By Ibrahim Oyewale, Lokoja
The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Honorable Wemi Jones has reteraited the commitment of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration to revamping technical education in the state.
Jones who gave the assurance after he led a team on an inspection tour of the facilities at the two Government Technical Colleges in Ankpa and Idah in the Eastern senatorial district of the state, said the government was looking at revamping the colleges to admit more students into the new Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara.
”As I have said it severally in various fora that Alhaji 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-owned 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 fit our students into those state owned tertiary institutions .The government can not afford to allow learners from neighbouring states to be beneficiaries of the institutions than the indigenes who laboured for them.
”We must support our indigenous learners from Kogi to be the primary beneficiaries of whatever we are doing in our institutions, ” he stressed, adding that this is why the team was there to visit the technical colleges to know the level of work done in rehabilitating and revamping them.
”Presently, we have four state owned 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 an 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 resuscitation of the four existing technical colleges in the 2021 budget, urging the host communities to those colleges to stop encroaching on the school’s land.
He warned that government would do everything possible to recover all the school land across the state, and that it 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’s land, and the law is going to catch up with you very soon,” Jones said.