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Deprived schools in England ‘getting less money after funding overhaul’

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Deprived schools in England ‘getting less money after funding overhaul’

Minister are being urged to pause their education funding reforms after it emerged they have resulted in less money for the most deprived schools and more for the better off, according to a parliamentary report.

The redistribution follows the introduction of the government’s national funding formula in 2018-19 to make the funding of England’s schools more fair and transparent.

According to the Commons public accounts committee (PAC), however, the changes – which are not yet complete – have resulted in a 1.2% drop in real terms per-pupil funding in the most deprived fifth of schools and a 2.9% increase for the least deprived, despite the prime minister’s commitment to “levelling up”.

The government is consulting on the final stage of its school funding changes and a move to a “hard” national funding formula under which it would set schools’ budgets directly instead of involving local authorities.

Before pressing ahead with its reforms, the report calls on the government to assess the likely impact of further changes to individual schools and different types of school. It also highlights that changes to pupil premium funding for the most disadvantaged have seen schools lose out on a further £90m of funding.

Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), accused the government of doing the reverse of levelling up. He said: “For all its talk, the actual practice of the Conservative government seems to be channelling money from the worse off to the better off.”

The PAC report paints a bleak picture of delays, uncertainty and inaction at the Department for Education. It accuses the DfE of “dragging its feet” over improvements to provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send). The government’s Send review was announced two years ago but there is still no publication date in sight.

It says ministers have also been unable to confirm when their promise of a £30,000 starting salary for teachers will be introduced and the PAC is concerned the DfE does not have a grip on the impact of falling rolls on school budgets.

“Schools are facing a perfect storm of challenges with promises of teacher pay rises, per-pupil funding changes and falling rolls but no clear plan from the Department for Education,” said the PAC chair, Dame Meg Hillier.

“Schools and pupils in deprived areas are being hit hardest by the funding formula at a time when the government’s commitment is to level up. Add to this the ongoing delays in the review of support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities and some of the most vulnerable children are facing an uncertain future – on top of the impact of Covid.”

She added: “Every part of government has faced challenges but the impact of the exam chaos, funding uncertainties and repeatedly delayed decisions is hitting young people hard and risks scarring their life chances.”

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The government’s apparent lack of concern and priority for our most vulnerable young people is, frankly, nothing short of scandalous.”

Nick Brook, the deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: “If the government is to achieve their stated goal of ‘levelling up’, they need to look carefully at the impact their reforms are having.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “The national funding formula replaced a system which was unfair, untransparent and out of date where similar schools and local areas received very different levels of funding, with little or no justification. The funding system now ensures resources are delivered where they are needed the most.”

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Education

ASUU Strike Hindered Payment Of Bursaries To Education Students- F.G

The Federal Ministry of Education on Monday noted that the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has hindered the payment of bursary to students of education in universities.

This was disclosed by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Andrew Adejo, during the 2022 World Teachers Day press briefing held in Abuja.

The Federal Government had, in 2021 disclosed President Muhammadu Buhari’s  promise to release bursaries to students studying education in universities and colleges of education

Speaking to the press, Adejo said, “The implementation of the payment of stipends has commenced.

“However, due to the strike, we have not been able to get the data of all the students in universities. We only have 7 per cent of the required data to be processed for payment.”

Adejo further said, “I must state here that the national implementation of the New National Teaching Policy has commenced. It is a holistic package that will ultimately address the career path, remuneration, professional teaching standards, qualification, deployment and management of teachers.

“The theme for the year 2022 WTD which is ‘the transformation of education begins with teachers’ strongly stresses the importance of empowering teachers for the effective transformation of education to ensure quality teaching and learning as well as galvanize technological advancements to meet the ever-changing needs for national growth and development.”

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Education

ASUU Saga: Reps Summon Ngige, DG Budget Office, AGF, SGF And Others

ASUU Saga: Reps Summon Ngige, DG Budget Office, AGF, SGF And Others

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has invited the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige and several others to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday next week

Gbajabiamila, who said this on Thursday at the resumed fact-finding meeting on the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Universities (ASUU), also invited the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan; the Accountant General of the Federation; Director General, Salaries, Income, and Wages Commission; the Director General Budget Office among others.

As part of the push to resolve the lingering ASUU strike, Gbajabiamila, alongside his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase and other leaders of the House on Thursday met with the Head of Service of the Federation (HoS),  the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, among other government officials.

Thursday’s meeting was a sequel to an earlier one the Speaker held with ASUU officials on Tuesday where issues related to the strike were discussed.

The outcome of Tuesday’s meeting led the House leadership to invite the Head of Service, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission, and the Accountant General of the Federation, among others.

“At Thursday’s meeting, NITDA told the House leadership that the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System (U3PS) failed its integrity tests regarding the university payroll, which the agency conducted between March and JUNE this year,” the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, said in a statement.

“According to a NITDA official at the meeting, the government directed the agency to test UTAS in October 2020, adding that the platform failed the two integrity tests conducted on it.

“He said following the first test, ASUU was asked to go back and review, which it did. Yet, the platform did not meet NITDA’s requirements the second time.

“For the third time, NITDA was then asked to conduct tests on UTAS, IPPIS, and U3PS, which the official said all three platforms failed its requirements regarding the payroll system of universities.”

Lasisi added that “Not satisfied with the explanation, Speaker Gbajabiamila asked if NITDA advised the government to take action on the lapses found on IPPIS, which has been in operation by the government since 2011. But the NITDA official said they were not in a position to do that.

“Gbajabiamila also asked if NITDA queried the IPPIS platform, to which the official responded in the negative.

Deputy Speaker Wase also expressed reservations at NITDA’s action, saying it ought to have advised the government on the appropriate action to take in view of its discovery on IPPIS.

“But the Head of Service, in her explanation, said the ministry of communications and digital economy wrote her office following NITDA’s observations about IPPIS on the need to take a holistic look at the platform and that a committee was empaneled to carry out the assignment.

“She also noted that IPPIS is not just a payment platform but that it also has a human resource component, which all government agencies have been directed to activate, noting that all those directly under her purview have since complied.

“Also, the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr Nta, told the House leadership that in view of the general agitation in the tertiary education sector, the agency advised the government to look at the possibility of increasing the salaries of the staff in the entire sector, comprising universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

“He said, however, that at the end of the day, the government decided to increase the salaries of lecturers in the universities by a certain percentage, while professors were considered for higher percentage.

“He said he was not aware of any agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU for salary increment.

“Also speaking at the meeting, the acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, said under no circumstance should employees dictate to their employers how they should be paid, faulting ASUU’s insistence on UTAS.

“After hours of deliberations, the Speaker suggested that a further follow-up meeting with ASUU officials be held on Thursday next week, which the stakeholders subscribed to. The meeting was, therefore, adjourned to Thursday next week.”

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Education

Bad Leadership Causing Poor State Of Universities- Ebonyi Varsity V.C

The Vice-Chancellor of David Umahi Federal University of Health Sciences, Uburu, Ebonyi State, Prof. Jesse Uneke, has attributed the failure of most government-owned universities in the country to poor leadership.

He stated this during a press briefing at the university’s conference hall, in Uburu, Thursday.

He said, “A lot of universities have issues and problems, and most times, people blame it on the Federal Government. That ought not to be. Most of the problems in the nation’s universities are caused by bad leadership. This is very critical.

“If you go to any university and you find that things are not moving well, check the leadership. If the government is giving you salaries, giving you capital projects and giving you recurrent; for goodness sake, all you just need is to have a good leadership and management, the university wouldn’t have problems.

“That’s the challenge we are having. But I don’t want to go into that. However, I want you to understand that the failure of some the universities we have in Nigeria is not because the government is not doing its best; it has been as a result of bad leadership”, he added.

 

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