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The GuARDIAN, Thursday, August 15, 2013


ZODML unveils BookCorner in public secondary schools By Mary Ogar ITh the level of success W achieved in stimulating a book reading culture among

Deputy Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji S.A. Sunmola (4th from left, back row), intiator of 1Child 1Book, Tosin Jegede (right), Co founder of, Tunde Kehinde (second right) and pupils of Emmanuel Primary School, Ojota, Lagos at the donation of books to 230 pupils by the Tosin Jegede Foundation recently.

British varsities woo elite students with cash, iPads OP universities are to offer inducements including free mini iPads and laptops, tickets to celebrity lectures and rent rebates as they prepare to battle for Britain’s brightest students According to the Sunday Times of London, when the Alevel results are announced today, those with high grades will find themselves in a buyers’ market as many of Britain’s elite universities will, for the first time, enter clearing — the process whereby students are matched to spare places. Scholarships worth thousands of pounds will also be dangled in front of teenagers, to persuade them to trade up from lower-ranking universities. Vice-chancellors at leading universities such as Keele, Southampton, exeter and Sussex will be taking advantage of a ministerial decision to allow them to recruit unlimited numbers of applicants with grades of ABB and above. A survey of universities by Deloitte reveals that more than a quarter have ambitious plans for expansion. Others, however, will be trying to fill half-empty courses shunned by students who want certainty about getting value for their £9,000-a-year fees. Don Nutbeam, the vicechancellor at Southampton, said: “We are competing with 20 or 30 other universities for the most talented. It will be a genuine market place with


students using it to try to get a better offer.” One insider predicted cutthroat rivalry: “The universities will be fighting like cats and dogs. On law courses in particular, they are trying to pile students up high because it’s a way of enrolling good quality students and they can teach them relatively cheaply. But not all these students will be able to get jobs.” At Sussex, the high-flying students who qualify are being offered scholarships worth £5,000; at Coventry the offer to top students is a £1,000 scholarship or £1,500 off university accommodation and the chance to attend star lectures; Southampton will waive up to £3,000 of fees; essex will be offering access to bursaries of £2,000; Coventry will be offering tickets to lectures by star speakers as well as free laptops on some courses. Places will be available on degree courses that usually attract a high level of competition, including law and psychology. Some courses, such as languages and archeology, are said to be “on their knees” with too few students to fill them. The competition will be heightened because vice chancellors do not believe the lifting of caps on students numbers will last long. The cost to the government, which underwrites each student’s £9000 fees is thought to be too high. Nick Foskett, the vice chan-

cellor at Keele, said: “universities want to grow and there is a small window of opportunity. In theory, w can recruit unlimited number of AAB students and the Treasure will pick up the tab. That will not continue.” Michael Farthing, the vice chancellor at Sussex, said the biggest long term threat was if lots of pupils decided not to go to university. Last year, 40,000 with good A-levels chose no to study for a degree. Some low-ranking universities will struggle. In a YouGov, a poll for The Sunday Times, 52 percent thought an Oxbridge education was worth £9000 a year in fees while 29percent disagreed. By contrast, almost two thirds said tuition at the universities outside the top 20 was not worth it. Sixth formers who have failed to get the required Alevel grades for their chosen course will still be accepted by leading universities if they achieve high scores in an essay qualification. Almost 30,000 pupils have taken an extended project with their Alevels. The mini-dissertation is popular with private schools. Applicants to Bristol who fail to achieve an AAA grade offer will be accepted on some courses of they achieve AAB plus a good grade in the extended essay. essex will take it into account of an applicant’s results “fall short by a small margin, such as one grade.”

holmes decries frequent policy changes From Chuka Odittah, Abuja Briton, Susan holmes, has A said that incessant policy changes and lack of adequate planning have, among other factors, contributed to what she described as “a decline” in Nigeria’s educational standards. holmes pointed out that no country could achieve development, unless it first laid the foundation of its education system on merit and consistency. Speaking at the graduation ceremony of Olumawu Basic education school, Abuja, holmes expressed worry over the frequent changes of education policies in the country, saying it had sent the wrong

signals, even when government had the best of intentions . “In Britain, where I’ve worked and taught for a considerable length of time before coming to Nigeria,” she noted, “you do not have the type of frequent policy changes that one has seen here in Nigeria. Good planning is central to success of any policy. So planning, and planning well in advance cannot be overemphasized. They need to ensure that things run on time and on target. It’s so frustrating, sometimes, to see that when we have to launch a new curriculum given by the government and one just can’t find a copy of that curriculum to enable you

study it. You sometimes have to wait may be up to a year or later to find one. It’s just not possible to achieve the right results with such a strategy, even though it is obvious the authorities mean well. Sometimes these things do happen, but in a situation where they happen too often, it gives room for concern. “In Britain, how it’s done is that, if government planned to launch a new curriculum, say, in 2010, everyone is given at least one full year to work on and study it. Appropriate authorities will be consulting broadly as well, meeting people and introducing the new system. It takes about two or three years before such a policy is finally launched.”

students in some Lagos public schools, the Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries (ZODML) has unveiled the BookCorner project in some selected public secondary schools in Lagos state. The project is an offshoot of the library projects, pioneered in some selected public primary schools, in order to sustain the reading habits already acquired by pupils who had graduated from primary to secondary schools. Speaking at the formal launch of the initiative at Girls’ Junior Secondary Grammar School (GJSGS) in Keffi, Lagos, the co-chair and member of ZODML’s Board of Trustees, the Mrs. Ifeoma esiri said: “Today, we doing something very significant. We started by making libraries available in some selected primary schools. But we later found out that a lot of these pupils have moved on to secondary school and because they are already used to going to the library and borrowing books, they are rather finding it difficult to get books to read.” She also lamented that part of the challenge the pupils face in having access to books was related to a change in school administration, which does not allow the sustainability of some projects.

explaining the concept of ZODML, a non-profit organisation founded in 1998, esiri said: “Our mission is to provide channels through which people can freely access information and learning tools to acquire knowledge. To achieve this, we establish community and school libraries, libraries in prisons as well as online libraries and other resources.” With contemporary books that students can relate to selected for the BookCorner, she averred that the desire to continue to make books available to secondary school students, informed the reason for the initiative. Already, the benefiting school has appointed the BookCorner prefects to moni-

tor the books and how they will be maintained. Soliciting for partnership with publishers to get the BookCorner established in more schools, esiri said the initiative is expected to ignite the passion to read in children. The BookCorner ambassador, Miss Kene Rapu, who was chosen because of her passion for reading, urged the students to understand the importance of reading early to get far in any endeavour. Rapu also took the students through three of her favourites books namely: “helen Keller- A photographic story of a life by Leslie Garreth, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson.”

St. Gregory’s old boys elect Okogie, Omolayole patrons he St. Gregory’s College T Old Boys Association has appointed its former proprietor, Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie and an industrialist Chief Michael Omolayole, as Chairmen of the newly constituted Boards of Trustees and Patrons, respectively. According to a statemebt by the association’s spokesman, Mt oladipo Okubanjo, the appointments and ratification of members of the new boards were made at the well attended bi-annual general

meeting of association, held in Lagos recently. The association’s president, Dr. John Abebe, while reeling out names of members of the two boards, said “the distinguished Gregorians have all indicated their acceptance to serve on the boards”, adding that he was very happy to complete the task bestowed on him and his executive to select and convince the selected personalities, to carry out specific assignments for the association.

BookCorner’s ambassador, Miss Kene Rapu (third from left), co-chair and member, Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries’ (ZODML) Board of Trustees, Mrs. Ifeoma Esiri (right) and students, at the formal launching of the BookCorner Library initiative, at Girls’ Junior Secondary Grammar School, Keffi, Lagos, recently.

Do-Estdot college seeks assistance for deaf students By Ujunwa Atueyi OuNDeR of Do-estdot FcialCollege, Idimu, Lagos, a speschool for both normal and hearing impaired students, Mrs. Modupe Ogunbayo, has appealed to Lagos State Government and well-meaning Nigerians to assist the school. Ogunbayo, in an interview with The Guardian during the second valedictory service of the school, said getting dedicated and committed teachers that could patiently impart knowledge to group deaf students was a big problem. her words: “You know that teaching deaf students requires a lot of commitment. You need strength, 100 per cent concentration with your mind, body gesture and signs. So, sometimes, these teachers get tired and move to normal teaching. We need teachers

and caregivers, we need instructional materials, special learning facilities and practical equipment. We have plans in our quest to provide 21st century learning facilities for these special children, but money is our challenge. We want state government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to our aid”. She revealed that two deaf students of the school, Alaraba Sodiq and Abass Rukayat, who recently won gold medals for Lagos State at the 18th National Sport Festival (eko 2012), are presently undergoing training in Bulgaria. Ogunbayo warned that a neglect of deaf students in the society would amount to segregation, which would lead to dejection and perpetual suffering among the hapless students. She advised parents not to limit deaf children by keeping them at home. Such stu-

dents,she insisted should also b sent to school, “where their talents can be identified and nurtured for optimum result.” The school’s outgoing head boy, Adeniran Musadiq, while narrating his experience of learning alongside deaf mates, affirmed: “The deaf are very brainy, because nothing distracts them unlike us that listen and can hear. They always concentrate in all class work. What is expected of us is to accept and show them love. They are humans like us and the only way to communicate is to learn their signs. The only task required of us is to be calm with them. They can be a little bad tempered when they feel they are not being accepted, but when you show them love and care, they are fun to be with and they are very caring too.”

Thur 15 Aug 2013  

The Guardian Nigeria

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