The Transition of Nigeria-Korea Friendship Institute to a Monotechnic; Kogi’s Positive Trajectory in Education Sector

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It will be stale to mention that Kogi state for a while now has been getting it onions right in the education sector and over the last 8 years the Ministry has spearheaded a revolution that has positively affected the basic, secondary and tertiary institutions in Kogi state. This revitalisation which have now spanned two administrations have helped ensured the continuation of the good deeds of the immediate past administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello by the incumbent Gov. Ahmed Usman Ododo.

The Ministry of Education under the immediate past administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the direct supervision of the commissioner for Education, Hon. Wemi Jones achieved scalable heights in the areas of policies, programs and projects. Most notable was the surpassing of the state’s budgetary allocation to education beyond the global benchmark as well as the huge investments in educational infrastructure, employment of new teachers, giving rapt attention to the welfare of workers, reviving the basic, secondary and the tertiary education systems and many more. The Current administration of Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo has taken this many steps further by accepting the challenge of extending an impactful consolidation.

Placing very stringent emphasis on tertiary education, the Ministry ensured that all the newly and already established higher institutions of learning were accorded preferential treatment and the needed attention which has spurred them to achieve remarkable results and further strengthened their service delivery and ability to impact knowledge on the students. The Nigeria Korea Friendship Institute of Vocational and Advanced Technology was not left out of the Education focussed administration’s strides, particularly efforts to revive science technology and vocational oriented learning.

Under the leadership of Williams Charles Oluwatoyin’s management with the maximum support of the relevant stakeholders including the state Ministry of Education the NKFI has transformed from an organisation gasping for breathe to one which could not only offer relevant and 21st century advanced training, but also rally round young people and ignite their interest in vocational and technical learning.

While it remained crystal clear that the Rector could not have achieve some of these laudable progress without the necessary support of relevant Stakeholders, some of identified success stories reflected a resolve by the Rector and the institution’s management to make a mark and ensure that the institute enjoyed progress and never remained the same in all regards.

With such a passionate burden, the management as soon as it came on board agreed to rebrand, rejuvenate and reposition the School in a bid to enhance its maximal delivery as an Institution of great national repute and international standard, with a desire of nurturing young employable youths, that are industrially relevant.

The institute could boast of machineries which were not available in many contemporary higher institutions of learning and only be found in full scale industrial settings, many of which were with the intent of employing only those with hands on experience in specific areas of learning and industrial functionality. In fact in every department of the institute including; Electrical Electronic Technology, Welding and Fabrication, Automotive Mechatronics, computer software engineering, Networking and system security, practical learning is given 70% of the curriculum and were never lacking in the required training facility and well trained instructors.

This discovery led to a resolution on with the full support of the Governing council and the management alongside it sponsoring partner I.e Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Kogi State government, that the institute must be given an accurate publicity deserving in the public’s eye.

The Institute and it’s partnering sponsors, KOICA and Kogi state Government had the resolution to ensure that the public were abreast with the knowledge of this great and all important institute of vocational and Technical learning. According to the Rector this effort was garnered towards many end results that revolved around publicity, public positive perception, public information and all summed up to the positive positioning of the institute and facilitate more student’s interest in enrolling with the institute. In the first year, the Rector, who is also a trained media personnel was all out on vast publicity efforts. The effort resulted to a massive increase in the number of students enrolled in the school as against what was on ground with several enquiries from several quarters.

The management of NKFI could also boast of the following achievements which includes the institute having an historic 120% growth rate in the population of its student and a surge in enquiries, even from persons outside Kogi state within the first few months after a renewed efforts was placed on publicity. With a resounding understanding of the role and relevance of technology and the need for it’s activity to be standardised and go beyond the immediate shores of its environment, the management facilitated the designing and launch of the institute’s website for the first time since its establishment which would facilitate a wider visibility.

The institute also rebranded four massive billboards to advertise all of which yielded positive awareness outcomes. Beyond some of the publicity strides and visibility activities were efforts towards the physical aesthetics of the institute which is located along felele express road; a very busy commercial transitory nerve of the Lokoja. The institute got a new look and an overhauling facelift which have enhanced learning ease and efficiency. The Rector recalled that on resumption in over a year and 9 months ago, the Institute could be best described as a forest where weeds had overgrown its premises, but the story changed almost immediately.

One of the most immediate success was re enlisting the NKFI on the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) portal a situation which had not existed for a very long time. This singular effort ensured that the process of seeking and getting admission into the institute became standardised and applicant could directly choose the institute as their most preferred option just like every other institute across the country. NKFI in the last few years also incorporated accessibility of the results online, from any location, signalling another step towards standardisation of operations.

The Institute which desired to align with the growing trend of remote learning, particularly in areas that were 21st century Information, Communication and Technology oriented, some of the courses introduced in the span of 6-months included, professional certifications in Cybersecurity, Scrum Master and Project management, Creating special up skilling programmes for Artisans were also given the opportunity to also upgrade their skills at the institute. The institute also commenced training in areas of photography, cinematography and editing.

Other very remarkable efforts made by the institution management includes the Provision of running water system to the institution after facilitating a bore hole water system, Provision and installation of Air-conditional system across the institution including administrative offices, lecture halls, Purchase of generators to aide the work due to lacklustre power supply. The management was also able to restore power and also facilitate internet access to the campus

In the areas of academic exploits, the institution in the last few years has created a Directorate of Student services (DSS). The institution converted Automotive Mechatronic from a Certificate program to a National innovative Diploma program.

The Institute also held its 3rd Matriculation / Orientation of 2022/2023 regular students after a long while an event which signified adherence to best academic practices.

In what could be described as another attestation of the benefits the institute portends to its students the testimony of two graduates from the Nigeria-Korea Friendship institute who were offered mouth watery job employment offers at the Grand Cereal Limited (GCL), a subsidiary of UAC Nigeria PLC, following a specific indication of interest by the organisation in the graduates of the institute for a trainee program fits in perfectly.

In a very rare event, earlier in march, 2023 Grand Cereal Limited expressed intention to recruit best graduates from NKFI for their one-year Technical Traineeship Programme with the aim of equipping them with the right competencies to assume technical roles with an offering of automatic employment upon completion. The manufacturing organisation in their earlier correspondence revealed that NKFI was highly recommended as an institute that provides one of the best technical graduates in the region, hence their decision to enter into a long term partnership of sourcing for competent hands for their organisation. The two students as detailed in their letter of appointment dated May 22 titled ”Appointment as Technical Trainee in Grand Cereals Limited’’ were billed to resume on June 1 in Jos Plateau state to Salary and Allowances of grossly over N500, 000 monthly take home.

When it comes to commitment to community development and corporate social Responsibility, the management of the institute under the searchlight of the Rector, identified three talented young students who built SUV jeeps during their school exhibition. These three gifted and innovative students of Saint Peters College Idah, Kogi state, were awarded automatic scholarships by the management of Korea – Nigeria Friendship Institute (NKFI). The institute in a bid to also encourage young talents have also offered scholarships to young indigent individuals from Lokoja LGA.

In what could be described as yet another giant leap, the Nigeria-Korea Friendship Institute got a full accreditation of all its five course by the National Board of Technical Education

The good news about the Nigeria-Korea friendship Institute is that the culmination of all these accolades and success stories as enabled by the thriving atmosphere created by the state’s ministry of Education has fast tracked the transition of the institute to a Monotechnic, a status confirmed by NBTE haven realised that the institution has more to offer.

While it remained very certain that the NKFI under the very deliberate and purposeful leadership of the Kogi state Governor would continue to witness growth. The reason is not far fetched, the governor under his education friendly policies have made commitments to ensuring that higher institutions of learning are well positioned to deliver maximally on their mandate. The institution on his on path have resolved to Leveraging on the planned resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel company, plans for Innovation and Digital Economy under President Tinubu Renewed Hope agenda and Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo youth empowerment and vocational acquisition drive.

– Ademola Emmanuel Akadiri writes from Lokoja.

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