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Nigeria hosts 33rd UNESCO summit to enhance biodiversity conservation

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By Gistflash News

Sept 13, 2021

Nigeria on Monday hosted the 33rd UN Education, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) summit in Abuja to review progress, define priorities and coordinate international cooperation in support of biodiversity and ecological sciences.

Ms Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, while making a remark at the UNESCO 33rd session of the MAB-ICC Programme, said it was the first time such a summit was held in Africa.

Azoulay said that the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC) provided an opportunity for the council to review proposals for new biosphere reserves.

UNESCO, a custodian of knowledge and know-how concerning biodiversity, has been developing concrete solutions to environmental challenges for over 50 years through the MAB programme and its network of protected sites, covering nearly six per cent of the planet.

With 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries, including transboundary sites, UNESCO seeks to reconcile humans and nature and demonstrate that it is possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.

The director-general expressed concern that biodiversity was collapsing, at an unprecedented speed globally.

She said that the collapse was from the treetops to the ocean depths and from vertebrates to invertebrates, adding that no species was spared.

“This is the spirit driving UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. It is what makes it so pioneering, and so valuable.

“We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. With this impending collapse, not only is human survival at risk, but also the beauty, the diversity of the world.

“But this collapse is not inevitable: there is still time to make peace with the planet,” she said.

According to her, there is the conviction that we can re-forge our relationship with nature, that we can reconcile development and environmental protection.

“We must harness the power of education to rebuild our relationship with nature. UNESCO is fully mobilised to ensure that the environment becomes a key curriculum component by 2025.

“This is in line with the commitment made by the 80th governments we gathered at the Berlin conference last May.

The director-general thanked President, Muhammadu Buhari, for making the meeting a huge success.

The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the MAB programme presented a unique platform for cooperation on research and development, ecological restoration, capacity-building and networking to share information, knowledge and experience.

Ikeazor said that the MAB programme was on three interlinked issues such as biodiversity loss, climate change and sustainable development, adding that the world was facing planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

According to her, this global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.

“The good news is that it is not too late to reverse the current trends if conservation efforts are scaled up and protected areas are expanded.

“This is the first time that MAB-ICC is being held on the African continent since its inception and I am proud that Nigeria has taken the lead by hosting this event today,’’ she said.

Also, the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, called on all relevant organisations both global and national to rise up and take responsibility to restore human nature for a healthy environment.

Kallon said that the UN system was implementing a number of activities geared towards protecting the ecosystem and biodiversity of Nigeria, as well as addressing the consequences orchestrated by Covid-19 and climate change amongst others.

“The activities include, reducing the incidence of out of school children to help Nigeria build its human capital.

“Also, engaging youths for long-lasting peacebuilding efforts, and to create solutions for COVID-19’s worst impacts,’’ he said.

Kallon commended the effort of UNESCO in establishing the Man and the Biosphere Programme, which connected all governments of its member states.

Prof. Adeshola Adepoju, Chair of MAB-ICC and Director-General of Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), said that MAB programme provided a unique platform for cooperation on research and development.

Adepoju said that MAB programme was launched by UNESCO in 1971, adding that it was aimed at establishing a scientific basis and dedicated to the relationship between humans and the environment to sustainable use of natural resources.

“The MAB programme contributes not only to better understanding of the environment but also promotes greater involvement of science and scientists in policy development concerning the wise use of biological diversity,’’ he said.

He appreciated the President, Mohammadu Buhari, the UNESCO, UN, the Ministry of Environment and other dignitaries for making the summit a huge success.

NAN

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Education

SMEDAN introduces Entrepreneurship as a subject to primary, secondary schools

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By Gistflash News

Sept 22, 2021

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) began a capacity building workshop on entrepreneurship for primary and secondary schools teachers in Bayelsa on Wednesday.

Its South-South Coordinator, Mr Egbuna Iloba, said the agency was introducing  entrepreneurship to primary and secondary schools across Nigeria under the National Schools Entrepreneurship Programme known as “Mind Shift’’.

He represented SMEDAN’s Director-General, Dr Dikko Radda, at the opening of the workshop.

Iloba said that the agency was collaborating with states’ Ministries of Education to prepare teachers to teach entrepreneurship as a subject.

He said inculcating entrepreneurship into schools curricula from the basic level was fundamental to redirecting the mind set of school leavers and graduates from being job seekers to entrepreneurs.

This would enable them to seize available opportunities to solve problems and create jobs, he added.

“Children are expected to unleash their innate wealth-creating potentialities by exploiting opportunities that abound in their respective communities as well as engage themselves in productive economic endeavours while in elementary school.

“What we are doing at this stage is to enhance the capacity of teachers who will in turn prepare pupils and students and convert them into entrepreneurs.

“In addition, after the training, schools are expected to create entrepreneurship clubs and schools enterprises.

“The clubs will compete for laurels at the regional and national levels where cash prizes will be given to the best three schools that will represent the country at global youth entrepreneurship events outside the country in 2022,’’ Iloba said.

In his remarks, Director in charge of Secondary Education in Bayelsa, Rev. Jacob Osusu, urged teachers to take advantage of the opportunity to pioneer the programme and lay a solid foundation for youths.

He represented Mr Gentle Emela, Bayelsa’s Commissioner for Education at the occasion.

Osusu also urged teachers to look beyond the immediate benefit of the workshop to embrace entrepreneurship and propagate same to their pupils and students.

He noted that the benefits of the training were life-long and would also prepare them for retirement life after the classroom.

Mr Tiamiu Ibrahim, a SMEDAN resource person at the workshop explained that the curriculum had 12 modules and was developed by the agency and the state’s Ministry of Education which is expected to take the programme to all schools in the state.

Mrs Lilian Kakiri, a participant and Head Teacher at Ebisam Group of Schools, Yenagoa, applauded the policy for involving private and public schools and hoped that it would contribute to tackling youth unemployment.

Also Mr David Singabelle, a teacher at Government Model School, Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa said the programme was long overdue and would lay a foundation for refocusing the school system beyond issuing certificates.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that100 teachers drawn from private and public schools in the eight local government areas of Bayelsa are participating in the three-day workshop.

NAN

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Education

Zulum wields big stick, suspends Ramat Poly Rector, others

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By Gistflash News

Sept 21, 2021

Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has suspended the Rector of Ramat Polytechnic, Dr Modu Kyari and other management staff of the institution.

Zulum wielded the big stick when he paid a surprise visit to the institution on Tuesday in Maiduguri.

He expressed disappointment with the condition of things in the polytechnic, where he served as  rector from 2011 to 2015.

“As far as I am concerned, this polytechnic is dead, nothing is working.

“The workshops are not in existence, the mechanical workshop is not working, the agricultural workshop is not working, likewise the entrepreneurship centre is not working.

“The school is facing myriads of problems, ranging from lack of funding and commitment.

“As a former student and rector of this polytechnic, I have moral stakes in it and will not allow this institution to rot during my era as Governor of Borno State,” Zulum vowed.

He directed the Commissioner of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Babagana Mallumbe to take over the affairs of the institution for the next six months.

The governor also directed the ministry to put all the workshops and laboratories in the polytechnic back to proper use, as soon as possible.

Zulum further ordered the Ministry of Water Resources to drill two deep boreholes and carry out reticulation of the water to address the dearth of potable water in the institution, to prevent spread of waterborne diseases.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor later addressed students of the polytechnic, where he assured that the payment of their scholarship grant would commence soon.

NAN

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Education

Dettol to introduce hygiene education curriculum in Lagos schools

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By Gistflash News

Sept 20, 2021

Dettol Nigeria says it will be introducing hygiene education curriculum in Lagos schools to encourage good hygiene among students and their families.

The General Manager, Reckitt Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Akbar Ali Shah, made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

He said that the initiative was part of the 2021 Dettol School Hygiene Education Programme, a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 initiative under the Dettol Clean Naija campaign.

Shah said that the campaign was aimed at creating awareness, educating and encouraging primary school students to inculcate hygienic practices in their daily lives.

He said that the Dettol School Hygiene stakeholders’ workshop was held last Thursday to intimate the Lagos State education sector on the 2021 programme vision and implementation.

According to him, the 2021 edition will feature the specially developed Hygiene Curriculum created by the Dettol international team, consisting of comics and worksheets that aims to convey the hygiene message to pupils in a fun and engaging manner.

The general manager said that the programme would also involve impact assessment, using scientific measurement tools to determine the impact of its hygiene education on the students, their teachers and parents.

He said that Dettol had partnered with the Lagos State office on SDGs, Dean Initiative, World’s Largest Lesson, and Slum and Rural Health Initiative (SRHIN) to help drive the programme implementation and adoption.

“With Dettol, our purpose is to protect life by making good hygiene simple to adopt. Since 2015, we have directly reached over five million primary school children in Nigeria with our hygiene education.

“However, with the need for an intensified hygiene consciousness due to COVID-19, we are evolving from a model where we had just a one-off contact with the students, to one where there would be repeated interactions based on lessons from the hygiene vurriculum.

“Our aim is to emphasise on the need to enable a sanitised environment and to create the importance of water, hygiene and sanitation in preventing the spread of infections amongst children,’’ he said.

Shah commended its partnership with the Lagos State Office on the SDGs, Dean Initiative, World’s Largest Lesson and SRHIN.

Mr Lekan Fatodu, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on SDG, commended Dettol Nigeria for its efforts to ensure the overall well-being of pupils.

He urged stakeholders and school executives to help ensure the success of the Dettol initiative.

The Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mr Wahab Alawiye-King, said that the state government would collaborate with Dettol Nigeria to ensure workability of the hygiene curriculum.

Alawiye-King said that the Dettol School Hygiene Education Programme would tackle the challenge of making the schools Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)-friendly.

NAN

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