Attack on Benin zoo, a big blow to tourism drive -Lai Mohammed

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Chris Steven, Abuja

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture has condemned the attack on Ogba Zoo and Nature Park in Benin, Edo State, on Sunday, during which three policemen were killed and Andy Ehanire, the Head of the Zoo was abducted by the attackers.

 In a statement issued on Monday, the Minister described the attack on one of the country’s foremost tourist destinations as a big blow to ongoing efforts to lift the tourism sector in the country.

”The success or failure of a tourism destination depends largely on a safe and secure environment. Incidences such as the attack on the Ogba Zoo and Nature Park therefore negate the concept of tourism as well as government’s determination to develop our tourism industry as a tool for socio-economic development.

”The killing of the three policemen attached to the zoo to provide security for fun seekers, the abduction of the zoo boss and the trauma suffered by the visitors who witnessed the attack are saddening, condemnable and most unfortunate,” he said.

Mohammed said the government will step up security in the entire tourist sites across the country in particular in order to prevent a recurrence, while urging the abductors of Dr Ehanire to quickly release him unharmed.

He also sent his condolences to the families of the policemen who were killed in the attack, and prayed that God will grant repose to their souls.

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NUC says you don’t need a PDGE to lecture

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has said that the acquisition of Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGD) is not a sine qua non for the attainment of teaching excellence in the Nigerian university system.

According to Abubakar Abdurasheed, Executive Secretary of NUC, there is a general consensus that lecturers require regular updating of their pedagogical knowledge and skills in order to facilitate achievement of the anticipated learning outcomes and by extension, the desired over-arching objectives of university education.

Abubakar who spoke in Abuja on Monday at the opening of a five –day transformative higher education pedagogy and practice organized by the NUC and University of Sussex, London.

He said while pedagogical skill and competences are necessary to ensure continuous improvement in teaching-learning and the attainment of desired learning outcomes,  the NUC believes in a systematic approach to pedagogical training on the basis of regular professional development which will not elicit resistance from or offend the sensibilities of members of the academia should be pursed.

“There is a lack of consensus on the pathway for achieving the desirable outcome of enhanced pedagogical skills among the academia. On one hand, are those who canvass the position that all academic staff need to acquire a PGDE before they could be considered to be qualified and effective professors or lecturers” said Abubakar who was represented by Rahman Yusuf, Director of Research, Innovation and Technology at NUC.

 “On the other hand are those-including many university academics, which strongly believe that the PGDE is not the way to go.

“On our part at the National Universities Commission, we believe that the acquisition of a PGDE is not a sine qua non for the attainment of teaching excellence in the Nigerian University system.”

He disclosed that NUC has opted for a modular approach to the pedagogical training of academic staff which according to him may lead to some sort of certification such as a certificate of competence, after series of well-designed and delivered pedagogical training modules and will facilitate the achievement of the ultimate objective of improving the knowledge, competence and skills of professors and lecturers I Nigerian university system.

This, he added would not cause undue agitation among members of the academic community many of whom he noted have expressed their abhorrence for any attempt to foist a mandatory acquisition of the PGDE on them.

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