Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, has advocated that priority be accorded to vocational training in the education sector.
The Governor stated this when the management and staff of New Gate University paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Minna.
The governor advised further that brilliant students should be identified and offered scholarships as an encouragement, while opportunities for short-term vocational training should be created for others who cannot obtain a degree qualification.
"Nature has a way of putting everybody in his position, so let us encourage vocational training even at the level of the university. Short-term courses on how to fix phones, repair computers, service barbing machines, and fix microphones can be introduced, and it will change our thinking and psyche because we need more people in this category than those with degrees,", he explained.
He said subsidising education at tertiary institutions was not the best as it would affect the quality of education, but that scholarships could be given to students seeking admission into tertiary institutions as an encouragement.
Governor Umaru Bago expressed dismay over the insufficient medical personnel in the state's employment and said that the government was determined to encourage those who wanted to study medical-related courses, pointing out that there are a lot of value chains in the medical sector.
"We are poised to see that we change that imbalance. We need to give incentives and encouragement to people and children who want to go into medicine or medical-related courses.
"We are considering a bond arrangement where 50% scholarships will be given to medical students, and they will sign a pact to work for the state government for some years before going to other places", he said.
He also said the time has come for stakeholders in education to think outside the box by taking advantage of technology to encourage e-learning.
The governor encouraged the management of New Gate University to engage in private partnership in carrying out infrastructural development in the institutions, consider renewable energy as an alternative source of power, and make investments that would bring growth and development to the institution.
He commended the founder of the University for establishing the institution and assured that his administration will continue to come up with policies and programmes that would encourage him and others to make Niger State an academic city.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Yusuf Sadiq, highlighted the importance of prioritising the education of young people as they are agents of positive change and the future of society.
He said the university has partnered with a foundation to offer 50% tuition scholarships to all qualified candidates from 25 local government areas of the state, adding that 120 students are already benefiting from it.
Prof. Sadiq also said the Pro-Chancellor of the university has agreed to pay 100% scholarships to the best students in public schools within Minna metropolis, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.
He said the institution offers causes such as ICT, cyber security, and medical-related causes, among others, and expressed confidence that the university will produce graduates that would be of benefit to the state.
The V.C. then called on the governor to continue with government support in the areas of security, adequate power supply, and a conducive learning environment for the students.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has tasked journalists with ensuring effective reporting of medical issues to promote children’s health and survival.
Tushar Rane, UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, gave the charge at a two-day media dialogue on Tuesday in Gombe.
He said the media play a greater role in creating awareness among the public about promoting child health and survival within the first 1,000 days of birth.
According to Rane, the first 1,000 days of the child's life start from pregnancy to two years after birth, adding that the period is critical to the child’s physical and brain development.
He said that 50 percent of the child’s brain developed at birth and advanced up to 75 percent at two years, lamenting that poor children are at risk of malnutrition in the first 1,000 days.
Rane charged journalists to create awareness through their reportage towards promoting child health and survival.
“Neuronal pathways develop most rapidly within the days mentioned above, hence the need for public awareness to be created for child health,” he said.
Also, Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, stressed the Need for mothers to be acquainted with the process of child development within the first 1,000 days.
Represented by Dr. Jibril Mohammed, Director of Administration and Finance in the Agency, Mohammed also recommended adequate sleep for mothers.
“Adequate rest, that is, enough sleep for pregnant women, is important for normal metabolism to take place and to avoid complications. Depression might set in due to complications.
“The child might also develop malformations as a result of these,” he said.
He, therefore, urged journalists to enlighten parents and encourage the uptake of primary healthcare services to achieve good health for children.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about 35 media professionals, drawn from Adamawa, Bauchi, Taraba, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), attended the exercise.