Barr. Onofiok Luke addressing members of the Lutheran High School, Obot Idim alumni association, on Sunday 13th March 2022.
By Abasifreke Effiong
Barr. Onofiok Luke, who is vying for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State in 2023, said the focus of his investments in education will be in three prongs, namely, development of faculty, curriculum and infrastructure.
Barr. Luke who represents Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom federal constituency, said his plan is to enhance the quality of education in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) such that secondary and technical schools in the state will be able to produce skilled, middle-level tradesmen who can be self employed.
He said he will 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.
Barr. Luke while addressing the alumni association of his alma mater, Lutheran High School, Obot Idim Ibesikpo, on Sunday, 13th March, 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.
He emphasised that he will incentivize 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 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, 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 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 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.”
Barr. Luke said he will 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.
Barr. Luke added that as governor, he will put an end to the perennial student’s crisis in Uyo High School and Ewet Technical school.
Speaking the an alumnus of the school, Prof. Lawrence Etim, lauded Barr. 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 Obot Idim alumni association, Engr. Billy Etuk, said the association has absolute confidence in the leadership capacity of Barr. Luke and urged alumni of the school in home and 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 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”, Engr. Etuk said.