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UNILAG makes history, signs training agreement with Nord

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History was made yesterday, at the University of Lagos as the university signed a Memorandum of Agreement with an indigenous auto company, Nord Motors, for practical training of willing and qualified students of the school in the act of assembling of cars, repair, service and maintenance of automobiles.

Speaking at the MOA signing ceremony, UNILAG Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said it was the first time such type of collaboration between the university and an automobile company in Nigeria would be sealed.

He described it as a Triple Elite Model by bringing the government, the industry and university together.

“What we are doing today is innovation Triple Elite Model in which we are bringing the industry to the campus. This should be the first time this type of thing will be happening in the university in Africa. This will be a great opportunity for our students in different departments to contribute to the development of automobile in Nigeria.”

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According to him, education has gone beyond dishing out theory to the students, adding that there is an absolute need for the practical application of the studies “so that our students will be able to do their IT in and outside the university. Whatever they are able to learn, they will apply it in other areas.

“This can give rise to the evolution of having a department of automobile engineering in the University of Lagos.”

Prof Ogundipe stated that the university had in abundance experts in relevant departments to support the project in the area of research and cognitive development.

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He commended the Nord team for the initiative and congratulated the university’s council, members of staff and students as well as all the stakeholders associated with UNILAG for the feat and past achievements

The Chief Executive of Nord Motors, Mr Oluwatobi Ajayi, said the initiative could be the beginning of industrial revolution in Nigeria, where students would not only see how vehicles are made but be part of the production process.

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“By this time in two months, you will be seeing a beautiful showroom and a working assembly plant on the UNILAG campus.”

He stressed that Nigerians need to show the world that “we are not just consumers of good things but creators of good things.”

Ajayi said having worked in some of the biggest auto industries in the world before starting the Nord company, he felt compelled to give the best to the country and allow willing young Nigerians to get the practical experience about auto making and business.

“Our vehicles are of international standard but 40 per cent lower in prices than what is sold elsewhere,” he said.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Development Services) at UNILAG, Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, had earlier given the background of the project.

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She recalled having the CEO of Nord Motors, Mr Ajayi, as one of the judges at an innovative engineering event with potential investors at the UNILAG last year, where he expressed interest in the quality of presentations that the students who pitched put forward.

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She said, “From there, we started to talk. We said we would like our students studying mechanical engineering to come as interns to Nord Motors to have hands-on experience.

“Nord in its reply said if we do not mind they could put up a work station on our campus to enable the students to learn practically the business of automobile.

“We have put together a Memorandum of Agreement with details of how we will partner Nord Motors to the benefit of the faculty and the students.

“Under the agreement, we have the following objects: to facilitate and develop a platform for willing and qualified students of UNILAG in the act of manufacturing and assembling of cars in conjunction with Nord Motors; create a skill development drive of resolving unemployment crisis among youths that are employable to develop a career way with Nord Motors; to create a situation where UNILAG can play in the value chain in the car manufacturing business in Nigeria.

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; to create an opportunity to train at least 15 students annually in the University of Lagos to study and acquire automobile skills at no cost; to provide automobile services, maintenance at the UNILAG for the staff and students at discounted prices, among other things.”

According to her, the project will be a major step towards achieving university-industry collaboration for the benefit of the the country.

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Education

FG opens student loan application portal May 24

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The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, on Thursday, announced May 24, 2024, as the official date for “the opening of the portal for student loan applications.”

The announcement was made in a statement by the media lead for the NELFund, Nasir Ayantogo.

Ayantogo, in the statement, said the opening of the application portal marked a significant milestone in the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to “fostering accessible and inclusive education for all Nigerian students.”

On June 12, 2023, Tinubu signed the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023 into law to enable indigent students to access interest-free loans for their educational pursuits in any Nigerian tertiary institution.

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The move was in “fulfillment of one of his campaign promises to liberalise funding of education,” a member of the then Presidential Strategy Team, Dele Alake, said.

The Act, popularly known as the Students Loan Law, also established the Nigerian Education Loan Fund to process all loan requests, grants, disbursement, and recovery.

Although the government initially announced that the scheme would be launched in September, it suffered several delays leading to an indefinite postponement in early March.

The Presidency had linked the delay to Tinubu’s directive to expand the scheme to include loans for vocational skills.

After receiving briefing from the NELFund team led by the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, on January 22, the President had directed the Fund to extend interest-free loans to Nigerian students interested in skill-development programmes.

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Tinubu based his decision on the need for the scheme to accommodate those who may not want to pursue a university education, noting that skill acquisition is as essential as obtaining undergraduate and graduate academic qualifications.

“This is not an exclusive programme. It is catering to all of our young people. Young Nigerians are gifted in different areas.

“This is not only for those who want to be doctors, lawyers, and accountants. It is also for those who aspire to use their skilled and trained hands to build our nation.

“In accordance with this, I have instructed NELFund to explore all opportunities to inculcate skill-development programmes because not everybody wants to go through a full university education,” he had said.

Through the portal, students can now access loans to pursue their academic aspirations without financial constraints.

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The portal, according to the statement, provides a user-friendly interface for students to submit their loan applications conveniently.

“We encourage all eligible students to take advantage of this opportunity to invest in their future and contribute to the growth and development of our nation.

“Students can access the portal on www.nelf.gov.ng to begin application,” the statement said.

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Education

Why ASUU must not go on strike – NUC

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The National Universities Commission says the Federal Government is already working to reconstitute the governing councils of 61 federal universities, so it is not necessary for the Academic Staff Union of Universities to go on strike.

The ASUU had given the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to put in place the governing councils failing which its members would embark on strike.

But in his reaction, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Chris Maiyaki, said, the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, had set up a panel to work on the list of the people who would be on the councils.

He said: “To reconstitute the councils of 61 universities is not a small feat. Government is working to ensure that people that are qualified and with the right pedigree are put in those councils”.

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Maiyaki pleaded with ASUU to be patient as the government was working on the matter.

The Federal Government had dissolved the governing councils of all federal universities on June 22 last year.

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I’m firmly committed to ensuring no child is left out of school –Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu has reiterated his administration’s commitment to ensuring that no child is left out of school.

He gave the commitment at the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) Nigeria’s campaign launch, “WeAreEqual,” with the theme: “Education as a Powerful Tool for Change: No Girl Left Behind,” hosted by Oluremi Tinubu.

Addressing a distinguished audience of First Ladies from across Africa, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps, President Tinubu highlighted the critical role of education in fostering gender equity and providing equal opportunities for all.

He told the African First Ladies to feel free to ask him of anything that would make it possible for every child to access education, saying, “If there’s anything you want me to contribute, I’m ready and available.” He commended the efforts of African first ladies in advancing gender equality and lauded the initiatives undertaken in various African nations to empower women and girls.

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“I salute the commitment and dedication of the African First Ladies, as members of OAFLAD, to advance gender equality and narrow the gender gap in opportunities and appointments across the African continent.

“This campaign, spearheaded by your excellencies, holds significant importance for us in Africa. I, therefore, congratulate you all. I particularly congratulate my dear wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady of Nigeria, who has chosen education as a primary tool to champion this campaign nationwide.

“I remember it all started in Lagos. I am aware that this campaign has been successfully launched in 15 other African countries, focusing on health, education, economic empowerment and gender based violence. I am also delighted to learn of all the various initiatives that you have embarked upon in your respective countries. I celebrate you all.”

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The President underscored the importance of creating inclusive educational opportunities for all children, particularly emphasising the significance of supporting the girl child.

He praised the reintroduction of the alternative high school for girls in Nigeria by the First Lady, a programme aimed at offering a second chance for young girls to pursue their education and contribute meaningfully to national development.

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Tinubu emphasised the transformative power of education, citing it as a cornerstone for national progress and prosperity. He called for concerted efforts to eliminate structural inequalities that hinder women’s advancement and stressed the need for policies that promote women’s rights, education, and economic empowerment.

He said: “It is noteworthy that the launch of this laudable campaign in Nigeria came with the reintroduction of the alternative high school for girls by the First Lady. This initiative offers a second chance to young girls who have dropped out of school to further their education and fulfil their dreams and aspirations and become a very important contributor to the development of our nation.

“I am happy to note that the foundation stone of one of the schools was recently laid in Osun State, western Nigeria, by the First Lady. More schools are underway across the country, supported by state governments, and the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and other development partners. Nigeria’s First Lady, in her remarks, explained that the #WeAreEqual campaign is a year-long, continent-wide initiative, led by OAFLAD. She added that the campaign, which she describes as significant, unites African First Ladies, partners, and allies in their collective effort to advance gender equity and bridge the gender gap throughout the continent.

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Mrs. Tinubu added that the campaign was focused on four main pillars, namely health, gender-based violence, education and economic empowerment, to rally stakeholders and call for action around each of these key issues.

“To promote the “#WeAreEqual” campaign in Nigeria, I have decided to use education as a tool, while also not neglecting other pillars of the campaign, many of which are also being championed under the scope of the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI), which is led by my office to complement the efforts of the administration of Mr. President.”

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