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How COVID-19 has spurred digital transformation strategies by Pantami



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How COVID-19 has spurred digital transformation strategies by Pantami

By Deborah Musa

The minister of communication and digital economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has harped on importance of a well developed data and communication to cope with post covid-19 challenges.

Pantami who was represented by Engineer Aliu Azeez in his good will message at national summit induction & investiture of the Institute of information management held in Abuja over the weekend indicated that covid-19 pandemic has spurred the need for rapid acceleration and implementation of digital transformation plans.

Such plans he said should be aimed at delivery of new services, achieving greater efficiencies, building resilience and helping the society recover quickly from the economic, social and health downturns experienced in the past months.

He noted that, The world is at a threshold of history where data is now the new air.
He said access to reliable and accurate data can help people navigate and tackle the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic to be able to plan for the future.

Pantami emphasized the importance of having skilled professionals in terms of actual skills and not just in terms of theory and paper qualifications.

“The future that emerges after COVID will be different and that is already evident in the way we live, work and conduct business.
“We are counting on the institute to increase its drive towards education (in terms of actual skills and not paper qualification), technological research, and trainings to promote data and information management in line with evolving expectations in the new and changing environments we find ourselves”

The minister of communication and digital economy also explained on how his office is working round the clock to drive digital transformation in Nigeria.

“I am also delighted that this summit is taking place at a time our Administration is working round the clock to drive digital transformation of Nigeria; introducing e -government solutions in the conduct of government business, and leverage digital identity as a key enabler of progress toward many sustainable development goals and full participation in the global digital economy.

“Just yesterday I commissioned the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. While robotics facilitate A.I., the A.I. is the actual refinery and engineroom of our new digital economy”.

The Institute of information management held its national summit induction & investiture while at the same time marking one decade of promoting excellence in data and information management across the globe

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FG develops implementation guidelines to address out of school children




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FG develops implementation guidelines to address out of school children

By Mustapha Sumaila

Federal Government says it has concluded plans to develop a national implementation guideline on the Accelerated Basic Education Curriculum (ABEC) programme to address issue of out of school children.

Executive Secretary, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) Prof Ismail Junaidu, made the disclosure at a workshop in Abuja on Saturday.

The week long workshop on Training of Master Trainers on ABEC was organised by Plan International Nigeria with funding from the European Union for selected teachers in crisis ridden states in the North-East.

Junaidu explained that the guidelines would be all inclusive where states and stakeholders including non-governmental organisations as well as development partners expected to key into the programme.

“The train-the-trainers strategy will give us the opportunity of training a larger number of teachers as we plan for a national rollout of the programme.

“Currently, we are at the verge of completing the piloting of the programme in Borno State and environs.

“It is important that I inform you that the result from the pilot-testing exercise gives further impetus to stay on course in our intention to use the programme as to bring down the number of out-of-school youths and children in Nigeria.

“Let me also inform you that while some teacher support materials have been completely developed others are the completion stages” he said.

The executive secretary said one of the critical requirements for the successful implementation of the ABEC is the availability of teachers who were adequately prepared to effectively teach the contents of the curriculum.

According to him, ABEC is a specialised curriculum with unique implementation strategy which makes it very essential that teachers are given special training on the use of the curriculum.

“One way of getting teachers trained on the implementation of the curriculum is to train a selected number of teachers who will in turn train other teachers.

“Principally, the training is intended to provide adequate guidance to the teachers towards ensuring that the learners derive maximum benefits from the well-designed curriculum.

“It will also give the teachers the opportunity to interact deeply with the curriculum and the programme structure” he added.

Junaidu however commended Plan International led consortium for its commitment to the ABEC Programme in the country.

He added that since the beginning of the organisation’s partnership with the Frderal Government on this project, it had continued to demonstrate unwavering commitment to the successful implementation of ABEC.

In her remarks, Mrs Jummai Musa, Director, Programme Quality and Innovation of Plan International Nigeria decried the rate of out of school children in the country.

Musa said in the past 11 years of insurgency in the country, there were children that were born that period that had no access to education due to collapse education system in some communities.

She explained a curriculum had been designed for abridged programme for such children in order to be placed in their appropriate classes with a view to have them in schools.

According to her, the number of out of school children is alarming hence the need for well meaning organisations to work with the government to address it.

She added that Plan International was committed and ready to support the government to drive the implementation of ABEC initiative. (NAN)

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Polytechnic Alumni fingered in students protest amidst N150 million fraud allegation




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Polytechnic Alumni fingered in students protest amidst N150 million fraud allegation

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

The Isa Musthapha Agwai (IMA) Polytechnic, Lafia, Nasarawa State, Alumni Associstion has allegedly been accused of defrauding over 40, 000 students whooping sum of N150 million.
The said amount represented levy of N2000 each the students were made to pay for development to give the institution a face-lift.
NationalUpdate checks indicated that the association allegedly hired some hoodlums along with the students of the institution to stage a protest, owing to the fact that the school authority had blocked all the leakages of the previous portal which the body has been using to defraud the polytechnic and the students.

An impeccable sources from the institution indicated that the decision taken by the management in blocking all the leakages and going ahead to open another portal did not go down well with the Alumni, hence the protest by the students.

Credible sources with knowledge about the protest told NationalUpdate that the school management did not hike tuition fees as being alleged by the Alumni, adding that while the protest was going on over two hundred students registered on the new portal opened by the management.

According to the sources, the allegation levelled against the polytechnic by the Alumni was false and capable of bringing the integrity of the council, the management and the rector of the institution in particular to disrepute.

Another source, within the polytechnic community, said the alumni targeted the rector to make the state government suspend the entire council so as to pave way for them to return to their nefarious act of defrauding the institution, amidst decline in the revenue generation of the Polytechnic.

NationalUpdate gathered that when the new rector, Mrs. Justina Kotso came on board, she discovered that there were a lot of leakages on the institution’s portal.

It was further learnt that some staff reportedly connived with the Alumni body to issue out fake receipts and printing out of fake statement of results as well as collecting examination fees from the students to the tune of N150 million.

It was further gathered that the association executive that was innaugurated in 2014 has been holding sway till 2020 before the new rector was appointed by the visitor of the polytechnic, the Nasarawa state governor, Mr. Abdullahi Sule to replace the former rector, Dr. Silas Gyar.

It would be recalled a report had painted a vivid picture of how the former rector was suspended alongside his allies who were alleged to have defrauded the polytechnic of funds to the tune of over N2 billion.

Those who worked with the former rector during the financial crisis were, Mr. Labani Joseph-Dio, and Abdullahi Akyo, Registrar and Bursar respectively that were fired by the former governor of the state, senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura following alleged corruption and misappropriation of funds meant for the development of the institution to the tune of over N2 billion.

Mohammed Bako, Chairman Governing Council of the Polytechnic, said the governor’s decision then was in line with government white paper report on the investigative committee into the activities of the institution.

NationaUpdate reports that the dismissed staff were sent on compulsory leave October 26, 2017 to pave way for an investigation into their activities.

Findings by The NationalUpdate also indicated that during the reign of the former rector, the Polytechnic was generating ₦450 million as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), annually as revealed by a lecturer in the department of accounting.

It was learnt that the whistle-blower was later suspended by the institution’s management over the act. The IGR wad mostly generated from the sales of admission forms, and admission letters. But the larger chunk of revenue comes from the Consultancy Services Units that is enough to sustain the institution.

Feelers from the institution, disclosed that after discovering leakages, the rector of the polytechnic ordered for the immediate
closure of old portal and introduced a new portal.
However the situation reportedly did not go down with the alumni and other staff alkeged to have been conniving with the embattled alumni exco who were asked to stay action.
They however went ahead to instigate students and non-students of the polytechnic, in wild protest.

It was further learnt that one of the students of alumni (name withheld) was caught with two fake receipts he was issuing to students during examination adding the suspect is still cooling his heels in police custody as he is being investigated.

Sources within the polytechnic community confided in our correspondent that the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps submitted a report to the management of the polytechnic, warning all parties involved to stay action adding that the election of new alumni exco remains null and avoid as investigation into the protest is ongoing.

Consequently, the state governor Abdullahi Sule when he visited the ICT center to inspect the level of destruction of the institution’s properties, frowned at the attitude of the alumni body as well as some staff who were allegedly involved in milking the polytechnic dry of funds.

“I knew that some staff of the polytechnic have been defrauding the institution and I am not happy with that. So whoever that instigated the protest will no go unpunished, they must be brought to book to serve as deterrent to others,” Governor Sule vowed.

Reacting to the protest and alleged defrauding of students to the tune
of N150 million, the national President of the alumni in the IMA polytechnic, Mr. Ogbele Arenya, described the allegation as false.

On the inauguration of the new exco, he noted that, there was no official document from the Governing Council halting the inauguration of the new excos, arguing that only a competent court of law could
issue an injunction halting the inauguration, hence, he proceeded with the inauguration of the new exco.

He, however, maintained that the N2000 alumni fees collected from the students could be accounted for as it was utilized for the purchase of computers in the school, renovation of multipurpose hall, sponsorship of students and many others.

He added that the alumni was not linked to the students protest, arguing that they had their issue with the polytechnic before the students unrest.

His words: “We are not linked to the protest. The election we had was a credible one in the eyes of credible observers and even some members of the state Independent Electoral Commission as well as security agencies in the state.”

“We decided to hold our election outside the school premises because when we came around for the election, we were ordered out by the security agents at the school gate saying that only staff from level 13 and above would be allowed entry to the school compound by the management,” He stated.

He, however, claimed that they were not given opportunity to air their grievances, hence the conduct of the election outside the school premises.

NationalUpdate reports that on March 11, 2021 angry students of the Isa Musthapha Agwai Polytechnic, Lafia, Nasarawa State staged a protest against the closure of the school’s registration portal by the institution.

It would be recalled that on March 12, 2021 no fewer than 27 students of the IMAP, Lafia were been arrested in connection with the protest by the police in Nasarawa state.

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NTI Examinations’ Conduct In Kogi Is Quite Impressive – Education Commissioner




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NTI Examinations’ Conduct In Kogi Is Quite Impressive – Education Commissioner

By Stephen Adeleye

The Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, on Monday described the conduct of the ongoing National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) Examinations in the state as ‘quite impressive’.

Jones made the statement while speaking to journalists shortly after monitoring the conduct of the National Certificate of Education (NCE) and Bachelors Degree Programme examinations at Holy Trinity Primary School centre in Lokoja.

The Commissioner noted that the NTI Council had a three-day meeting in Abuja last week where the council members were mandated to visit examination centres in their respective States to monitor the conduct of the exams.

According to him, the monitoring of the ationwide exercise is to ensure that examination standards are maintained and complied with,

”So, we are here today at Holy Trinity Primary school exam centre Lokoja, to ensure that standard are complied with.

”So far, I must say that I am quite impressive because nobody was aware that the commissioner was coming to visit; and I think the standard are being maintained and it is quite impressive.

”Tomorrow, we will be visiting exam centres outside Lokoja, to also monitor and see what is happening in other centres outside Lokoja municipal.

”We want to check and see whether it is only in Lokoja that the standards are being maintained, or the standards are also being maintained statewide”, Jones said.

Also speaking, Mr Sodiq Shehu Abubakar, from Quality Assurance and ICT Department, NTI Kaduna, who was in Kogi to supervise the exams, told journalists that the exams had been moving on smoothly without hitches.

”I have been sent here for monitoring and evaluation of the conduct of NTI examinations in Kogi State, and so far things have been moving smoothly as you can see.

”The candidates are teachers who have intentions of upgrading themselves on the job or those who seek to secure teaching qualifications and want to improve themselves.

”Presently, we are having BDP and NCE examinations ongoing. On Saturday, we will also hold exam for Postgraduate students who have graduated but does not have any teaching qualifications”, Abubakar said.

The Commissioner was accompanied by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Education, Hon. Mohammed Ohiani.


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