The Kogi Government, on Monday, commenced the data capturing of public primary schools in the state to ensure effective educational planning.
It would be recalled that the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, had recently concluded the data capturing of private schools in the state where the ministry said it achieved over 80 per cent success.
The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, while addressing the headteachers at the ministry in Lokoja, commended them for their cooperation.
Jones said the data capturing of all private schools had been carried out by the Ministry and hence the need to extend it to public schools as part of the government’s plans to boost teachers’ welfare and revamping the education sector in Kogi State.
He stressed the need to have accurate data in terms of the number of teachers as well as their qualifications, pupils, infrastructures, facilities, conduciveness for learning and other vital information that would aid effective educational planning.
“We want to take us back to that era where primary education becomes the true foundation of education in the state, hence the need to have an idea of what is happening at the primary school level.
“The most important thing to us as a government is laying a good foundation. If you have good structure and facilities, but the people that are supposed to take care of our children are not motivated, how will they deliver effectively?
“So, we need you to give us the accurate figure of all the required information to ensure proper educational planning.
“Let me assure you that in no distant time from now your welfare shall be improved,” he said.
He urged the teachers to freely communicate with the ministry and made their grievances known across the board so that the ministry could address them.
He restated the commitment of Governor Yahaya Bello led administration to promote girl-child education, urging the teachers to ensure that girls have access and utilise the Guardian and Counseling Unit available in schools
He reiterated that Kogi now has State Education Law 2020, which has empowered the Ministry to effectively carried out its functional mandate including the closure of any erring school that failed to register.
The Commissioner stressed that the ministry has got the power to close down schools that failed to comply with certain provisions of the law.
He said that the ministry has put all the necessary arrangements in place to close down all unregistered schools in the state when schools resume this September 2021.
He said: ”For a child of school age to be out of school and on the streets during the school hour is now prohibited, and any erring parent would be prosecuted”.
Jones added that the international donors were ready to assist educators in the state but that could not happen when there was no reliable data to work it.
He, therefore enjoined the teachers to encourage their colleagues both in private and public schools in various communities to come and be captured for their own benefits.
“This is an exercise that His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is very much interested in, for effective educational planning in the state.
“You are very important stakeholders, so please join hands with us and support us to ensure we get the desire results in transforming education in Kogi State,” he said.
Earlier, the Director Education Planning, Research and Statistics (EPRS) of the ministry, Dr Elizabeth Animoku, urged the teachers to give accurate data about their schools to the ministry, saying data remained a vital key in education planning.
In their responses, some of the teachers commended the state government and the ministry for the initiative but, however, appealed for the review of the issue of percentage payment of salaries to primary school teachers.
Hajia Hadizat Abubakar, Head Teacher of Islamiya School 2, Kabawa, Lokoja, appealed to the commissioner to help convey their message to the government to stop payment of percentage salary to teachers in primary school and pay full salary.
The required information for the data capturing includes: number of classrooms, pupils, level of operations, teachers and their qualifications, and new entrant enrolment for the 2020/2021 session.
Others are; number of chairs, tables, desks, toilets, computers and their usabilities, library condition, laboratories and other relevant details.