Kwara: Using Education As Catalyst Of Development, Wealth Creation
The administration of governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state is not leaving any stone unturned in its determination to accord education a pride of place in the scheme of things. The government's decision is in recognition of the important role education plays in the lives of individuals and society at large. Governor Ahmedís administration is implementing free education at both the basic and secondary schools level and has been meeting it's obligations to teachers in its employment. As part of efforts to make Kwara youths wealth creators and employers of labour as against being job seekers,the state government has established a World class International Vocational and Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC), Ajase-Ipo. The school which is set to commence academic programme anytime from now was officially commissioned late last year by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. During the commissioning ceremony, Osinbajo hailed Governor Ahmed's foresightedness and recommended IVTEC model to other states of the federation. The state has also commenced construction works on the other two campuses of Kwara state University (KWASU) in Ilesha-Baruba and Osi, Baruten and Ekiti local government areas of the state. The governor laid the foundation of the IVTEC in September 2012 in line with his commitment to youth empowerment and human capital development. The establishment of Malete main campus and other KWASU campuses is aimed at making the institution produces highly skilled graduates that will become top players in the competitive global economy of the 21st century. All these capital projects in spite of the lean resources of the state government are being executed through the state Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK) established in 2016. The governor said "when I inaugurated the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK) in 2016, I made a commitment to initiate and complete new and ongoing infrastructure projects. According to him, "Our government has since made good on that commitment with the commencement of new projects such as the Geri Alimi Diamond Underpass and a new campus for the Kwara State University at Ilesha Baruba. He said, "As we flag off construction of Kwara State University, Ekiti Campus, this project provides an eloquent testimony to the fact that IFK has strengthened our government's capacity to meet its obligations despite the current economic challenges. He buttressed that, " this event validates our commitment to the three-campus model for KWASU, as enshrined in its blueprint, following the ongoing work at the Ilesha Baruba site of the university. The governor explained that "It similarly underlines our determination to expand access to quality higher education while providing cutting edge skills and research for industry. He maintained that, "In keeping with current local realities and global trends, the three campuses of KWASU are designed to eventually run on a sustainable platform without subvention from the state government. "This means they must run on a model that guarantees efficiency by offering courses that are market relevant and are in demand by the growing number of applicants within and outside the country. He added." The governor maintained that, "We are building on the legacy of the previous administration, which established the university, and bringing the KWASU multi-campus model to reality, among others, our administration has demonstrated, in concrete terms, the value and importance of continuity in governance. He said, "Only a government of continuity like ours could have believed in and up-scaled the vision of the university's founders." Ahmed, said, In this regard, the Kwara state government designed the curriculum at IVTEC in partnership with the Nigerian Employers' Consultative Association (NECA) to guarantee that the education received at the center meets the mid-level manpower needs of today's employers. He noted that "Similarly, the KWASU campus in Ilesha Baruba is strategically located in the agrarian belt of the state to provide students with the opportunity of hands-on experience and boost the region. Ahmed stressed that In addition, the KWASU School for Business and Governance, Ilorin is poised to provide middle level professionals with access to quality post graduate education that will enhance their leadership and professional skills. "On its part, the KWASU Ekiti campus will groom scientists and thinkers that will proffer practical solutions to the various problems that plague the country." The governor therefore, solicited for closer links between tertiary education and the country's economic and technological aspirations to ensure that education is more relevant to our national objectives. On IVTEC, he said his administration needs a sum of N13 billion in the next five years, to expand the college.