Monday, 24 August 2009

Distance learners grab prizes in competition


WHILE regular students of the University of Ibadan – and their colleagues in other public Nigerian varsities – continue to groan under the grueling implications of the nationwide industrial actions by the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU), their Distance Learning counterparts have grown considerably in intellect, at least within the last three weeks, courtesy of a three-prong competition the students participated in.
Between July 7 and 17, a total of 218 pre-degree students took part in preliminary sessions to determine finalists for the quiz, essay and oratory competitions. Of the 63 students who participated in the quiz, nine from nine different groups qualified for the final, as winners of their respective groups. In the oratory category, 10 out of 56 students made the final, after each student had spoken for five minutes on a topic of their choice; the 10 finalists were later to select their topics from the theme: Good People, Great Nation: The Role of the Youth.
The essay, the only one-off of the contests, was judged in a two-stage review process that saw nine writers emerge as the finalists, after writing on one of four topics that bordered on two themes – Social Vices, and Challenges Confronting Nigerian Tertiary Education. The topics, from which the students chose one to write a maximum of 700 words were: Post UME Examination: A Failed Attempt at Barring Cheats from Entry into Universities? Abolishment of the 6-3-3-4 Education System, A Step in the Right direction? Niger Delta Militancy: A Youth Approach to
Lasting Peace; and Nigerian Youths, Internet Fraud and the Challenge of Combating a National Disgrace.
On Friday July 24, nine winners smiled home with various electronic gifts, in the intellectually engaging finals that climaxed the competitions. Martins Oluseye, Ogunmola Oluwawemimo and Owolabi Femi emerged 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the quiz respectively; Awosanya Tope, Aderemi Damilola and Oluyemi Tolu placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the oratory contest; while Kuforiji David’s great piece fetched him the coveted 1st position, leaving Akinsulie Lekan and Lawal Bukola to pick 2nd and 3rd positions respectively ahead of 96 other writers. All three first prizewinners got Acer laptops, second placed persons got digital cameras and third place finishers claimed mp3 players.
Presenting the prizes, Director of the Distance Learning Centre and initiator of the contests, Professor Francis Egbokhare, expressed satisfaction with the organisation and ending of the contests, and particularly admonished the speakers to put into practice all they said about how youths could help in building a better Nigerian brand.

Don advises parents against buying pirated books for students
By Abraham Oladipupo
A UNIVERSITY don, Dr. Oyero Olusola has admonished parents not to patronise pirates when procuring academic books and studying aids for their children in tertiary and other levels of education. Dr. Olusola who teaches at Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State made the call recently while speaking at the annual valedictory and prize giving day of Sceptre Comprehensive College (SCC), Ojota, Lagos.
The don noted that apart from depriving writers, authors and publishers of their legitimate sources of income, book piracy also undermines the economy because pirates do not pay taxes and dues on such academic materials.
The varsity teacher further observed that parents who patronise pirated academic materials indirectly help to kill scholarship, and at the same time do not help to promote hardwork and good moral values in children.
In his own contribution, principal of the school, Mr. Mike Oiboh, stated that book piracy sometimes lead to misinformation and poor learning by students due to distortion in pagination and content of some books.
Oiboh cited situations where some students who had pirated copies of certain books could not do assignments and home-work given to them because such pages were omitted from their copies or were in pages other than the original books.
The Director of the school, Pastor Adelaja Ojetola in deep emotion, recalled that it was exactly a year ago, the Lagos State government reduced to rubbles the two giant building complex, of two storey each, housing the school at its former permanent site.
Parents who jam-packed the temporary auditorium where the event took place were close to tears when Pastor Ojetola recalled that the demolition coincided with the week the school’s senior secondary students were to write their final examination conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO).

ASUU Strike:UI SUB turns ghost yard
THE Students’ Union Building, University of Ibadan, is a very busy centre, hence, students refer to it as ‘The Oshodi of UI’.
The center is always busy from am to 8pm. It is the source of livelihood to typists, canteens, computer operators, cyber café owners, photographers, stationery sellers, and bookshops, among others.
However, since the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike began, the SUB has suddenly turned a ghost yard.
The once popular noise from generating set and typewriters have given way to quietude and serenity. The generators have gone on strike.
Many of the business operators have started lamenting the hardship the indefinite strike, now in its eighth week, has caused them.
Christopher Benson, who works for D’Morris Canteen, said, “the turnout of students at the canteen has drastically reduced. We are only cooking for ourselves now. Government should quickly put an end to this crisis.”
Also expressing regrets was Pastor Solomon of Cyberspeed Café. He said, “government should make a promise that it can stand by with ASUU. Everybody is feeling it hard around here. For the past one month, we have only been coming here to discuss the problems of Nigeria when there is no work for us to do. It is even becoming drier now because all the students have been ordered to leave the campus meaning we should also stay away.”

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