By Timothy Ekpo
The chairman, State Technical School Board (STSB), Elder Godwin Udom, has said that the board was poised to change the narrative in technical education in the state as it rounded off the 300 teachers recruitment exercise.
Elder Udom stated this while commenting on the process of recruiting 300 teachers by the board at the Ibom e-library, Uyo.
The board chairman explained that what they met on ground was a very deplorable state of technical education, pointing out that technical education was hand work school and not ordinary secondary school.
He noted that technical schools offered subjects offered in ordinary secondary schools in addition to technical, vocational and had extension of time to allow students have a great feel of the machines at the workshops.
“Technical schools are not supposed to close by 1pm. That is absurd. That is not technical school. In technical school, you close by 5pm, you close late as long as the students know what they are doing, and they will enjoy your work till midnight. Give the children machines and teachers to teach them well, they will not like to leave the workshops,” he said.
Elder Udom said the vision of the board was to return technical schools to its former glory through the employment and training of teachers and instructors to prove the fact that Exxon-Mobil was employing their staff from technical schools to manage the company.
“We want to return technical schools to the former glory by employing the people there, train them and remind how technical schools were, and remind them the culture that Mobil were taking people from technical schools to manage the company and today, they are big men. That is what we need from our children,” Udom stressed.
He disclosed that after the employment of teachers, the board would build their capacity and get the required machines to work with to generate revenue to run them. Elder Udom said the plan of the board was to equip technical colleges that would partner the Ministry of Agriculture to produce farm tools.
Udom said there was no reason Akwa Ibom should buy farm implements when there were technical schools that could produce them, even as the department of welding could produce iron doors to feed the state and beyond.
” We have nine technical colleges in the state and if five welding departments venture into iron doors production, we can surprise this state by giving them iron doors, by giving them bolts, by giving them machetes, by giving them rakes,” the chairman said.
He said that by April, the board would set up a Furniture Department at Government Technical College, Abak, to produce all types of furniture that could be sold and the proceeds plough back into the school for the purchase of items to run it effectively without looking for government subvention.
He said the economic viability of technical schools was the reason the board required for technical’s hands on motor vehicle, electrical installation, fabrication and welding, mechanical engineering work, electronics work, air condition and refrigerator, block laying and concreting, carpentry and joinery and furniture making.
Others he listed were plumbing and pipe fitting, computer craft practice, catering craft, painting and decoration.