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Opinion: Hope You’ve Saved School Fees Like You Saved for Sallah and Ram

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By Eric Elezuo

Not only does the ember months which begin with September portend danger in Nigeria, it also connotes period of extreme school activities, payment of school fees, moving to new classes and in some cases to new schools. All in all, it is a period when high amount of money is budgeted for school because many things are involved including buying of wears, school bags and other accessories. Apart from that, this is a period when annual fees are paid, and they don’t come in small digits irrespective of the type of school or its location.

But that should not be a problem for a good number of parents because a long space has been provided to meet up with this responsibility. Ever since schools vacated for the long vacation or summer as it is referred to in other climes, common sense has prevailed, demanding that ample arrangements should be made in anticipation of the almighty September so as not come upon anyone by accident.

The academic wellbeing of a child should be of paramount importance to any parent and that includes making sure the child does not become a subject of ridicule in the academic environment. This is done by doing everything possible to ensure that the child is not sent out school as a result of default in payment of school fees or any other fees, especially now that ample opportunity and time was provided to meet up – three whole months!

It is doubtful if there is any Moslem home where rams, cows or other animals were not slaughtered and elaborate ceremony held to celebrate the just concluded eid-Kabir festival. That is not bad neither is there anything wrong about it. However, if at resumption of academic activities, parents who had killed one animal or another, bought expensive wears, fed people in their tens and hundreds begin to beg headmasters and principals for more time to raise school fees and other sundry fees for their children to avoid being sent out of school, then it becomes bad.

Most parents started saving for the sallah celebration since January, and it is same for those hoping to celebrate Christmas later in the year. Which is more shameful; that one pay his children school fees or he cannot slaughter ram or goat or cow for a celebration. Well, your guess is as good as mine. Howbeit, remember it takes the same agility to save for festivities to save for academic purposes. A child whose parents entertained a whole lot of visitors during the festival will naturally expect his fees to be paid in due time. Anything less, it definitely affects his psyche and reduce the said parents’ worth in his sight.

Again, the school fees parents pay are the source of the meager take home pay the teachers are given every 30 days. It is therefore, not very palatable if they are denied their salary at the end of the month. So let’s do the right thing.

I know our parents are smart, and that they must have save for school fees the same way they saved for Sallah festival. One is good, the other is good as well. So I hope you saved for school fees the same way you saved for Sallah and rams.

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Education

NECO Releases 2020 SSCE Results, 26,277 Candidates Get Five Credits

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The National Examinations Council on Thursday said 26,277 out of the 39,503 candidates who sat for its 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination for external candidates obtained five credits and above including in English Language and Mathematics.

The board’s Registrar, Prof Godswill Obioma, disclosed this at the council headquarters in Minna, Niger State, according to a statement by its Head, Information and Public Relations Division, Azeez Sani.

According to the statement, 41,459 candidates registered out of which 39,503 actually sat for the examination.

The statement also disclosed that 6,465 cases of examination malpractices were recorded in 2020 as against 17,004 cases in 2019.

Sani quoted Obioma as attributing the reduction in cases to the result of deepening monitoring of the examination by members of the governing board, management, and senior staff of the council.

The statement read, “The National Examinations Council has released the results of the 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination for External Candidates.

“Announcing the results at the Council Headquarters in Minna on Thursday, the Registrar/Chief Executive, Prof. Godswill Obioma disclosed that a total of 41,459 candidates registered for the examination, out of which 39,503 actually sat.

“Obioma explained that a total of 26,277 candidates obtained five credits and above including English Language and Mathematics while 34,014 candidates also obtained five credits and above irrespective of English Language and Mathematics.

“The Registrar who reiterated the council’s zero tolerance for examination malpractice, noted that appropriate standards and excellence were maintained right from the planning stage to the release of results.

“Obioma disclosed that 6,465 cases of examination malpractice were recorded in the 2020 SSCE External as against 17,004 cases in 2019.

“He noted that the reduction in the level of malpractice was as a result of deepened monitoring of the examination by members of the Governing Board, Management and Senior Staff of the Council.

“The Registrar explained that in line with the Council’s zero tolerance for examination malpractice, four supervisors who were found culpable of aiding and abetting malpractice have been blacklisted and would no longer be engaged in the conduct of NECO examinations.

“One examination centre in Ogun State has been derecognized for intimidation and several attempts to induce NECO officials as well as aiding and abetting examination malpractice.”

Obioma also said the results of 256,000 candidates who missed some papers during the 2020 SSCE (Internal) due to the #ENDSARS protests in some states and who sat for those papers during the 2020 SSCE (External) are being released alongside those of the external candidates.

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Business

FirstBank Convenes SMECONNECT Webinar, Promotes Growth of Education Sector

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced the convening of a Business Clinic to promote the growth and sustainability of the educational sector, especially in the light of the coronavirus which is having an adverse effect on the operations of schools across the world. The event is scheduled to hold via Zoom platform by 11:00am on Thursday, 23 July 2020.

“Managing Your School through the Pandemic: Engagement and Retention Strategies,” is the topic of the event and will be discussed by experts, leading players, policy influencers and proprietors in business and education management that have carved a niche for themselves at promoting the growth of education and business, towards impacting the national economy. To participate in the event, follow the link https://smeconnect.firstbanknigeria.com/webinar  to register.

The panellists at the event include; Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, Honourable Commissioner of Education, Lagos State; Otunba Yomi Otubela, President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS); Wale Abioye, Team Lead, Customer Practice in Management Consulting (KPMG); Babatunde Vaughan, Education Lead, Modern Classroom Microsoft Nigeria; Tinu Aluko, Proprietor, Busy Bee & West Mills and Bankole Adediran, Head Transaction Banking Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

Speaking on the event, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank said “the education sector remains the bedrock of the growth and development of any nation – without a viable educational system, the human capital would be incapable of driving national growth and development. FirstBank is delighted to convene this event as it reinforces our leading role at enabling the growth of the educational sector in the country, over the years.

A recent example is the current pandemic in which the Bank has spearheaded the continued learning of school children, with a view to moving over 1 million Nigerians to e-learning, an exciting journey that has had over 45,000 active participants on the respective platforms, notably Roducate and IBM.

We appreciate the panellists invited to speak and we look forward to the knowledge and ideas that would be deliberated towards having participants enlightened on essential activities to not just sustain their schools but reinforce its growth against the odds of COVID-19. We implore players, policy influencers, school and business owners as a whole to register and participate in the event because indeed there is knowledge for everyone,” he concluded.

FirstBank has held various SME clinics in the course of the year, including a virtual event to ensure Social Distance is adhered to in this sensitive period of the COVID-19.

These events include the SME Clinics in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja as well as the Virtual SME Clinic, recently held in May.

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Education

JAMB Remits Initial N3.5bn to FG for 2020

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The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says it has made an interim remittance of N3.5 billion to the federal government’s purse after the conduct of its 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The board said it had earlier paid N3.5 billion to candidates by reducing N1,500 from the cost of ePINs sold to each candidate as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari. It said this brings its total remittances this year to over N7 billion.

The board also said it will remit more as soon as its operations are concluded and proper audit of its books is completed.

JAMB said this in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, on Sunday night.

He said it had been the intention of the present leadership of the examination body to return to federal coffers, whatever is left unutilised from its operational funds.

“The immediate benefit of the move manifested in the reduction by President Muhammadu Buhari of the UTME Registration fee payable by candidates from N5000 to N3500 which entails the transfer of over N3b to candidates and guardians annually via the reduction in the cost of application documents,” he said.

According to Mr Benjamin, before the reduction in the cost of application ePINs, the agency had remitted billions of naira in 2017 and replicated same in subsequent years until President Buhari’s directive to give back to candidates a percentage of the cost of registration.

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