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    NOUN: The facts about attracting good teachers

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    BY IBRAHIM SHEME

    We read, with dismay, some unfounded half-truths and innuendos peddled by possibly an aggrieved commentator who seemed altruistic on the surface, especially with the recognition that the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is in the good hands of Prof. Olufemi Peters, the Vice-Chancellor whom he described as “a square peg in a square hole” and someone who “has a sterling track record in academics and administration”. That was what one Abdulmojeed Adio did in his piece titled “National Open University: How Not to Attract Good Teachers” (The Guardian, February 1, 2022).

    However, the writer conveyed a mixed bag of half-truths, and mis-representation of some issues in the university. This is not surprising since he was probably fed with incomplete information about the real challenges a large institution like the NOUN faces in its daily and dynamic operational activities. 

    First, in giving the history of the university and the Federal Government’s good intention for establishing it, he claimed that the institution has “less stringent entry requirements”. The truth, as everyone who seeks admission into the university knows, is that we will not and cannot admit any candidate without the requisite requirements of five credits, two of which must be in Mathematics and English Language. NOUN is diligent on this set requirements of the National Universities Commission (NUC).

    Second, the writer highlighted a need for the university to recruit “thousands of lecturers than it can employ full-time” due to the sheer size of its student population – the largest in West Africa. Desirable as this is, this is not the concept upon which open universities all over the world are based. NOUN is a university that does not have or need many “lecturers” because it operates an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode of imparting education which minimises physical engagement between tutors and students. As such, there is no need for the sort of teacher-student ratio which would require the need for the type of mass recruitment of teachers that the writer has proposed. As a matter of fact, the university has core academic staff in all the disciplines it offers. It also has what we call academic facilitators, who are mainly drawn from sister universities and are engaged to facilitate learning of our students that are domiciled all over the world. As could also be expected, the core of our academic staff take part in an array of academic activities such as content development in both print and electronic media, facilitation, assessments and examinations, in addition to the noble services of academic research and community service.
     
    Now, where Adio’s piece further veered off the mark is to insinuate some notions about the university’s relationship with its academic staff, both internal and external, that is, facilitators. His principal claim is that the retention of good teachers at NOUN is being threatened by lack of a motivation. However, nothing can be further from the truth. He cited three stories to illustrate his argument, all of which were not supported by verifiable facts.

    In the first story, he said NOUN “has more full-time members of staff supposedly ‘studying abroad’ than it has on the ground at the university”. This of course cannot be true. NOUN, like every other university in its growing stage, sponsors academic staff to further their education both within and outside the country. Quite a number of these are also sponsored by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). While some have completed their studies and returned, others have overstayed due to some challenges. This is a normal occurrence in most universities. What is paramount to note is that NOUN applies the conditions for granting study leave to each staff strictly on merit. Even so, no university (including NOUN) can have even up to 1% of its academic staff on study leave abroad or anywhere else, as the writer claims.

    Therefore, even his narrative that a huge number of academic staff sponsored by NOUN “have been away for more than five years, yet consistently draw monthly salaries from the institution” is very far from the truth. The fact is that only a handful of NOUN staff are currently studying in overseas universities. A few of them who were affected by the disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have secured extensions from the university authority to complete their studies before returning to the institution.

    Another incorrect story Adio pushed out was that the university employed academic staff and refused to pay them. According to him, NOUN “lately employed lecturers to fill some vacant seats across departments” but denied them their salaries since January 2021 (his version of “lately”). The last recruitment exercise of academic staff by the university was in 2020. And anyone so employed has been captured in the IPPIS system and has continued to be paid salaries on a monthly basis since then. The Federal Government, which pays all its university workers, does not owe a single NOUN staff any salaries as everyone is paid uniformly without discrimination.

    Now, the third story on which Adio seems to put so much premium is the alleged non-payment of allowances to the university’s facilitators. Like the others, this allegation is not true. First, there is no ‘Directorate of Academics’ in the university as he stated in his piece. The case is that the university has a mechanism for vetting claims of facilitators for work done on behalf of the university whether physical in time past, and more recently for virtual facilitation. The claims, once vetted, have always and will always be settled by the university. Verification mechanisms may take a long time, due to the size and spread of our facilitators, but the facilitators are paid their dues. The online training that he cited as one whose participants were not paid for was organised in order to equip the facilitators, both internal and external, with the latest online facilitation skills – an integral attribute for imparting distance learning. All the participants in that exercise were paid their allowances in good time, contrary to Adio’s allegation. 
     
    Clearly, Adio’s campaign maybe a calculated attempt to impugn the image of the university and the unflagging reputation for excellence that it has built over time. Since becoming Vice-Chancellor a year ago, Professor Olufemi Peters has made the training and welfare of staff as a cornerstone of his tenure, and has maintained a firm grip on all issues in the university. No doubt, Adio could have verified some of the information his informants fed him with simply by contacting the university before rushing to the press. The university is nevertheless grateful for his piece as it has further enabled the university to air some basic administrative processes it daily undertakes to ensure quality in all its processes.

    Sheme is the Director, Media and Publicity, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)

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    Police ban durbur celebrations accross Kano State

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    The Kano State Police Command has banned durbar celebrations across all 44 local government areas of the state for the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir. This decision was announced by the command’s public relations officer, SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, on Wednesday.

    According to Kiyawa, the command has put in place adequate security measures to ensure peace and order in all parts of the state before, during, and after the festive period. This is part of the command’s commitment to maintaining peace in conjunction with relevant security stakeholders.

    As a result of security reports and consultations with stakeholders, all durbar activities have been banned throughout the state for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations. However, worshippers are advised to conduct their normal Eid prayers at designated Eid praying grounds.

    The command encourages collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders to build a safer and more secure environment. The public is also urged to report any suspicious movements or items to the nearest police station or through the command’s emergency contact numbers: 08032419754, 08123821575, 09029292926, or through the NPF Rescue Me Application or social media platforms.

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    Business

    Chamama Real Estate and Property: Built on Integrity, Dedicated to Excellence

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    In a world where trust is hard to come by, Chamama Real Estate and Property stands out as a shining example of integrity, honesty, and hard work. With a commitment to transparency and customer satisfaction, Chamama has established itself as a leader in the property market, under the visionary leadership of Chairman Alhaji Dauda Isma’il Mameh.

    Chamama real estate and properties limited’s dedication to integrity is reflected in every aspect of its operations. From property sales to rentals and management, the company’s team of experts works tirelessly to ensure that clients receive exceptional services that exceed their expectations.

    With a customer-centric approach, Chamama prioritizes the needs and goals of its clients, providing personalized solutions that cater to their unique requirements.


    Alhaji Dauda Isma’il Mameh’s leadership has been instrumental in fostering a culture of hard work, innovation, and excellence within the company. His dedication to excellence has earned him recognition as a respected figure in the industry, and his vision for Chamama has created a legacy of trust and reliability.

    At Chamama, we understand that property investments are a significant milestone in one’s life. That’s why we strive to make the process seamless and stress-free, providing guidance and support every step of the way. Our services include:

    – Property Sales: Find your dream home with our extensive portfolio of properties.

    – Rentals: Discover the perfect rental property that suits your needs.

    – Property Management: Let us handle the management of your property, so you can focus on what matters most.

    Join the Chamama family today and experience the difference for yourself. Contact us to discover how we can help you achieve your property goals.

    Email: info@chamama.com
    Phone: +234 08036292970
    Website: (soon)

    Come and experience the Chamama difference. Let us help you build your dream!

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    Editorial

    Dauda Isma’il: A Beacon of Hope for the Masses

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    Alhaji Dauda Isma’il, is a name synonymous with political sagacity, business acumen, and philanthropic endeavors. He has emerged as a shining star in the firmament of Nigerian politics and entrepreneurship.

    With a heart beats for the masses, Dauda Isma’il has dedicated his life to alleviating the sufferings of the common man, making him a beloved figure among the people.

    As a seasoned politician, Isma’il has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the welfare of the people, championing policies and initiatives that benefits people at the grassroots. His political ideology is rooted in the belief that government should serve the people, not the other way around.

    With a unique blend of vision, compassion, and leadership, he has inspired a new generation of politicians to follow in his footsteps.

    Beyond politics, Isma’il’s business prowess has created employment opportunities and economic empowerment for numerous individuals. His entrepreneurial ventures, spanning various sectors and as chairman of Chamama Real Estate and Properties, Chamama Motors, among others have contributed significantly to Nigeria’s economic growth and development in the areas of housing, automobile industries and many more. Yet, his success is not limited to his business accomplishments alone.

    Isma’il”s philanthropic efforts have touched the lives of countless individuals, providing succor to those in need.

    His foundation, Chamama foundation has established support in the education sector, healthcare, poverty alleviation and assisted significantly in assisting uncountable petty business owners making him a beacon of hope for many.

    His selflessness services and generosity have earned him widespread recognition and admiration.

    In a world where leaders are often driven by personal interests, Dauda Isma’il stands out as a rarity, a true servant-leader. His unwavering dedication to the masses has cemented his position as a champion of the people.

    As Nigeria navigates the complexities of development, Isma’il’s leadership, business acumen, and philanthropy offer a shining example for others to follow.

    Alhaji Dauda Isma’il’s remarkable journey serves as a testament to the power of compassion, hard work, and visionary leadership. As a political icon, business tycoon he continues to inspire and uplift the underprivilege, leaving an indelible mark on the fabric of Nigerian society.

    Alhaji Dauda Isma’il if given an opportunity to serve the people would Excel and Make a Lasting positive Impact by:

    – Listening to the people’s concerns and address their needs with empathy and understanding.

    – Utilize his business acumen to create sustainable economic opportunities and jobs.

    – Leverage his political expertise to drive policies that benefit the masses, not just the few.

    – Expand his philanthropic efforts to reach even more individuals and communities.

    – Empower the youth and women through education, skills development, and mentorship.

    – Foster collaboration and unity among diverse groups to build a stronger, more inclusive society.

    – Continuously seek feedback and adapt his approach to ensure the people’s needs are being met.

    With Mameh at the helm of Affairs, the people’s welfare would be his top priority, and his selfless leadership would inspire a new era of progress and prosperity!

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