Stakeholders in the education sector have described the recent lowering of cut off mark by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam (UTME) as “retrogressive and unhealthy”.The stakeholders from the South East said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria while reacting to JAMB recent pronouncements on the 2022 cut off mark for tertiary institutions.NAN reports that the 20222023 UTME cut-off mark for universities in Nigeria is 140 and above, for polytechnics and monotechnics is 120 and above and for colleges of education is 100 and above depending on the school of choice and course of study.In Imo, an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Mrs. Ogedi Ugwu, said the continuous reduction of cut-off marks would lead to poor performance in tertiary education.Ugwu said the UTME served as a tool to assess the preparedness of students for tertiary education.She said their performance in basic subject areas would go a long way in identifying the courses they were best suited for and how well they would perform in those courses.She noted that if the cut-off marks continued to reduce, the quality of undergraduates admitted to Nigerian tertiary institutions would be severely compromised.“The UTME is a tool used to assess students’ preparedness for tertiary education through an average score in basic subjects areas.“Therefore, if UTME cut-off mark continues to decrease, it will reduce the quality of undergraduates admitted to Nigerian universities.“This will result in a poor learning outcome and performance in tertiary education,” she said.Also contributing, Mr Cyril Ofoegbu of the Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, described the downward trend in UTME cut-off marks as “appalling”.Ofoegbu said this could further lead to the fall in standard of education in the country as it would discourage students from studying in preparedness for higher education.“UTME started falling from 200, to 190, to 180, to 170, to 160 last year.This year, it went down to 140, and maybe next year, it will further go down to 130. “Soon, you just simply buy form and then you get admitted, into the university.“The National Universities Commission (NUC) should rather raise the standards above 200. Anyone who cannot attain the mark is not fit to study in the university,” Ofoegbu advised.A University Lecturer in Enugu State, Prof. Christian Madu, also said the approved lower cut off marks for students seeking admission in Nigeria tertiary institutions would lower the standard of education in the country.Madu, who is of the Environmental Management and Control Department, University of Nigeria said that the educational standard would be affected if something was not done to accommodate the students with low grade.The don said that schools that had students with low grades could groom them, especially in the subject areas they did not do quite well in their UTME so as to be at par with those with high grade.He said that if they were not groomed to meet up with the bright students, they might end up dropping from the institutions, especially after their first year in the institutions.Mrs Jacintha Nweke, an educationist said that the government should allow individual tertiary institution to decide its cut off mark as this would make students who were preparing for UTME to sit up.Nweke said that she was very sure that no university would adopt the cut off marks announced by the government, adding that it would further degrade the low standard of the Nigeria education system.Prof Ifeanyichukwu Abada of the Department of Political Science, UNN, urged the Federal Government to act fast to improve funding and give required attention to education sector in the country.He recalled that there was a time JAMB cut off mark for universities was 250 and today was lowered to 140. “Instead of Education sector going forward, it is moving backward; it’s retrogressive, unfortunate and an unhealthy development.“If nothing serious is done to arrest this ugly development in education sector, by the next three years, cut off mark for universities will be 80 and polytechnics 50,” he said.Mr George Akubue, a Lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, UNN, said the development was a dangerous indication of serious decline in the standard of education.“Federal, state and local governments should see this as a big challenge to improve funding of education in the three tiers of government before the situation gets out of hand,” he said.In Anambra, Prof Anthony Eze of the Faculty of Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said that efforts should be made at enhancing teaching to enable students meet up with the standard instead of lowering it to accommodate their capacity.He said that rather than making university an all comers affair, those who lacked the intellectual capacity to access that level of education should be encouraged to go for vocational and other informal systems of education.According to him, reducing cut off marks is ill advised, it will affect the standard of education adversely.“There is no justification for lowering the cut off mark from between 250 and 300 to as low as 120; it signals a general drop in our university education standard.“University is not for everybody, those who don’t have the capacity to meet up should be encouraged to go for vocational training,” he said.Also speaking, Mrs Jane Nwoko, a parent and secondary school teacher said managers of the Nigerian education sector should not collapse the system because they wanted to accommodate everybody.According to her, though it will help more students to gain admission into higher institutions, the implication is that the quality of learning and graduates will be reduced.She called for better funding and supervision of post primary education to make them meet up with the curriculum.A cross section of academics in Ebonyi, said that the adverse effect of continuous lowering of UTME cut-off mark into tertiary institutions would be devastating to education development of the country.Mr Ejike Okoro, an educationist , said the NUC should introduce better things in the system rather than continuous lowering of the cut off mark.“We are most worried towards standard of learning, structures, educational materials, libraries among others,” Okoro said.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
Honey Badgers of Makurdi on Sunday in Abuja defeated the Gallant Queens women football club of Zaria 1-0 in the ongoing 2022 Aiteo Federation Cup women’s competition.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the round of 32 match played at the Area 3 football pitch saw Odinaka Odoh scoring the only goal in the seventh minute.
However, Gallant Queens FC fought back but failed to convert their goalscoring chances.
NAN reports that the win has helped the Honey Badgers into the competition’s round of 16.Speaking after the match, Honey Badgers’ assistant coach, Enrudy Anthony, praised their players for their resilience during the game and playing to instructions.
She added that their players were young and it was their first time of playing at the national level, being their first experience in the Federation Cup.“I am impressed with their performance.
“We actually came to test ourselves and see how far we can go in the Cup competition and also to build up a team against next season.
“Now we are going to work on the lapses discovered in this game to do better in our next match,” Anthony said.
On his part, the assistant coach of Gallant Queens FC, Monday Mohammed, said his team’s performances was credible in spite of the loss.
“The game was a beautiful one, especially in the second half.
We could not get our game going in the first half.
“The girls were shy while playing in the first half.
But in the second half they picked up courage to perform well and they did their best,” he said.
Some experts, world leaders, and stars around the world have called for the dramatic reduction in price of the ground-breaking new HIV medicines, to ensure global accessibility to all who need them.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the advocates included Nobel laureates Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Joseph Stiglitz, former President of Malawi, Dr Joyce Banda and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.Others are artistes Olly Alexander (singer and actor), Stephen Fry (actor, writer, and presenter), Adam Lambert (singer and songwriter), David Oyelowo (actor, producer, director) and Arnaud Valois (actor).Also, business leaders Mo Ibrahim and Paul Polman are amongst those who have joined the call in an open letter.The letter was published in the run up to the International AIDS Conference, which opened in Montreal on July 29. “ AIDS pandemic continues to take a life every minute, and new HIV infections are rising in too many communities.“The breakthrough long-acting medicine only has to be taken every few months and is proving to be one of the most effective methods to prevent HIV transmission.“In addition to the prevention tool available now, long-acting antiretrovirals could one day be part of revolutionizing treatment to prevent deaths.“But these medicines are currently only available in high-income countries at a price of tens of thousands of dollars – far out of reach for people and governments in low- and middle-income countries.“People in these countries need them most,’’ they said in the letter.The advocates said that these long-acting HIV medicines could enable millions of adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa to protect themselves from acquiring HIV.According to them, they can enable people from marginalised communities including gay men, transgender people, and sex workers, to receive a discreet injection every few months to protect themselves.The letter called on ViiV, one of the world’s largest HIV pharmaceutical companies, to share their technology and know-how to boost production and set their price at a point where all countries could afford to buy these medicines.In particular, it called on ViiV to tackle the barriers to access by taking some steps.“Announce a lower price for the long-acting injectable ARV for prevention, CAB-LA, as close as possible to that of other HIV prevention medicines (PrEP).“The current best PrEP option is approximately $60 per person per year.Make the price public and transparent, and include the cost of the accompanying syringe.“Quickly finalise licences to produce generic versions of this long-acting ARV through the Medicines Patent Pool. “Licence across the world’s low- and middle-income countries on a non-exclusive basis, with a broad geographic scope for both treatment and prevention.“Share know-how and technology.Enable producers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern and Central Europe and beyond to seek transfer and begin producing.“Commit to making enough to meet demand until generic producers come online.’’ Lilian Mworeko, Regional Coordinator of the International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA), said: “While many in the global North are getting access to long-acting HIV prevention tools and medicines, Africans are overwhelmingly denied the opportunity.“It is worse for groups who continue to be left behind like adolescent girls and young women.“ As long as the price is unaffordably high for our governments and for funders to purchase, we will continue to be locked out from being able to access them.“They are vital to preventing new HIV infections and they could become transformational in treatment.“Our message is simple: all of our lives matter,’’ she said.As the global HIV response has come under strain from the COVID-19 crisis and the Ukraine war, ensuring rapid, affordable and equitable access to these medicines has become even more urgent.The signatories to the letter stressed that they could and must be made available to everyone, regardless of the passport they hold or the money in their pocket.They said that the new medicines present a remarkable opportunity to avoid the scientific and policy mistakes that defined the early years of AIDS whereby after the first antiretroviral HIV drugs received approval, prohibitive costs meant they were out of reach in the global South.They said that millions died and that the failings were not due to scientific or technical limitations but as the result of conscious choices about how medical innovation and access to health tools were organised and financed.“It is within ViiV’s power to ensure that millions more people around the world are able to benefit from the incredible technical advances that have gone into this new medicine.“If countries know that it is available at an affordable price, they will be able to prioritise the purchase of it from their health budgets and to make it available to all who need it,’’ said Deborah Gold, CEO of the National Aids Trust.Also, Dr Ayoade Alakija, Co-Chair of the Africa Union Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance for COVID-19 , remarked.“There is a choice about how new medicines are launched into the global market in terms of whether they are available to everyone, everywhere.“The limitations are less to do with scientific or technical challenges and much more to do with how medical innovation and access to health countermeasures are currently organised and financed to favour the rich and reinforce inequity.’’ The International AIDS Conference, is taking place in Montreal from July 29 to Aug. 2, 2022. It offers an historic opportunity for ViiV to stand with world leaders, civil society and people living with and at risk of HIV from around the world and pledge actions that will save lives and accelerate efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The World Health Organisation will release new guidelines on CAB-LA – the new medicines – at the conference.Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said: “The stakes are high.40 million people around the world are living with HIV today, and around 1.5 million people were newly infected in 2020 alone.“This is an issue of inequality.“Will these new medicines help us break down the inequalities driving the AIDS pandemic – affordable and available for those who need them most?Or will they stay out of reach?“The pharmaceutical industry has the opportunity to make medicines affordable and accessible to people in all countries, including so-called middle-income countries – through sharing technologies and setting an affordable price today until those generics come online.”NewsSourceCredit: NAN
Dannaz Ladies Football Club of Lagos on Sunday in Enugu defeated Crystal Stars FC of Yenagoa 2-1 in a 2022 Aiteo Federation Cup women’s competition fixture.
In the round of 32 match played at the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC) football pitch, Ayoka Akinbo opened scoring for Dannaz Ladies in the 25th minute.
Dannaz Ladies made it 2-0 through Amarachi Ansellem who scored in the 37th minute.
Crystal Stars looked more determined in the second half and got rewarded in the 71st minute through Ozioma Akuneto, and that was as far as they got.
In another fixture in the competition, Naija Ratels of Abuja walked over Rivers Angels FC of Port Harcourt as they did not honour their match.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that with this development, Dannaz Ladies and Naija Ratels have qualified for the competition’s round of 16. In a post-match interview, Dannaz Ladies’ coach, Diana Asak, praised her players for coming out top in their match in spite of being debutants in the competition.
”This is the first hurdle and thank God we won.
So, we have to keep on taking it one game after the other.
“Definitely, we did not get it right in the match but we have to improve the team in some areas before our next match.
“This is our first match in the competition and I believe we have young and good players to go far in the competition,” Asak said.
Coach Sese Ebimobowel of Crystal Stars, on his part, said his team lost the match in the midfield as his midfielders could not supply the right final passes to the strikers.
“We need to work on our midfield, because the strikers were denied the necessary passes to get the needed goals which would have propelled us to the next level.
“In fact, many things worked against us in the match and one of them was the playing on synthetic pitch for the first time.
“I believe that the players gassed out before full-time because they are not used to synthetic pitch,” he said.
Islamic New Year: Oyo Govt pledges to continue to be fair, just to all religious beliefs Islamic New Year: Oyo Govt pledges to continue to be fair, just to all religious beliefsHijrahBy David AdeoyeIbadan, July 31, 2021 Gov Seyi Makinde of Oyo State says his administration will continue to be fair and just to all religious beliefs in the state.
Makinde said this on Sunday in Ibadan during a grand rally organised by the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisation (NACOMYO), Oyo state Chapter, to mark the new Islamic year, 1444 AH.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event was held at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Adebayo Lawal, said his administration had always maintained religious balance.
According to him, nine Muslims were among the 17 members in the State Executive Council, while the remaining eight are Christians.
He appealed to Muslim clerics to continue to pray for the success of his administration.
The governor, at the event, announced the donation of N2.5 million to support the state chapter of NACOMYO.
Earlier, the State Coordinator of NACOMYO, Alhaji Dawood Afolabi, lauded Oyo State Government for declaring public holiday to mark the first day of the new Islamic year.
Afolabi said Gov Makinde had been addressing the complaints of the Muslim community about appointments made in his administration.
He assured the governor of the support of the Muslims in the state, “in as much as you ensure religious justice in all spheres of governance”.
A lecture titled “2023 General Elections: Muslims and the implications of an ambivalent righteous majority,” was delivered during the event by Prof Afeez Oladosu.
Oladosu charged Muslims in the state to ensure that they registered and collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of the 2023 general election.
He also urged electorate to cast their votes wisely for God-fearing leaders during the election while enjoining politicians to abide by the rules and regulations of the electoral process.
He added that politicians should fulfill all promises after getting to power, to avoid the wrath of God.
Chief Eze Nwachukwu, an APC House of Representatives Candidate in Ebonyi, has attributed the party’s victory in Saturday’s Local Goverment Elections in the state to its choice of quality candidates.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commisson Sunday declared APC the winner of the Chairmanship and Councillorship positions in the 13 LGAs. Nwachukwu, who is running for the Federal Constituency seat, said that APC presented its best for the polls.
He spoke in an interview with NAN in Abakaliki on Sunday, following the party’s landslide at the polls.
According to him, the victory was the result of the party’s painstaking mobilisation and total acceptability by the people.
“We presented the best team that could achieve total victory for us as they were clearly the peoples’ choice.
“We duly conformed with the provisions of the party and those of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended, which offered the options of consensus, direct or indirect primaries,” he said.
Nwachukwu, who is the immediate past state APC Chairman, said that the people chose the consensus option, which produced their choice candidates.
“The state has 171 wards and only 38 wards held primaries, while others opted for consensus.
“The primaries were fiercely contested, proving that the people wanted nothing but the best.
“Credit should go to Gov. Dave Umahi, who brought his political ingenuity to change the party’s electoral fortunes,” he said.
Nwachukwu also said that the victory further proved APC’s dorminance in Ebonyi ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“The development is a big plus for the party’s candidates in all positions in the general elections.
“It is also an indication that the party’s fortune at the presidential election is guaranteed in the state,” he said.
He also said that the opposition parties in the state offered “low resistance”, hence making the polls a no-contest.
He said: “The main opposition party, for instance, is heavily factionalised and depended on the court to affirm its rightful candidates for the elections.
“On the contrary, APC produced authentic candidates for all the positions.
> The Chairman, Senate Committee on Nigerian Airforce, Sen. Bala Ibn Na’Allah, has commended the Nigerian Airforce for effective deployment of the Super Tucanos and the success recorded so far against the current security challenges of Nigeria.
Na’Allah gave the commendation in a telephone interview on Sunday to assess operations of security agencies effectiveness of the new Super Tucano fighter jets.
He urged the Nigerian Airforce to sustain the good work to gain more ground in their efforts to rid the country of the lingering security challenges.
The chairman described the decision to acquire those platforms as one of the wisest taken by the Federal Government in terms of savings and operational flexibility.
He advised the Federal Government to consider increasing the number in order to significantly cut down the cost of running of the Airforce.
Rafiatu Lawal on Sunday won Nigeria’s second gold medal in the weightlifting event at the ongoing 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.
Lawal in the process set three Commonwealth Games records in the women’s 59kg final, lifting 90kg in snatch, 116kg in clean and jerk, and 206kg in total.
Jessica Brown of England emerged second in the event with 197kg in total to win the silver medal, while Canada’s Tali Darsigny won the bronze medal with a 196kg lift.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Team Nigeria have now won two gold and one bronze medals and are currently placed ninth on the medals table.
An aviation expert, Mr Bankole Bernard, seeks the Federal Government’s urgent assistance on provision of foreign exchange to allow foreign airlines repatriate their unremitted ticket revenue to their respective countries.
Bernard, the Chairman of Finchglow Holdings, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria on the sideline of the 26th Annual Conference of League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos on Sunday.
The theme of the seminar was “Sunset Airports: the Safety and Economic Implications”.
NAN reports that the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Regional Vice President, Africa & Middle East, Mr Kamil Al-Alawadhi, had said the amount of foreign airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria estimated at $208 million in the third quarter in 2021 had risen to $283 million in the first quarter of 2022. Bernard noted that the effect of unremitted funds would not only affect the cost of airfares but the number of air travellers, cost of goods and rate of inflation in the country.
He, therefore, urged the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address the issue of the funds as it affects aviation and other industries.
“On the issue of non repatriation of funds by the foreign airlines, I think it is an issue that is over flogged.
I don’t think at this particular point in time we should still be talking about things like this.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and address this thing the way we had addressed it in the past.
“Remember two years ago, we had this kind of issue that even the funds got to an amount far higher than what it is now about $750 million.
“And here we are we are talking about $450 million that has been stocked as a result of CBN not providing funds.
“I think we need to give priority and I think with the sort of service that this foreign airlines have brought to us, I think CBN should have given them priority to enable them repatriate their money.
“I honestly don’t understand what is happening at CBN but it really requires a lot of intervention, the government needs to address the issue,” he told NAN.
On the effect of the high cost of aviation fuel, Bernard said it would have multiplier effect on the air fare, the number of passengers that would travel by air and the cost of goods in the market.
The expert further lamented that the rate of inflation would go up because in Nigeria today, majority of the goods in the market were imported products.
He, however, said it was unfortunate that two airlines had been temporarily suspended but said that safety was important in the air transport business.
“It is quite unfortunate but you know in our industry it is safety first, I want to believe that the regulator had to place safety over convenience which I absolutely agree with them.
“If the airlines need to undergo audits to ensure that the lives of citizens are protected I think it is worth it.
Y“es, it is going to create a sort of impact on either the number of inventory of tickets in the market place, aircraft to be used,” the expert said.
The Nigeria Medical Association, FCT Chapter, has appealed to the Federal Government to beef up security in the FCT following recent threats in the environs.
The Chairman of NMA FCT Chapter, Dr Enema Amodu, made the appeal on Sunday at a news conference to unveil programmes lined for the 2022 Scientific General Meeting (AGM) of the association.
He said: “Lately, there had been bold incursions into the FCT, and this would negatively impact on the socio-economic indices of the FCT, and by extension the nation at large.
” He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to take very definite measures to curb the evolving menace within FCT and its environs.
The Chairman also said the programmes lined up for the 2022 week-long Scientific would be a unique one where issues on health insurance would be discussed.
He said the theme for the 2022 Scientific would be mainly on the National Health Insurance Authority Act, a bill he said was before the National Assembly, sponsored by Sen Ibrahim Oloriegbe.
According to him, the importance of the health insurance act could not be over emphasised if Nigeria must achieve a broader universal health coverage to change the narrative of the health sector.
He said other issues which continue to stifle the development of the health sector like intra-professional rivalry would also be discussed.
“This AGM will be an opportunity for us to take stock of the situation, and our activities as doctors and healthcare providers.
“This AGM will also witness election of new officers to take over the mantle of leadership; as there can only be one person per time, I call on all contestants to play politics devoid of malice and bitterness.
“NMA belongs to all of us, and at the end of the day, NMA will win,” he stressed.