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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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Education

JAMB withdraws results of candidate for impersonation

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By Gistdlash News

July 27, 2021

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has withdrawn the result of one Attama  Ikedichukwu for acts bordering on impersonation in the just concluded 2021/2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Fabian Benjamin, JAMB Head, Media and Publicity in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that upon investigations, it was revealed that Ikedichukwu had hired a ”professional examination taker” to sit for the examination on his behalf.

He however said that his luck ran out when the board’s post-examination processes discovered that the candidate had been impersonated in the course of the examination.

“On further scrutiny, other hidden dimensions to the case were also unravelled which the candidate had admitted to in the course of perpetrating the fraudulent act.

“ Following Management’s consideration and approval of the recommendations of the investigators, the result of Ikedichukwu, whose examination was taken on his behalf at the University of Nigeria, MTN Library, Nsukka, Enugu State, on  June 22 during the second session of the examination for that day, has been withdrawn.

“The Board wishes to restate that no result obtained through fraudulent means will be allowed to stand.

“It should be noted that the cancellation is in line with the board’s  policy of cancelling any result fraudulently obtained by any candidate even when such had been released,” he said.

He added that the perpetrator would be handed over to relevant agencies  for prosecution to serve as a deterrent to other would-be infractors.

He said that the board urged candidates and the general public that it would painstakingly  scrutinise the entire examination processes with the provision that the results obtained through fraudulent means would be withheld and after thorough investigation, cancelled as the case may be.

“ In the meantime, the Board is engaged in the viewing and assessment of all CCTV footage of the examination as well as the adequacy or otherwise of the security measures put in place to forestall examination infractions.

“The board warned that the above stated case might just be the first of the many that would be unearthed in the course of the review as many more infractions might yet come to light.m,” he added.

He therefore said that a top security officer who had facilitated the forgery of the board’s admission letter was being investigated for possible culpability and subsequent prosecution.

NAN

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Education

UNN ASUU, residents urge FG to prevent another strike

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By Gistflash News

July 26, 2021

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) chapter, has advised the Federal Government to take steps to avert another nationwide strike by the union.

The UNN chapter Chairman, Dr Christian Opata, gave the advice on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka.

Opata spoke against the backdrop of the recent threat by ASUU to resume the strike suspended on Dec. 24, 2020.

He described federal government’s failure to fulfill agreements entered with the union since 2009 as unfortunate.

He said that federal government would not be exonerated “if the union resumes another strike because of its inability to fulfill an agreement with it”.

The ASUU boss said the UNN chapter of the union was ready to enforce any directive of the national leadership of ASUU at any point in time.

In a similar vein, some residents of the university town also charged the federal government to redeem its agreement with the union to forestall the strike.

A community leader, Mr Innocent Ugwu, said the strike would cause another academic setback for students in public universities, should government allow ASUU to make good its threat.

Ugwu said, “Government should act fast and do everything within its capacity to redeem the agreement it entered with ASUU that led to the suspension of the strike on Dec. 24, 2020.

“This will prevent another strike that will paralyse academic activities in public universities in the country.”

He pleaded with ASUU to avoid another strike and continue to dialogue with government in the interest of students and parents, who were always on the receiving end.

Also, a secondary school teacher, Mrs Amaka Ezema, urged government at all levels to give education special attention.

According to Ezema, the quality of education determines the level of development.

“If government gives special attention to education, there will not be room for strike in public schools.

“Federal government should ensure that ASUU’s current threat to resume strike does not happen by fulfilling the agreement signed with the union in December 2020.

“If ASUU resumes another strike, the academic timetable in public universities will be disrupted again,” Ezema said.

A civil servant, Mr Desmond Ubah, said that incessant strikes in public universities led to the hike in school fees in private universities.

“Private universities are capitalising on incessant strikes in public institutions to increase their school fees arbitrarily.

“These universities know that parents are no longer comfortable with the incessant strikes in public universities since they are no longer sure of when their children will graduate,” Ubah said.

NAN

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Education

Buhari attends Education Summit in London, holds bilateral talks with PM Johnson

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By Gistflash News

July 26, 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday depart Abuja for UK to participate in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021 to 2025.

The President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, who confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said the summit would be co-hosted by the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, and the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to him, the summit will bring together Heads of State and Government as well as stakeholders and youth leaders, and provide a platform for partners to chart a way forward towards transforming education systems in partner countries, through exchange of best practices.

“It will also offer the opportunity for leaders to make 5-year pledges to support GPE’s work to help transform education systems in up to 90 countries and territories.

“Deliberations at the Summit will focus on: The Power of Education –A Conversation between Global Champions; Transforming Education for Girls; Financing for Impact and Recovery and; What Now? Priorities for Transforming Education in the Coming Five Years, among others,’’ Adesina stated.

He revealed that the Nigerian leader would also hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He said: “After the Summit, the President will spend a few days for an earlier scheduled medical check-up.

“He is due back by second week of August, 2021.’’

The presidential aide disclosed that Buhari would be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of State Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, National Security Adviser, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno and Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the GPE 2021 to 2025 will be a key moment for the global community to come together and support quality education for all children.

A centrepiece of the summit will be the opportunity for leaders to make five-year pledges to support GPE’s work to help transform education systems in up to 90 countries and territories.

The GPE will take place on July 28 and July 29, 2021.

NAN

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