From Effiong, Uyo
Rapid or retarded growth of any society has been attributed to the quality of education given to the youth as well as the reliability of development data accumulated by such a society.
The former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and governorship aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the state, Mr Onofiok Luke, who made this assertion while consulting alumni of Lutheran High School, and members of the NUJ, Akwa Ibom State Council of his aspiration on Monday, said the result of years of investment in education in Akwa Ibom cannot be measured because of the absence of data.
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Luke said, as a product of a public school, he is not satisfied with the crop of students currently churned out of schools, as such he would support the review of the education curriculum to reflect current job demands, redirect focus to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education as well as create a State Teaching Commission to look after the welfare of teachers and ensure professionalism in the teaching profession.
Luke, who is representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/ Nsit Ubium federal constituency. at the National Assembly, also promised to leverage Governor Udom Emmanuel‘s 10-year education roadmap to inject new energy into the education sector as well as change the mentality of Akwa Ibom youths from being job seekers to creators of jobs.
“I am a product of public school. I am not very comfortable with the products churned out now by our public schools, we will support missions that own public schools so that they can help us impart to our children values and sound education that schools like Lutheran High School, Etinan Institute, Boys High School Oron, Cornelia Connelly College, Adiaha Obong Secondary School, were known for.
“The elementary level education is the foundation, so we must get it right. As part of our social contract with the Akwa Ibom people, we will establish a State Statistics Commission so that our investments and policies on education will be data-driven.
“We would like to know the number of teachers per subject in our schools and their spread across the State. This will guide our decision to strategically invest in faculties in state-owned tertiary institutions training manpower in subject areas where there are personnel deficits, for our primary and secondary schools”.
“To promote interest in subject areas where there are personnel deficits, we will subsidise tuition fees and give scholarships where necessary to our students studying such courses in our College of Education, Polytechnics and Universities. We will give incentives to those who are studying education so that our people will choose education as their first choice and not as a last resort. We will ensure prompt payment of emolument and due to retirees.”
He promised to give more incentive to personnel, create opportunities for exchange programmes between schools in the state and abroad, build a faculty whose membership in the teaching profession will be borne out of passion and not a last resort, and create a State Teaching Commission to look after the welfare of teachers and ensure professionalism in the teaching profession.
Luke also made some donations towards the completion of the NUJ auditorium; stressing that having been part of the union by association and through studies at the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) at the Press Centre, he would ensure that the welfare of the members would be given topmost priority.
Responding, the international president of Lutheran High School Obot Idim alumni association, Mr Billy Etuk, expressed confidence in Luke’s leadership and encouraged alumni of the school at home and in the diaspora to support his aspiration.
“You were a member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, you did well. You were a Speaker and you did well. You are representing the Etinan federal constituency, you are doing well. We have no doubt that you will do well if elected governor. I am calling on our alumni everywhere in the world to rise up and support one of us”, Etuk said.
The Akwa Ibom State Chairman of NUJ, Amos Etuk, congratulated Luke on his vision for the state and thanked him for always being a friend of the Union.
Etuk promised that as a professional body, the union would give equal opportunities to all the as[pirants; but he appealed to him to remember the union and its members when he becomes governor.