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Schools now to reopen in Lagos January 18

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The Lagos State Government has fixed January 18 for the resumption of schools for the second term 2020/2021 academic session.

Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, announced the new date in a statement on Monday.

The statement read, “The Lagos State Government has announced that all public and private schools below tertiary level in Lagos State should be reopened for the second term 2020/21 academic session from Monday 18th of January, 2021.

 “Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, who revealed this today, stated that this is in line with the Federal Government’s directive coupled with the second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“She therefore enjoined all schools to make efforts to comply with all the outlined COVID-19 requirements for resumption schools.

“Not just for the improvement of overall school operations but for the safe reopening of academic activities to support the Lagos State Government’s quest for a full return.

“The commissioner advised that schools should have flexible plans where students and teachers who feel sick can teach or learn from home via available online platforms, adding that schools should also strive to avoid any COVID-19 infection among all students and staff.”

Adefisayo urged the teachers, students and visitors to wear face masks at all times; observe physical distancing as well as embrace regular hand washing with soap under running water.

She also stressed the need to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene within the school premises.

The state government had initially asked schools to reopen on January 4 but the resumption date was postponed.

This raised fears concerns that the government may impose a lockdown as a result of the second wave of coronavirus.

Education

JAMB Adopts Cashless Registration for 2022 UTME

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Prof. Ishaq Oloyede

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has said it will adopt a cashless policy in the registration process for the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)

JAMB also said it generated N141.2 million between November 20 and November 26, 2021, adding that the financial inflows were from

e-facilities/sales – N100, 752,479, 2021,

late registration – N30,875,438,

consultancy services – N7, 451,224 and

PRC Service Charge-2,167,865.00.

In a weekly bulletin issued by the spokesperson of the Board, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, on Monday, the exam body said with the adoption of the new system, it would be collecting the approved N700 registration fee on behalf of the various Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres along with its UTME registration fees.

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The exam body said the money due to each registration centre would be remitted to the relevant bank accounts on a weekly basis or any timeframe acceptable to the centre owners.

JAMB said its decision to go cashless in the UTME registration would put an end to some of the fraudulent activities of some CBT centres, who charge candidates above the stipulated fee.

“This laudable step was borne out of a painstaking review of the entire UTME registration process which has revealed some unethical and unacceptable practices by many Computer-Based Testing (CBT) centres.

”It is to be noted that these centres are allowed to collect only seven hundred naira (N700) as registration charges but
some fraudulent centre owners misused that opportunity to engage in conduct unbecoming of a respectable establishment as they indulge in massive extortion of candidates, among others, during the exercise.

“Consequently, the Board has resolved to henceforth make the UTME registration process cashless to put a stop to such acts of extortion.

”This intervention will block all loopholes through which hapless candidates are extorted by unconscionable service providers.

”This process will not, in any way, increase the cost of UTME registration which remains as it was in the previous year. As such, it is only the process of payment that has changed not the cost,” JAMB said.

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In the previous years, candidates paid the sum of N700 at the centres.

However, with the new policy,
candidates will simply walk into any registration centre and register without paying anything as the fee hitherto payable to the centre had been paid along with the cost of obtaining the e-PINS.

The examination body said it generated N141.2 million between 20 November and 26 November 2021.

“The financial inflows were from e-facilities/sales – N100, 752,479, 2021, late registration – N30,875,438, consultancy services – N7, 451,224 and PRC Service Charge-2,167,865.00,” it said.

JAMB, however, said it expended N88,321,613 in the same period on staff claims, agency service, and supervision of third party examination, among others.

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Education

BREAKING: Reps’ bill finally ends disparity between BSc/HND

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…as NABTEB Act amendment bill passes second reading

A bill seeking a perpetual end to the dichotomy between the university degrees of Bachelor’s of Arts/Science, BA/BSc and the Higher National Diplomas, HNDs awarded by polytechnics have been passed into law in the House of Representatives.

Titled “A Bill for an Act to Abolish and Prohibit Dichotomy and Discrimination between First Degree and Higher National Diploma in the Same Profession/Field for the Purpose of Employment; and for Related Matters”, the bill was read for the third time which was the final stage of the law-making process at Tuesday plenary.

The next stage would be concurrence with the Senate before it will be transmitted to the Presidency for the presidential assent.

The bill stipulates some punitive measures against any form of discrimination against holders of HND.

The Implication of the piece of legislation is that the two certificates are now at par with each other.

The deputy majority leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason moved for the third reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Aishatu Dukku.

The Bill was later voted on and approved for the third reading.

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Detailing the equality of Degrees and HNDs, the bill stipulates that “Notwithstanding any provision in any legislation, circular, regulation or policy guideline, First Degree and Higher National Diploma shall be deemed construed and treated as equivalent qualification for the purpose of employment and career progression at workplace in the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“Any provision in-laws, enactments, instruments, circulars, scheme of service, directives, or policies by whatever name called, which is inconsistent with the provisions of this bill, shall to the extent of the inconsistency be null and void, and of no effect.

“Holders of the First Degree and the Higher National Diploma (HND) shall be given equal treatment and opportunity in career placements, career progression, admission to further studies and privileges whatsoever in consideration of status as graduates of Nigeria tertiary institutions of higher learning.”

The bill also prohibited discrimination between the Degree and HND.

“All forms of discriminations and or dichotomy between First Degree and Higher National Diplomas for the purpose of employment, transfer of service, conversion of cadre, career progression, promotion, and other related issues in the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy is hereby abolished.

“No person, authority, entity (body or corporate) in whatsoever name call shall discriminate and or undertake any action in any form whatsoever which is misconstrued as and or intended to give any preferential treatment in favour of and/or against holders of the First Degree or the Higher National Diploma.

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“Any person or entity in the public or private sectors of the Nigerian economy who contravenes the provisions of this bill commits an offence under this bill and shall be liable upon conviction to a term of two years’ imprisonment or a fine of N1,000,000 or both.

“Any person or entity in the public or private sectors of the Nigerian economy who design, prescribe and or specify any guidelines, terms or conditions of employment, career progression, and or any other instrument by whatever name called in violation of the provisions of this bill shall be guilty of an offence under this bill and liable upon conviction to a term of 1-year imprisonment or a fine of N500,000 (five hundred thousand naira) or both”, it states.

Prescribing appropriate sanctions, the bill states that any person who induces or encourages any other person for the violation of any of the provisions of this bill shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of N500,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.

It further states that where an officer of any entity in the public or private sector fails to comply with the provisions of its provisions, the person shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to an imprisonment term of six months or a fine of N500,000 or both.

“Where in any proceedings against any person for an offence under this bill, it is established that any action constituting an offence under this bill has been committed by an officer, it shall be presumed that the action was done with the motive or intent of committing an offence under this bill as the case may be until the contrary is proved,” it added.

In a related development, the House also passed for second reading, a bill seeking the amendment of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board Act.

Titled “A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Business and Technical Examinations Board Act, Cap. N12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Improve the Scope of the Board, to Undertake Contemporary Business and Technical Examinations in Line with the National Policy on Education, Provide the General Purpose of the Results, Certificate and Awards Issued by the Board; and for Related Matters”, the bill is sponsored by Professor Julius Ihonvbere from Edo State.

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At the plenary, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere moved for the second reading of the Bill and it was seconded by Rep. Aishatu Dukku.

Leading the debate on the general principle of the bill, Hon. Ihonvbere stated that the Bill seeks to amend the Act establishing the board to end the rejection of qualified students by employers.

He added that the Bill also seeks to ensure the development of technical and vocational education schemes in Nigeria.

Contributing to the debate, Hon. Abubakar Yunusa lauded the spirit of the Bill as it seeks to correct the victimization of vocational students.

He urged the House to speedily pass the bill to make their certificates duly recognized, adding that it will cease the burden of unemployment, as well as enhance entrepreneurship.

Similarly, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas also hailed the bill, calling for the more national will to apply the skills of technical and vocational training in society.

The lawmaker also urged the expedient passage of the Bill to save the future of teeming Nigerian youth.

The Bill was eventually voted on, approved for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Basic Education and Services for further legislative action.

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WAEC raises fee, reverts to May/June calendar

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The Head of Nigeria National Office, West African Examination Council, WAEC, Mr Patrick Areghan has announced that the 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, will be conducted in May/June.

Recall that in recent times, WAEC conducted WASSCE between August and October.

Mr Areghan disclosed the revert back to the previous duration of the conduct of WASSCE, on Monday while announcing 2021 results at the council national office, Yaba.

His words: ” Let me thank the Federal and the various Ministries of Education for working so hard to stabilize the academic calendar. Accordingly, as a result of the return to normalcy, the Honourable Minister of Education has requested that the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2022 should be conducted in May/June 2022.

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This position has been communicated to the Registrar to Council in Accra and he has assured us that it will be reckoned with in drawing up the International Time-table for the examination. And so, by the special grace of God, the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2022 will be taking place in May/June 2022. Entries for the examination will be floated on Monday, December 6, 2021.” WAEC boss explained.

Meanwhile, Mr Areghan has disclosed that from 2022, the cost of registration for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, has been raised from N13,950 to N18,000 to meet the demands of economic reality.

According to him:” Owing to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic which has brought the global economy to its knees, the unabating spiralling inflation in the country as can be seen in the general cost of doing business and the multiplier effect of the unabating insecurity in the country, which have consequential effects on the cost of our operations, it is no longer possible to continue to provide services with the current fee of N13,950.00 per candidate.

Furthermore, our ad-hoc workers – Supervisors, Examiners, Checkers, item Writers and indeed, all examination functionaries, have been agitating for improved remunerations.

We have received approval from the appropriate quarters with effect from the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2022, to charge N18,000.00 per candidate.  We are, therefore, asking all school principals to collect N18,000.00  per candidate for registration.  A part of this new fee has been dedicated to the enhancement of the remunerations for the various examination functionaries and our Governing Board has graciously approved the remunerations, which will come into effect from the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2022.

Any amount beyond this ceiling will not be to our consent or knowledge and will definitely not come to the purse of the West African Examinations Council.” Mr Areghan noted.

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