National Bible Quiz: Winner advocates more investment in moral education
Abuja, March 14, 2019 Mrs Nkechinyere Chidi-Mbah, winner of the maiden National Old Testament Competition in Nigeria, has appealed to the Federal Government to invest more in the promotion of moral education.
Chidi-Mbah, 38, who hails from Abia, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.
She said a partnership between Nigeria and Israel in the organisation of the next edition of the competition would encourage young people to imbibe the culture of reading the scripture.
According to her, the competition exposes one to a world of realities and to visit Jerusalem, adding that the Garden of Gethsemane and the Red Sea had exposed many people to study the scriptures.
“Government should invest more in moral education of young people through such competitions to enable people gain the requisite knowledge to become self-reliant through their knowledge of the scripture.
“Imagine Nigerian youths being exposed to the peace that is found within the word, the knowledge, wisdom and understanding that is found in the verses,” he said.
The mother of four children currently doing her Doctorate Degree in Translation Studies commended the organisers of the maiden event for improving her knowledge of the Bible.
She said that when people know better, they would be able to do better through the context of the knowledge of the word of God.
She urged young people to always aspire to achieve their set goals by reading to achieve a better future.
NNN reports the Bible quiz contest was organised by the Israeli Embassy in collaboration with the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) from September to November, 2018.
About 1,800 people participated in the contest.
The theme of the 2018 edition was: “Living peacefully in the promised land”.https://nnn.ng/national-bible-quiz-winner-advocates-more-investment-in-moral-education/
Spotlight: UK teachers concerned over school reopening, call for national plan
When Emily Proffitt became headteacher of Cooper Perry Primary School in Stafford, England, in January this year, she oversaw a welcome assembly of around 230 children of the school. For months, that would be the size of her daily assembly.
Now, due to lockdown restrictions, Profitt’s school has only been able to host between five to 10 pupils daily.
“This has been the most challenging time in my career, not only as a leader but as a teacher,” she told Xinhua.
Before taking on the role at Cooper Perry Primary, Proffitt worked as a headteacher for around four years. Nothing, she said, had prepared her or her colleagues for this.
“What teachers and leaders of education have been through is unprecedented and nothing that any of us are trained or prepared for. It’s very much been taking it a day at a time and working with what we’ve got.”
CONCERNED OVER PREMATURE RETURN
Cooper Perry Primary school has remained partially open throughout to critical workers’ children, in line with government guidelines. Since June 1, Proffitt has been allowed to open up the school wider to Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children.
Now, with the latest British government guidelines published this week by the Department for Education, primary school headteachers are being given greater flexibility to invite back more pupils — but only if the schools have the capacity within existing guidelines and if protective measures are in place.
In the coming days, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is due to set out the details of his summer “catch-up” plans — which comes after he scrapped plans for primary schools to bring back all pupils for a month before the summer break.
For Proffitt, the level of uncertainty around the situation and lack of clarification from the government have affected the return of pupils to her school.
“Most of my parent community have chosen not to send their children back, we’ve had roughly 25 percent returned from the key year groups — not from the entire school,” she said.
“Gradually that’s starting to build now, because parents have found out that the other key year groups aren’t going back and that we’ve got a very short space before September — and we still don’t know what September is going to look like yet.
“Nervousness, uncertainty and not knowing what the future holds is making them more nervy,” she said.
Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT — The Teachers’ Union, believed that most teachers and parents are rightly concerned about a premature return to school that could endanger lives.
“I think most parents want to be sure that when they send their child off to school that they’re going to be safe and we want that as well. It’s important that we put those safety concerns at the fore of whatever plans schools are doing to safely return,” he told Xinhua.
Only when children are safe to return does he believe that schools can consider what the nature of their curriculum is going to be.
“Whilst we want all children to be returning to their lessons, we also want to ensure that there’s breadth and there’s balance in relation to children’s learning,” he said.
NEW CHALLENGES FOR SCHOOLS
The lockdown has not only had an impact on the short-term closures of schools, but also has the potential to affect the long-term academic and emotional development of children.
This is something that Proffitt has seen firsthand at Cooper Perry Primary, where she has tried to encourage disadvantaged children to attend school through the lockdown.
For the Year 6 pupils who have returned they’re displaying more emotional issues now than before they left — with “more uncertainties, more anxieties that are building and developing” and that the teachers have to deal with.
“We’re putting programs into place for those who have returned, but of course they’re transitioning into high school very soon so to them this is huge — and they don’t know what that will look like in September either. So I think the long-term emotional effects on children will be our hardest battle,” Proffitt said.
Schools across the country have had to rearrange classroom layouts, hallways and play areas — but many buildings are old with limited flexibility for renovation.
For Cooper Perry Primary School, which is a mixture of a Victorian hall and new build classrooms, little pod areas have been introduced for early year children and tables have been turned into “L” shaped desks for those in the older years.
But this now means that a typical Year 6 class, which would have had 30 to 35 students before lockdown, can now just have a maximum of eight children in one classroom.
Then it comes to monitoring children’s play time, which is also having to be reconsidered.
“The younger children are harder to keep social distance than the older children. When they go out to play and they have their outdoor time naturally they migrate together. We’re not stopping that, we’re just trying to encourage that to be reduced throughout the day and the opportunity for that not to be there,” said Proffitt.
Official guidance from the government shows that it has been accepted that the two meter social distancing rule is not practicable in schools — so this has forced schools to find alternative solutions.
One of those solutions, Roach explained, is finding an educational and social bubble around smaller groups of children. This, he said, would minimize the levels of social interaction between increasing numbers of children, young people and adults.
“But is it sustainable? Well it’s only going to be sustainable if there’s sufficient space in schools to make it available and there’s sufficient numbers of teachers available to schools in order to teach in smaller group sizes,” he said.
Perhaps the biggest reassurance for a safe return of schools, Roach said, would be for the government to ensure teachers and parents have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) in schools.
CALL FOR NATIONAL PLAN
In March, the British government shut schools to all children but those of key workers and who were vulnerable. Since then, individual schools have been given the responsibility to make their own way to a safe reopening.
On Monday, Education Secretary Williamson said he wanted to make sure as many pupils as possible could get back into the classroom before summer to “support their wellbeing and education.”
But according to Roach, a rush to bring schooling back has seen education not feature as central to the government’s plans, but rather on how schools could help to play a part in the reopening of the economy as childcare locations.
“They’ve focused on childcare. For us, that’s not good enough,” Roach told Xinhua.
Roach believes key investment needs to be made into educating children through this period, especially those who have been more disadvantaged compared to other classmates during the pandemic, and not just using schools as “provisions of childcare for arbitrarily selected year groups of pupils.”
He called for a decisive national plan for the return of schools.
“We also need to recognise that you can have a national plan but each school has its own idiosyncrasies, its own unique features and characteristics, its own catchment which will impact how any national plan needs to be translated in practice,” he said.
According to Roach, giving head teachers a degree of flexibility about how to apply a national government framework for the safe return of individual schools, where that school could meet the safety standards, would help to bring schools back to be fully operational.
“We’d love nothing more than to have all of our children back in school,” said Proffitt.
“However, I will not open my school fully until we are given the health and safety green light to be able to do it,” she said.
Moral decadence responsible for rising rape cases, says educationist
An educationist, Mrs Jacintha Nweke, on Tuesday, attributed the rising rape cases in the society to moral decadence.
Nweke, a guidance counselor at the Model Comprehension School Amechi, Enugu, made this observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu.
She stressed the need to build a society devoid of immorality including rape, defilement and other crimes.
The educationist uged parents to take parenting more serious in order to build a better society.
She added that the failure of parents in inculcating the right values in their children was responsible for the rising rate of crimes in the society.
“Our society is really going down, these days, some parents do not even know or care about how their children are living anymore.
“This is either due to poverty or their nonchalant attitude toward their children’s character.
“In as much as children deserve the best does not mean that parents should neglect the act of discipline in children whenever they go wrong in life.
“Parents, teachers, clerics should inculcate sound teaching in children at the early stages of their lives for better society,” she told NAN.
Nweke called on government authorities to check the incessant rape, child abuse and other crimes for the safety of everyone in the country.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)https://nnn.ng/moral-decadence-responsible-for-rising-rape-cases-says-educationist/
National pride in United States falls to record low: Gallup
American pride has continued its downward trajectory, reaching the lowest point in two decades, according to a Gallup survey released on Monday.
A majority of adults, 63 percent, still said in the new poll that they are either “extremely” or “very” proud to be Americans.
However, that’s a 7-point dip from last year and the lowest figure recorded in the 20 years since Gallup first started asking the question.
The new low came at a time when the United States is facing public health and economic crises brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, in police custody.
In the poll, 42 percent said they’re “extremely” proud and 21 percent said “very” proud. Fifteen percent said they are “modestly” proud, 12 percent “only a little proud” and 9 percent “not proud at all.”
These latest data are from a May 28-June 4 poll, which also found 20 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States.
The percentage of Americans expressing extreme pride in the country has been declining over the past 20 years, especially recently, Gallup said.
Just over half, 55 percent, felt extreme pride in the initial January 2001 reading, prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In the three subsequent years, between 65 percent and 70 percent were extremely proud as the public rallied around the flag.
By 2005, that reading fell to 61 percent and remained steady until 2015 when it dropped to 54 percent.
The current reading is the sixth consecutive year since then that it has fallen to a new low in Gallup’s trend.
Osun Speaker felicitates with National Assembly members on 1st anniversary
Mr Timothy Owoeye, the Speaker of Osun House of Assembly, on Saturday congratulated members of the National Assembly on the successes recorded in their first 365 days of their legislative duties.
Owoeye, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Kunle Alabi, felicitated with the Osun caucus of the 9th Assembly, calling for more synergy with the State House of Assembly for the development of the state.
He said the state House of Assembly was ever ready to synergise with the Osun caucus of the 9th Assembly in advancing the cause and interest of the people of Osun through effective legislation and representation.
The speaker said that with adequate team work, the state and federal legislative arms would be able to give to the people of Osun the much-desired dividend of democracy.
He commended the National Assembly for being on the right path of delivering on its promises to Nigerians, saying the cordial relationship of both Chambers of the Assembly had strengthened stability and productivity.
Owoeye added that the collaboration and harmonious working relationship of the National Assembly with the Executive arm had proven to be beneficial to the people they represent.
“I am using this occasion to congratulate you on your one year of service to the development of our people. You have shown by example that we can achieve much in an atmosphere of tranquility.
“The understanding that exists between the National Assembly and the Executive arms of government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has in no small way helped the development of our country.
“We at the state of Osun House of Assembly look forward to a more fruitful years of collaboration with the Osun caucus at the National Assembly.
“So that we can through quality legislation, cater for the developmental needs of our people,” the speaker said.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)https://nnn.ng/osun-speaker-felicitates-with-national-assembly-members-on-1st-anniversary/