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Gov Mbah: Enugu to spend 30 percent of 2024 budget on Education

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Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, says his administration is to spend 30 per cent of the 2024 state budget on the education section sector, stressing that education remains the state’s greatest weapon against poverty.

Mbah stressed his administration’s determination to ensure that the poorest child in the remotest parts of Enugu State receives world class education using tools of the 21st century.

The governor made the declarations in his keynote address at the 19th convocation of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Agbani, on Saturday, where 9,017 graduants received various first and higher degrees.

Mbah, who is also the Visitor to the university, said the most radical changes in the education under his administration would take place in the area of basic education.

“In my view, education is probably our greatest weapon in our war against poverty in the medium to long run.

“It is for this reason that education is at the core of the strategy, which we envisage will see us boost our GDP from the current levels of about $4.4 billion to at least $30 billion by the end of 2031.

“This is why we have designed and are implementing a most revolutionary strategy to revamp the current educational system. This revamp will be extensive and exhaustive, ranging from the basic schools through secondary to tertiary institutions like ESUT.

“There will be changes not only in the curricula, but also in the models for delivering knowledge in our educational institutions. The most radical change will take place in our basic schools where our children spend the first nine years schooling.

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“Therefore, in 2024, we will be spending close to 30 per cent of our state budget on education, well above the recommended international benchmark”, the governor said.

SEE ALSO:  Maduka University Enugu launches Entrepreneurship Centre to equip students with essential skills

The governor said his administration had completed the construction of one smart school, awarded contract for the construction of another nine, while 250 more would be constructed in less than 14 months to cover the entire 260 wards, adding that teachers for the pilot model school were already undergoing training by global experts.

“These smart schools will each be equipped with internet access, solar power, a centre for robotics and artificial intelligence, a modern ICT centre, two well-equipped laboratories for primary school and junior secondary school, a studio for creative production, 25 inclusive classrooms, with interactive digital whiteboards, android tablets for pupils’ use, among others”, he explained.

He commended the ESUT management for some steps already being taken to align with government’s vision for tertiary education in the state.

Speaking, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Alloysius-Michaels Okolie, commended Mbah for the laudable vision for education in the state and great support to ESUT since the governor’s assumption of office.

He said the ESUT management was repositioning the institution in line with the governor’s educational vision and policies.

The convocation also saw the conferment of honorary doctorate degrees on some distinguished Nigerians, including the
Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Osagie Okunbor, Group Managing Director of Afrivest West Africa Ltd, Ike Chioke, the foremost estate developer, Surv Ugochukwu Chime, and recognitions and cash awards to outstanding student led by the best graduating student, Miss Barbara Ijeoma Ikeonyia.

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Education

GTC: Gov Mbah begins construction of 8 Science, Technical, and Vocational Schools across Enugu State

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The Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has commenced the construction of eight Science, Technical, and Vocational (STV) Schools in the state, starting with the Government Technical College, GTC, Enugu.

This was made known by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ndubueze Mbah, during the inspection of work at the GTC, Enugu, on Wednesday, adding that there would be three models of the STV Schools focusing on Science and Technology; Building and Architecture; and Industrial Agriculture.

He regretted that the GTC, Enugu, had lost its glory, reiterating the determination of the Mbah Administration to refocus the young ones of the state on science, technical, and vocational education underlined by practical learning to help them fit into the 21st Century industry.

“As you could see, this historic institution established in 1948 has lost its former glory. The buildings all around us are in different stages of dilapidation.

“But we are happy to share with Ndi Enugu the good news that the Enugu State Government has already embarked on a very audacious education reform project to establish eight brand new Science, Technical, and Vocational Schools servicing SS1 to SS3 in the STVSMB category of schools, starting with GTC.

“The governor believes that we are now in a new age of industry and technology. So, we want to bring back the lost glory of GTC, but making sure that it reflects the new opportunities and realities of industrialisation, of economic development, and of youth empowerment

“We will be establishing one new STV School in each of the eight federal constituencies in Enugu State over the next two years. The very first is being sited at this historic location, GTC, Enugu.

SEE ALSO:  GTC: Gov Mbah begins construction of 8 Science, Technical, and Vocational Schools across Enugu State

“There will be three models of the Science Technical and Vocational schools. The first model is focusing on science and technology. These are schools that are going to train our young people, who have finished from basic schools and the Enugu Smart Green Schools as well as graduates, who have no job. We are going to train them in the areas of emerging technology, preparing them to be ready for industry, the areas of robotics, mechatronics, coding, programming, ICT, and others with the objective of getting these young people ready for industry.

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“The other model is the School of Building and Architecture. These are vocational schools where our children will learn all components of building – from bricklaying to electricals, plumbing, roofing, among others. We will manufacture our materials in these schools and we will build.

“The third model is the Science Technical and Vocational School of Industrial Agriculture,” he said.

Prof Mbah also announced the government’s plan to additionally build a smart green school at the GTC, Enugu, premises to ensure easy pathway to science, technical and vocational education in this same environment for the students.

He said the initiative reflected the administration’s 33 per cent allocation to the education sector in the Enugu State 2024 budget, adding that the government equally planned to build smart secondary schools across the state.

“We have model senior secondary schools that are also smart schools that are forthcoming. And there is also historic milestone investment in our tertiary institutions. So, this is once again a very important milestone in the achievement of the educational reform vision of Governor Mbah for Enugu State,” he concluded.

SEE ALSO:  Nigerian Open University, NOUN scraps Law Programme, over 1000 students' career in danger

Meanwhile, the Principal of GTC, Enugu, Mr. Christopher Isife, described the STV School project at GTC as a game changer for the long forgotten and dilapidated institution.

“It has never been better in the past years of our existence as a college, but today, the talk and do governor has come to wipe away our tears. So, the GTC community, students, and teachers are very, very happy and we are grateful to him,” he said.

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Nigerian Open University, NOUN scraps Law Programme, over 1000 students’ career in danger

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Nigerian Open University, NOUN
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The National Open University (NOUN) Law students have called out for help over the scrapping of the law programme by the University management, leaving students who are nearing completion of their projects in dilemma.

It was gathered that the on 25th of January, 2023, the University’s Senate ratified the scrapping of the law degree programme of the University, at the end of the 2023 second semester .

Concerned by the development, students under the aegis of “concerned law students” wrote the House of Representatives seeking intervention.

In the letter dated on 27th of October, 2023, the House of Representatives acknowledged the call for intervention while promising to convene a meeting between student representatives and the management of the Open University.

Other correspondences received show that between November 2023 and January, 2024, the National Assembly held a meeting between the students and the university management however, this has not led to a meaningful development.

It was learnt that over 1500 final year students of the university are affected by the decision to make the law department “cease to exist”.

These students are at the risk of not graduating despite spending millions to study the law degree in the institution.

It was gathered that it cost about N3 million for a law student to graduate up to 500 level in the institution.

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Students of the institution had earlier lamented their inability to be issued graduation certificates and failure of the university to convoke them, putting them in a dilemma of lacking evidence to show for their academic sojourn in the institution.

SEE ALSO:  Maduka University Enugu launches Entrepreneurship Centre to equip students with essential skills

Although the University denied, NOUN, which operates a distance-learning and study Centre model, has been at the fore of controversies around issues of accreditation and management.

Students lament that the institution does not usually communicate developments to it and fails to attend to their queries on these developments that affect their academic wellbeing.

A student who does not want to be named noted that the decision on the law students for instance was first seen on social media with no official communication to them.

“We were not notified, we only saw a statement on social media suggesting that the law programme would be stopped after we spent how many years on it and no one has offered any form of apology or genuine concern”.

It was also gathered that the university intends not to take in new law students in order to seek fresh accreditation for the law programme; however the legal dreams of the current 500-level law students and their investments for five years is threatened by the decision on the institution’s law programme.

The Public Relations Officer of NOUN, Ibrahim Sheme, refused to comment on the development when contacted, asking the reporter to instead visit him in the office. (SaharaReporters)

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Maduka University Enugu launches Entrepreneurship Centre to equip students with essential skills

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Maduka University has declared open its Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub (EIH) as part of the bid to becoming a leading entrepreneurship university, innovation and resource centre dedicated to supporting business in the South East and Nigeria in general.

The Entrepreneurship Centre and Innovation Hub is divided into four units which include Innovation and Research Centre, ICT and Technical Support Unit, Entrepreneurship Training and Consulting Unit, and Skills and Development Unit. The EIH also offers skills training such as solar engineering; bakery and snacks production; shoe and sandal making; fashion design and dress making (male and female); vegetable and crop farming; phone repair; hair dressing and makeup. Others are soap, detergent, and perfume production and packaging; beads and bag making; artificial intelligence, animation, and graphic design; fish farming; drone technology (application of drones in agriculture, security surveillance and social event coverage); beekeeping; honey production and packaging; and food, spices processing, production, and packaging.

Delivering the lead paper, Necessity as the Mother of Entrepreneurs, at an event tagged, Start-Up Hangout, to formally declare open the Centre, the Chancellor of the University, Dr. Sam Maduka Onyishi, said he had never considered himself a smart businessman. “Foolishness gave me the opportunity to become what I am today,” he stated.

• Dr Sam Onyishi delivering the lead paper at the event

Drawing insights from his personal experience, Dr. Onyishi urged the students and entrepreneurs to always embrace integrity, uphold high moral standards, conduct business ethically, and, above all, maintain a reverence for God. He said that the University would establish an investment platform to teach students how to invest and save money. “You cannot be an entrepreneur without knowing how to save and invest. You have to save, no matter how little, you invest and grow,” he said.

• The participants 

The Chancellor stated that the entrepreneurship centre will ensure that every student graduates with at least four skills, while also positively impacting the immediate environment. He disclosed that the University plans to partner with CISCO and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) to certify students of the University in digital skills and charter accountancy students.

SEE ALSO:  Nigerian Open University, NOUN scraps Law Programme, over 1000 students' career in danger

Earlier in her presentation, Mrs. Chinyere Otuonye, who spoke on Access to Business Financing and Grants, looked at the different financing options and their disadvantages and recommended grants as the most preferable option.

However, she warned that not every grant is a good grant for one’s business and counselled for industry-specific grants.
On how to apply for grants, Otuonye gave the following advice to entrepreneurs:
1. Work with your local business support associations
2. Prepare your documents
3. Write a business plan
4. Structure your business

In his presentation, working with the philosophy of money and wealth, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Charles Ogbulogo, said that though philosophy guides thought processes for action in the journey of life at the personal and corporate domains, few people maximise the benefit of philosophy in money matters.

Prof. Ogbulogo said this explains why many people fall easy prey to money games and tricks, stressing that the entrepreneur has to understand the philosophy of money in order to make the critical difference.

Also speaking, Anayo Agu, stressed that success in entrepreneurship is a multifaceted concept that extends beyond mere financial gains to encompass a holistic system of life skills, self-image, and dynamic capabilities, each playing a crucial role in shaping an entrepreneur’s journey and achievements.

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