From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) over the weekend handed over an ultra model school valued at $15 million to the Federal Capital Territory Administration as part of efforts to deepen ties between Nigeria and Republic of Korea.
The Korea model school located along the International Airport road is touted as the first purpose built secondary school in Nigeria to impart Korean culture in addition to Nigerian curricula.
The Ambassador of Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Major-General In-Tae Lee (Rtd), announced at the handing over ceremony that Nigeria and other African countries were to benefit from the $5billion financial package recently pledged by the government and people of Korea in the next two years to boost their economies.
Lee said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Nigeria and Korea in February 1980, both countries have fostered close and cordial relationship.
”In 2017, bilateral trade volume reached $2.62 billion and Nigeria emerged as Korea’s second largest trading partner in Africa. In Nigeria, KOICA provides assistance through projects and training programmes including the Master’s Degree scholarships and short training programmes as well as emergency relief aid,” he revealed.
He said that in the area of development cooperation, the Republic of Korea, through the Korean International Cooperation Agency, KOICA, had continued to make efforts to establish a solid foundation for a win-win development, while sharing Korea’s development experience.
The envoy, however, warned that without making the best use of the facilities and proper operation and management of the school the mission to nurture better human resources for the development of Nigeria would not be achieved.
” I look forward to seeing the Abuja Model School improving students’ academic performances and building a better generation than ours that would contribute to the development of this great nation,” he said.
Earlier, the the KOICA Country Director and Regional Representative, Sook Hyun Park, said the project was undertaken to stem the low attendance rate for primary schools in Nigeria estimated at 60.9 percent in 2016, which according to UNICEF, rated to be among the highest in the world.
In his speech, FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, said the completion of the school was made possible by the joint efforts of the FCT, the Korea government and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
”The FCT provided the land and infrastructure, the Korean government provided the funds while UBEC gave the necessary education advice, but remember that this is the first phase and it will run both primary and secondary school curricula,” he said.