By Stephen Adeleye
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has charged education stakeholders to develop a workable and reliable State Education Sector Plan (SESP) and State Education Strategic Operational Plan (SESOP) that would reflect the critical needs to delivering quality education in the state.
The Governor gave the advice at the Stakeholders Dissemination Meeting on the Drafted State Education Sector Plan (SESP) and State Education Strategic Operational Plan (SESOP), held at Glass House, Government House on Thursday.
Bello, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, Chief Asiwaju Asiru Idris, said there was no better time to plan for education development in the state than now.
He stressed that education remained his top most priority and it occupied the largest part of the state budget of 20 per cent allocation from 2021 till the end of his tenure.
According to him, if we are to be part of the 21st Century, Education, Science and Technology is very key, hence the need to put together a workable and reliable SESP and SESOP that would address the critical needs in the state education sector.
The governor commended the commissioner for initiating the SESP and SESOP project, and the entire staff of the ministry and all other stakeholders that had contributed to the draft and development of the sector plan.
He urged them to put in their best to ensure a workable, reliable and realizable SESP and SESOP, while assuring the ministry of his continuous support to education development in the state.
,He challenged the ministry and the stakeholders to do everything possible to make sure that education achieve greater heights and make Kogi the best State in Education sector in Nigeria.
”By the grace of God, we will ensure that we support you to achieve this goal”, he said.
The state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, commended all the relevant stakeholders for coming together to strategise on how to propel the education sector to a higher dimension.
According to Jones, globally, education has assumed a central focus in most countries as a determining factor for economic development as well as development of social capital.
He stressed that quality and sustainable education can only be achieved through evidence based education sector plan.
”The Kogi State Education Strategic Operational Sector Plan is a three-year plan from 2021 to 2023, derived from the State Education Sector Plan (SESP) which is ten-year plan from 2021 to 2030.
He stressed that the sector plan was primarily needed to understand the undermining factors impeding the quality delivery in the education sector and offer a way to resolving them.
”Kogi State investment in education needs to be guided by evidence based plans by the development of SESP and SESOP to ensure implementation of strategies that are realistic, effective and yield the desires changes.
”’On completion of the SESP and publication of Annual School Census, Kogi State stands to gain positive attention from both international and local donor agencies that are concerned with educational development at basic, post basic and tertiary levels.
”It is expected that the SESOP will inform the annual budget going forward”, he said.
He stressed that Kogi has not been able to enjoy the support of international donor agencies because of the absence of verifiable data in education.
He thanked all the stakeholders from the state MDAs for the efforts that had put in so far in the development of the draft for the SESP and SESOP, noting that there would be another final meeting for proper fine tuning.
”The essence of this, is for us to come up with the realizable target, correct data that we can use to approach funding agencies to access the support being giving to other states”, Jones said.
Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of Confluence University Of Science and Technology, (CUSTECH), Osara, Prof. Engr. Salawu Sadiku, said the university was established to bridge the admission gap that Kogi indigenes had hitherto been facing in getting admitted to study the courses of their choice in other universities especially in science and engineering.
According to Sadiku, in 2018 the number of candidates from Kogi who sat for JAMB was over 60,000 but only 5000 of them were able to secure admission into higher institutions in spite the fact that they qualified.
He promised not to fail the government and the people of Kogi State to ensure that the new institution delivered on its mandates.
He appreciated the governor for the huge resources he had committed so far into the CUSTECH project, while commending the Commissioner for his support and great transformation in education sector.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Chairman of SUBEB, Mr Suleiman Ndalaye Abdullahi, and the Chairperson of STETSCOM, Mrs Cecilia Cook, commended the Commissioner for initiating the sector plan, saying it would make education to regain its lost glory in Kogi and take the sector to a greater height.
They also commended Gov. Yahaya Bello, for his commitment to the education sector and for ensuring the budgetary allocation of 20 per cent to the sector.
Dr Elizabeth Animoku, the Acting Director of PRS of the Ministry, presented the overview of drafted SESP and SESOP to the stakeholders at the meeting for appraisal.
Animoku noted that the sector plan had been divided into five thematic areas, adding that the SESOP is three-year plan derived from the SESP which is 10 years’ plan.
In his vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Pastor Emmanuel Idenyi, expressed the ministry’s profound gratitude to all the invited guests for honouring the invitation inspite of the short notice.
Idenyi solicited for the stakeholders’ continued support to produce a workable sector and strategic plan for the State.
Stakeholders present at the meeting were: all heads of the State’s tertiary institutions, ministry’s MDAs, TRCN, NYSC, CSOs, NGOs, CAN, JNI, NLC, NUJ, NUT, NTI, NABTEB, NAPPS, Private Universities, among others.