KOGI Government on Friday in Lokoja cautioned private school proprietors against withholding vital information as the 2021/2022-2023 Annual Schools Census began in the state.
Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Wemi Jones, gave the warning at a sensitisation meeting with stakeholders.
Jones appealed to private school proprietors in the state to open their doors to schools census officials to have access to accurate data, assuring that they had nothing to fear.
“There are several international grants that are available that can only be given to states that have accurate data to work with.
“I appeal that we take this exercise very seriously and not conjure figures.
“All top officials of the ministry will monitor the exercise and we shall be very firm and in dealing with schools that withhold information.
“Any school that withholds information will be severely dealt with,’’ he said.
The commissioner emphasised that Gov. Yahaya Bello was determined to leave a legacy that would be sustainable for the development of education in Kogi.
“In spite of political activities in the country, Kogi has not relented in the job of revamping education and this would continue until the last day of this government.
“Our focus is not just to be the best in education in the North Central geopolitical zone, but also in the whole of the northern parts of Nigeria and in Nigeria as a whole,’’ Jones stressed.
In her remarks, Secretary to Kogi State Government, Dr Folashade Ayoade, noted that without education there could not be any serious development.
Ayoade urged the stakeholders to take the census seriously, stressing that: “when we have accurate data, it will enable us to plan well and plan appropriately.
“I urge you to be committed, diligent and dedicated to the exercise in order to get the desired results for the benefits of all.’’
Earlier, the ministry’s Director of Planning Research and Statistics, Dr Elizabeth Animoku, said no educational system could move forward without accurate and effective data for planning and research.
She stressed that the 2023 schools census would be different as tablets would be deployed for digitised data collection, capturing and reporting.
“We want to know the number of children that are in and out of schools; the number of boys and girls; the number of teachers in both public and private schools in the state,’’ she said.
In their goodwill messages, the stakeholders assured the government of their total support to ensure the success of the exercise. (NAN)