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Akoka: Federal College of Education workers tackle provost over tenure extension

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The staff of Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos, have staged a protest against the school’s provost, Dr. Wahab Azeez, over his tenure in office.

The protest which took place in the school premises on Monday was directed at the alleged unlawful stay in office of the provost as the agitators claimed it was against the Act governing Federal Colleges across the country.

Monday’s protest started around 9 am as FCET staff members marched through the college premises singing solidarity songs.

They also carried placards with different inscriptions some of which read: ‘President Bola Ahmed Tinubu your authority and assented law is been usurped by Azeez and other authorities,’  ‘Concerned staff FCE(T), Akoka Law supersedes connection or monetary influence. Let the new act take its hold in Akoka,’ ‘Concerned staff FCE(T), Akoka,’ ‘Azeez is as good as a sole proprietor due to his dictatorship, not as a public officer.’ ‘Concerned staff FCE(T), Akoka, ‘Leaders who seek only power and control will end up losing both.’

Speaking at the protest, the deputy registrar, Chris Olamiju, told our correspondent that the Provost’s tenure in office had come to an end on the 26th of May 2024, according to section 13 subsection 7a and b of the new Act signed by President Bola Tinubu.

Olamiju quoted the Act as thus, “If on the commencement of this section, a Provost appointed before the commencement of this Act has held office for (a)less than five years, the provost shall be deemed to be serving the five-year single term and shall not have the right for the renewal of his appointment for a further term of four years.

“(b) more than five years and serving the second term of office, be deemed to be serving the last term of office without any further extension.”

Olamiju noted that the protest was a result of the misinterpretation of the act by the Ministry of Education to support the provost’s stay in office.

Also at the protest, assistant Deputy Bursar, Nicolas Ogbusuo, said that the staff at FCET Akoka College were protesting the renewal of the Provost’s appointment, citing a new law that limits tenure to five years. Ogbusuo stressed an acting provost be appointed pending a new appointment

”We are protesting the renewal of the Provost’s appointment, the new law stated that tenure is limited to five years. Despite the law, the provost claims to have a letter from the ministry granting him an additional five years, which we know cannot supersede the law. We demand an acting Provost be appointed pending a permanent replacement,” he stated.

The principal assistant registrar,  Austin Nwachukwu, said that the new act states that any Provost appointed before its commencement, who has not served five years, shall have a single five-year tenure. Nwachukwu noted that the provost, appointed in 2019, has served four years, and his five-year tenure ended on Sunday.

He further explained that the staff were rejecting the ministry’s interpretation of the act, which allowed him to stay beyond five years, and was demanding his removal, citing the college’s deteriorating state and their desire for new leadership.

Reacting to the agitation, The Provost Federal College of Education (Technical), Dr Wahab Azeez, said that his tenure which commenced on 26th of May, 2023, had been duly authorised and confirmed by the Federal Ministry of Education.

Azeez noted that the clarification was by the new law signed by the President on June 12, 2023.

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Education

NYSC debunks news on introducing new uniform

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By Matthew Denis

The Management of National Youths Service Corp (NYSC) has described the trending New uniform on social media as fake news and baseless.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Director of Information and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa which was made available to Newsmen on Friday.

The statement Reads ” the attention of NYSC Management has been drawn to a fake tiktok video trending online indicating that Corps Members’ uniform has been changed to a new one.

“For clarity sake, NYSC Management wish to State categorically that all the items of Corps Members’ uniforms that they collect on arrival during registration at the Orientation Camps remain the same.

It further urged Members of the public, especially Prospective Corps Members are hereby advised to disregard the misleading and highly embarrassing tiktok video in its entirety, as efforts are on-going on the distribution of uniforms and other essential variables to all the 37 NYSC Orientation Camps across the country in preparation for the forthcoming 2024 Batch ‘B’ Stream One Orientation Course.

Recall that the Federal Government approved for the improvement in the quality of the material used in sowing Corps Members’ uniform. This is already done and Corps Members are already enjoying the improved quality.

“Social Media Influencers are strongly warned to desist forthwith, from using NYSC Corporate brand in any online medium that may attract negative publicity to the Scheme, while defaulters would be prosecuted according to legal provisions.”

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Education

NBTE introduces mandatory skills qualification for Poly Graduates

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By Sodiq Adelakun

In a bid to align with global standards and emphasise skill acquisition in polytechnic education, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has made Mandatory Skills Qualification (MSQ) a compulsory requirement for graduation in all National Diploma and Higher National Diploma programs.

According to a statement issued on Monday by the board’s Head of Media, Hajiya Fatimah Abubakar, in Abuja on Monday, diploma holders will now receive an additional certification in National Skills Qualification or its equivalent upon graduation.

The MSQ is designed to assess and recognise individuals’ skills and competencies in various fields, ensuring they are well-equipped for the workforce.

According to Abubakar, “It focuses on vocational skills and is typically obtained through vocational training programmes, apprenticeships, and assessments conducted by approved skill assessment bodies.

“NSQ aims to bridge the gap between formal education and industry needs by providing individuals with practical skills relevant to the job market.

“The dual certification of obtaining both an NSQ and an ND in Nigeria offers several benefits, including a comprehensive skill set, increased employability, versatility, professional recognition, and career progression,” she said.

The NBTE head of media further said that the dual certification opens doors to career advancement opportunities as well as provides a strong foundation for upward mobility and career growth.

“The dual certification offers a competitive edge in the job market, enhances career prospects, and equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in their chosen fields.

“This dual certification is expected to significantly enhance employability. However, NBTE is aware of the limited skills training facilities in our polytechnics and is therefore allowing a phased introduction.

“The guideline provides polytechnic administrators with methods for implementing this new provision. Quality assurance is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness and relevance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes,” she noted.

She added that assessors would play a vital role in this process, through evaluating the quality of education and training provided in various technical and vocational fields.

She said their role will include assessing standards, learning outcomes, and the overall performance of Skills Development Centres in polytechnics and other TVET institutions.

“Under the MSQ, HND level students who have acquired NSQ at the ND level can enrol in Quality Assurance Assessor (QAA) training as an alternative to another NSQ.

“The QAA certificate will be valuable in the workplace, as many industries require on-the-job training,” she said.

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UNICAL VC calls for end to impunity, says women leaders will drive growth

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The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Professor Florence Obi, has urged for a radical change to the culture of impunity in Nigeria, emphasising that competence and merit should be prioritised over systemic anomalies.

Speaking at the maiden Conference of the Association of Female Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Obi stressed that women’s leadership potential should not be judged by a few failures, but rather by the many who possess the capacity and merit to deliver quality service.

Obi argued that women are natural leaders and effective managers of resources, and that their participation in positions of authority would lead to Nigeria’s growth and development.

She called for a shift away from impunity and towards a culture that allows women to excel without encumbrances.

The conference, themed “Female Leadership in Higher Education Governance: Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges,” aimed to empower women in leadership positions and promote gender equality in education.

According to the VC, “By coming together to inaugurate the Association of Female Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AFVCNU), we have collectively accepted the responsibility that history has placed on us as leaders of the highest citadels of learning.

“I know our peculiar political landscape which does not give a premium to ideas from intellectuals. But I am extremely confident that our depth of ideas and vision, resoluteness, and commitment can create a new atmosphere for great things to happen not only in our campuses but also in other areas.

“In the course of the last three and half years as Vice-Chancellor, my efforts in this direction have largely been successful and impactful in the system, characterised by courage and doggedness.

“The culture of impunity that has become rooted in our clime deserves radical and courageous measures, no matter whose ox is gored.

“In my university, in furtherance of the culture of academic excellence, my administration instituted the Vice-Chancellor Scholarship for the best students with CGPA above 4.00 on the scale of & across the 110 departments

“Gender sensitisation is very active on our campus and female students are deliberately encouraged to speak against molestation and sexual harassment. Though sometimes such outspokenness attracts negative publicity to the University, I know it testifies to the success of our efforts,” she said.

Speaking further, she explained that allowing more women to come into positions of authority will be the right step in the right direction for the country to move forward.

According to her, “I’m not referring to women that lack capacity, but those who merited the opportunity but discriminated against because of their gender.”

She maintained that the conference is a veritable platform for them to mentor young women in education governance and also encourage them to aspire to any position they desire in academics, politics and other spheres.

“Higher education governance has been in the hands of men since the days of University College, Ibadan, and as at today only about 40 women have been given the opportunity to lead institutions of learning, since the inception of university education in Nigeria.

“From inception, we have had close to 500 or more men head such institutions. So, now that for the first time we are having 24 women serving as vice chancellors, we taught it wise to mentor other women to aspire for greatness,” she said.

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