The member representing Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom Federal Constituency in the National Assembly and governorship aspirant in the 2023 election, Mr Onofiok Luke,has said that his investment in education will adopt three-prong focus on the development of faculty, curriculum and infrastructure.
Mr Luke who stated this when he visited the alumni of Lutheran High School, Obot Idim, Ibesikpo Asutan, said his plans would be on enhancing the quality of education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), such that secondary and technical schools in the state would be able to produce skilled and middle-level tradesmen who would be self-employed.
He hoped to build a standard mechanic village that will serve as a training hub for students of technical schools in the state who are studying Automobile Engineering.
Luke said he will review the free and compulsory education policy run by the state government with a view to enhancing personnel and quality of teaching in public schools and institutions in the state.
He emphasised that he will create opportunities for exchange programmes between schools in the state and abroad, build a faculty whose membership in the teaching profession would be borne out of passion and not a last resort.
The lawmaker said he would create a state teaching commission to look after the welfare of teachers and ensure professionalism in teaching profession.
“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, Obot Idim, Etinan Institute, Boys High School, Oron, Cornelia Connelly College, Uyo,Adiaha Obong Secondary School, Uyo were known for.
“The elementary level education is the foundation, so we must get it right. As part of our social contract with Akwa Ibom people, we will establish a State Statistics Commission so that our investments and policies on education will be data-driven.
“We will 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 is personnel deficits, we will subsidies 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 dues to retirees.”
Mr Luke said he would support the review of the education curriculum to reflect current job demands, redirecting focus to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education.
He said with adequate personnel who are fairly remunerated and rewarded, a curriculum which promotes STEAM education, right set of infrastructure, compact monitoring and evaluation, the output of public schools will improve.
The lawmaker gave kudos to Governor Udom Emmanuel on his safe school initiative and the 10 years education roadmap which he said he will leverage on.
Mr Luke added that as governor, he would put an end to the perennial students’ crises in Uyo High School and EwetTechnical School.
Speaking, an alumnus of the school, Prof. Lawrence Etim, lauded Mr Onofiok Luke for his ideas for the development of the state, urged the old students of the school to rally support for Luke.
The international president of Lutheran High School, ObotIdim alumni association, Mr Billy Etuk, said the association has absolute confidence in the leadership capacity of Luke and urged alumni of the school in home and diaspora to support his aspiration.