The Country Director, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Mr Wiochan Chang has called for maximum use of its vocational and technical institute in Kogi.
Wiochan made the call in Lokoja when he visited the Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, in her Office.
He told journalists after the meeting that the Nigeria-Korea Friendship Institute of Vocational and Advanced Technology (NKFI) located in Kogi, was being underutilised due to low students enrollment.
”We talked about how to support NKFI to provide the best quality of technical and vocational education to students and residents of Kogi.
”We discussed various aspects on how to develop and support the institute, and ways to addressing its challenges.
”I was expecting to see more number of students in the class when I visited the institute. But the commissioner said the government has just secured the accreditation of NKFI courses in 2018.
”So, I think it needs some time to be fully operational and perform maximally.
”We have encouraged the state government to make more efforts to create more awareness about the institute,” Wiochan said.
The country director stressed the need to mobilise more people and let them realise the intended benefits in terms of vocational and technical development.
”I want Kogi government to leverage on this ample opportunity for the betterment of its citizens.
”I want to acknowledge that NKFI is a centre of excellence in vocational and advanced technology,” he stated.
He promised that KOICA would give additional support to the institute in terms of software, programming, and general upgrade.
In his response, the commissioner commended the country director for the visit and the support KOICA had been giving to the state.
Osikoya said that the state government had made great efforts to see that NKFI functioned maximally.
She said the state government was able to secure the accreditation of courses offered at the institute in 2018, and had successfully registered under the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) as one of the higher learning institutions.
She added that the state had also reclassified additional 17 schools to the existing four in the state, to enable each local government have technical and vocational colleges which were captured in the 2019 state budget.
Osikoya further said that the state had made provision for the recruitment of 3, 700 teachers; basically science, technical and vocational teachers to boost students interest in technology.
She, therefore, asked KOICA for more robust collaborations and additional support for NKFI to bridge the gaps in terms of provision of library and hardware, among other things.
She stressed the need for an MoU to strengthen the state’s existing relationship with KOICA and boost confidence.
”We do have some constraints, but we are trying against all odds that KOICA investment in Kogi is not forgotten.
”We will ensure it functions maximally, but we need additional support to bridge the gaps,” Osikoya said.