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Biden’s administration aims at having most U.S. schools reopen within the president’s first 100 days in office.

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The Biden administration is aiming to have most U.S. schools reopen within the president’s first 100 days in office.

Nearly half of the nation’s elementary schools were open for full-time classroom learning as of last month, but the share of students learning in-person has varied greatly by region and by race, with most nonwhite students learning entirely online, according to results from a national survey conducted by the Biden administration.

For the White House, the survey results, released Wednesday, mark the starting line for President Joe Biden’s pledge to have most K-8 schools open full-time in his first 100 days in office. But they also show that he never had far to go to meet that goal.

Image: Student attends online classAmong schools that enroll fourth graders, 47% offered full-time classroom learning in February, while for schools that teach eighth-graders, the figure was 46%. The data suggested that at least some students weren’t opting in.

The Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says Schools should be 100 percent open by fall. In total, about 76% of elementary and middle schools were open for in-person or hybrid learning, according to the survey, while 24% offered remote learning only.
The percentage of students spending at least some time in the classroom has likely increased since February, when coronavirus rates were just coming down from a national surge.

“The data collected by the survey are essential for beginning to measure and understand the pandemic’s impact on American students,” said Mark Schneider, director of the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Education Department.

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The administration plans to update the initial data set each month to show how many U.S. schools are teaching in-person, online or through a combination. The federal government did not previously collect information on the topic, making it difficult to track progress on reopening schools.

The new findings are based on a survey of 3,500 public schools whose student bodies include fourth graders, along with 3,500 schools that serve eighth graders. A total of 44 states agreed to participate, while six states declined to take part. The survey asked schools about their teaching methods as of February but gathered other data as of January.

The survey casts new light on a period of particularly bitter debate in the school reopening process. In January, officials in California, Chicago and other locales were still locked in stalemate with teachers over reopening plans, with vaccines often arising as a sticking point.

Since January, however, the push to reopen has gained steam in many areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a roadmap to reopening in February, and this month the agency relaxed guidelines around social distancing in schools. Amid pressure from Biden, dozens of states are now focusing on giving COVID-19 vaccines to teachers and other school staff.

As more schools invite students back to the classroom, many parents are conflicted, according to a separate poll from The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It found that a majority of parents are at least somewhat concerned that in-person instruction will lead to more people being infected, but a slightly larger share are at least somewhat concerned that their children will face setbacks in school because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to tracking school teaching methods, the new federal survey also tracks how many students have enrolled in each type of learning.

In January, the survey found, 38% of fourth graders enrolled in full-time, in-person learning, compared to 28% of eighth graders. Larger shares of students were entirely remote, with 43% of fourth graders and 48% of eighth graders learning away from school. It was not clear what share of students were learning online by choice and how many were in schools without in-person options.

The survey does not include high schools, which weren’t included in Biden’s reopening promise and pose additional challenges as they work to reopen. Younger children are less likely to get seriously ill from the coronavirus, and education experts say they have the greatest need for in-person learning.

The Education Department said it will issue updated data from the survey each month through July. The information is published on a dashboard on the agency’s website.

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ASUU Strike: Federal Government sets up new committee to renegotiate 2009 agreements

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ASUU Strike renegotiation table

ASUU Strike: Federal Government sets up new committee to renegotiate 2009 agreements

ASUU Strike: Federal Government sets up new committee to renegotiate 2009 agreements

The federal government has inaugurated a new committee to renegotiate the 2009 agreements with lecturers and others, as part of its effort to end the eight-month-old strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Recall that the lecturers who are currently on strike are demanding for funding for the revitalization of universities, earned allowance, the constitution of visitation panels, payment of shortfall in salaries of lecturers, and a stop to the use of the payment platform, IPPIS, for payment of the salaries and allowances of lecturers.

The committee which will re-negotiate the 2009 agreement between the federal government and the university-based unions, will be headed by Professor Munzali Jibril and is categorised into substantive members, advisers and observers.

Members of the committee are the Pro-Chancellor, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Nimota Akanbi; Pro-Chancellor, Federal University Ndufu Alike, Ikwo, Nimi Briggs; Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Wukari, Lawrence Ngbale; Pro-Chancellor, FUT, Minna, Femi Odekunle; Pro-Chancellor, University of Calabar, Nkechi Nworgu, Pro-Chancellor, Kaduna State University Shehu Abdullahi and Pro-Chancellor, Kebbi State University, Mamman Magoro.

The advisers are  Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC); Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund); Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC); Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors of State-owned Universities; Chairman, Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU); Secretary, Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU); Chairman, Association of Bursars of Nigerian Universities (ABNU), and Secretary, Association of Bursars of Nigerian Universities (ABNU).

The observer category is composed of representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Finance and Budget Planning, Federal Ministry of Justice, Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, and Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

Adamu said;

“It has also become necessary and urgent that all hands must now be on deck to restore the confidence reposed in university education by students, parents and the general public.

“As you are quite aware, the federal government and relevant stakeholders, in the past months, have been neck-deep in several meetings with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and others, to resolve the outstanding issues that led to the current industrial action in public universities.

“Government, like other stakeholders, is also worried about the vicious cycle over the years of the myriad of industrial actions by one staff union or the other.

The cumulative effect has been the obvious loss of productive and precious
man-hours direly needed by the universities to fulfil their tripod mandates of teaching, research and community action.

“The terms of reference of the team are to re-negotiate the residual issues in the 2009 Agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the university-based unions, towards a workable and implementable agreement between both parties, such that will facilitate repositioning of Nigerian universities for greater responsibilities in national development.

“Propose and prescribe short, medium and long-term measures for the
sustainable funding and management of federal universities, in order to
restore lasting peace, stability, harmony and progress in the Nigerian
university system; and make any other recommendations.”

 

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FG Set to Resolve 8 Months ASUU Strike Next Week

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FG Set to Resolve 8 Months ASUU Strike Next Week

ASUU Strike Update

The Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has expressed optimism that the prolonged strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities will be resolved by next week.

Gistflash gathered that a team from the Federal Government will meet with the union leaders again next week for strike resolution.

Ahead of the scheduled meeting, FG has vowed to explore the provisions in the labour law and other channels to call off the strike.

Recall that FG had previously appealed to the ASUU to call off the strike.

ASUU on March 24, 2020 embarked on an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action between them as well as the lingering disagreement over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System that ASUU rejected.

Speaking on Politics Today on Channels Television, the minister said the government had met six of the union’s nine demands and that they would meet again next week with the hope of ending the prolonged strike.

According to the Minister “Even if countries go to war, at the end of the day they come to the negotiation table. I’m inviting them (ASUU) next week. We are doing side meetings on our part and we are collating everything. I’m collating responses from the Accountant General of the Federation’s Office and everybody who has something to do with this matter.

Reacting to a question if it meant that the lecturers may not return to the classrooms in the next one or two weeks, Ngige said “I’m not looking at that (long) period. I’m an optimist on this matter. By next week, we will conclude this matter. There are so many options left. We have the labour laws and I have options left to me in the labour laws. I have other channels.”

The minister, who said his children had also been at home as a result of the strike, explained that government had agreed to give the University Transparency Academic Solution, the payment platform proposed by ASUU, a trial.

He, however, said the feedback he got from the National Information Technology Development Agency, the agency mandated to follow-up the trial with ASUU, showed they had just concluded the first phase and that the second phase to assess the functional requirement of UTAS had not been done.

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He added, “UTAS has yet to be ready but government will not discourage them. And we have told them there is no need using the same old method of strike to make demands since such had been deployed since 2017.”

On the revitalisation fund, he said the government had agreed to release N30bn out of the N40bn demanded by the union as the payment for November 2019 and September 2020, adding that the remaining N10bn would be staggered.

“A committee that looked into the Needs Assessment of universities held a workshop on how funds could be generated came up with the recommendation that other things could be done to raise funds, because revitalisation cannot be done through the budget, especially when the country is running a deficit budget,” Ngige further stated.

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Former NANS leaders void purported impeachment, affirmed Danielson the NANS President

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Comrade Danielson NANS President

Former NANS leaders void purported impeachment, affirmed Danielson the NANS President

Former leaders of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) void the purported impeachment , affirmed Danielson NANS President

The group led by the First NANS President Comrade Oladele Lado made the assertion in a statement on Friday in Abuja

Leaders of the association from inception met purposely in consideration of the unity of the association, considered past sacrifices of the vision peers and current state of our nation and declared that NANS unity is non negotiable.

Lado said that the decision of the past leaders was born out of desire to protect the reputation of the association.

He explained that the former leaders of the National Association of Nigeria Students from inception 40 years ago to date met in Abuja to resolve the regrettable crisis that engulfed the outgoing leadership of the association.

He said that all sides in the dispute were represented and far reaching decisions were taken.

” That having heard all grievances and discussing all towards amicable resolution, the meeting regrets all incidence and decided to resolve all based on merit, forgiveness of one another, atonement where necessary and organisational supremacy.

” The crisis engulfing NANS is avoidable and all parties to the crisis should sheathe their swords and allow for peace in the interest of Nigerian students who are less than 40 years old that the NANS was founded.

” The meeting frowned at the degeneracy and misinterpretation of the Charter of Demand, the original and only constitution of NANS by all aggrieved parties.

” The constitution in Article(8b) under the Convening Authority of the Senate clearly stated the period of closure for the convening of any further Senate meeting once Pre-convention Senate session held.

” The Pre- convention is deemed as the last session of the NANS Senate under the leadership of any incumbent Senate President. That session held since March, 2020.”

He said that stakeholders noted that opportunities for fair hearing was not adequately granted to the President over allegations leveled against him.

The former NANS leader noted that all allegations and counter allegations against the leadership of NANs should be resolved internally using dialogue for the sustainance of organisational unity.

He noted that only one united ground should be adopted as convention venue where the new leadership shall emerge.

He disclosed that the meeting resolved that all ongoing police and legal cases against the leadership, and or any officials be henceforth discontinued for peace and unity of NANS and the upcoming generation.

Lado said that the outgoing leadership of NANs are directed to immediately convene a unity and harmonisation meeting and resolve all matters within the Executive Council amicably, revert to Status Quo Ante and ensure unity.

” That the CPC set up by the outgoing President under the leadership by Comrade Patrick Afubera should intensify efforts at ensuring an all encompassing, free, transparent and fair election to usher in a new set of leadership not later than December, 2020 in accordance with the provisions of the constitution on same.

” As former leaders, we reaffirm the leadership of the NANS under Comrade Danielson Akpan as the incumbent President and urge everyone to allow the transition process to go on as planned.

He enjoined all aspirants seeking for offices in the next NANS election should refrain from actions inimical to the unity of the association.

Similarly, the former NANS leader stressed the need for all and sundry to commit to the unity of NANS in their respective sentiments and allow peace to reign for the collective good of Nigerian students whose mandate they exercise in trust

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