He commended the efforts of all stakeholders in the rescue mission and asked that citizens do the right things and obey rules and regulations put in place to save lives.

The Governor is also going on hospital visits to the injured.

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Education

86 universities, others conducted illegal admissions, says JAMB

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Analysis of data on the admissions conducted for the 2022/2023 admission session in Nigerian universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions of learning revealed that 88 institutions conducted admissions outside of the Central Admissions Processing System popularly referred to as CAPS.

According to JAMB, admissions conducted outside CAPS are illegal, null and void.

JAMB had in 2017 introduced the Central Admissions Processing System where all tertiary institutions upload the admission status of candidates offered admission in the institutions.

CAPS has centralised and automated admission processes between candidates and their chosen tertiary institutions.

In 2020, JAMB warned institutions to stop offering admissions to candidates through their own portals.

The board described the practice as a flagrant abuse of the automated Central Admissions Processing System.

In April 2024, the board noted that it would no longer condone illegal admissions conducted outside of the CAPS.

The board in a bulletin warned candidates to desist from accepting admissions offered by the institutions without going through it.

In the statement titled, ‘Cessation of illegal/irregular admission’, JAMB reiterated that all applications of admissions to first degree, national diploma, national innovation diploma and the Nigeria Certificate in Education into full-time, distance learning, part-time, outreach, sandwich, etc., must be processed only through JAMB.

In a report tagged, ‘Compiled assessment of institutions on compliance with the 2022/2023 admission guidelines’, the board noted that it scored institutions who complied fully with admission guidelines 10 points; those with partial compliance, five points, while those institutions who failed to comply were awarded zero point.

Under the section for the conduct of full admissions on CAPS, our correspondent observed that 88 institutions failed to comply.

Some of the institutions are the University of Uyo, University of Abuja, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Yaba College of Technology, Plateau State University, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Coal City University, Crawford University, Crescent University, Ebonyi State University, Rhema University, Borno State University, Chrisland University, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu University.

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