Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State on Wednesday, says his administration has concluded plan to establish more technical colleges across the 21 local government areas of the state.
Mr Bello disclosed this at the 1st matriculation of the 2017/2018 Regular Students and Graduation of 2nd Batch of Short Term Courses of Nigeria-Korea Friendship Institute of Vocational and Advanced Technology (NKFI) in Lokoja, the state capital.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja, said the state presently had four technical colleges.
According him, the aim is to bring technical and vocational skills acquisition closer to grassroots.
“Since inception of this government, we have been given maximum support to education, including NKFI, to ensure that it realises its purpose of establishment.
“Today, we are here graduating students and also matriculating new set of students, the first of its kind since the inception of the institution.
“We are encouraging more of our youths to take skills acquisition in technical and vocational areas, the major need of society today, to be self-reliant and be employers of labour.
“Once you can have skills that provide solutions to the needs of the society, you are inadvertently creating wealth in such society,” Bello said.
The governor advised the grandaunts to synergise, partner and network to start small and provide effective services while urging the matriculating students to focus on their purpose of coming to the institution.
Rosemary Osikoya, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, commended the Nigerian and Korean Governments for the partnership in making establishment of the institution and possible.
According Mrs Osikoya, education equips people with skills and give them the opportunity to meet their needs as well as enable them to make great impacts in the society.
The commissioner said emphasis on sustainable diversification of the economy should be on improvement in vocational and technical skills training.
“Gov. Yayaya Bello administration has been given support to the NKFI through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, which is the result of what you are seeing here today.
“In spite the lean resources, we are engaging in collaborations with approval of the state executive council, hopefully we will have one government technical college in each LGA as from 2018/2019 academic session,” Mrs Osikoya said.
The Principal of NKFI, Okewu Gabriel, 58 grandaunts, comprising 56 males and 2 females, had successfully been trained on short term courses for three and six months, depending on the choice of courses.
Mr Okewu said 75 students were matriculated into various two-year courses and programmes in the institute, the first since the full commencement of academic activities in 2015.
He said all courses offered by the institute had been accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
He also said the focus of the institute was basically on skills acquisition through technical and vocational training.
According to him, the accredited courses are: Electrical/Electronic Technology, Welding/Fabrication, Networking and System Security, Computer Software Engineering, and Automotive Mechatronics.
Paulin Ajibili, Kogi State Coordinator of NABTEB, told journalists that the institute was collaborating with the board to certify the trained people in various skills acquisition.
She said that the certificate issued by the institute “can be use anywhere in the world.”
One of the graduates, Ndime Christopher, who did ICT, told journalists that the experience was wholesome, adding that it would help me to be self-reliant.
“The training was concrete, not abstract; I believed we have tried our best in the training because the materials were on ground for us.
“I want to appreciate Kogi and Korean governments for the partnership“.