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Unizik VC calls for upward review of students, supervisors’ allowances during SIWES

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

The Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state, Prof. Charles Esimone, has called on the federal government to review both student and supervisory allowances to be in tune with the current economic realities.

Esimone, who made the call during the 2020/2021 Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme Orientation programme, said the gesture would further boost their commitments. He also urged the participants at the programme to be good ambassadors of the university.

The orientation ceremony was organised by the SIWES Unit of the university in collaboration with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Awka Area office, and took place on Tuesday, at the Garba Square of the institution, Orient Daily reports. 

According to the vice-chancellor, the SIWES programme is meant to expose students of tertiary institutions to real-life work situations they will meet after graduation.

“SIWES programme will also expose them to work methods and techniques in the handling of equipment and machinery that may not be available in their institutions; make transition from school to the labour market smooth, as well as enhance students’ contacts for later job placement.

“As I congratulate you for qualifying to participate in the 2021 programme, I urge you to take SIWES and this orientation very seriously as your score in SIWES may make the difference in the class of degree you will graduate with.

“This university has been receiving commendations from employers of labour on the good work ethics of our students during SIWES attachment. It is my hope that the 2021 set will improve on this record”, Esimone said.

He disclosed that the University directed departments that participate in SIWES to each produce a booklet on SIWES Job Specifications to aid students of the department know of existing placement opportunities, job descriptions and skills expected to be acquired during the attachment. He said it was geared towards good service delivery aimed at achieving ‘Project 200’ of his administration. 

While thanking the leadership of ITF for the cordial relationship existing between her and the institution, the vice-chancellor noted, “We still have the sore point of non-payment of both the students’ allowance and supervison allowance for the 2008/2009 session. There is also the case of over 1000 students who are yet to receive the 2019 SIWES allowance”.

In a remark, the Unizik SIWES Director, Prof. Dennis Aribodor, said the occasion was to sensitise prospective students for 2021 SIWES on the rudiments of the programme in order to have a seamless experience.

Aribodor, a former ASUU-NAU chairperson, then tasked participants to take the programme seriously, and warned them that truancy during the programme can lead to repetition. He stressed the need for upward review of N15, 000 current allowance paid to students after SIWES programme. 

Earlier, the Area Manager, ITF Area Office, Mrs. Nancy Ekong, reminded the students that SIWES programme was the first step to a successful work career, noting that the experiences gathered during the programme would help to bridge the gap between theory and practice in the curriculum.

The Area Manager, while reacting on the N15,000 stipend paid to students, said the FG was giving the students net with which to fish. She said stipend was not a salary but a mere support to cushion the transportation fares students expend during the 6-months programme. Mrs. Ekong also urged her audience to be regular and punctual to work during the exercise, as well as to be obedient to constituted authority.

She told them to shift their attention from the little allowance FG offers to skills, knowledge and attitude they would gain from their attached organisations, which, she said, would launch them into greater opportunities. 

Some of the prospective students who spoke with this paper, thanked the organisers, and urged federal government to increase their stipends.  

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