By Femi Adi
Apparently worried about the recent hike in tuition fees of State owned tertiary institutions, former House of Representatives member and running mate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 guber Election ,Hon. Marshal Katung has launched a scholarship scheme .
According to him, the scheme which is established under the auspices Marshall Katung Foundation will in the first phase assist indigent students in higher Institutions from ten local government areas of Kaduna State .
Briefing Journalists today at a press conference held in Kaduna , the founder , Hon. Sunday Marshal Katung explained : “In the first phase of our intervention, we are going to give scholarships to vulnerable students from 10 Local Government areas (LGAs) comprising of Chikun , Kajuru, Kachia, Zango kataf, Jaba, kauru , Kaura, Jemaa, Sanga and kagarko, studying in Kaduna State University, College of Education Gidan Waya, Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic and College of Nursing, Kafanchan.
Towards this end, he said a dedicated website with a portal that eligible students from these institutions would apply through has been created, adding that in the second, phase, it is hoped that students studying in other institutions will be captured accordingly. “But the Marshall Katung foundation isn’t restricted to only intervening in the tertiary institutions because we have done interventions on a lot of students in some secondary schools.
We have also distributed aid to the displaced ones among us while feeding more than 1000 households during the COVID-19 lockdown in particular.
Hon. Katung who was the running mate to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate in the 2019 general election said education is key, and expressed worries with the spate of out of school children particularly in the North.
“Conscious of this, we have decided to compliment the efforts of people of goodwill that are interested in improving the educational standard of the country by initiating a strategy to help the vulnerable students to pay their school fees.
“Why are we preparing to give scholarship to tertiary students now? The general insecurity in Kaduna state has resulted in the temporary closure or relocation of about two tertiary institutions and about 18 boarding secondary schools.
“This has resulted in some students staying at home – idle. And we know that from the state of idleness comes the possibility of indulging in crimes with its negative implication. That’s why Victor Hugo said whoever opens a school door closes a prison door.
“And for us, we are not only concerned with opening school opportunities for our students but also giving them hope for the future. We also want to call on the Kaduna State Government to reduce the school fees being demanded from students of its educational institutions.
“This increment is coming amid a global economic contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was buttressed by the International Monetary Fund which noted that the global economy shrunk by 3.5 per cent in 2020. This represents the deepest global recession since the Second World War.
“The World Bank also estimates that COVID-19 has pushed an additional 88 to 115 million people into extreme poverty last year. And low-income families are the worst hit. Nigeria isn’t excluded from this. “So this and the pervasive insecurity in our state forms the biggest basis upon which we are appealing to the Kaduna state government to reduce the school fees so the children of the poor can have the opportunity of getting an education.
“Moreover, access to affordable education should be seen as the welfare responsibility of a state to its citizens and not be turned into a profit making venture. Leaders who got educated for free in the past have a moral obligation of currently ensuring that school fees stops no one from being educated. “Governance to me must aim at producing happiness at the highest level for all. The marshal katung foundation is now inviting potential students to apply through https://marshalkatungfoundation.org/student-welfare-scheme/ “.
The founder disclosed that the second phase of the scholarship scheme will accommodate other local government areas in the State.