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ASUU May Call Off Strike As FG Shifts Ground

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ASUU

Hopes of an end to the eight-month strike embarked on by lecturers brightened on Friday as the Federal Government accepted the demand of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, to exempt the lecturers from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS.

The breakthrough in the negotiation followed a seven-hour meeting between the government and ASUU delegation in Abuja.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who read out a comminique  said government shifted grounds on a number of issues, including the insistence that all the academic staff of the federal universities must be paid through the IPPIS platform.

The breakthrough in the negotiation followed a seven-hour meeting between the government and ASUU delegation in Abuja.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who read out a comminique  said government shifted grounds on a number of issues, including the insistence that all the academic staff of the federal universities must be paid through the IPPIS platform.

He said that the salary arrears of the lecturers from February to June will be paid through the old salary payment platform, Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System.

According to the Minister “We are also reviewing how the lecturers will be paid on the old platform until UTAS is ready for usage.

We agreed also that the withheld salaries are the component of the issue of ‘no work, no pay’ that was invoked and the Minister of Education and myself are working on that to get approval for the lifting of the embargo.

“This is a transition period between the formalization of UTAS, and as soon as we finish this,   the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the National Universities Commission  and the Vice Chancellors are to work together to make sure that the withheld salaries are paid through the old platform, which the Accountant General’s office used in paying the salaries of university workers that were not captured on IPPIs for the months of February, March, April, May and June.”

Ngige said government also offered to raise the Earned Allowances to university staff from N30bn to N35bn and the revitalization fund from N20bn to N25bn.

Education

Katsina Governor Masari Recruits Over 4,000 Teachers

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At least 4,250 primary and secondary schools teachers have been recruited by the Katsina State Government from 2015 to date.

This is in addition to the recruitment of 7,000 S-Power teachers to enhance the teaching and learning process in the state.

Governor Aminu Masari stated this during the 2020 Katsina State Education Summit held at the Local Government Service Commission, Katsina.

The governor who was the special guest of honour at the summit tagged ‘The Journey So Far’ was represented by his deputy, Mannir Yakubu.

Yakubu while explaining that the current government has, since inception from 2015 to date, committed a lot of resources in the education sector as the sector has undoubtedly witnessed a holistic revolution in the areas of infrastructure development, staff employment, capacity building of teaching and non-teaching aimed at facing the modern-day system in schools.

In the Basic Education subsector, he revealed that the current state administration has constructed and rehabilitated 2,294 classrooms, renovated 1,334 offices and stores and embarking on the upgrading of 12 primary schools into storey building structures.

Beside drilling of 70 boreholes in some primary schools in the state, 930 toilets were in his words constructed in various primary schools across the state to improve the sanitary condition of both pupils and teachers.

There was the establishment and construction of seven new secondary schools in the state. This is in addition to rehabilitation of 38 secondary school and partial renovation of 37 schools due to storm damages and delapidations,” he added.

“In the area of tertiary education, the state government has successfully established and constructed faculties of agriculture and law at Umar Musa Yar’ Adua and the construction of mosque and wall fencing.

There is another construction of students female hostel and laboratories at Isah Kaita College Of Education Dutsinma. This in addition to the construction of road network and rehabilitation of student hostel at Dr Yusufu Bala Usman College, Daura.

“In the area of manpower development, there is the employment of academic and non-academic staff in the tertiary institutions.”

He mentioned that the state government has also given much priority to the payment of WAEC, NECO, NABTEB and NBAIS and scholarship payment to its indigenes studying various accredited courses in higher institutions of learning within and outside the country.

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EDUCATION: “We already have facilities to cater for more than twice the number of students we have in school- Principal, ABEC

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ABEC School

Observing strict COVID-19 guidelines, FR reporters sat with Mr Olanegan S. Kolawole, the Principal of ABEC Secondary School located in the Woji axis of Port Harcourt to find out how this premium secondary has been coping with the impact of the pandemic since resumption. Here’s the excerpt.

FR News: How was the first day of resumption after the long COVID-19 lockdown?

Principal: Everything went well. More so that the children have been eager for resumption after staying at home for months. So, when it announced that we were resuming, everybody was happy. Though we were expecting them from 12.00 pm, as early as 10.00 am they had started trouping in joyfully.

FR News: Tell us how you’ve been able to enforce the COVID-19 guidelines in the school since the resumption.

Principal: Before the children came in, we had prepared the school – decontamination, fumigation- we have handwashing water planter on every corner of the school. We have sanitizers in large quantity. We have banners placed everywhere to remind the students. The students came in with their personal nose masks and they have been complying with guidelines we gave them. Nobody wants to die.

FR News: Was there any measures put in place to keep in touch with the students while the lockdown lasted? Has there been any observable impact of the lockdown on the learning capacities of your students?

Principal: In our own case, although the students were not physically together, we were interreacting online. We were teaching them. In fact, we were having morning assembly with some parents joining us to pray, sing, read the bible together, give exhortation and advise. The gap was breached. The only challenge was that it was difficult to do practicals. Everything about the third term has been taught with notes given. As they came back, there is no vacuum.

FR News:  After a very long time away from school, students are most likely to return with new sets of attitudes and behaviour. How have you been able to beat them into line with regards to disciple?

Principal:  Even while at home we kept instructing them on what to do, where to go, where not to go and all that. So, the separation was just physical, we were seeing ourselves, talking to ourselves. So, coming back it was as if nothing happened. I know that in some schools the students have been caught off from their teachers and management for months. Here it wasn’t like that, the students have just been flowing since they came back.

FR News:  Sir, how were your staff fairing during the lockdown? We’ve heard of several schools where their teachers were not paid throughout the lockdown.

Principal: ABEC is a different school. It’s a special school. During the lockdown, we were having meetings online and assigning responsibilities. There was no month that ABEC did not pay. We have not lost any teacher; no staff left the school.

FR News: Has the lockdown affected the uniform school calendar which the Rivers State Ministry of Education has been trying to achieve?

Principal: During the lockdown, we were having our third term, in fact, we had concluded the third term online. But by the time schools were asked to come back, the state ministry of education said we have to go back to the third term, although they gave us six weeks to do that. This has affected us somehow. Since it affects all the schools in Rivers state, we are going to start our first term next month. So, it has affected us a little but its not a big problem.

FR News:  Finally, tell us about ABEC in the post-COVID-19 era

Principal: In the post-COVID-19 era, we have added more classrooms for our students. We had about 28 students per class, now it’s a maximum of 15, though our classrooms are very large. In observing the protocols, we are using more classrooms to accommodate our students. For sports, we have stopped team sports. If you want to exercise yourself you come out alone, but team sports like football and basketball have been suspended at the moment. In the hostels, where we have double bunks, only one student occupies the entire bunk. We are able to cope because before now, we already have facilities to cater for more than twice the number of students we have in school

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