The President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Engr. Kashim Ali, has donated new sets of school uniforms worth about N2 million to 456 pupils of LGEA primary school Ofugo, Ankpa LGA, Kogi State.
It would be recalled that Engr. Ali, at the sixth edition of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) on March 30, promised to buy new sets of uniforms for all the three schools in the LEA Ofugo primary school premises.
Ali, who did his primary education at the school, told newsmen after the donation at the school premises, that it was a promise fulfilled.
”You were here with us some weeks ago when we did the ‘invent it; build it’ program by APWEN in collaboration with NNPC, to honour me.
”Then, I noticed that the uniforms that most of the children wore that day were not particularly appealing, and in my estimation, I thought there is something we could do about it.
”So, I promised to give new set of uniform for all the children of the three schools in this premises, and today, it is a promise fulfilled.
”The uniforms are now ready and that is why we are here to distribute to them,” Ali said.
Ali added that one most important thing was that a vocational centre in Olamaboro that is a non-governmental institute was contracted to sew the uniforms.
According to him, it is an organisation that was created to help those who are not privileged to get something to do, because most of the people in that vocational centre are school dropouts.
He expressed joy that school dropouts were being encouraged to do something on their own, describing it a a form of empowerment.
”I am particularly happy that the uniform was not just sewed by regular tailor but by young people who were unfortunate to dropout of school, but now have something they could do.
”They can now create wealth for themselves and giving them the confidence needed to become somebody in life.
He added that his excitement was heightened and emotional seeing the pupils shouting for joy when the uniforms were being brought down from the vehicle.
”The children’s action meant so much to me because I did not realise that these uniforms mean so much to them.
”But now that I know, I am already thinking of other things that I can do for them in addition, not because I have so much, but I think we should encourage them.
”Now that the uniform issue is settled, we would have to look at the books also, whether they have enough textbooks and exercise books, and from there we take it one at a time.
”The uniforms were produced by a vocational centre and there was a lot of rebate; conservatively, the whole thing is less than N2 million.
”I am hoping that this would encourage other people to do the same to the schools they attended, so that we can help government to deliver quality education to our children.
”What is most important is the desire do something for a fraction, if you cannot do for a whole school,” Ali said.
Mr Felicia Agubata, the President of APWEN, said he was excited that the promise made was being fulfilled by ensuring that 456 pupils got new school uniforms donated by COREN President.
She advised individuals to ensure that they go back to their roots, saying, ”we must always remember where we started from and give back to our community; no amount is too small”.
She noted that the Science and Technology Laboratory, promised to be built and equipped by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and managed by APWEN would be built in the next six months.
In her remarks, Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, commended the COREN President for the gesture to give back to his community, and enjoined others to emulate him.
”We are talking about funding education in Nigeria, and this will not be possible except all groups give support, and this is part of it.
”So, the burden on government providing essential services including uniforms is lessing by three schools, and I am excited.
”Let everyone adopt a school; Kogi ministry of education has encouraged people to adopt a school, and Engr. Ali has adopted three schools; he is now a model for others to follow. I am so excited,” the commissioner said.
She further expressed her joy that the second part of the gesture was that of the connection with the vocational skills’ centres.
According to her, people have made vocational skills theoretical and abstract, that you could just go to a vocational school and rather than ‘invent it, build it’ like APWEN is talking about; we just go there and tell stories.
She explained that a group of 16 dropout youth committed themselves to learning how to sew and within six months they develop this skill, and they got the encouragement to make standard uniforms, restating that she was excited.
The commissioner added that the 456 uniforms were sewed under two weeks by the trainees of the Chateko Vocational Institute of Ladi Memorial Foundation in Olamaboro, while expressing her excitement with the standard of the uniforms.
”Some persons think when you dropped out of school, that is the end for you; there is nothing else for you to do rather than become area boys, political thugs or cultists.
”If you give support and funding to technical and vocational schools, those ones should become projects for them to be able to turn things around.
”We need to encourage more people to pay attention to vocational skills centres.
”We can actually develop our economy by paying attention to science, technical and vocational sector.
”I am excited that this is happening under the leadership of Gov. Yahaya Bello; this is another great feat in Kogi education sector.
”Many thanks to APWEN for creating the platform to show case this,” the commissioner said.
Nasiru Suleiman, the Head boy of one of the schools, on behalf of the pupils, thanked Engr. Kashim Ali, for putting laughter in their mouth.
In the same vein, one of the Head Teachers of the schools, Mrs Lydia Peter, on behalf other head teachers expressed their gratitude to Engr Ali and APWEN, while thanking the commissioner for the good work she is doing in Kogi education sector.
A pair of school sandals were also distributed to each of the ten girls from ten different primary schools, who are the awardees of ”Engr Kashim Ali Engineering Scholarships for Girls”, by NNPC from primary to university level.
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