Africa’s foremost businessman and Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has made yet another critical intervention in the educational sector when he donated fully equipped 2,160 bed space hostel complex to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria at the weekend.
The students’ halls of residence comprising of 10 blocks of 360 rooms built at a colossal sum of N1.2billion is coming after similar gestures to Bayero University, Kano and University of Ibadan, where the business mogul donated multi-billion Naira business school complexes respectively as part of his contribution to the educational development in the country.
The new students hall of residence was commissioned to commemorate the 41st convocation of the University during which the university authorities reciprocated the act of philanthropy by conferring on him and the renowned labour leader, Hassan Sumonu, honourary Doctorate Degree. Also 15,787 graduating students were also awarded various degrees.
The President of Dangote Group on the occasion explained that he was moved to build the structure having realized that the student population at the universities have recorded significant increase without a corresponding growth in terms of infrastructure lamenting that the situation has remained a subsisting and growing major challenge as Nigerian public universities continue to grapple with under funding.
“Thus, I will like to use this opportunity to enjoin the Federal Government to consider allocating special funds to the universities to enable them to improve on research and upgrade their infrastructure. Such special intervention has become imperative given the perennial funding challenges facing our universities”, he stated.
Dangote posited that the Federal Government alone could not shoulder the entire burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors that also demand priority attention. This is where Public Private Partnership (PPP) can and should come in to fill the gap.
He then enjoined the private sector to adopt a new approach towards supporting the federal government in tackling the funding deficit in the higher institutions of learning.
Said he: “I strongly believe the private sector must go beyond just the payment of the 2% Education levy and be ready to join hands with the State and Federal Governments in expanded funding for tertiary education in Nigeria. This will ensure that our institutions of higher learning are positioned to produce graduates who can transform this nation.
“If there are two things that I am passionate about, they are education and entrepreneurship. I believe they go hand in hand. Some years ago, as Chairman of the National Committee on Job Creation, my committee strived to fashion out strategies for integrating entrepreneurship into our national educational curriculum, in line with what obtains in the Western world.
While expressing his gratitude on the award conferred on him, Alhaji Dangote described ABU as “an institution famed for its incredibly thorough academic tradition, the quality of faculty, and the enriching experiences of life within its walls. Today, the university has lived to its billing as a melting pot for ideologies by honouring a renowned socialist and champion of employees’ rights, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu and Myself, for being a leading capitalist and investor in employment generating enterprises.”
Dangote noted that “It is also with a deep sense of fulfilment that today’s occasion is also being used for the commissioning of 10 blocks of student hostels which consists of 360 fully equipped rooms with capacity for housing 2160 students, built at a cost of N1.2 billion donated by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria.
“Our intervention is designed to lessen the plight of students who suffer acute accommodation challenges within the campus. We have brought similar intervention to University of Ibadan (UI) and Bayero University Kano (BUK) amongst other institutions”, Alhaji Dangote stated.
While commending him, Governor Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State who officially opened the hostel said Mr. Dangote’s philanthropic spirit should be emulated by others who have been blessed by God.
A visibly elated Governor, who is an alumnus of the University, said both government and the private sector can partner to lift the educational sector in Nigeria pointing out that if not for the efforts of the university management, the institution was already dying.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba who was very excited at the magnitude of the structures said the University is the largest in West Africa and described the Aliko Dangote hostel project as a “big relief,” saying lack of adequate accommodation is one of the nightmares of the university.
He told the audience that Alhaji Dangote’s kindheartedness to the university was is immeasurable, saying of the 50,000 students of the university, the institution could hardly accommodate 10,000 and that the new hostel was the first addition after 40 years to the hostels built by the university.
While commending the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Director Physical Planning and Municipal Services of the University, Engineer Muhammad Aminu Sambo, said: “This is a big relief because the university has limited accommodation in relation to the numbers of students admitted every year. This is one of our nightmares.”
He commended the Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation and urged all able Nigerians to emulate him and intervene in the educational sector.
National President of the Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora had recently noted that the contribution of the Aliko Dangote Foundation to the educational sector and more importantly to the school was unprecedented. He said it was in this regards that the University Alumni Association recently conferred a Corporate Award on Aliko Dangote.
It would be recalled that Alhaji Dangote through his Foundation had only recently donated a World Class Dangote Business School worth N1.2bn to the Bayero University Kano, and built another one in University of Ibadan worth N250M. he also donated N200 million to Katsina State University.
In the same vein, funding was also provided for the construction of a 500 capacity student hostel complex at the University of Science and Technology, Wudil in Kano state. The Foundation gave N118 million for a squash complex project at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka main campus and another N50 million to the University of Port Harcourt.
Expressing the motive behind his educational intervention across the nation, Alhaji Dangote had said: “I do not only want to be known as the Africa’s Richest Man, but the biggest philanthropist. I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.”
Oyo govt retains Ajimobi’s SGB policy, but…
Oyo state government has disclosed that it had no plan to proscribe the School Governing Boards (SGBs) policy of the Abiola Ajimobi led administration in public schools, but had worked on reviewing the mode of operation of the initiative.
The disclosure came on Friday from the Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Adeniran who said that the Governor Seyi Makinde led-administration would further strengthen the idea of SGBs through genuine participation and inclusion of all stakeholders, but would not subscribe to extortion of the masses.
Nureni called on old students and other stakeholders to intervene and contribute to the development of their alma-maters, appealing to them not to relent in their various efforts at developing their old schools.
“Oyo State government has not proscribed SGBs in schools. Old students can still intervene in their various school projects. It is laudable and as the governor had made known in his inaugural address, any policy that is seen as beneficial to the generality of the people of Oyo State will not only be supported and but be leveraged upon.
“What we are ill-disposed to is the idea that some people will use the initiative to milk the unsuspecting general public, and we have worked on this to reflect the true sense of what SGB should be.
“We are not pleased with extortion of pupils in public schools and that is the only thing Governor Seyi Makinde’s government has put a stop to. We have never been aversed to the idea of SGBs”, he concluded.
Meanwhile, Oyo State Government has expressed its displeasure towards Messrs. Stock-Shield Ltd, Geostud Energy Consult and Bumtitas Ltd contracted by the last administration for school projects and have abandoned the site.
The Federal Government- Universal Basic Education Commission and Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board intervention projects at Ebenezer Primary School, Akingbile, Olunde Junior Secondary School and Oluyole OLGC Primary School, Ayegun, respectively have been abandoned by the two contractors.
The need for the invitation extended to the contractors was based on what the State government described as ‘faulty’ quality and design of projects that were among the 2012-2013 FGN-UBEC/SUBEB projects inaugurated by the previous administration.
Speaking for Government, Dr. Adeniran said he could not understand why such projects should still be left undone and would liked the contractors to show up and defend the faulty lines in the project designs,
“Throughout the world, there is what we all know as accountability, especially from the one that is offering service. Also, in a situation whereby the one that is being served feels not satisfied, there should be dialogue and from there, progress. We want these contractors to show up so that we can rectify grey areas and move on,” he posited.
Large Turnout As Oyo Pupils Write Placement, JSS3 Exams For Free
Pupils of public and private primary schools and junior secondary schools in Oyo State came out in large number on Tuesday and Wednesday to write the State’s placement examination into JSS1, popularly called ‘Common Entrance’ and Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) as well as the Competitive Entrance Examination into Schools of Science in the State.
The exercise which was monitored by Head of Service of Oyo State, Mrs Ololade Agboola was certified satisfactory in comparison to the number that had sat for the same examinations in the past, due to the fact that the State declared that no student should for any of the examinations.
Mrs Agboola said it would be on record that the unprecedented number of pupils that sat for each of the three examinations indicated that the State government has done the needful towards reducing the number of out-of-school children in the State.
Oyo State was one of the States that have the highest number of Out-of-School children in the 2019 report of the Universal Basic Education Commission.
Governor Seyi Makinde announced immediate stoppage of school fees and any payment for public examinations in Oyo State after being sworn into office in May 2019.
Mrs Agboola said “we have seen the direct impact of the declaration by Governor Makinde against payment of school fees and examination fees for public primary and secondary schools in Oyo State.
“The number is unprecedented as confirmed by the education administrators and even parents that came with their wards to the examination centers were too happy for the gesture of this administration.
“We are using this opportunity to call on teachers and school administrators to key into this laudable effort of the State government to bring back to school, the children that have left and are engaging in things inimical to their own future and the future of our nation.”
The Head of Service who monitored the Common Entrance Examination Exercise with management team of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Ibadan Metropolis and other parts of the State declared that materials needed for the examinations were adequately supplied, which made the exercise flawless and hitch free.
She however advised parents to support the present administration under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde in his educational policies to take the State to a greater height among its peers.
The Principal, Loyola College, Ibadan, Mrs Rebecca Oyebamiji said the punctuality of the students and invigilators at the examination center showed that they were ready for the exercise.
Oyebamiji noted that, no fewer than Two Hundred and Thirteen (213) pupils collected the forms and they all sat for the examination.
Brexit upheaval brings opportunity for African educators
The influential magazine Foreign Policy published an article at the end of 2018 entitled
A grim outlook for the British education sector at the start of the year has only got worse as the nation prepares for a “No Deal Brexit” and a long period of uncertainty around UK trade and immigration policies.
A joint letter sent by the heads of 150 UK universities to British Members of Parliament called a No Deal Brexit one of the “biggest threats ever” to British universities. The letter stated “vital research links will be compromised, from new cancer treatments to technologies combating climate change. The valuable exchange of students, staff and knowledge would be seriously damaged.”
British universities are now warning that international students, worth £26bn to the UK economy, will opt for countries such as the US, Canada and Australia instead. Already Australia has moved ahead of the UK as the second biggest destination for overseas students.
However, in a time of crisis for UK universities, opportunities could open up for African higher education institutions. While political developments like Brexit are putting up increased barriers to free global movement, the demand for international education and experience has never been higher.
A British Education in Africa
Since 2002 Rushmore Business School in Mauritius has offered British education in association with British universities from its base in Mauritius. The idea of a winning a British degree without the high cost of relocating and living in the UK proved popular with Mauritian students. Rushmore now offers over 60 programmes in collaboration with UK institutions, some up to PhD level.
Dr Essoo announced plans to open new international Rushmore campus in East Africa and Europe.
Both moves would represent a significant reversal of the current trend in Mauritian education of attempting to build the country as an education hub and attract students from Africa and India to study on the island.
Future of Pan-African Education
A Mauritian higher education institution moving into East Africa could be a significant moment in the development of Pan-African internationalist education.
Dr Essoo outlined Rushmore’s development strategy by stating “We were the first institution to really look at this idea of the education hub, of developing Mauritius as a knowledge hub. The previous government started the education hub programme and this government has continued.
However, having looked at it we realised that we are maybe putting the cart before the horse. My personal opinion is that we have tried this education hub approach and it hasn’t worked very well. We attracted maybe 10 to 15% of our students from Africa and India.
I think our next step needs to be going physically to those markets and expanding there. We are working on that now, we call this the third stage of our development. The first stage was setting up initially, the second stage was building our campus here and consolidating what we had, and now the third stage is to go in to other markets and take our model there.
The plan is to have campuses in Mauritius, Eastern Africa, and Europe offering the same courses and offer students mobility between the three campuses. Students from Europe could spend some time in Africa and some time in Mauritius, and see three different cultures. We would then be a truly international school or University and students would get a truly international education.
In addition to Africa, a lot of Europeans, particularly from eastern Europe, study in the UK either for their full degree or for one term or one year through exchange programmes such as Erasmus.
We believe that with Brexit there is going to be an impact on education and on those students. We believe that we can go into those European markets and offer British education.”
The developments at Rushmore highlight the rapid changes the international education market is going through.
Demand for international education has never been higher. However, the traditional education markets in the global north are fostering political environments increasingly hostile to internationalisation.
International higher education is now a $1.9 trillion global market and enrollments in higher education institutions are projected to grow by 200% by 2040. Total enrolment across the African continent will roughly triple from 7.4 million students to nearly 22 million by 2040.
The continent must develop leaders with both a Pan-African and internationalist mindset. The expansion of institutions such as Rushmore Business School will be a significant catalyst in created an integrated African higher education sector able to attract partnerships with the leading British and international academics and teachers.
Rushmore Business School offers a wide range of programmes that address Africa’s future development needs, from engineering, business, hospitality and tourism through to aviation.