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GCSE And A-level Pupils To Be Awarded Fewer Top Grades In 2022

GCSE

GCSE and A-level pupils to be awarded fewer top grades in 2022, says Ofqual

Pupils sitting GCSEs and A-levels next summer will receive fewer top grades than this year’s cohort, but will be given advance notice of some exam topics to help address learning lost as a result of the pandemic, Ofqual has announced.

The 2022 summer exams will be treated as “a transition year” with grade boundaries set midway between pre-pandemic levels in 2019 and 2021’s record results, after exams were cancelled for the second year running and replaced by teacher assessments.

Grades will then return to 2019 pre-pandemic levels for pupils sitting exams in 2023, who are now at the start of their GCSE and A-level courses, in the expectation that they will have avoided the worst of the Covid disruption.

The exams regulator is hoping the two-stage plan will succeed in reining in grade inflation and bring results back to normal levels, without triggering a sudden drop in results for pupils sitting their exams next summer.

Ofqual said more students will still get higher grades than before the pandemic, but with adjusted grade boundaries the proportion of pupils getting top A-level grades could drop by as much as 10 percentage points on last summer’s results, when almost 45% of all entries were awarded A or A* compared with 25% in 2019.

After a public consultation, the government and Ofqual confirmed a range of adaptations to next summer’s exams to make up for the disruption to learning, including a greater choice of topics in some GCSE exams like English literature and history.

Advance information about the focus of some exams will also be made available to schools in early February to help teachers and students make best use of the revision period in the final months before assessment, and support materials like formulae sheets for maths will be made available in exams.

Although the government has made plain its desire for exams to go ahead next year, Ofqual also published contingency plans for the use of teacher-assessed grades again in 2022 if exams have to be cancelled for a third year running because of Covid.

The education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “We’ve put fairness at the heart of our approach and listened to pupils, teachers and parents. The measures we’re putting in place will help reduce the impact of the significant disruption this group of young people have had to face – allowing them to move on to the next stage of their lives.

“We are committed to rigorous standards being fairly applied, and exams are the fairest way to assess students, which is why they will take place next year.”

Ofqual’s chief regulator, Dr Jo Saxton, added: “Our grading approach will recognise the disruption experienced by students taking exams in 2022. It will provide a safety net for those who might otherwise just miss out on a higher grade, while taking a step back to normal. Choice in some subjects and advance information to support revision are intended to provide support for all as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Dr Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said the exams announcement had come too late and would not allay the anxiety or answer the questions many teachers have.

On exam adaptations, she said: “Only giving advanced information about the exams in time for revision will result in a ‘topic lottery’ where some students will have happened to have covered the topics on the exam in sufficient depth and others may well have not.”

Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Whatever decision was made about the approach to grading in 2022, it would be open to criticism by some. The most important thing is that this decision has been made and everyone involved now knows what to expect.”

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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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Education

Court Order Does Not Affect Negotiations With ASUU- F.G

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to ongoing negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU despite the court order asking the lecturers to resume to classes.

Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, said this on Wednesday when members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics paid him a visit in Abuja

Speaking on the court ruling, Ngige said the federal government is still open to negotiations with ASUU.

“The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations,’’ he said.

“It is no victor, no vanquished.

“You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU. But you are here, even though you have dissociated yourselves and you are working.

“We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.”

The minister also spoke on the recent meeting between ASUU and the leadership of the house of representatives, and commended Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, and other lawmakers for their efforts.

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