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Vice chancellors disagree with ASUU on reopening of varsities

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Vice-Chancellors of federal and state universities in Nigeria have expressed readiness to reopen schools.

But the Academic Staff Union of Universities insists that varsities are not ready for reopening as they have put measures in place to protect students, lecturers and other workers from contracting the new strain of COVID-19.

The VCs said they had planned to reopen their institutions as directed by the Federal Government.

Apart from the scare arising from the second wave of COVID-19, they said they planned to stagger the resumption.

The VC of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Prof. Felix Salako, said the varsity would resume academic activities on January 18, in compliance with the directive of the Federal Government.

He maintained that the university was ready to resume academic activities, saying that measures had been put in place, including COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the Federal Government.

He said it was mischievous and political for any lecturer to go to the media to say that the university was not ready for academic activities.

Salako noted that the school had undergone fumigation more than 10 times since March 2020, just as there had been massive infrastructural rehabilitation.

He added that the management had been producing its own hand sanitisers, as well as procuring hand-washing basins and soaps needed to keep the students and members of staff safe from contracting the virus.

The vice-chancellor also said the university would be running what he described as “hybrid” teaching, a mix of physical and virtual learning, while no fewer than 150 solar panels had been installed in some of the buildings, to provide alternative sources of electricity and facilitate the planned hybrid system of learning delivery.

“The virtual learning will take care of large classes, like the part one students, but for fewer classes, we have large halls to accommodate the students,” Salako said.

Meanwhile, the University of Ilorin has started online lectures as scheduled.

The management of the University of Benin also announced that the institution would resume on January 30.

The Senate of Bayero University Kano, on Monday, approved the commencement of a new academic session on January 18, 2021, while the second semester would commence on May 3, 2021.

The Senate of Ekiti State University has also announced that the institution will resume online academic activities from January 18.

Deputy Director, Corporate Communications and Protocol of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Mr Adegbenro Adebayo, said academic activities will resume on January 18 for its students.

The Public Relations Officer of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Biodun Olarewaju, said the Senate of the institution would meet on January 19 to decide when its students would resume.

Subject to the decision of the Senate, the spokesperson said OAU would put in place all necessary arrangements in compliance with COVID-19 protocols to ensure safety in the university environment.

ASUU had on Sunday assessed COVID-19 protocols in the universities and said the institutions were not ready for safe reopening.

The National Universities Commission had said universities could resume on January 18 but must adhere to COVID-19 protocols in hostels and lecture halls.

ASUU said although its members were ready to start work, the government had not put measures in place for safe reopening of the schools.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said on Monday that FG would review the January 18 earlier date fixed for resumption of schools across Nigeria.

It attributed the decision to the second wave of COVID-19 currently ravaging the country.

Adamu said, “It (January 18 date of school reopening) is not sacrosanct. When we decided on that date it was just a target towards what we were working on. Of course, we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review.”

Education

Katsina govt okays use of dogs to secure boarding schools

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The Katsina State Government has approved the use of dogs by the security personnel deployed to secure the state’s boarding schools.

This move, according to the Katsina State Commissioner for Education, Dr Badamasi Charanchi, is to complement the efforts of the security personnel attached to each boarding schools.

“We were advised to deploy these dogs in each school because they have special abilities to detect intruder faster than human beings in many instances.

“These dogs, when deployed, will alert the students and other security agents in case of any intruder or bandits when they are coming,” he said.

Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, said his administration had reinforced the security architecture of the state’s boarding schools before reopening them.

He said apart from deploying five security guards in each school, a perimeter fence was erected and a security watch tower constructed in each of the  boarding schools.

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JAMB stops use of email for UTME, Direct Entry registration

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says use of email is no longer required for registration processes for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry (DE).

JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, said email addresses of applicants would be needed only at the successful completion of the registration to access information on the examination.

He said as from Thursday, April 15, 2021, candidates would no longer be required to provide any email address during registration, adding that they would have the options to access their profile during or after registration.

According to him, the new system is to ensure candidates’ details are not exposed to dubious cyber cafe operators and other criminal elements who in the course of UTME/DE registration steal email passwords to perpetrate fraud.

The JAMB registrar said an individual’s mobile phone now remains the only major tool to carry out all the registration processes.

He said the options include “mobile APP on the candidates’ phone, on the 55019 option (being designed) for example admission status checking, acceptance of admission etc on their profile.”

The registrar added, “Printing of examination slip (notification) or result notification slip or ticketing can be done anywhere using the candidates JAMB registration number only.

“At the conclusion of the 2021 UTME/DE registration exercise, candidates will provide their email addresses only after the 2021 UTME/DE registration exercise has been declared closed by JAMB through (a) mobile APP on his/her registered phone.

“Sending the word email (space then the email address) on his /her registered phone to 55019.

“The email is typed twice for correctness (email addresses will be entered twice for validation and prevention of typographical errors.”

Oloyede said the board had phased out the use of cash for any transactions in the computer-based test (CBT) centres owned by JAMB, saying only the use of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards is now allowed.

He said the move was to frustrate the antics of touts who hang around JAMB CBT centres, as well as prevent illegal charges, noting that candidates that were only keen in using cash could visit privately-owned centres for their registration and other activities.

Earlier, a final year student of the University of Abuja (UNIAbuja), Adegoke Justina, told newsmen how she was lured to hand over her email details to a cyber cafe worker, who posed as an employee of JAMB.

Adegoke had visited JAMB CBT centre in Kogo-Bwari area of Abuja to rectify issues with her admission when she was accosted by the young man, who promised to help do necessary applications, only for him to be issuing threats and demanding money days later after taking over the student’s email address.

Moses Peter, the cyber cafe operator, nabbed by police over the incident, however, identified the perpetrator of the crime as one David Ahmad, a student of Auchi Polytechnic, who sometimes works in the cafe.

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Education

Students protest: KWASU suspends hostel exemption fee increase

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The Kwara State University has reverted the exemption fee for hostel accommodation to N5,000 after the students’ protest on Monday over its increase to N20,000.

A statement signed by the Acting Registrar of the institution, Mr Mohammed Shuaib, said staff and students were expected to continue with academic activities and their normal duties since the situation has been brought under control.

He added that students in the following categories: health/ physical challenges, married students/pregnant/ nursing mothers are expected to apply to the Dean of Students’ Affairs for hostel exemption.

Students of the school had earlier protested over the increase in the hostel accommodation exemption free from N5,000 to N20,000.

The institution’s Director of University Relations, Mr Abdulrazaq Sanni, said the increase was to discourage off-campus stay by students.

“The school has only decided to stand strictly by what the policy in accommodation says because we discovered that students don’t want to stay in school hostel again and only want to just pay exemption fee and not stay in the hostel.

“Students actually protested, saying that the school has increased the exemption fee for not staying in the school hostel.

”The increment in the exemption fee is just to discourage them from staying off-campus and be forced to stay in school hostel where we can monitor them properly,” Sanni said.

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