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Foundation seeks attention to children’s Internet usage, rewards easy winners

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Teachers and parents have been called to pay adequate attention to how students use the Internet for their school work. “As the Internet and android phones have become basic infrastructure of knowledge production and transmission, our children must now be made to understand that there are regulations concerning the extent to which they can claim materials domiciled in those spaces of learning.”

The call was made by a University of Lagos (UNILAG) don and the examiner of the 15th Mike Okonkwo Annual Essay Competition for Secondary Schools, Prof. T.A. Ezeigbo, at the award presentation of the winners of the competition, held at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos. According to her, the children needed to be taught early enough how much they can extract from existing materials without in-fringing on copyright rules. The don, who said in her report that a total of 848 entries were received for the competition, noted that after painstaking scrutiny, four were adjudged as suitable for invitation for second stage of the competition, which is basically a confirmatory procedure to verify the integrity of the original submission.

The theme of the first stage of the competition is “Nigeria’s Unity: Matters Arising,” while the second stage theme is “Cattle Colonies in Nigeria: Implications for National Unity and Integration.” Deborah Onotilo of New Chrisfield College, Ikorodu, Lagos, scored 63 and 52 per cent in the first and second stage respectively to emerge as the overall winner. She smiled home with N100,000 cash, a certificate, plaque and a trophy; while he school received computers and printers. Meanwhile, the first runnerup, Ashely Davidson of Vivia Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Oregun, Ikeja, obtained 62 and 49 per cent respectively in the first and second stage, and she went home with a cash of N75,000, a certificate and plaque; while the second runner-up, Ferdinand Omogbemi Esigbone of Roshallom International Secondary School, Lagos scored 60 and 47 per cent to receive N50,000 cash, a plaque and a certificate; while their schools got computers and printers.

The prizes were presented to them during this year’s edition of the Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, delivered by the human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN). Still on her report, Prof. Ezeigbo said: “We recommend that the rudimentary lessons on the rules of proper writing, how to acknowledge the materials consulted and the consequences of plagiarism should form part of the curriculum of senior secondary school.

“Learning these rules early enough will ensure they do not develop and carry with them the habit of wholesale lifting of materials from the Internet to higher institutions,” the don advised. In her report based on the assessment, the don added: “In general, we however, need to report that the entries for 2018 are characterized by the usual infractions such as confirmed incidences of plagiarism or direct lifting of materials from Internet repositories, copying from textbooks and other printed sources, proven cases of collaboration and candidates and evidence that candidates might have received help from either their teachers or parents.

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