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FG asks schools to resume on January 18  

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The Federal Government has directed schools to resume academic activities on January 18, 2021.

It said the decision was reached after a meeting with stakeholders, such as state governors, their commissioners for education, school proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students.

A statement by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, said it was unanimously agreed that the resumption date of 18th January should remain, while parents and respective institutions should ensure full compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The meeting insisted on the compulsory wearing of face masks by all students, teachers and workers in all schools.

Other measures arrived at during the meeting included compulsory temperature checks and hand washing facilities at strategic locations in all schools, ensuring constant supply of water and sanitizers with enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days.

Other measures agreed on are avoidance of overcrowding, including limitation in class sizes and hostel occupancy; availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities; adherence to all other non-pharmaceutical protocols, restrictions and containment measures as may be prescribed/approved by the PTF from time to time.

The statement said, “These measures which are to ensure safe reopening of schools for academic activities will be subject to constant review as we urge teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance.”

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had earlier said the January 18 resumption date was being reviewed in view of the resurgence of COVID-19 with new strains spreading across many countries including Nigeria.

But the PTF on COVID-19 team came out a few days later to clarify that the report of the postponement in school resumption date was not true, adding that the matter was still being reviewed by the Ministry of Education.

Education

UniAbuja replies JAMB, says only varsities have powers over admissions

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University of Abuja says the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB lacks constitutional powers to meddle in admissions into universities.

The university also refuted last week’s allegations by JAMB that it was engaging in “Illegal admissions”, outside the constitutional provisions.

In a statement on Monday by its Head, Information and University Relations, Dr Habib Yakoob, the university insisted that it had not done anything wrong to have conducted admissions without JAMB’s input.

It quoted the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions, (Amendment) Act 2003 7a (ii) as giving the university’s Senate the “powers in all academic matters including the organisation and control, teaching and research, admission of students.”

“What this means is that the university, not any external body, is guaranteed the power of admissions,” it stated.

The statement, entitled, ‘The University of Abuja is not engaged in illegal admissions’ read in part, “The University of Abuja has been constrained to respond to recent reports in the media that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has named the University, among others (curiously unmentioned), as being engaged in “illegal admissions” exercise because it failed to upload the list of its admission on Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS). “The University of Abuja wishes to categorically and emphatically state that it has not conducted any illegal admissions, and has nothing to hide as far as its admission exercise is concerned.

“It makes bold to state that, at the moment, the University has one of the best and most transparent systems of admission in the country.

“This, indeed, is the only federal university which catchment area is the whole of Nigeria, and truly and practically admits from all states of the country, while simultaneously upholding the principle of merit and excellence!

“Our rules are clear and transparent. As long as candidates have taken the UTME, scored 180 and above, met the University’s cut-off points and some other stringent criteria set by JAMB, the University ensures, within the limit of its capacity, that such candidates stand a chance of getting admitted. “In other words, nobody who has not taken the UTME, nor failed to meet JAMB or University guidelines, can be admitted in the University of Abuja now.

“In any case, the University is familiar with the operation of CAPS, and has since, largely embraced it as part of its contributions to ensuring that the university system serves and protects the interest of all Nigerians in the search of quality tertiary education.

“For instance, the Merit List for the 2020/2021 admissions was proposed on CAPS and all queries issued on same were replied to accordingly.

“It is important to note that candidates have been directed to ensure that they upload their ‘O’ Level results and accept their offer of admission on CAPS. This is the clearest proof if any is needed that the University is not opposed to or in violation of CAPS and what it represents.

“However, the University is careful that in following this operation, it is not hindered to effectively deliver the service for which it was created, in the first place. After all, it is not outside the powers of the University to conduct admissions of our students.”

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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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