By Stephen Adeleye.
The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Wemi Jones, on Wednesday restated the commitment of the state’s Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello, to revamping education especially technical education in the state.
Jones gave the assurance after he led a team on an inspection tour of the infrastructural facilities at the two Government Technical Colleges in Ankpa and Idah in the Eastern senatorial district of the state.
He said that government was looking at revamping the colleges, to be getting adequate students as intake into the new Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara.
”As I have said it severally in various fora that His Excellency, Alh. Yahaya Bello is irreversibly committed to revamping education in our state, and technical education takes a primary place if we are ever going to get it right in this country.
”This is because of the fact that the moment you are out of technical college ordinarily you have a vocation that you can then decide to build upon”.
He noted that the two state onw universities; Prince Abubakar Audu University (PAAU), Ayigba, and the newly established CUSTECH; and other tertiary institutions, should be fed with qualified students from the secondary and technical colleges in the state.
According to him, there is a need to take care of our secondary schools and technical colleges so as to adequately feed our students into those state own tertiary institutions.
The commissioner stressed that the government could not afford to allow learners from the neighbouring States to be more beneficial of the institutions than the indigenes who labored for them.
”We must support our indigenous learners from Kogi to be the primary beneficiaries of whatever we are doing in our institutions.
”That is why we are here to visit those technical colleges to know the level of work to do in rehabilitating and revamping them.
”Presently, we have four state own technical colleges in Kogi, which include: Oboroke, Ankpa, Idah and Mopa, and we have visited three to assess their facilities.
”We will be visiting the fourth one in Mopa before the end of this week by God’s grace”, he said.
Jones emphasised that the state government would revamp all the four state’s technical colleges, and create 17 additional ones in the remaining 17 local government areas of Kogi State.
”We are taking technical and vocational education to another level in Kogi, and the only way to get ourselves ready is to start from the existing four technical colleges.
”Thereafter, 17 additional new technical colleges will be established, which is already a law in the state, and we already have a template to run the colleges effectively.
”It is going to be immediate thing, because His Excellency is irreversibly committed to ensuring that education is totally revamped in Kogi”, Jones said.
The commissioner added that adequate provision had been made for the the resuscitation of the four existing technical colleges in the 2021 budget.
He, however urged the host communities to those colleges to stop encroaching the school land, warming that government would do everything possible to recover all the school land across the state.
He added that the state government would be soliciting the cooperation of the paramount rulers of those communities to help persuade the school land grabbers to desist.
”If you build your structure on school land no matter how beautiful it is, you are merely wasting your time and resources as far as government is concerned.
”Land speculators are deceiving themselves because you don’t have a land or property if you have built illegally on the school land, and the law is going to catch up with you very soon,” Jones siad.
The Principal of Government Technical College, Idah, Mr Abdullahi, commended the commissioner and his team for the visit, saying he was so happy for the action.
Ibrahim also thanked the governor for his intervention in resuscitating all the technical colleges in the state, while appealing for provision of adequate qualified teachers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Government Technical College, Ankpa, was established in 1975, while that of Idah was in 1959 and had its present principal, Abdullahi Ibrahim as its 35th principal of the college.