Tag Archives: Education

Nigeria don’t have enough universities to take in all it’s intending students, but the government don’t care

By Chiamaka Kaima


Education is, around the world one of the first and basic right of everyone, but here in Nigeria, it has been abused by both the Governments and People.

During one of the Tours to the Adekunle Ajosin University in Akungba Akoko, Ondo state. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun identified Poor Funding as a major threat to achieving a Functional Education in Nigeria. He said, Poor funding of Nigeria’s Education Sector causes Setbacks for its inherent ability to compete globally even with the inferior countries to Nigeria.

In Nigeria, to enhance good Education and stop the yearly increase of Admission-seekers [from getting] out of Hand[, the] Education Sector should be given lots of attention because it gives room for the country’s development ,but unfortunately, the quality and standard of Education in Nigeria is poor because it has not been paid adequate attention to.

And due to these lack of attention, it has caused lots of Problems that the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) has [revealed] how the number of admission-seekers increases yearly but only 75% are granted admission with only 20% being admitted to Public Universities, while 55% into other sectors of Education in Nigeria like the Private Universities or Polytechnics.

And this is are drastical elements that needs to be changed. Below are the causes;

Poor Funding

The foremost and greatest challenge that triggers this is Inadequate Funding by the Federal, State and Local Government.

In the year 2017, it was recorded that the budget bill allocated to the Nigeria’s Education sector was 26% much lower than the National budget recommended by the United Nations.

The Global organization recommended the budgetary benchmark to enable Nations adequately cater for rising Education demands.

But in the proposal represented to the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion budget to the Education.
 The total sum allocated to the sector was 605.8 billion, with 435.1 billion for Recurrent Expenditure, 61.73 billion for Capital Expenditure and 109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission. Even though, it hasn’t reduced the rise of Education yet but has yearly increased the number of Applicants to Universities.

Corruption

This is another Major problem in the Country that has also affected the Educational Sector?

There are multiple stories of how lecturers collects bribes from students in exchange for grades, some even go to the extent of harassing their female students to sleep with them. Even some university administrators demands money from students to have their Exam results compiled and submitted to the (required) National Youth Service Corps.

 Also, funds meant for paying salaries and maintenance of school facilities and so on are being diverted for personal use and mismanaged.

And these acts can cause schools to embark on strikes or riots which will not only ruin the School reputation.

Politicization of Education

The Governments at all levels, especially at the State level, attempts to run many Institutions even when they’re least prepared to do such, which thereby cause a general fall in the Standard of the initially existing ones and the available budget insufficient to cater for their needs.

In addition, State Governments gives accreditation to Schools that they fully know are not well equipped for Teaching, all in a bid to generate more revenue for themselves.

Unwillingness to study Education in Schools

Due to how Courses are being scrapped out and parents advising their children/ward to go for courses that pays much in jobs than those that gives adequate time but pays less.

In 2015, it was recorded by the Educational Board, that out of more than 1,700,000 applications submitted, only 5% applied for Courses in Education.

 To that resul,most Graduate Teachers aren’t professional and inadequately exposed to Teaching Practices which has made Learning in schools in-conducive and generated the love of doing things for money and not for passion or will.

But to solve these problems, it all has to begin with the Governments and not the Citizens because they have the powers to punish any defaulters.

Solutions

Provision of Conducive Environment to enhance Active Learning: It’s not all about teaching on Theory but also with other Teaching aids like practices, interactive sessions and Computers to exposed the students to more digitalized ways of learning and prepare them to be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the world. When these are provided, it gives each student the room to be well prepared for what they want and get it at their disposal anywhere, anytime.

Giving Power to those who actually knows What they’re to do and not to those who are there for the Money:To govern the Educational Board, the Government needs to Employ one who has both the Intellectual Skills not to rule alone but to apply Good measures and build up the Sector in a Striking way that will not only develop the Students but also the Country.

Contributions of Financial Funds both from the Private and Public sectors to Universities.

•There should be a Career Counselling where the Youths are been advised about Courses and similar courses when not given the first: This is a very delicate issue that should be looked into.

The Federal Government can enforce career counseling in all schools especially in secondary schools both the juniors and Seniors to avoid large numbers desiring to study one course that has Several alternatives which hinders the progress of the Economy.

 And if these solutions and many more are being implemented, it’ll give Nigeria a greater chance of competing with their counterparts from other parts of the world.


About the author.

Chiamaka Kaima is a young prospective writer with good writing skill that cuts across, education, lifestyle and living. She writes for The Bloomgist through our Academic Writers Forum “Column 60

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Five things that can fix Nigeria’s completely messed up Education system

Nigeria’s education system is based on the (1)-6-3-3-4 formula: one year pre-primary education, six years primary, three years junior secondary, three years senior secondary, and a minimum of four years tertiary education.

The model had been used successfully in China, Germany and Ghana before Nigeria adopted it in 1989.

But it’s never been fully implemented in Nigeria. Although successive governments have theoretically upheld its objectives, none has successfully implemented the policy.

Nigeria’s educational system is in assorted crises of infrastructural decay, neglect, waste of resources and sordid conditions of service. The country has over 10 million out-of-school children. That’s the highest in the world. Another 27 million children in school are performing very poorly. Millions of Nigerians are half-educated, and over 60 million – or 30% – are illiterate.

On top of this, many eligible young Nigerians can’t gain admission into public universities. At the same time prohibitive tuition fees, among other factors, are a barrier to the country’s private universities.

As the Buhari-Osinbajo government starts its second term it should focus on key areas that will dig Nigeria’s education system out of the deep hole it’s in. I have identified five priorities it should attend to first.

Appointment

The new government should appoint an expert Minister of Education, not a political party lackey. In the past, Nigeria’s educational system has fared better under expert education ministers who earned their stripes through the system.

Take Professor Jubril Aminu, who served in the portfolio from 1985 to 1990. The 6-3-3-4 system was inaugurated during his tenure. Aminu also introduced “nomadic education” in 1989 for nomadic Fulani and other migrant ethnic groups.

Aminu was followed by Professor Babs Fafunwa (1990 to 1992). He overhauled the national education policy. He also provided room for education in mother tongue, a universal practice which most African countries have not fully implemented. UNESCO recommends education in mother tongue because of its immense advantages.

Lastly, under Professor Sam Egwu (2008 to 2010), a controversial agreement was signed between the government and the union representing the country’s academic staff. The agreement – signed in 2009 after drawn-out negotiations – stipulated conditions of service and remuneration for lecturers, the autonomy of universities and how the government should fund tertiary education.

But successive governments have violated the terms of the pact, claiming that they didn’t have the money to meet some of its terms. Officials claimed that sections of the pact were difficult, and in some cases impossible, to implement. However, the union rejects these claims and has accused the government of using delay tactics and questionable criticisms to frustrate the deal.

Funding

Funding is the biggest problem confronting Nigeria’s education system. The percentage of the budget allocated to education annually is abysmally low. In 2018, only 7.04% was allocated to education. This is far below UNESCO’s recommended 15%-26%.

Nigeria’s experience with the commercialisation and neglect of government secondary and primary school levels has led to poorer education outcomes. Nor is privatisation the answer: it’s only likely to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. It will deny many children affordable quality education, increase the rate of illiteracy and reduce academic performance at the tertiary level.

If the government continues to privatise government-owned universities, as is already the case with the proliferation of private universities with high fees, tertiary education will become the exclusive preserve of the rich upper class. This, in a country where more than 90% of the population is currently living in abject poverty.

The government should also cut wasteful expenditure. For example, I would argue that the “school children feeding programme” is a massive drain on resources.

Government reported earlier this year that it allocated 220 billion naira for the programme and of that, about 50 billion naira was wasted. This money could have be spent on more pressing problems such as building more classrooms and equipping them, supplying teaching and learning materials and improving staff welfare and remuneration.

Money for research

Research suffers in three ways in Nigeria. First, researchers work without sponsorship, particularly in the core sciences. The Tertiary Education Trust Fund is virtually the only source of money. The Trust funds and sponsors research projects, gives grants for research and sponsors lecturers for academic conferences, among other things. But its resources are limited and its operations are slow, highly selective and sometimes politicised.

Secondly, study findings are often abandoned on library shelves because the government isn’t committed to research-oriented development. Researchers don’t have the means to promote their work and research findings.

Third, research output is mediocre and repetitive because there are no effective measures in place to track research output nationwide.

Stop incessant strikes

In 1978, the Academic Staff Union of Universities was established to represent academic staff in Nigeria’s universities. Since then, there have been strikes almost every year, disrupting the academic calendar.

To stop these annual disruptions, the government must increase budgetary allocations to the sector and honour agreements that have been signed with the unions.

The only way that strikes will be stopped is if the welfare of all staff, from teachers to lecturers, is prioritised.

In conclusion

If these priorities are successfully implemented, Nigeria’s education system would be well on its way to realising government’s commitment to its own policies and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

SOURCE: The Conversation

Girls beat boys at school and lose to them at the office – here’s why

Hard work and discipline help girls outperform boys in class, but that advantage disappears in the work force. Is school the problem?

From elementary school through college, girls are more disciplinedabout their schoolwork than boys; they study harder and get better grades. Girls consistently outperform boys academically. And yet, men nonetheless hold a staggering 95 percent of the top positions in the largest public companies.

What if those same habits that propel girls to the top of their class — their hyper-conscientiousness about schoolwork — also hold them back in the work force?

When investigating what deters professional advancement for women, the journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman found that a shortage of competence is less likely to be an obstacle than a shortage of confidence. When it comes to work-related confidence, they found men are far ahead. “Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in,” they wrote. “Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect.”

As a psychologist who works with teenagers, I hear this concern often from the parents of many of my patients. They routinely remark that their sons do just enough to keep the adults off their backs, while their daughters relentlessly grind, determined to leave no room for error. The girls don’t stop until they’ve polished each assignment to a high shine and rewritten their notes with color-coded precision.

We need to ask: What if school is a confidence factory for our sons, but only a competence factory for our daughters?

This possibility hit me when I was caring for an eighth grader in my practice. She got terrific grades but was feeling overwhelmed by school. Her brother, a ninth grader, had similarly excellent grades, but when I asked if he worked as hard as she did, she scoffed. If she worked on an assignment for an hour and got an A, she felt “safe” only if she spent a full hour on other assignments like it. Her brother, in contrast, flew through his work. When he brought home an A, she said, he felt “like a stud.” If his grades slipped a bit, he would take his effort up just a notch. But she never felt “safe” enough to ever put in less than maximum effort.

That experience — of succeeding in school while exerting minimal or moderate effort — is a potentially crucial one. It may help our sons develop confidence, as they see how much they can accomplish simply by counting on their wits. For them, school serves as a test track, where they build their belief in their abilities and grow increasingly at ease relying on them. Our daughters, on the other hand, may miss the chance to gain confidence in their abilities if they always count on intellectual elbow grease alone.

So how do we get hyper-conscientious girls (and boys, as there certainly are some with the same style) to build both confidence and competence at school?

First, parents and teachers can stop praising inefficient overwork, even if it results in good grades. Gendered approaches to learning set in early, so it’s never too soon to start working against them. Recently, as I read “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” to my 8-year-old daughter, I stopped at a passage in which Hermione — the fictional poster child for academic fastidiousness — turned in an essay that was “two rolls of parchment more than Professor Binns asked for.” Hermione, I pointed out, doesn’t make great use of her time. She’s a capable student and could probably do just as well without working so hard. “Right,” my daughter said. “Of course she could!”

We can also encourage girls toward a different approach to school — one that’s more focused on economy of effort, rather than how many hours they put in. Whenever one of the academically impressive and persistently anxious girls in my practice tells me about staying up until 2 in the morning studying, I see an opening. That’s the moment to push them to become tactical, to figure out how to continue learning and getting the same grades while doing a little bit less. I urge my patients — and my own teenage daughter — to begin study sessions by taking sample tests, to see how much they know before figuring out how much more they need to do to attain mastery over a concept or task. Many girls build up an incredible capacity for work, but they need these moments to discover and take pride in how much they already understand.

Teachers, too, can challenge girls’ over-the-top tendencies. When a girl with a high-A average turns in extra credit work, her instructor might ask if she is truly taken with the subject or if she is looking to store up “insurance points,” as some girls call them. If it’s the former, more power to her. If it’s the latter, the teacher might encourage the student to trust that what she knows and the work she is already doing will almost certainly deliver the grade she wants. Educators can also point out to this student that she may not need insurance; she probably has a much better grasp of the material than she gives herself credit for.

Finally, we can affirm for girls that it is normal and healthy to feel some anxiety about school. Too often, girls are anxious even about being anxious, so they turn to excessive studying for comfort. We can remind them that being a little bit nervous about schoolwork just means that they care about it, which of course they should.

Even if neither you nor your daughter cares about becoming a chief executive, you may worry that she will eventually be crushed by the weight of her own academic habits. While a degree of stress promotes growth, working at top speed in every class at all times is unhealthy and unsustainable for even the most dedicated high school students. A colleague of mine likes to remind teenagers that in classes where any score above 90 counts as an A, the difference between a 91 and a 99 is a life.

To be sure, the confidence gap is hardly the only thing keeping women out of top jobs. Women also face gender bias, sexual harassment and powerful structural barriers in the workplace. But confidence at school is one unequal advantage that we can address right now. Instead of standing by as our daughters make 50 flashcards when they were assigned 20, we can step in and ask them why. Many professional men brim with confidence because they have spent years getting to know their abilities. Women should arrive in the work world having done the same.

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Lisa Damour is a psychologist in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the author of “Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood” and “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.” @LDamour • Facebook

ASUU rejects FG’s offers, says strike continues

The hope of many university students across the country to resume academic activities soon may have been dashed.

The striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has rejected the offers made to it early this week by the Nigerian government.

At the seventh meeting with the leadership of ASUU on Tuesday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the labour dispute with the university teachers was on the verge of being resolved. He listed the fresh concessions made by the administration to ASUU.

According to Mr Ngige, the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance presented evidence that N15.4 billion had been released to public universities.

On earned academic allowances, he said President Muhammadu Buhari approved N20 billion to offset arrears of the 2009 to 2012 verified earnings by university teachers.

But in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES early Saturday morning, the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said upon reviewing the offers made by the government, members of the union across various campuses and zones rejected it.

Mr. Ogunyemi, who described government’s offer on the outstanding revitalization fund of N1.1 trillion as tokenism, said members are insisting that government should release at least a tranche of N220 billion spread over four quarters of 2019.

He added that on earned allowances, government’s proposal should not be lesser than the total amount released “the last time” out of the verified balance.

Recall that as part of the agreement reached between the union and the government before ASUU ended its industrial action in September 2017, the Federal Government released a total N22.9 billion for earned allowances of both academic and non-academic staff across 22 Federal universities.

Of the amount, academics under ASUU got N18.3billion, while non-teaching staff belonging to the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) got N4.6 billion.

The sharing formula, which was condemned by the three non-academic staff unions, had led to pockets of protests across various campuses at the time, and eventually compelled the unions to embark on prolonged strike.

Apparently to avoid the controversy that greeted the sharing of the allowance in 2017, ASUU is insisting that the Federal Government should categorically state the amount earmarked for its members, which it said must not be lesser than N18.3 billion it received then.

Mr Ogunyemi said; “Our members have rejected tokenism with respect to outstanding revitalization fund of N1.1 trillion. They are insisting that government should release at least one tranche of N220 billion spread over four quarters of 2019.

“On earned academic allowances, our members said government’s proposed amount out of the verified balance should not be less than the total amount released last time, while evidence of mainstreaming the allowances into the 2019 budget should be shown. Also, timeline should be attached to payment of the balance of the arrears.

“The revitalization fund and earned academic allowances are the two critical areas on which our members feel strongly about. They expect necessary adjustments on the part of government before they can reconsider their decision on the ongoing strike action.”

ASUU had embarked on what it termed total and indefinite strike on November 4, 2018, to demand improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements entered with the government.

Some of the demands as contained in the ASUU’s list of grievances, include the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU; 2012 and 2013) and Memorandum of Action (MoA, 2017) and the truncation of the renegotiation of the union’s agreements.

The union said its ongoing strike is aimed at compelling the government to make funds available for the revitalisation of public universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017, and that the operational license of the Nigerian University Employees Pension Company (NUPEMCO) should be released.

The unions also asked for the release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), payments of all outstanding earned academic allowances and the mainstreaming of same into the 2019 budget.

The lecturers also demanded the payment of all arrears of shortfall in salaries to all universities that have met the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA).

Meanwhile, one of the major issues that has been dragging the negotiations forth and back is the revitalisation of the universities.

As at Saturday morning, the government was yet to release the N1.1 trillion of the N1.3 trillion it agreed to provide for the exercise.

The 2013 MoU stipulated that public universities needed N1.3 trillion for a modest revitalisation. The fund was to be paid in tranches of N200billion in 2013, N220billion in 2014, N220billion in 2015, 220billion in 2016, N220billion in 2017 and N220billion in 2018.

The Goodluck Jonathan-led administration released N200 billion in 2013 but since then nothing more has been paid.

Earlier, after its meeting with the Federal Government and shortly after the Labour and Employment Minister went to town with the message of a possible return of the lecturers to their classrooms, ASUU had indicated the possibility of its members not accepting the concessions.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday afternoon, Mr Ogunyemi had said the union was yet to reach an agreement with the government on any issue.

He said what the union took from the government were proposals because “We told them where there were low and what our members will not take but they said that was the best they could give.”

According to him, the difference between the last meeting and earlier ones was that it was the first time the union was given figures “that we could take back to our members.”

He said the union leaders warned government representatives that ASUU members were not likely to accept those figures “but they insisted that we should go and inform them first.”

“We agreed to go back to our members in order to show to them that we are not difficult people. We have been having consultations and telling the government the initial reactions we are getting. So, if they want this problem resolved, they should consider the low things.”

Speaking on the revitalisation of universities, Mr. Ogunyemi said if government does not release another tranche of the agreed sum, his members would think the government is not ready to solve the problem.

“Revitalisation is key to this issue. That was the point I was making when we had the exit engagement and Senator Ngige was saying we agreed on many issues. There are issues that did not require agreement. If you say you will set up a committee and you do, it is implementation not agreement. So, our intention is not to attack any government but to get our demands,” he said.

“They didn’t release any money. If we are talking about the N1.1 trillion that they should release in tranches and government has not said they will work towards releasing one tranche, then how do you think our members will take that from us? They are mixing up issues. They did not tell us if the N20 billion is a deposit.”

He said no Nigerian would believe the country does not have money to resolve some of the contentious issues.

“I don’t believe any Nigeria will believe government does not have money for what they see as a priority. We keep telling them that overnight they brought out N800 billion to bail out what they now call Polaris Bank. When they had a problem with subsidy, they knew where they went to; so they cannot keep telling us there is no money,” he said.

On when the union would meet the government to reopen negotiation, Mr Ogunyemi said the union was still consulting.

“I am not going to determine whether we are resuming or not. Our members will determine that and we will go back to them,” he said.

When asked what ASUU would be doing next, Mr Ogunyemi said the union was preparing its response to government.

SOURCE: Premium Times

ASUU Strike: Lecturers angrily walk out of reconciliation meeting

After weeks of engagements with the Federal Government to bring to an end, the ongoing strike by lecturers in the country, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), walked out from the sixth meeting which was supposed to bring to an end, the ongoing negotiations and suspension of the 43 days strike.

All hope was however dashed when ASUU led by its national President, Biodun Ogunyemi, staged a walk out from the meeting presided over by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sent. Chris Ngige, even as the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu was absent at the meeting.

Although the ASUU President declined comments on the reason why they were walking out of a meeting that lasted two hours, the ASUU delegation had arrived at the ministry at exactly 5:00 p.m. but no member of the federal government delegation was around as at this time, arriving at 6:00pm led by Ngige.

At the start of the meeting before the walkout, Ngige had told the lecturers that he hopes a consensus on most of the issues was reached at the end of the meeting. He assured the union that attention would be paid to three critical demands, which were salary shortfall, university revitalisation and earned allowances of lecturers

After ASUU’s walkout, the minister of Labour and employment maintained that negotiations were still ongoing and that the Federal government would try and meet up with ASUU’s demands before Christmas so as to allow affected University students resume school in January

The university lecturers embarked on an indefinite strike on November 4, demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.

Meanwhile, an earlier meeting between the striking Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the federal government, ended in a deadlock

The meeting which lasted for five hours on Monday, was chaired by the permanent secretary of the ministry of education, Sonny Echonu

According to the ASUP President Usman Dutse, Polytechnic lecturers were not pleased with the body language of government which seems to be proposing second week of January 2019 for the continuation of the meeting

ASUP had resumed strike on December 12, 2018 following what it described as governments failure to keep to agreements reached on ‘NEEDS’ assessment, earned academic allowance among others.

SOURCE: Sahara Reporters

ASUU Strike: Lecturers and FG enters another meeting

The federal government on Monday resumed talks with the leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the ongoing strike in public universities.

File photo of ASUU meeting with the Nigerian govt delegation prior to a warning strike
File photo of ASUU meeting with the Nigerian govt delegation prior to a warning strike

The university lecturers have been on strike since November 4 demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.

The national president of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, led the union’s delegation to Monday’s meeting.

The ASUU delegation arrived at the ministry at exactly 4:10 p.m. but none of the federal government delegation was around then.

Also in attendance is the national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba.

The meeting is holding at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Abuja.

At least four other meetings have been held between both parties since the strike began.

When the government delegation arrived, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, was absent. However, the permanent secretary of the education ministry, Sunny Echono, was present.

The government delegation was led by the labour minister, Chris Ngige.

While addressing the ASUU delegation, Mr Ngige appealed to the striking lecturers to ensure that Monday’s dialogue yields results.

”The strike is five weeks old today and it is not in anybody’s interest. We will ensure the needful is done,” he said.

In his speech, the NLC president, Mr Wabba, urged the federal government to urgently do the needful if it really wants to end the strike action.

SOURCE: Premium Times

WAEC set to allow registration 24 hours before exams

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) says it will soon conduct the first series of the West African Senior School certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates.

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This was made known in a press statement by the spokesperson of the council, Demianus Ojijeogu, Sunday morning.

The statement also said the examination will be conducted between January and February, 2019.

According to the statement, registration started October 8 and will end December 28, 2018.

The statement said the registration procedure has been designed to accommodate biometric features that will be used for validation at the examination centre.

“After obtaining the registration pin, candidates should log on to www.waeconline.org,” it said.

The council also said there is provision for “walk–in” candidates and candidates with special needs.

“Walk –in candidates, who wish to write the examination after the close of entries may be accommodated provided they register less than 24 hours to the scheduled time of the paper they intend to write,” the statement said.

The walk-in candidates’ fee is N25, 000.

The statement said the special needs’ candidates will also register online but “they must state clearly their disabilities: blind, low vision, spastic, speech etc.

“Candidates must conclude registration within two weeks of first access to the website during registration period,” the statement said.

The council said candidates are expected to pay a registration fee of N13, 950 and a commission of N500 to banks and accredited agents.

The council had earlier announced that it will begin to conduct two series of the WASSCE for private candidates from 2018.

The council conducted the first series for private candidates in January 2018 while the second series was held in August /September 2018.

The West African Examinations Council is an examination board that conducts the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, for University and Jamb entry examination in West African countries.


SOURCE: Premium Times

Ghana university shut down over ‘jamboree’ riots

Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Knust) has been shut down and students ordered to leave the institution following violent protests on Monday.

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The trouble started at Knust, which is in the country’s second largest city of Kumasi, last Friday night after 11 students were arrested by police after taking part in their usual end-of-week party, known as a jamboree, which the university authorities recently banned.

The students mounted roadblocks, vandalised property and boycotted lectures on Monday, accusing the university’s security and management of brutality.

A joint task force of police and military personnel has now taken over the university campus to maintain calm.

Students have been given up to 12.00 GMT on Tuesday to vacate the campus.

Only foreign students have been exempted from the decision – the authorities say they will be given security protection in their hostels.

Ashanti Regional Minister Simon Osei Mensah, who announced the decision, maintains the shutdown is necessary in view of the extent of the damages.


Cover photo: Some students have been leaving ahead of the deadline. Photo: Attah Poku

Young people are being let down by African Universities

MAKERERE UNIVERSITY’S position, on a hilltop commanding a panoramic view of Kampala, is fitting for a place some call the “Harvard of Africa”. By many measures, it is the continent’s best college outside South Africa.

But it was closed for two months from November by Uganda’s autocratic president, Yoweri Museveni, after a strike by lecturers over unpaid bonuses sparked student protests.

Founded by the British to train local colonial administrators, Makerere has a reputation for educating the powerful. Tanzania’s founding president, Julius Nyerere, studied there. So did Kenya’s third leader, Mwai Kibaki, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s current head of state, Joseph Kabila. The university went through a rough period between 1971 and 1979, when it felt compelled to make Idi Amin, a barely literate despot, its chancellor. Amin awarded himself a doctorate of law, despite neither studying much nor believing in the rule of law. But those dark days are past. Makerere’s researchers are now some of Africa’s most prolific, creating everything from low-cost sanitary pads to an electric car. Nonetheless the institution’s problems—too many students and too little money—are all too common across the continent.

Makerere has more than doubled enrolment to nearly 40,000 in the past two decades. As government scholarships, most of them allocated by merit rather than need, have become scarcer, and strike-happy lecturers have demanded ever-higher wages (even though academics at public universities are some of Uganda’s best-paid workers), the university has tried to close the funding gap by admitting more fee-payers. But in real terms it spends almost a quarter less now than in 2007, even though the number of students has risen by 12% over the same period.

Similar pressures are felt across sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the poorer countries. (South Africa’s university system is more advanced but faces other difficulties, including demands by militant students that fees be abolished altogether.) A World Bank study of 23 poorer African states found that enrolments at public and private universities had quadrupled between 1991 and 2006, while public spending on them rose by just 73%.

Opening new public institutions to meet growing demand has not been problem-free, either. In 2000 Ethiopia had two public universities; by 2015 it had 29. “These are not universities, they’re shells,” says Paul O’Keefe, a researcher who has interviewed many Ethiopian academics, and heard stories of overcrowded classrooms, lecturers who have nothing more than undergraduate degrees themselves and government spies on campus.

In those countries where higher education was liberalised after the cold war, private universities and colleges, often religious, have sprung up. Between 1990 and 2007 their number soared from 24 to more than 460 (the number of public universities meanwhile doubled to 200). But they often find themselves tied up in red tape. Gossy Ukanwoke tried to establish Nigeria’s first online-only university in 2012, but was forced by the government to acquire a campus. Beni American University has 450 executive-education students on-site, and has taught 8,200 online in the past two years. But it has struggled to attract investment to finish the facilities it needs before it can teach undergraduates.

Many of these new institutions churn out cheaply taught business degrees. But some others are giving the better public institutions a run for their money. Kenya’s Daystar University is renowned for its communications courses (it also offers what it claims to be “the world’s first smartphone-based degree programme for teachers”). Strathmore, another private Nairobi university, focuses on specific areas, including intellectual-property law, disaster management and how to start a business.

And some public institutions are upping their game. Internships are now mandatory at Uganda’s public universities. The University of Nairobi’s Fab Lab, part of a global initiative that provides access to machinery and online courses in how to use it, has spawned a number of startups. Open-source hardware has helped, says Kamau Gachigi, who runs the lab. He cites AB3D, which makes 3D printers based on free designs posted online by Adrian Bowyer, formerly of the University of Bath in Britain. Open-source software and websites such as Sci-Hub that make pricey academic journals free to read (albeit illegally in most jurisdictions), also help cash-strapped universities improve teaching and research. But even these welcome developments will not go far if African universities continue to admit more students than they can cope with.

Africa needs more well-educated young people. But many of its young graduates have gained little more from their time at university than raised expectations. Swelling classes and stale courses mean they are generally ill-prepared for the few graduate jobs on offer. Young sub-Saharan Africans with degrees are three times as likely to be unemployed as their primary-school-educated peers, who are mostly absorbed by the informal sector.

Donors willing to fund universities in Africa, rather than scholarships for African students to attend European and American universities, might improve local institutions—and help pay for expansion. The World Bank is planning to spend $290m by 2019 on 22 “centres of excellence” in areas such as climate change and poultry science, in seven west and central African countries. Other donors and African governments would do well to follow, and tie funding to teaching and research quality, rather than to student numbers.


This story appeared on The Economist with the headline: African universities recruit too many students