Saturday, 26 October 2013

Chaina Introduces Education Reforms to De-Emphasize English Language Curriculum

The Beijing Municipal Education Commission proposed education reformsthat will de-emphasize English language curriculum in the gaokao, China’s national higher education examinations. Theproposition aims to relieve pressure on China’s students to master the language and counteracts fears of the English language eventually overtaking Mandarin. The decision was met with conflictual opinions from China’s students, parents, and educators.
Beginning in 2016, Beijing’s English language higher education entrance exams will be reduced from 150 to 100 points while the number of points given to Chinese and mathematics will be increased; English, Chinese, and mathematics currently have the same weighting. An additional recommendation suggests completely removing English language classes from the country’s curriculum before grade three.
According to the Beijing Education Examinations Authority, the adjustments will “focus on English-language application and basic skills, while playing down its selection function.” Li Yi of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education said, “the change highlights the fundamental importance of [the] mother tongue in the curriculum.”
Sang Jinlong, deputy head of Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences explained, “the general public is dissatisfied with a school system that gives emphasis to English over Chinese.”
In contrast, a Chinese citizen reportedly called the proposal a “setback of history” and “complacent and conservative,” and urged citizens to give greater importance to the English language because it “empowers people to communicate with the world by themselves.”
Luo Enze, Beijing high school student, highlighted the positive and negative effects of the decision and said“a drop in the overall scores of English examination means that our English studying workload will shrink, which is good news to many of us. But on the other hand, we may no longer work hard on English, which may have an adverse effect if we choose to have an English major or study abroad in the future. What’s more, students who are good at English may be reluctant to hear the news because they are losing their edge in gaokao.”

Saturday, 19 October 2013


 9ja Universities in PHOTOS

Archy studios and Health centre
Medical centre and a typical campus road

Restroom, students strugling for water

Mech Eng workshop and Female restroom

Cooking in a congested hostel room

62 Reasons Why ASUU Is On Strike

For those who do not understand “Why ASUU is on strike” – Please read this 

1. Less than 10% of the universities have Video Conferencing facility.

2. Less than 20% of the universities use Interactive Boards

3.More than 50% don’t use Public Address System in their lecture OVERCROWDED rooms/theatres.

4. Internet Services are non-existent,or epileptic and slow IN 99% of Nigerian Universities

5. Nigerian Universities Library resources are outdated and manually operated. Book shelves are homes to rats/cockroaches

6.No university library in Nigeria is fully automated. Less than 35% are partially automated.

7. 701 Development projects in Nigerian universities 163 (23.3%) are abandoned 538 (76.7%) are PERPETUALLY on-going projects

8. Some of the abandoned projects in Nigerian universities are over 15 years old, some are over 40 years old.

9. 76% of Nigerian universities use well as source of water, 45% use pit latrine, 67% of students use bush as toilet

10. UNN and UDUS have the highest number of abandoned projects (22 and 16 respectively).

11. All NDDC projects across universities in Niger Delta States are abandoned. About 84.6% of them are students’ hostels

12. 77% of Nigerian universities can be classified as “Glorified Primary Schools” Laboratories are non existing

13. There are 8 on-going projects at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi. None of them is funded by the State Government

14. 80% of Nigerian Universities are grossly under-staffed

15. 78% of Nigerian Universities rely heavily on part-time and visiting lecturers.

16. 88% of Nigerian Universities have under-qualified Academics

17. 90% of Nigerian Universities are bottom-heavy (with junior lecturers forming large chunk of the workforce)

18. Only 2% of Nigerian Universities attract expatriate lecturers, over 80% of Ghanian Universities attract same

19. 89% of Nigerian Universities have ‘closed’ (homogeneous staff – in terms of ethno-cultural background)

20. Based on the available data, there are 37,504 Academics in Nigerian Public Universities

21. 83% of the lecturers in Nigerian universities are male while 17% are female.

22. 23,030 (61.0%) of the lecturers are employed in Federal universities while 14,474 (39.0%) teach in State Universities.

23. The teaching staff-students ratio is EMBARRASSINGLY very high in many universities:

24. LECTURER STUDENT RATIO: National Open University of Nigeria 1:363 University of Abuja 1:122 Lagos State University 1:111

25. (Compare the above with Harvard 1:4; MIT 1:9; Yale 1:4, Cambridge 1:3; NUS 1:12; KFUPM 1:9; Technion 1:15).

26. Nigerian Universities Instead of having 100% Academics having PhDs, only about 43% do so. The remaining 57% have no PhDs

27. Nigerian University medical students trained in the most dangerous environment, some only see medical tools in books

28. Only 7 Nigerian Universities have up to 60% of their teaching staff with PhD qualifications

29. While majority of the universities in the country are grossly understaffed, a few cases present a pathetic picture

30. There are universities in Nigeria which the total number of Professors is not more than Five (5)

31. Kano University of Science and Technology Wudil, established in 2001 (11 years old) only 1 Professor and 25 PhD holders.

32. Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, established in 2006 has only 2 Professors and 5 PhDs

33. Ondo State University of Sci & Tech Okitipupa, established in 2008, has a total of 29 lecturers.

34. MAKE-SHIFT LECTURING SYSTEM: Out of a total of 37,504 lecturers, only 28,128 (75%) are engaged on full-time basis.

35. 9,376 (25%) Nigerian Lecturers are recycled as Visiting, Adjunct, Sabbatical and Contract lecturers.

36. In Gombe State University, only 4 out of 47 Profs are full-time and all 25 Readers are visiting

37. In Plateau State University, Bokkos, 74% of the lecturers are visiting.

38. In Kaduna State University, only 24 out of 174 PhD holders are full-time staff.

39. 700 EX-MILLITANTS in Nigeria are receiving more funds anualy than 20 Nigerian universities under ‘Amnesty Scam’

40. 80% of published journals by Nigerian University lectures have no visibility in the international knowledge community.

41. No Nigerian academic is in the league of Nobel Laureates or a nominee of Nobel Prize.

42. There are only 2 registered patents owned by Nigerian Academics in the last 3 years.

43. Numerically more support staff in the services of Nigerian universities than the teaching staff they are meant to support

44. More expenditure is incurred in administration & routine functions than in core academic matters in Nigerian Universities

45. There are 77,511 full-time non-teaching staff in Nigeria’s public universities 2 Times number of academic staff

46. University of Benin, there are more senior staff in the Registrar cadre (Dep. Registrars, PARs, SARs) than Professors

47. Almost all the universities are over-staffed with non- teaching staff

48. There are 1,252,913 students in Nigerian Public Universities. 43% Female 57%Male

49. There is no relationship between enrolment and the tangible manpower needs of Nigeria.

50. Nigerian Uni Horrible hostel facilities, overcrowded, overstretched lavatory and laundry facilities, poor sanitation,etc

51. Except Nigerian Defence Acadamy Kaduna, no university in Nigeria is able to accommodate more than 35% of its students.

52. Some universities (e.g. MOUAU),female students take their bath in d open because d bathrooms are in very poor condition.

53. Laundries and common rooms in many universities have been converted into rooms where students live, in open prison style.

54. In most improvised cage called hostels in Nigerian Universities, there is no limit to the number of occupants.

55. Most State universities charge commercial rates for unfit and unsuitable hostel accommodation

56. In off-campus hostels, students are susceptible to extraneous influences and violence prostitution, rape, gang violence

57. Nigerian University Students sitting on bare floor or peeping through windows to attend lectures

58. Over 1000 students being packed in lecture halls meant for less than 150 students

59. Over 400 Nigerian University students being packed in laboratory meant for 75 students

60. University administrators Spend millions to erect super-gates when their Libraries are still at foundation level; Expend millions to purchase exotic vehicles for university officers even though they lack basic classroom furnishings; Spend hundreds of millions in wall-fencing and in-fencing when students accommodation is inadequate and in tatters;

61. Govt interested in spending money on creation of new uni instead of consolidating and expanding access to existing ones; Keen to award new contracts rather than completing the abandoned projects or standardizing existing facilities; Expend hundreds of millions paying visiting and part-time lecturers rather than recruiting full-time staff

62. Govt spending hundreds of millions in mundane administration cost instead of providing boreholes and power supplements; Govt hiring personal staff, including Personal Assistants, Special Advisers, Bodyguards, Personal Consultants, etc

Mallam El-Rufai

Corruption Continues to Inhibit Educational Progress in Low Income Countries

No Corruption Corruption still remains as one of the major factors impeding progress in low and middle income countries worldwide. Experiences from all over the developing world were included as part of Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Report: Education”.
Released last week, the report consists of more than 70 articles commissioned from experts in the fields of corruption and education, from universities, think-tanks, businesses, civil society and international organisations. The aim is to show governments and civil society across the globe that corruption in education – from the primary school level to university – affects schooling at every level and in multiple ways.

In Vietnam, a recent online poll of almost 20,000 respondents conducted by Dan Tri Online Newspaper, found 62 per cent of parents admitted to being involved in some form of corruption – either by calling on connections or paying money – to register their children in their school of choice. Bribes to secure a spot can reach as much as $3,000 for a seat in a prestigious primary school. These practices only serve to make education less equal and contribute to rising inequality. In response, the government has targeted corruption in admission procedures and demanded that the number of spaces for enrollment by each age group be made public.

When resources that are publicly allocated to schools are in fact siphoned off for private use, this corruption has a significantly negative impact on the state of education in that country. It not only reduces the availability of learning for the children affected, but it also undercuts the quality of educational inputs such as learning facilities and materials to teachers and administrators.
Corruption acts as an added tax on the poor who are forced to adhere to demands for illicit fees and bribes, from primary to university level. The authors of a large study commissioned by the International Monetary Fundfound corruption is consistently related to greater cost and lower quality of education.

Some have argued that a human-rights based approach to education and development commitments must be adopted by governments if they wish to ensure that equal access to education is available for their children. They have a duty to create correct incentives for school administrators and teachers to not engage in corruption, and create better working conditions so that teachers feel proud of their work and teaching environment. For Greater transparency is the key, and to achieve this aim they must increase information to communities, which includes changes such as clear details about school fees and examinations.

Governments must ensure that they can be better held accountable by ensuring that funds are reaching their intended destination and disbursement levels are heading in the right direction. They need to establish oversight bodies, such as parents’ committees in the management of schools, to help prevent and detect corruption. Civil society must be encouraged to demand governments provide universal education for their children as a fulfillment of their human rights.

Examples of how to achieve these obligations include: Using existing mechanisms to bring relevant information on corruption to these global bodies’ attention; creating greater awareness on the part of parents and students about the negative impacts of corruption, particularly bribing one’s way into a more prestigious school or paying to pass an exam; targeting anti-corruption outreach to specific groups who make decisions about schooling in a household, such as mothers; getting the media – whether print, television, radio or social channels – to play an important role in shifting public opinion about bribery.
Creative Commons Love 

Ann Douglas on

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Ogbeni Goes Back To School

This is Ogbeni Aregbesola right in the classroom, in the same school uniform as the students. He is trying to be part of the change he wants. Nice gesture indeed.

Controversy Trails Osun State Introduction Of New Education Policy

undefined“IN this kind of scheme, it is not unexpected that there would be apprehension, knowing well that change is the most difficult thing for people to adjust to. Our people eulogise and long for good education standards across the world and would wish it for their children. However, the hard reality is that these positive changes must involve some alterations in our current depressing system to bring about the new generation of well-educated, trained citizens that will take our state to higher heights. It is in the light of these that we are resolute in going ahead with the best policy for the future of our children.”
The statement above by Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State on his administration’s new but controversial education policy is clear and persuasive, perhaps convincing. However, the policy and its method of deployment have met brick walls in many quarters in the state, raising questions as to its desirability, workability and, even, effectiveness, thereby prompting that explanation.
Christians and members of the Baptist denomination are not hiding their disdain for the policy and have expressed to the government in unmistakable terms their unhappiness with Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s plan to merge pupils from their schools with those in other public schools.
On two occasions within a week, Baptists, both old and young, armed with placards bearing various inscriptions, defied law enforcement agents in their street protests against the state tinkering with “their heritage.” The state’s decision to restructure its school system was reached shortly after Aregbesola took over in November 2010 and convened an education summit.
The week-long event attracted various eggheads from across the country, including the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who chaired the event at the Osun State University main campus in Osogbo. Aregbesola had told the indigenes that the summit was necessary to address the alleged “sorry state of education his administration inherited” from the ousted Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government.
The government later received the report of the summit and concluded that the Osun school system needed a drastic surgical operation in order to raise standard, revamp decadent infrastructure and change the entire orientation in the management of public schools.
To achieve this objective, the government demolished alleged dilapidated school buildings and awarded contracts for the construction of ultra-modern classrooms in some chosen locations, including Osogbo. The government also provided free meals for pupils in primaries one to four, sew school uniforms and distributed them free to pupils in all public schools.
However, severe criticisms have attended the demolition of the school buildings, particularly from the major opposition PDP and other stakeholders. The reform policy also witnessed initial resistance by teachers who were allegedly annoyed at the stoppage of extra classes after the official school hours and collection of sundry fees by teachers.
The new system, according to the government, is intended to end the multiplicity and duplicity of schools, which the authorities believe have resulted in decayed infrastructures and dislocated school system. Some of the positive changes so far witnessed in the sector include provision of free school uniform to about 750,000 students in public schools, increase in examination and running grants to schools, reduction in school fees in state-owned tertiary institutions, provision of adequate instructional materials, and feeding of pupils in primaries one to four, among others.
A school of thought believes the changes are unique, especially the distribution of e-learning device otherwise called Opon Imon to all students in senior secondary schools, re-building and construction of modern classrooms and the take-off of the new 4-5-3 policy, which encompasses re-classification of primary and secondary education into elementary, middle and high schools.
The commissioning of the sample Salvation Army Middle School, Alekunwodo in Osogbo on October 2 marked the flag-off of the re-classified system and merger. Under this new arrangement, the state plans to build 100 elementary schools, 50 middle schools and 20 high schools in the first phase of the scheme.
High school system, according to government, will have modern facilities such as boarding, staff quarters, standard laboratories, food courts, standard sports facilities, 1,000-sitting capacity school hall and school managers for maintenance and management. In the re-classified order, the elementary school will comprise pupils of ages six to nine or primaries one to four, with maximum capacity of 900 pupils in cities and less in rural communities.
Also, daily activities will run from 8a.m to 2p.m to enhance effective implementation of the O Meal school feeding programme which, now reviewed, was inherited from the immediate past administration. Pupils in middle school fall within ages 10 and 14 or primaries five to Junior Secondary School (JSS 3). The envisaged enrolment capacity here is between 900 and 1,000 while school activities will run from 8a.m to 3p.m.
Those in high school are between 15 and 17 years or Senior Secondary School (SSS1 to 3) while the expected enrolment is about 3,000. School activities here are programmed for 8a.m to 5p.m. Pupils in this category will be provided with Opon Imon, just as government pays for their West African School Certificate (WASC) exams.
During the commissioning of the pilot Salvation Army Middle School, Aregbesola brought himself down to the level of the school pupils by dressing in middle school uniform, which attracted cheers. However, the commissioning suffered setback because the event was preceded by protests by Baptist stakeholders, who stormed the Baptist Girls High School located at Gbodofon, a shot distance from where the Christians first launched their peaceful protest against the merger of pupils from Fakunle Comprehensive High School with those from Baptist Girls High School.
Some people though have commended the government for its reforms and the bold steps so far taken, while others perceive some of the governor’s actions, particularly the merger of schools, as a ploy to advance his alleged Islamisation of the state. The Christian protesters, who nurse this belief, queried the rationale for merging pupils of different religious persuasion with Christians in a single-sex school such as the Baptist Girls High School.
To teachers, former schools’ owners and other critical stakeholders, the reform policy appears unsuitable and capable of causing undue confusion and disenchantment. Complaints on perceived areas of conflict in the implementation of the policy have been forwarded by stakeholders, especially the umbrella Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The association, which debunked government’s claim of alleged support of the policy, said at no point did members meet with the authorities and approved the merger of schools.
Meanwhile, at the resumption of the 2013/2014 academic session on October 2, just as the former school owners at Baptist Girls High School, Osogbo, were angry over the merger, their counterparts at the boys-only Saint Charles Grammar School and some others resisted their merger with male students from Fakunle Comprehensive High School and females from other schools.
This development prompted the visit of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Grace Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, who doubles as Commissioner for Education, to the affected schools to douse tensions. The re-classification of schools, the state said, is aimed at bringing pupils of the same age bracket together in a class and providing necessary tools and teaching aids required for effective and efficient running of the system.
The Guardian learnt that after receiving the report of the education summit, the government had resolved to abolish the single-sex system in public schools but the age-long school setting and what informs the drastic step to abolish it is what the original school owners are kicking against. The new system, to the government, will end multiplicity and duplicity of schools, which result in poor management and inability to instill discipline and promote moral rebirth.
During the commissioning of the pilot school project, Laoye-Tomori noted that the school has proved skeptics wrong, adding that though it did not come cheap, the building, which she described as one of the many to be commissioned, represented the “crowning glory of the Aregbesola revolutionary agenda in the education sector.”
She noted: “The education transformation agenda of the present administration is holistic, the government meant a systemic overhaul. The daily feeding of pupils in public elementary schools across the state (with its economic multiplier effects and the empowerment of over 3,000 women appointed by the state as food vendors) is one of the critical steps taken by this administration to address the forlorn decay that we met in the education sector when we assumed office.
“In addition, (there is) provision of school uniforms for all pupils and students in the public schools in the state, adequate financial support to public schools as grants, running costs, and examination fees. The introduction of training schemes, promotion of teachers and prompt payment of teachers’ salaries helped in no small way to enlist high turnover of skilled teachers.
“For the records, our administration embarked on the re-classification exercise for the following reasons: first, the hitherto poor performance of students in both internal and external examinations necessitated the new school system and re-classification, which is believed would help to revamp the education sector.
“The new school system aims at removing financial burden of running of schools totally from parents and saddles the government wholly with the responsibility of school infrastructure development, funding and management. The new school system is designed to make access to quality education available to all children in Osun without any discrimination, thereby giving a level playing ground to all our students.”
For Aregbesola, the state is already witnessing a progressive improvement in the academic performances of school pupils, as their recent performance in public examinations, including WAEC, is said to have improved significantly. He noted that the feeding programme, beside the economics of engaging some 3,000 women, has brought additional gains to the production capacities of farmers and suppliers of farm produce, as well as the poultry and beef inputs for the food menu.
However, while other critical stakeholders kick against the merger of existing mission schools with public schools as attempt to wipe off the remaining vestiges of inheritance by the school founders and also affect the practice of their faith, Laoye-Tomori said the new system is in tandem with the National Policy on Education or the National School Curriculum.
According to her “under the re-classification, we run the national 6-3-3-4 system as well as the normal school academic calendar. Under the re-classification of primary and secondary education, what we have done is to put pupils in primaries 1-4 under the same roof and environment with provision of modern facilities consistent with their age.
“Here, they spend the first four of the six years of the 6-3-3-4 system. The middle school has primaries 5 and 6 pupils put together under same roof and environment with students of JJS 1-3. Those of primary 5 and 6 complete the last two of their six-year primary education, write their terminal examination and continue with the next segment of three years of the 6-3-3-4 system. The high school is also designed and purpose-built for students that have completed their middle school to spend the last three years of their basic 6-3-3-4 system.”
Again, while the ruling party in the state, APC has lauded the government for the milestone reached with the repositioning the educational system, opposition parties posited that the re-classification has brought confusion and loss of identity to most affected schools. They noted that the pupils would be made to trek about two to three kilometres to and from their schools everyday.
Also, while the Baptist denomination went beyond mere criticisms of the new education order by refusing other students entry into the school premises, just like St. Charles Grammar School did, concerned alumni of Fakunle High School, urged Aregbesola not to demolish their school. They warned that the policy might inflict pains on the students, adding that government should rather complete all school projects embarked upon since 2011, build more qualitative schools and equip existing ones.
The Fakunle alumni alleged that the government intended to demolish the school and in its place build Shoprite International Car Park, against the spirit of the late founder of Fakunle School, Rev. Ade Fakunle, in founding the school in 1965. Opposition Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) has as well warned that the merger has the potential to cause undue confusion.
While protests continue, the state government has sued for peace and cooperation to enable the reform move according to plan. Aregbesola, addressing the citizens recently in Ile-Ife, called for public understanding over the controversial policy. He admitted that government was following the trend of resistance by some people and groups over the matter, but that the overall objective of the policy was to raise standard and make education more impactful.
Aregbesola averred that the re-classification exercise aims at offering a complete education system that would produce a sound and all-round mind in the present generation of children in the state. The statement also quoted the governor as saying that all interests – pupils/students, parents and teachers – were adequately considered without any sentiment before arriving at the decision. Overall, it is to “develop the new man intellectually, socially and morally. This is the Omoluabi essence. Everything we have done in the school reforms is for the building of this man.”
Noting the “little inconveniences the reforms could bring about to parents and the pupils,” Aregbesola assured that no single group, organisation or individual, religious or social body’s interest would suffer as a result of the ongoing re-classification and reform.
Nevertheless, of concern to him should be the lingering allegation of stealth in pursuance of his Islamisation of the state. Speaking on the development, the Osun State Christian Association of Nigeria (OSCAN) said that “CAN is not against any new educational policy being put in place by either the federal or state government, but we vehemently kick against any educational programme that will obliterate the mission schools and affect our tenets of faith.
“As a major stakeholder in the state, the leadership of CAN expects the state government to invite us to discuss this issue and related ones without delay. We wish to explain it clearly that at no time has the new leadership of CAN in Osun held any meeting with the state government on the issue of merger of schools. Therefore, the statement that we gave our consent to the state government on this policy was untrue.”
The association has served the government a seven-day ultimatum to stop further implementation of the policy in view of the resistance and the implications it might have on mission and single-sex schools. It also repeated its earlier call for the return of mission schools to their owners as an alternative means of preventing clash of interest between the secular authorities and those whose schools were forcibly taken over.
“Governor Rauf Aregbesola was voted into power by both Muslims and Christians. However, we observed that the foundation of the Christian faith is being seriously threatened by some state government’s policies, especially in the educational sector, which the church is strongly aversed to and is not ready to compromise,” the group said.
Nevertheless, the ongoing disquiet has attracted the attention of traditional rulers in the state, who initiated a parley between the parties. Chairman of Osun Baptist Conference, Rev. Paul Kolawole, led other ministers of God to the meeting held last Friday. The royal fathers’ intervention, however, did not achieve the desired objectives as the church insisted that it would not tolerate policies that would work against the smooth propagation of its religion.
While there may be no iota of doubt that Aregbesola has demonstrated commitment to improving the state since he assumed power three years ago, it is worrisome, however, that the allegation of Islamisation persistently being leveled against him has refused to go and has become a serious challenge needing immediate attention.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Ex-Education Minister Rufa'i JOINS ASUU STRIKE?

After being relieved of her duties last month, the immediate past Minister of education Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'i has reportedly joined the continuing Academic Staff Union of Universities' strike -- the one that she tried to put an end to while still in the office.
photo -- Ex-Education Minister Rufa'i Joins ASUU Strike?
Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa'i
Rufa'i has returned to the Bayero Universities, Kano (BUK), where she used to teach before joining the Jigawa State cabinet in 2007, and, later the federal cabinet in 2011. However, enquiries have shown that she is yet to commence work because of the ongoing industrial action.
When journalists asked Rufa'i on Wednesday if she had indeed joined the ASUU strike, she answered, "It is an unfair question. Ask my university."
Public Relations Officer of BUK, Mustapha Zaharaddeen, spoke thus: "How can she teach? She has joined the strike.  She has no choice. How can anybody teach? Don't forget, ASUU National President is from BUK."
The ASUU President, Mr. Fagge, was unavailable for comments.
photo -- Ex-Education Minister Rufa'i Joins ASUU Strike?
From left: former Minister of education, prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'i; executive secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), prof. Julius Okojie; secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), sen. Anyim Pius Anyim and Minister of labour, Chukwuemeka Nwogu, at an ASUU negotiation meeting in Abuja
Rufa'i, the first female education minister from the northern part of Nigeria, was sacked from the federal cabinet alongside eight other ministers on September 11.