Kwara State Government has earmarked N200 million as bursary for students from the state in tertiary institutions across the country.
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq made this known on Thursday at a meeting with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Kwara branch, at the government house in Ilorin.
According to him, this administration has jerked up bursary for students from N100 million inherited from the last administration to N200 million in the revised budget just passed by the Kwara State House of Assembly.
He, however, said that bursary would be paid directly to individual beneficiaries based on an online database already being generated by the Ministry of Education.
“Now we are insisting on the disbursement of bursary directly to the students.
“The reason for that is that when I looked at the Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government; market moni, N-Power and trader moni, I noticed that every beneficiary was getting their money because it is a direct alert to them.
“But the Federal Government’s other intervention projects like rice and cassava hardly got anywhere because some people were just diverting it. So I don’t want students’ money to be diverted,” he said.
AbdulRazaq, however, said he was surprised that the state did not have a database for students.
“There should be a database, which the ministry of education is now doing. It is on the basis of having a database that they can disburse to the students directly.
“That database, once it is robust and interactive, will be shared with the students and unions across all the institutions.
“With this, students’ unions can even hold elections online. That is e-governance that is where we are going to. We are not going to wait for the world to leave us behind,” he said.
AbdulRazaq also promised to ensure that students were carried along on issues affecting them, urging them to shun hard drugs and other habits that could be inimical to their future.
The governor added that the government would spend N100 million to renovate the State Library Complex and use it as a launchpad for e-learning and temporary headquarters for the state’s innovation hub.
He said the renovation work would begin very soon as part of his efforts to reposition the education sector in the state.
According to AbdulRazaq, it will prepare the youths for a brighter future built on innovative skills and opportunities to be among the best in the country.
“We are going to have an innovation hub here. I have recently visited the state library and it is in a bad situation.
“The books are not up-to-date and the roof is leaking. The whole place is decrepit.
“So, we are going to spend N100 million to fix it. Once it is fixed, we will begin our innovation hub there as a temporary site.
“We will get some space there for e-learning process with free internet access so that people can go and do what they need to do,” the governor added.
Earlier, NANS president in Kwara, who led the team, Adebayo Olosasa, commended the governor for his giant strides in the education sector and other areas since his inauguration.
He called on the governor to pay more attention to the needs of the students across the state.
Olosasa appealed to the governor to revive the practice of giving subvention and operational buses to the students’ bodies as were done by the late former Governor Mohammed Lawal.
He commended AbdulRazaq for the nomination of Miss Joanna Kolo, calling on him to consider appointing one of the students’ leaders ‘who understand our situation’ as Special Assistant on Student Matters.