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    School resumption: Ondo parents groan as school fees, text book price soar



    With the new academic session beckoning, the signs of back-to-school are everywhere, particularly as parents hit the market for last-minute purchases.

    Meanwhile, amid the usual back-to-school frenzy, worry clouds the air in Akure, the Ondo State capital, following the recent economic hardship, worsened by the removal of fuel subsidy and the inflation sweeping across sectors.

    According to findings by Freelanews, prior to the abrupt economic downturn, primary school fees ranged between N35,000 and N50,000 per term.

    For the fees for secondary, they used to hover around N65,000 and N150,000.

    However, inflation has pushed these figures significantly higher, with parents with wards in primary school now facing a steep increase to about N75,000 to N120,000 per term.

    Similarly, the cost of textbooks and uniforms has now escalated to an overwhelming level.

    This drastic surge in education-related expenses has left many parents feeling depressed.

    Funmi Omoniyi, a single mother of three, while lamenting the development, Freelanews told  that “the fees are higher, the cost of books has nearly doubled, and every day expenses have spiralled out of control.

    “If I spend more on education, how can I provide for my basic needs at home? How do I feed my children; it’s killing.”

    Another parent, Mr. Aliyu, who shared his frustration, stressed that “the removal of fuel subsidy has had a spiral effect on almost every aspect of our life, including education.

    “It is disheartening to see the dreams and aspirations of our children being constrained by these financial challenges,” he said.

    In order to cope with the circumstances, many families are turning to a variety of coping techniques. They are sticking to strict budgets and reducing wasteful spending.

    Mrs Bola Daunsi, a head teacher in one of the private schools in Akure, emphasised that the decision to increase school fees was not taken easily but was driven by various factors beyond the school’s control.

    Daunsi maintained that private schools are not immune to the economic challenges faced currently across the country.

    The head teacher, however, acknowledged the hardships faced by families as a result of the economic downturn.

    “Rising inflation,escalating operational costs, increased salaries for teaching staff, and the need to maintain high-quality education standards have all contributed to the need for fee adjustments.

    “These adjustments are essential to ensure the continued provision of quality education and the overall sustainability of the schools,” she stated.

    Meanwhile, a civil servant in the Ministry of Education, who craved anonymity, stated that the state government barred government-owned schools from increasing fees.

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    David Umahi varsity Teaching Hospital reversing medical tourism in Nigeria — CMD



    The Chief Medical Director (CMD), David Umahi Federal University Teaching Hospital (DUFUTH) Uburu, Ebonyi State, Prof. Uzoma Agwu, has called on Nigerians to desist from traveling overseas to treat their health issues.

    According to the CMD, DUFUTH treats all kinds of illness including kidney, oncology, cancer and other centers with active medical facilities relating to health issues and also provides adequate care for their patients.

    The CMD disclosed this at the hospital in an interview with Tribune Online in Uburu, Ohaozara local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

    The hospital CMD also noted that the hospital will be carrying out a free dialysis section by the second week of January 2024, as part of the awareness creation about the Hospital institution.

    Akonitv  gathered that the hospital built by Senator David Umahi, former Governor of Ebonyi State and handed over to the Federal government has carried out over one hundred successful surgeries on the health issues that bordered on kidneys and livers.

    “Under the radiology department, we have the full complement of the radiological services. We also have Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for the capturing of images mostly in the brain and the spinal cord, while the CT scan takes cross sectional images for bone resolution.

    “Additionally, Mammograms meant for breast problems only have been activated and we have started using them already,” she said.

    The CMD also noted that the Maternal and Child Health Center named after Muhammadu Buhari is fully activated with over one thousand radiological investigations done in the facility.

    “The hospital is meant to provide everything relating to health issues, the staff have been gazetted into the Federal scheme, initially there were no seats and enough equipment but upon my assumption, everything was put in place,” she said.

    According to her, the hospital has gotten the needed manpower and specialists as gynecologists, surgeons, pediatricians and many others to complement the 30 full-time consultants already in the facility to provide adequate services to the patients.

    The CMD added that the hospital, under him had made some amendments in the structures of the facility, activated all the five floors which include the medicine, surgery departments, among others including community medicine and their services, noting that the services are not expensive compared to the prices of other hospitals of the same standard .

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    UK varsities seek NUC’s approval to operate in Nigeria



    Officials from the London Academy Business School and University of Sunderland are currently seeking approval from the National Universities Commission to run degree programmes in Nigeria.

    A delegation from the University of Sunderland, led by Dr. Derek Watson, confirmed this after a meeting held in Abuja with the acting Executive Secretary, NUC, Chris Maiyaki, according to a statement released on Thursday.

    Watson, an associate professor from the faculty of business law and tourism, assured that students in Nigeria would have the same academic standards as their counterparts in the United Kingdom, while the management, at the same time, promised to respect the environment and guidelines from the NUC.

    He said, “The meeting with the executive secretary was very productive. The University of Sunderland has over 30 years of experience.

    “What we have agreed on today is the criticality of following the compliance procedures. In addition to that, we would source credible academics to deliver our programmes from LABS who are qualified teachers and also practicing consultants. The students will get the same experience as those students studying in England.”

    President/Director of Studies, London Academy Business School, Dr. Larry Jones-Esan, explained that the visit to NUC was to get the nod to run programmes in Nigeria.

    He said, “The meeting with the NUC today is for us to get the recognition that we are allowed to run the Sunderland courses in Nigeria. So, we do not need the NUC accreditation, what we need is recognition. That is very important because if we run any course in Nigeria without them recognising it, that degree is useless and they cannot do NYSC, so we do not want that to be the case.

    “So for us to do that, we have to get their permission first before we go out there and start recruiting students. Otherwise, we will be shooting ourselves in the foot. If they come here and say you are doing something illegal, you will pay a fine and before you get out of that, it will be too much.”

    He stated further, “So what we have done is that we bring those people in and come in. Myself as the CEO of the London Academy Business School, make sure that we have them aware of what we are doing.

    “Today is a very important day for the London Academy Business School in partnership with the University of Sunderland. We met with the executive secretary of the National University Commission and discussions went as planned, making sure that we do things right.

    “One thing that came out very clear is that they want people to work with them but work in a way that they respect the authority, and respect the system and the environment.

    “So we are going to make sure that everything we do follows the guidelines. We have very beautiful guidelines but if you fail to follow them, you might run into trouble. If two million people apply for university admissions every year in Nigeria and only seven hundred thousand are getting a place, that is a problem and that is a challenge. They want to solve that problem and we think we have come at the right time.

    “We thank the delegates from the University of Sunderland working with the London Academy Business School in making sure that this gives results as quickly as possible.”

    Earlier, the team visited the Nigerian Public Service Institute along Kubwa Road, Abuja, which is going to serve as the study centre and they were received by the administrator and Chief Executive Officer of the institute, Abdul-Ganiyu Obatayinbo.

    The administrator said the environment was far better than what the University of Sunderland has in the UK, adding that the institute was saddled with the responsibility of building the capacity of public/civil servants.

    He said that the institute has a 500-seat auditorium, 12 different halls of 30 seater capacity each, hostels with 202 bedrooms, a hospital, security quarters, a sports complex, entrepreneurship centre among other facilities, that would make teaching and learning conducive.

    Some of the courses to be offered at the undergraduate level include computer science, business and management, and network system engineering, among others, while business administration, international business management, education leadership, among others, will be offered at the master’s level.

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    Oyo lawmaker awards scholarship to students, cash support for ailing constituents



    The All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker said the gesture was part of efforts aimed at easing the sufferings of the people particularly at this critical period and in fulfilment of his pledge for quality representation.

    Commenting on the development, some of the beneficiaries commended the lawmaker for the intervention, describing it as timely and hugely supportive.

    The lawmaker was accompanied during the exercise by some State lawmakers on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stakeholders and some of his political loyalists.

    In the same vein, Hon. Abisodun has announced full scholarship for 20 deserving students from the three local governments comprising the constituency.

    This initiative, according to him is part of the commemoration of his 100 days in office and his resolve to ensure that he encourages students in his constituency to achieve academic excellence.

    The beneficiaries, carefully selected based on their outstanding academic records and dedication to their studies, hail from diverse backgrounds in Saki West, Atisbo, and Saki East Local Governments.

    The lawmaker’s decision to provide these full scholarships also underscores his dedication to empowering the youth and ensuring that access to quality education is not limited by financial constraints.

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