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Education

FG postpones student loans indefinitely

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The Federal Government has postponed the launch of the Nigerian Students Loan Scheme indefinitely.

Akintunde Sawyer, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), stated this in an interview with ARISE NEWS.

The loan which was formally slated to take off on Thursday, has been postponed again, as there are some corrections that are being made around the launch according to Sawyer.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to commit to a specific date. We are sort of waiting to ensure that all the stakeholders are aligned to make sure that nobody is blindsided, then we can actually roll this out in a meaningful, comprehensive, wholesome and sustainable way.”

President Bola Tinubu signed the bill into law in June 2023, to establish a Students Loan Fund (SLF) to provide interest-free loans to Nigerians seeking higher education.

The bill, sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, was initially planned to kickstart between September and October 2023.

President Tinubu announced the scheme would begin by January 2024, after his Government failed to meet the October deadline last year.

In January, Yusuf Sununu, Minister of State for Education, confirmed at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, while speaking to reporters, that preparations were completed for the scheme to begin, including the finalisation of the Student Loan Scheme website and the conclusion of technical plans to facilitate the scheme’s kick-off.

President Tinubu assured the leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) when they visited him at the State House, Abuja, that the scheme would begin once its expansion to accommodate extra features including vocational studies was done.

 

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Education

JAMB to refund registration fees paid by candidates

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has announced that it will reimburse the fees paid for forms by visually-impaired

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has announced that it will reimburse the fees paid for forms by visually-impaired candidates of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) provided they meet certain criteria, according to a recent announcement made by the Board’s leadership.

This was announced by Prof. Olarenwaju Fagbohun, Lagos Coordinator for JAMB Equal Opportunity Group.

Olarenwaju, who previously served as the Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), made this statement on Monday at the Distance Learning Institute (DLI) of the University of Lagos, which is the 2024 UTME centre for visually-impaired candidates from Lagos and Ogun states.

He noted that out of the 88 registered candidates for the 2024 UTME at this center, 82 attended. He clarified that the refund will only apply to those visually-impaired candidates who achieved five ‘O’ Level credits in one sitting.

What he said
The coordinator said that the gesture is to encourage physically-challenge candidates.

According to him,

“I will like to give kudos to the Registrar of JAMB, Prof Is’haq Oloyede. .This year, he went a step further to return money paid by visually-challenged candidates for the purchase of their registration documents- those who scored five credits at one sitting.

“They were not supposed to have paid for the forms, but in a situation whereby they have already done that, their money will be returned to them here, today.

“The process is that the board, from the results uploaded by these candidates during registration for the examination, had already disaggregated all these and sent to all the centre coordinators nationwide.

“We have the list and the money already made available by the board, and the directive is that we must ensure that the concerned candidates get back their money immediately.

“We want them to know that they are Nigerians and that Nigeria recognises their roles and will want to harness their potential,” he said.

He said that the board is committed to finding ways to ensure that no Nigerian child is excluded from empowerment opportunities. He also noted that special examination is being held in 12 centers across the nation.

Previously, candidates were only allowed to listen as proctors read the questions aloud to them. However, this year, it was recognized that some candidates also wished to use braille to independently read and respond to questions.

Consequently, in addition to the ‘read aloud’ option, a ‘fully braille’ option has been introduced.

This new option involves printing the questions in braille so that candidates can use braille answer sheets to respond.

In preparation for this year’s exams, the organizers began contacting candidates assigned to the Lagos center at the Distance Learning Institute (DLI) of UNILAG one to two months in advance. Candidates were informed about their examination venue and advised to arrive at the center a day early with their guides to avoid any last-minute pressure.

“Before now, we allowed the candidates to just listen. The proctors will read aloud to them, but this year, we realised that some of them also want to use the braille and read on their own and then answer the questions.

“So, we, in addition to the option of ‘read aloud’ have also decided to introduce the option of ‘fully braille’.

“This means we will print questions on braille for the candidates and they will now use the braille answer sheets to answer the questions”.

He also said that the candidates were checked into hotels alongside their guides.

“They are being well taken care of, and whenever they will be returning to their respective destinations, they will be given transportation allowance,” he said.

Prof. Fagbohun, a specialist on Environmental Law, said that the candidates would be examined on various subjects, including Government, Arabic, Use of English, Mathematics, and Biology, among others.

 

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Obasanjo tells Tinubu: Include private universities into student loan scheme

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not mince his words during the inauguration of the Asiwaju Onafowokan, Coleman Wires and Cables

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not mince his words during the inauguration of the Asiwaju Onafowokan, Coleman Wires and Cables building at Bells University’s College of Postgraduate Studies in Ota, Ogun State, as unequivocally called upon the federal government to include students in private universities as beneficiaries in the Student Loan Scheme.

In his opinion, this measure would ensure that students in private universities are not disadvantaged and can access the same opportunities as their counterparts in public universities.

“The Vice Chancellor has spoken about the need to include students in private universities as beneficiaries of the Student Loan Scheme. I urge the government to listen to that and take heed to include them too. I doubt if the scheme will be run without corruption, that is another matter entirely, ” he said.

Obasanjo, the proprietor of Bell University of Technology, opined that the loan scheme was crucial to the development of the society and the welfare of the citizens and that excluding a group of people would be counter-productive.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Bell University of Technology, Prof. Jeremiah Ojediran, had pleaded for the inclusion of private universities’ students in the scheme.

“That is how they excluded students in private universities from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the recent decision to exclude them from the student’s loan scheme is unfair. These decisions were out of touch with the current realities of the society and the expectations of the people.

“Many parents struggle to keep their children enrolled in schools, whether public or private, due to the economic downturn in the country,” he said.

Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, NELFUND, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, had last week told media men that students in private institutions would not benefit from the loan scheme, at least for now.

His argument was that it was a programme for social re-engineering and redistribution of wealth meant to assist the poor in the society.

According to Sawyerr, though parents of students in private institutions are also tax payers from which fund for the scheme is sourced, they should not be seen as being in the same financial conditions as many parents of students in public schools.

Also, fees paid in private schools are quite higher than what obtains in public ones, he said.

 

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Underage students causing problems in varsities, says minister

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The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, announced that the Federal Government is currently considering setting 18 years as the minimum

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, announced that the Federal Government is currently considering setting 18 years as the minimum age for admission into universities and other tertiary institutions of learning.

During his visit to monitor the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination in Abuja, Mamman noted that some of the problems encountered in higher institutions are caused by underage students.

While urging parents not to push their children too hard, the minister emphasized the importance of allowing students to attain some level of maturity before managing their affairs.

“The other thing which we notice is the age of those who have applied to go to the university. Some of them are too young. We are going to look at it because they are too young to understand what a university education is all about,” said the minister.

“That’s the stage when students migrate from a controlled environment where they are in charge of their affairs. So if they are too young, they won’t be able to manage properly. That accounts for some of the problems we are seeing in the universities.

“We are going to look at that. 18 is the entry age for university but you will see students, 15, and 16, going to the examination. It is not good for us. Parents should be encouraged not to push their wards, or children too much.”

The minister who applauded the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board for a seamless examination process, noted that the adoption of technology had helped in reducing the cases of examination practices.

“Right from screening to those who are here…the examination process is seamless. The environment is comfortable for students. That’s how it should be, especially the use of technology in our affairs and the educational system. It makes life easy for everybody and seamless.

“As we know this examination is going on throughout the country. It is being monitored everywhere seamlessly and from the report I have heard, the malpractice level is very low. Just a 100 out of the 1.2m. It has gone down drastically and believe that it is the use of technology that has made that happen so this is very good.”

Commenting on the high number of candidates seeking admission into the limited slots available in tertiary institutions, Mamman maintained that skills acquisition remains a critical component in preparing the youths for a brighter future.

“It is not a question of being employed but how many will be admitted from this set. I think the figure overall on average is about 20 per cent; universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

“The question you ask is where are the 80 percent? They are our children, our wards living with us. This is why the issue of skills acquisition is important because any student who is not able to proceed to tertiary education should be able to have a meaningful life even after secondary school, even primary education.

“The only solution to that is skills; by taking skills right from the time they entered school, for the primary right through the educational trajectory. Somebody should finish with one skill or another. That is part of the assumption of the 6-3-3-4.

“It is assumed that by the time a student finishes up to the JSS level, he will have acquired some skills. If he does not proceed to the senior secondary level, he will have acquired some skills that will help him navigate life and cease to be a burden on his parents and society.

“That’s why this skill is just the most important skill for us now that we are going to drive through the education sector for both public and private sector to empower the young ones.”

The Minister of State for Education, Dr Tanko Sununu who was excited the UTME was also ongoing in Saudi Arabia as a result of the standards set by JAMB’s management, noted that the examination has transcended to a very high level of objectivity and reliability of results.

“Right from when the candidates arrive, they would be seated comfortably in the waiting room, screening and other necessary instructions will be given and they will proceed to do biometrics.

“There are some instructions that will be pushed that even if you are just coming into contact with a computer for the first time, provided you have been using the handset or smartphone, that will properly guide you to have access.

“One of the major things I see here, which is a major characteristic of online exams, is the speed. The speed in the centre is excellent; pages are turned when candidates need them without any delay in booting.

“Also in the exam, there are lots of steps to prevent examination malpractice, adjacent candidates will be taking different subjects and even when you are answering the same questions, question number one will be different from question number two from the next person.

The standard of the exam is commendable. I am not surprised that JAMB has to go outside Nigeria to go to other countries to conduct exams, they were in Saudi Arabia and right now the exam is also going (on) in Saudi Arabia.

“I have not heard people complaining of answers leaked, it shows that with online exams we can do a lot.”

The standard admission age currently set by most tertiary institutions in the country is 16 years a candidate is certified as gifted.

In 2021, the Senate announced plans to amend the law establishing the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, to limit the age of a candidate sitting the UTME to 16 years and above.

The then Vice-Chairman of, the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, indicated during the committee’s oversight visit to JAMB, said this would prevent under-aged candidates from participating in the examination to gain admission into universities in Nigeria.

 

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Education

FG sets 18 years as minimum entry age into tertiary institutions

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The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, announced that the Federal Government is currently considering setting 18 years as the minimum

The federal government has directed that admission to tertiary institutions should not be given to candidates less than 18 years old.

The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, gave the directive on Monday during a monitoring exercise of the ongoing 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory.

He decried the activities of some parents pressuring their underage students to get admission into tertiary institutions.

The minister said the 18-year benchmark is in line with the 6-3-3-4 education system.

“The minimum age of entry into the university is 18, but we have seen students who are 15 or 16 years old going in for the entrance examination.

“Parents should be encouraged not to push their wards too much. Mostly, it is the pressure of parents that is causing this.

“We are going to look at this development because the candidates are too young to understand what the whole university education is all about,” he said.

On skills acquisition for those who cannot gain admission into tertiary institutions, Mr Mamman said the ministry is taking skills to pupils from primary school.

“Overall, it is 20 per cent that can be admitted into the university, polytechnic, and colleges of education systems.

“So, where will the 80 per cent go? That is why the issue of skill acquisition is very important.

“Any student who is unable to proceed to tertiary institutions should be able to have a meaningful life after primary and secondary school education, and the only solution to this is skill acquisition,” he said.

Corroborating the minister’s position on the benchmark of 18 years for admission to a tertiary institution, the JAMB spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, said 18 years is in line with 6-3-3-4 education.

The Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, who was on the monitoring team, applauded the conduct of the 2024 UTME, particularly the introduction of online examinations to check malpractices.

He said the computer-based test (CBT) had reduced examination malpractices to the barest minimum.

Mr Sununu commended the board for setting a simple but high standard for the examination.

(NAN)

 

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Education

Eight facts to know about Nigerian school that charges N42m per annum

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Charterhouse Lagos, a newly established school in Lekki, Lagos has been facing criticism after reports emerged that it charges an annua

Charterhouse Lagos, a newly established school in Lekki, Lagos has been facing criticism after reports emerged that it charges an annual fee of N42 million.

The news of the exorbitant fee went viral on Sunday, April 21, and generated mixed reactions from Nigerians.

Here are Eight things to know about the school:

1. The name of the school is Charterhouse Lagos

2. It is located in Lekki, Lagos

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Inside the most expensive school in Nigeria with N42m fee per annum

3. N42m school fees per annum for each primary school student and N2 million as a non-refundable registration fee.

4. Charterhouse Lagos is the first British independent school in Nigeria

5. The school will be launching in September 2024

6. Facilities will include fully connected classrooms, science and STEM labs, music, art, drama, and library spaces, an 800-seat professional standard theatre, a 25-metre competition pool, along with a learn-to-swim pool, an NBA standard indoor basketball stadium, outdoor and indoor football pitches.

7. The school will offer an international education for students aged 5 to 18 (Years 1 to 13) using the British curriculum and leading to the IGCSE and A-level qualifications.

8. The school building is in progress and will be completed in 3 phases with the initial facilities for Years 1 to 4 opening in September 2024.

 

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JAMB: Over 577 sight impaired candidates to sit for 2024 UTME nationwide

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No fewer than 577 sight impaired candidates are set to take the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, in eleven

No fewer than 577 sight impaired candidates are set to take the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, in eleven centres nationwide.

The Chairman, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Equal Opportunity Group, JEOG, Emeritus Prof. Peter Okebukola, made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.

Recall that the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede set up the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group in 2017 for effective handling of sight impaired candidates and others with special needs.

Mr Okebukola said for the first time, JAMB, through JEOG, would implement the bimodal system of UTME administration.

“This involves Fully-Braille and Fully Read-Aloud. Candidates have a choice of mode. JEOG has been resourced by JAMB to make the experience of the two modes of test administration pleasant for the candidates.

“With a total of 577 sight impaired candidates, the 2024 UTME presents the highest number. We had 348 in 2022, 313 in 2023.

“The 2024 increase is largely due to increased advocacy by JEOG, a process which will be bolstered in the coming years,” he said.

Mr Okebukola described Oloyede as one of the strongest pillars of equal opportunity of access to higher education in Africa.

He said: “In the last four days, I have conferred with members of GUNi-Africa on how candidates with sight impairment aspiring for higher education in Africa are treated in their countries.

“And, all are in agreement that Nigeria, through Prof. Oloyede, stands clearly out as the best.”

Speaking further, Mr Okebukola noted that all sight impaired candidates who are prima facie qualified for admission to institutions of higher learning in Nigeria would have the cost of their UTME registration refunded on site during the examination.

He said the other five “goodies” that Oloyede had been showering on the candidates since 2017 were – free hotel accommodation for the sight impaired candidates and their guides, free Braille slate and stylus.

Others, he said, are customised t-shirts, free meals through the examination period and transport supplementation for the sight impaired candidates and their guides.

“No other African country comes near offering such kind gestures,” he said.

“This is why I have nominated Professor Oloyede for the CNN Heroes Award.

“We are mobilising the whole of Africa to support the nomination for 2024, and we will not stop nominating him until God makes it possible for him to be conferred with the award which he very much deserves,” he added.

On the distribution of the candidates and the centre coordinators, he said Kano had the highest number of 138 with Prof. Muhammad Bello, former Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Bayero University as Coordinator.

Mr Okebukola said this was followed by Lagos with 88 candidates and Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, former VC of LASU as coordinator.

“Others are: Abuja, 60, with Prof. Sunday Ododo as coordinator; Ado-Ekiti, 37, with Prof. Rasheed Aderinoye as coordinator; Bauchi, 44, with Prof. Salisu Shehu as coordinator and Benin, 26, with Prof. Samuel Odewumi as coordinator.

“Enugu has 66 candidates with Prof. Emeritus Mosto Onuoha as coordinator; Kebbi has 21 candidates with Prof. Asabe Kabir as coordinator; Oyo has 57 candidates with Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Special Duties as coordinator,” he said .

Others, he said, are Jos which had 24 candidates with Prof. Nasiru Maiturare as coordinator and Yola had 16 candidates with Prof. Muhammad Yakasai, VC, Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa as coordinator.

The JEOG chairman noted that the examination had been scheduled for April 22 and April 23 in the eleven centres and involved 20 subjects.

He explained that the sight impaired candidates would take the same test papers as the regular candidates as standards would not be lowered in any form.

NAN

 

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