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STETSCOM: Untold story of ‘Change that brought successes’ in Kogi schools [Feature]

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The story of Kogi State Science, Technical Education and Teaching Service Commission (STETSCOM), hasn’t been what it used to be in terms of quality in Science and Technical education. Unarguably, things have changed for the better among teachers, and staff of schools in the State Science and Technical schools in the three Senatorial flanks in Kogi State.

The administrative prowess of the Chairman of STETSCOM, Mrs Cecilia Cook, a time tested administrator, a woman of courage and discipline, who accepts nothing less than due process has within her period as overseer of the agency under Kogi State Ministry of Education changed the past ugly narratives.

There are 285 Schools directly under STETSCOM in the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State with about 4,532 teaching and non-teaching staff. But in her strive to drive Educational Policy in Kogi State, there.was need to transfer school principals and teachers. Transfers, as it were, shouldn’t be seen as a punishment and shouldn’t be an issue of bribe for.any reason, but as a way of advancing the cause of education in the State as transfer occur, the receiving school is embraced with fresh idea of the posted Principal.

As a matter of policy, too, transfer of principals are normal civil service routine, which the Commission has been empowered by law to transfer school Principals after every five years in a particular school. In that case, no Principal of a School should remain for five years without being transferred.

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Unfortunately, the situation that Mrs Cook met was such that some people have spent up to 15 years as principals in some schools and they have constituted themselves into the ‘Lord of the Manor’ without any development. These elements tried to resist attempts to be transferred to another school by concocting all manners of intimidation and the resort to churning lies against the STETSCOM management. This is rather condemnable!

It is no wonder that STETSCOM did a screening of Principals across schools in the three Senatorial flanks to ascertain the years Principals have spent in each school. This exercise is no doubt a healthy development and transfers done in this regard shouldn’t be attributed to ethnic cleavages or be attributed to any sentiment.

Educational pursuit in Kogi State or the world over must be free of politics, ethnic sentiments and religious bigotry so as to attain its heights particularly in the highly technologically driven 21st century economy. It is on this premise, that ‘bribe for transfer allegation’ against STETSCOM management last week, might be an attempt to rubbish the good works under the leadership of Mrs Cook by elements who want the ‘status quo’ to continue.

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“Under the new Education Policy, any Principal of a Science Secondary school must be science inclined so as to add value to school administration, hence the recent redeployment of teachers which is across all schools in the state.

One strategic move of the STETSCOM Chairman worthy of note is the posting of Principals to schools of their relevant area of discipline. When a Science trained Principal is posted to a Science School; it”s nothing short of a ’round peg in a round role.’ This is not only commendable, but it is in the interest of upcoming Kogi children as the principal will have idea of correcting errors in the academic work books and supervise the teaching of science subjects well.

While reacting to media.allegations, the Chairman explained her position, thus:
“You cannot head a science school if you did not study one of the core science subjects. For example, a practical might be going on in a school and if you don’t have an idea as a principal, how can you correct your teachers?

“In the new Education Policy, those that are science oriented should head all science schools, that is what we are doing to improve science and technology in the state.”

She noted that the era when an Art Teacher will be heading Science school is over as the present administration is committed to doing the right thing for the betterment of education in Kogi.

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It is therefore, imperative to emphasise that STETSCOM need the cooperation of all stakeholders to push the quality of education at secondary level farther even as products of those schools would soon be competing with their counterparts outside the State and around the world.

In complementing the effort of the agency, quality teachers should be recruited and kitted enough to teach the students, while resources should be made available for effective supervisory role of STETSCOM to ensure that Kogi State is always ahead of its contemporaries.

The Yahaya Bello administration must be commended for its zero tolerance for corruption in the educational sector in Kogi State, a stance being understood by STETSCOM management which they were also deepening it at the various Secondary Schools. The development has led to examination bodies like the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO) not blacklisting any Secondary School any where in the State as a result of examination malpractices.

As STETSCOM works harder to sustain this ethics, it is hoped and believed that the governor would address some basic needs of the agency in order to actualise its set mandates.

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