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BusinessDay 10 Apr 2018

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C002D5556 Tuesday 10 April 2018 24 BUSINESS DAY EDUCATION higher How to overcome mathematics phobia among students STEPHEN ONYEKWELU Recent trends in mathematics results from the National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) have shown unimpressive performance by candidates. Available records of WAEC results have shown that in 2017; of 1.56 million candidates that sat for WAEC’s Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE), 52 percent had credit pass in Mathematics and English. Similarly, the 2017 NECO result analysis shows that out of the 1,051,472 who sat for the examinations, only 745,053 of the candidates got at least five credits including Mathematics and English Language. Udonsa Effiok, a Mathematics lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Yola, Adamawa State in a paper titled: Trends in students’ performance in Mathematics, published in the Journal of Research in Education and Society, Volume 6, Number 2, August 2015 identified a number of factors that impede students’ achievement in Mathematics in the Senior Secondary School’s Examinations. Some of the observed factors include; shortage of qualified Mathematics teachers, poor facilities, inadequate equipment and instructional materials. Others according to him are method of teaching, large class size, Mathematics phobia/fright, parental factors and undue distraction from unproductive use of social network like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube. This calls for national action because mathematics has been foundational to the growth of civilisations from Mesopotamia to ancient Egypt, through the Indus Valley (northwest India and Pakistan) to ancient China. Understood as the study of quantity, structure, space, and change, mathematics is part of everyday life of all professions, from cooking, farming, to shop keeping, medical practice, science and engineering. Some mental qualities attributed to the study of mathematics include the power of clear reasoning, creativity, abstract or spatial thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving ability and even effective communication skills. However, mathematics is a subject that makes students either leap for joy or cringe on their seats. Either way, it is inescapable that as young students become adults they begin to realise how much of mathematics is needed to make sense of the world around them. Stephen Onah, the Chief Executive Officer at the National Mathematical Centre (NMC), has blamed dismal performance of students in WAEC and NECO examinations in successive years on unqualified teachers in Mathematics. “The other factor is that because there are not enough hands to train students in this discipline and persons from different areas of study even outside science-based areas are brought to teach the subject,” Onah said. This has drawn attention from the Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN), which attributed the causes of poor performance to student-related, teacher-related and government-related factors and observed that quite a number of Mathematics teachers, especially at the secondary school level, were weak in knowledge content and pedagogy. Until some few years ago, a pass in Mathematics was just required to study courses in Arts, Law and Humanity in Nigeria. Today, a credit pass in Mathematics and English is a compulsory Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) requirement for admission into all courses. What then is the way out? Mohammed Ibrahim, a former president of MAN, maintained that the mass failure in Mathematics can be eradicated if the following measures amongst others can be taken - updating the teacher on new teaching techniques of the subject; equipping the library with recent and updated textbooks; making the learning environment conducive for both the teacher and the students; and making the learning of the subject practicable for the students. Some organised private sector players have also waded into the the mix to help provide solution to the problem, such as Promasidor Nigeria Limited, through the Cowbellpedia initiative. This has, for many years, provided a platform to stimulate interest and reward excellence in Mathematics among students in Nigeria’s secondary school. The initiatives in this direction include Cowbellpedia Secondary Schools Mathematics TV Quiz Show, Cowbellpedia Radio (a Mathematics class on radio) and Cowbellpedia Mobile App (Mathematics Q&A mobile application). Through these platforms, the company has been able to arouse and re-awaken the interest of students in Mathematics at the secondary school level and further reinforced the importance of the subject The National Examina- tion Council (NECO) has commended it for stimulating the interest of Nigerian students in Mathematics through the Cowbellpedia Secondary Schools Mathematics TV Quiz Show, sponsored by Cowbell, the company’s flagship brand. Speaking to newsmen at the finals of the 2017 Cowbellpedia Secondary Schools Mathematics Television Quiz Show in Lagos recently, Charles Uwakwe, the Registrar of NECO said that the competition has considerably reduced the phobia for Mathematics among students across the country Uwakwe maintained that the Cowbellpedia initiative has demystified the terror of Mathematics that has been killing the dreams of many students. Winners (in both junior and senior categories) of the past two editions of Cowbellpedia Secondary Mathematics Television TV Quiz were rewarded with N1 million each and an all-expense paid education excursion outside the country. Their teachers and schools were equally rewarded. Anders Einarsson, Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria, at the flag off of the 2018 edition in Lagos and to mark 20 years of relation of Cowbell and Mathematics, recently, stated it is going to be bigger and better. The prize money has been doubled as winners in both categories would receive Two million naira with an allexpense paid educational excursion outside the country. Meadow Hall Foundation’s Education Convention enters second edition After the successful Education Convention last year, Meadow Hall Foundation is set to host its second edition, themed ‘Addressing The Quality Question In The Education Sector’. Quality Education is critical for national development; the impact of quality education on students’ performance and nation building is far reaching. The Education Convention provides an opportunity for all educational stakeholders (school teachers, school heads/administrators, school owners/school leaders, parents, government officials and community leaders) to gain fresh perspectives on pertinent educational issues from their interactions with teachers and educational experts. As Meadow Hall Foundation continues to advocate quality education in Nigeria, some of the topics to be discussed in the convention include- ‘Making Learning Authentic for the Nigerian Child’, ‘Personal Effectiveness: the Key to Unlocking your Highest Potential’, ‘Driving Quality Recruitment’, ‘Schools of the Future’, ‘Guiding your Child’s Academic Career Path’, ‘Raising Godly Children in the 21st Century’, ‘An Enduring Structure: Sustaining your brand’ and ‘Who Owns the Curriculum’. Notable facilitators and panelists such as Fela Durotoye, Folasade Adefisayo, Lolu Akinwunmi, Kehinde Nwani, Yinka Ogunde, Anthonia Maduekwe, Ola Opesan, and Olufemi Ogunsanya. Others are Ronke Soyombo, Modupe Adefeso- Olateju, Yinka Obafisoye, Nike Akerele De Souza, Babajide Duroshola and Lola Esan will be at the Convention. The keynote speaker is Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe (Educational Administrator and former Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos). The Education Convention is set to hold on Saturday, 21st April 2018 from 8am to 4pm at the Landmark Event Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. To register, visit http:// education-convention/. For those who are passionate about education and who value continuous personal development, this convention is not to be missed. College reiterates commitment to raise ideal Nigerian child Rainbow College has reiterated its commitment to raise the ideal Nigerian child. The college, which is an offshoot of Pampers Private School, Alaka in Surulere, Lagos, made the reassurance during a facility tour of the college by a select media at Km 39, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Asese Village, Maba, Ogun State, recently. According to the college, the efforts so far at actualising its vision of becoming a worldclass college that churns out innovative leaders of tomorrow with the required knowledge and moral training are already getting myriad commendations from parents, students, institutions and host community. Odulanmi Oludolapo, founder/proprietress of the college, said the school was established to raise future leaders that would shape the destiny of the country and take the nation to greater heights in all spheres of human endeavours. On a tour of the school, the leaning facilities and extracurricular activities are obvious. The facilities include; modern equipment for science and technology, arts and crafts, sports among other facilities that guarantee sound learning. As well, the college is focused on practical approach to learning with well-equipped science laboratories, functional technical drawing lab, ICT Room and basic technology workshop. Other facilities include; Art studio, music room, Food and Nutrition laboratory and a standard library. The college is rated the United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria’s number one school in science. It is also the Essay Champions and excels in public speaking, art exhibitions, drama and inter- school sports competitions. According to Adesina Okunubi, principal of the college, the staying power of the school is its all-round child development policy that makes a difference in the society.

Tuesday 10 April 2018 C002D5556 BUSINESS DAY 25 In association with Exciting office experience beckons as The Wings enters market with strong value propo sition Stories by CHUKA UROKO In the most formal style before a distinguished audience, The Wings Towers, one of the eye-catching architectural marvels on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, walked into the property market offering exciting office work experience with its strong and compelling value proposition. The Wings, a twin-tower building, is a joint venture project by Oando Plc and RMB Westport, a South African real estate investment and development firm. Estate Links Limited and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) are the lead promoters/leasing agents. The 14-floor, 27,000 square metre Grade A office complex stands massively by the Five Cowrie Creek, giving it an unrivalled location advantage which is complemented by an existing waterways transportation system. “This is one-of-a-kind development that guarantees its tenants world class experience”, Wallace Wilkins, a director at RMB Westport, explained to BusinessDay in an interview. At the commissioning of the building last week by Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, Wale Tinubu, the group chief executive of Oando Plc, disclosed that, at Oando, passion was not only one of their core values, it drives their ambitions, adding that the idea for The Wings Complex was conceived in 2009 but construction kick-started in 2013. Tinubu recalled that the building started when the price of oil was $100 per barrel, but they still pushed on with construction despite the 2014 crash in oil price to $23 per barrel, the 60 percent devaluation of the naira and the 13-month economic recession. “Today, the two towers stand tall as a testament to indigenous companies like us who continue to lead and set standard for excellence. The project signifies the end to a series of capital projects that we have pioneered, invested in and built”, he said. The Wings actually stands tall as a building to beat in terms of elevation and façade. Wilkins says “it is an elegantly designed office building with innovative usage of space to give optimal day-to-day functionality. The building is a seamless business environment that combines functionality, detail, services and comfort for business”. It is in the league of Heritage Place in Ikoyi and Nestoil Tower in Victoria Island which are, so far, the only green buildings in Nigeria with energy efficiency that leaves tenants/occupiers with reduced energy cost. Heritage Place offers tenants as high as 20 percent energy saving. Interest in The Wings has been quite encouraging, according to the leasing agents. Gbenga Olaniyan, CEO, Estate Links, confirmed to BusinessDay that while the West wing of the building is occupied by Oando, the East wing, which is open to the public, is 34 percent let, hoping that with the renewed investor interest in the economy, the building will be up to 80 percent let by the end of this year. In addition to its high-quality finishing and small office plates of 1000 square metres which features 360-degree views to virtually all workstations in any particular tenant layout, The Wings façade gives an alluring feature view of the Lagos city, offering comfort plus quality of work that is comparable to international standards. “This façade system allows for energy efficiency and adaptability to climatic heat conditions”, explained Lyall Dukes, Associate Executive at Stauch Vorster Architects—the architectural consultants on the building. Offices in the building are climatically controlled to facilitate maximum comfort with lighting and visual stimulus aimed at enhancing tenant enjoyment and appreciation of the working environment. Duke added that the building also offers a high level of security and comfort to businesses with a high priority on secure operating facilities and peace of mind. The building has capacity to improve tenant’s operational efficiency and boost employee productivity. “It is a work environment that is a pleasure to use and interact with on a daily basis, and this will result in better productivity and positive attitude. This building is iconic and easily recognizable, creating an association tenants can market and use to their advantage”, Duke noted. For purposes of security and safety, The Wings has intelligent building management systems (IBMS) which are systems that optimize the centralized control of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting, thus promoting its functionality. The Continues on page 26 Event Diary Mortgage refinancing company underway in Kenya As if taking a cue from Nigeria, Kenya, the fast growing East African country, is perfecting plans to set up a mortgage refinancing company, the Kenyan Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC), which the country’s Treasury explains, is to help to meet the government’s aim of providing 500,000 houses in five years as well as make it easier for banks to access long-term finance for home loans In Nigeria, the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) was set up to increase liquidity in the country’s mortgage system, drag down interest rate to single digit and also facilitate the provision of affordable housing for the largely ‘homeless’ working class population in the country. But it remains to be seen what impact the NMRC has made in both the mortgage and housing sectors four years after it was set up with a mandate to also facilitate the delivery of 172,000 housing units per annum. As against Nigeria’s over a million units, the East African country has an estimated 200,000 annual housing shortfall, which is expected to rise to 300,000 by 2020. But President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured that provision of affordable housing is one of his four key priority areas in his second term. “Housing finance in Kenya remains below its potential,” the Treasury said in a document outlining the creation of the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC), to be owned by the state, commercial banks and financial co-operatives. KMRC is expected to be licensed by the central bank in February next year, with initial debt financing of $160 million from the World Bank for lending on to financial institutions. Once it starts operations, the company will raise debt from markets, including mortgagebacked bonds, to lend to banks and financial co-operatives using their mortgage loan contracts with customers as security. Kenya had just 24,458 mortgage loans valued at $2 billion or 3.15 percent of GDP in 2015, compared with about 30 percent of GDP worth of outstanding mortgages in South Africa. As obtains in Nigeria, mortgage lenders in Kenya, among them KCB Group which has the biggest share of the mortgages, usually shy away from writing housing loans mainly due to lack of longterm deposits in the industry to match them.

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