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Children now more interested in entertainment than reading – Akpokeneme

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Dr Tony Akpokeneme, the Convener, Abuja Book fair, has described as worrisome Nigerian Children’s preference for entertainment events than reading and scholarship.

Akpokeneme said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday, in Abuja, against the backdrop of the maiden Abuja Book fair and exhibition by Flomat Book Ltd.

He said that over the years, the priority that should have been allotted to education and health was not adhered to as such the two critical sectors fell below recommendations.

While growing up, it was a thing of pride to cite the numbers of books and titles one had read over the holidays, he noted.

“But, what we have today is the latest gadget, latest Samsung, I-phone and the latest movies on Neflix which are the types of discussions we have these days from our children.

“No wonder in essays, our children and even adults do not make proper statements like “four”, instead they write “4”, “you” is now “U”, and tenses are mixed up, due to lack of reading culture,” he lamented.

He stated that when some University graduates spoke, one would wonder if they actually went to school as they claimed, adding that this was the challenge the country was presently faced with.

Akpokeneme said that the country could not afford to fold its arms and allow things to degenerate, stressing that he would contribute his quota by educating the nation through the book fair.

He said that the business of selling books go hand-in-hand with the business of educating a nation and that was why he was passionate about the need for a reading culture in the country.

Akpokeneme said that because it remained a national dilemma, and not just limited to children, the issue should be confronted headlong.

He stressed that education would go down drastically in the country if it was not prioritised, the aftermath of which would be a total lack of readership.

“A situation where lecturers strike incessantly and they do not see it to stop the bleeding, there will definitely be a general decadence of a reading culture.

“It is entertainment we see companies and individuals struggling to sponsor, therefore it is time for us to put our action where our mouth is,” he said.

 

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Education

Education: Student Loan Scheme Kick Off With 1.2 Million Beneficiaries

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All is now set for the take off of Student loan program on May 24, 2024, with 1.2 million students in federal tertiary institutions across the country poised to benefit, according to Akintunde Sawyerr, Managing Director/CEO of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFUND).

During a pre-application sensitization press conference in Abuja , Sawyerr revealed that the initial phase would support students in federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and technical colleges.

Data from the National Universities Commission indicates there are 226 federal tertiary institutions in Nigeria, including 62 universities, 41 polytechnics, 96 monotechnics, and 27 colleges of education.

President Bola Tinubu signed the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, into law on April 3. This bill, passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, establishes the Nigerian Education Loan Fund as a body corporate to manage funds for providing loans to Nigerians for higher education, vocational training, and skills acquisition.

The Act empowers NELFUND to offer loans to qualified Nigerian students for tuition, fees, charges, and upkeep during their studies in approved public tertiary institutions and vocational training establishments. It also removes the family income threshold, allowing all students to apply for loans and take responsibility for repayment.

President Tinubu emphasized the importance of inclusivity in education, stating, “This is to ensure that no one, no matter how poor their background is, is excluded from quality education and the opportunity to build their future.”

Initially set to launch in September, the scheme faced delays due to President Tinubu’s directive to expand it to include vocational skills loans. Last Thursday, NELFUND announced that the portal for loan applications would officially open on May 24.

Addressing journalists on Monday, Sawyerr said, “There are approximately 1.2 million students in federal tertiary institutions owned by the government. Today, by inference, 1.2 million students at the federal level will benefit, but there might be an opportunity to increase capacity by including more institutions. When state-owned institutions are added, the numbers can go up.”

Sawyerr explained that only students from institutions that have uploaded their data on NELFUND’s dashboard would be eligible to apply. He urged students in federal tertiary institutions to visit the website www.nelf.gov.ng to apply from May 24, noting that students in state universities and vocational skills centers could apply later.

To apply, students need their admission letter from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, National Identity Number, Bank Verification Number, and completed application forms from the website.

“The loan application process has been streamlined to ensure easy access for all eligible students in federal tertiary institutions. Applicants can access online support for any questions or concerns during the application process,” Sawyerr said. “We believe that education is a vital investment for the future, and the student loan initiative of Mr. President is a testament to this commitment.”

One key feature of the program is the absence of physical contact between loan applicants and NELFUND, with a user-friendly portal interface designed to facilitate convenient submission of loan applications

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WAEC Releases WASSCE Results, Says 44.29% Scored Credit In Five Subjects

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The West African Examinations Council has released the results of the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination for private candidates across the country.

This was made known in a statement made available by the acting Head, Public Affairs, WAEC Nigeria, Moyosola Adesina, on Tuesday evening.

According to her, only 46,267 out of the 80,904 candidates who sat for the examination scored a minimum of five credits.

She said this translates to 57.19% of candidates obtaining credit and above in a minimum of five subjects (with or without English Language and/or Mathematics).

She added that 35,830 candidates, representing 44.29%, obtained credit and above in a minimum of five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

The statement read, “The examination was conducted in Nigeria between Friday, October 27, 2023 and Wednesday, December 20, 2023. The Coordination of Examiners and Marking of Candidates’ Scripts were carried out at SEVEN (7) Marking Venues in Lagos, Ibadan, Akure, Benin, Enugu, Uyo, and Kaduna from Tuesday, January 16, to Tuesday, January 30, 2024. A total of 4,162 examiners participated in the coordination and marking Exercise.

“85,600 candidates, representing 10.07% increase, when compared with the 2022 entry figure of 77,768) entered for the examination, while 80,904 candidates sat the examination at 568 centers spread across the nooks and crannies of the country.

“Amongst the candidates that sat the examination, (211) candidates, with varying degrees of special needs, were registered for the examination.

“Out of this number, 33 were visually challenged, 21 had impaired hearing and 30 were Albinos. All these candidates with special needs were adequately provided for in the administration of the examination.”

The regional examination body management urged candidates to check their results by visiting www.waecdirect.org and ascertain their status before visiting the Digital Certificate platform (www.waec.org) to access the digital copies of their certificates, which have been released along with their results.

 

 

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You’re Senator for all, Kano students declare Senator Barau

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Deputy President of the Senate Barau Jibrin
Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin
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Students under the umbrella of the National Association of Kano State Students (NAKSS) have described the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I. Jibrin as a ” Senator for all” who carries all his people irrespective of their political parties.

President of NAKSS, Comrade Yahaya Usman Kabo and a former secretary-general of the Zone A of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Abdullahi Muhammad Sale (Game Changer) led the students to pay a courtesy call on Senator Barau at the National Assembly, Abuja.

Speaking through one of their leader, Abdullahi Muhammad Sale, the students said in the entire history of the state, there was no Senator that carried along the youths and students like Senator Barau in his various intervention programmes.

Sale said: ” We are proud to have you as our Senator. Your interventions and support across all sectors have endeared you to all. We are proud of you distinguished Senator.

“With this, we want to assure you that we are emulating the good path you are putting us on. You are our mentor. We pray for Almighty God to guide and protect you to attain higher positions to serve our country,” he said.

At the end of the event, the students presented an award of excellence to the Deputy President of the Senate.

Responding, the Deputy President of the Senate urged the students to remain resolute and committed to their academic pursuits.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ismail Mudashir, he said he has been engaging students in Kano and beyond to prepare them for leadership positions.

“All the interventions we have been doing for students were distributed by your association. We know how to do it in our best way, but we are doing this to make you ready and guide you to the path of leadership. That is why we said you should handle it. And you have performed excellently.

“The youths are the future leaders of the country, as such they should be groomed towards being fair and just. All that we are doing is to make you ready for leadership in various sectors across the nation. As such, you too should extend the same to the future leaders of the student unions and across all students,” he said.

He promised to continue to support education and empower students, saying ” A student is the child of all. The issues of elections are over, we are now committed to working for our people. Everybody is mine, irrespective of political parties or groups.”

“We have many plans for the future. We have done a lot in the past and we are still doing more. The scholarship scheme is still ongoing. We are also coming with more interventions,” he said.

 

 

 

 

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