By Stephen Adeleye
The Kogi State Government, on Tuesday extended the distribution of free science textbooks to Senior Secondary Secondary (SSS 2) students in public schools in the Eastern Senatorial district of the state.
The free 11,000 Chemistry and Physics textbooks, was sponsored and donated by Alhaji Usman Ododo, the Kogi Auditor-General for Local Government, in support of the State Government’s School Adoption and Mentorship Programme.
Speaking at Our Lady of Schools (OLS), Anyigba, Gov. Yahaya Bello, commended the donor for boosting his Administration’s effort to revamping education and for extending the gesture across all the three senatorial district.
Bello, who was represented by the State’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, said that the distribution of the 11,000 science textbooks was inaugurated on November 12, at Okene, in Kogi Central.
Bello reaffirmed his commitment to continue to give utmost priority to education sector particularly the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The governor stressed that education remained the most expensive venture that any government could fund, and expressed his full support for the school adoption and mentorship programme.
The governor enjoined individuals and organisations to support government’s efforts through its School Adoption and Mentorship Programme to bringing back the glory of education in the state.
The governor advised the schools’ principals against selling the textbooks, saying government had put machinery in motion to ensure the books were effectively utilised as intended.
Bello noted that the education ministry was already working with another individual who has volunteered to sponsor the production of Mathematics textbooks.
He further said that the state government during the recent State Executive Council (SEC) meeting, approved the elongation of service years for teachers from 35 to 40 years in service as well as 60 to 65 years’ retirement age.
The governor stressed that Kogi remained the first State to domesticate such education policy of the federal government on the elongation of teachers’ service years.
He disclosed that the government would round up the ongoing teachers’ recruitment processes in the next two weeks.
”We need adequate and competent human resources that will teach in our schools, and that is why we have ensured a transparent recruitment processes from the aptitude test to the final employment.
”You can not achieve anything meaningful in life without education. We are bringing back the glory of education to Kogi State,” he said.
He, therefore urged the students to utilise the textbooks effectively by studying hard, saying there was no more room for examination malpractice in the state.
The governor warned that any erring student, teacher as well as parent involved in examination malpractice would be prosecuted in line with the newly enacted education law of the state.
In their goodwill messages, Mr David Apeh, Kogi Commissioner for Agriculture; Dr Gabriel Ottah, Special Adviser to the Governor on Information & Communication; and Prof. Daniel Atidoga, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Prince Abubakar Audu University (PAAU), all commended the donor for the gesture.
They praised the governor for given topmost priority to education and his determination and commitment to revamping the sector in the state.
They commended the education commissioner for the initiative and for his unprecedented achievements in the sector, saying history would not forget him.
On their part, Mr Robert Awodi, the President of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), and Mr Ojo Ranti, the state’s Chairman, Academic Staff Union Of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), both thanked the donor for extending the distribution of the textbooks across the state.
The unions commended the governor for given approval for elongation service years and retirement age for teachers in the state.
Some of the students, Fatima Yusuf from Holy Rosery College, Idah; Umar Farouk, and Goodness Egbunu from Community Secondary, Abocho, all expressed their excitement over the free textbooks, saying it would help them to pass their exams.