Governor Udom Emmanuel has reiterated his commitment to repositioning the education sub-sector evidenced by the huge investment he has made in remodeling schools across the length and breadth of the State, and also equipping them with modern amenities that would enable the Akwa Ibom child compete favourably with his counterparts from any part of the world.
The Governor made this assertion recently during the third combined convocation of Obong University, which held at the University Convocation arena in Obong Ntak, Etim Ekpo Local Government Area. He said as part of the cardinal responsibilities of his administration, that he was committed to preparing the Akwa Ibom child to become competitively ready for opportunities of the 21st Century technology driven world. “Education is one of the cardinal responsibilities of any Government and our administration views this responsibility with all seriousness it deserves. We have deployed resources in ensuring that our students are prepared for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century world which is fast becoming border-less, and competition is fierce. The greatest legacy any Government can leave is in its Human Capital Development and my administration will continue to invest heavily in this area”.
The Governor, commending the leadership of the University averred “Let me commend the key players of this great citadel of learning, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Udoudo Ekanemesang, the Senate, and indeed the Management and Staff of this University, for the great job you have done in raising the bar of Academic excellence and securing in the last years various accreditations of courses offered here by the National Universities Commission, NUC. Obong University has in its short existence, proven itself to be a center of learning. I recall being here almost four years ago and being deeply impressed by the depth and extent of intellectual flourishes the Students had shown, an aspect that is again on full display here today.
He also commended the school for the maintenance of uprightness, values and morality “Let me also commend the key aspect that define this institution; the accent that is being put on Christian values and morality which the students have been made to internalize. All over the world, universities and colleges with decidedly Christian bent have educated leaders in various layers of human experience and we are glad and honoured that such an institution is here in our state, instilling values of honesty, transparency, altruism, services to humanity and above all, a deep faith in the immutable designs of the ONLY GOD we worship and serve.
While also commending the emphasis being placed by the University in Science and Technology, the Governor, expressed hope and optimism that the graduating students will not only become great ambassadors of the University rather that of Akwa Ibom State at large, shinning the light of the knowledge they have acquired as well as exhibiting the DAKKADA spirit in them. “Today, all 298 of you have been confirmed, certified and found worthy in character and learning to be admitted into the circle of scholars. I implore you, therefore, to be great ambassadors of this university and the state at large, letting the light of the knowledge you have acquired here brighten your path as you navigate your way around career paths and services to humanity. May I also commend the emphasis being placed by this university in Science and Technology. I have always said that though society’s building blocks and organizing principles are what liberal education has engendered, we need to keep a keen eye on the realities of the new world we live in, which is defined principally by Science and Technology”.
He charged the graduands to look inwards and apply the learning they have received to create opportunities for advancement for themselves, saying that, Government will always be there to create the enabling environment for them, as that is what is obtainable in developed societies, and we must begin to encourage such tendencies here.
Again, extolling the emphasis placed by the University on Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Governor Emmanuel posited “the world today is driven by Information and Communication Technology, ICT. We live in a society that is highly dependent on Science and Technology. Institutions of higher learning must therefore, put emphasis on ICT development to equip our graduates with the right skills – set needed for them to compete favourably in today’s global competitive work place. The world is changing and our university system must change in line with the current realities and I am glad that Obong University is in the vanguard of this new approach”.
Adumbrating further, Governor Emmanuel congratulated former Governor, Obong (Arc.) Victor Attah, for the award conferred on him by the institution. “permit me to also congratulate our referred Elder Statesman and former Governor, Obong (Arc.) Victor Attah, for the award of Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa) bestowed on him today as well as other recipients of honorary degrees”.
The Governor who was represented on the occasion by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Prof. Victor Inoka, added that Governor Emmanuel, was deeply committed to the education of the Akwa Ibom Child, saying that, education is an essential ingredient in the transformation of any society, hence, we must do all we possibly can to ensure that our children have access to affordable and quality education. “if we all share the sentiments of the late South African Legend, Nelson Mandela, who once said that education is an essential ingredient in the transformation of any society as well as the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world, then we must do all we possibly can, to ensure that our children have access to affordable and quality education”.
In his remarks, Prof. Inoka, also used the occasion of the convocation to debunk with clarity an erroneous report as released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, which claims that Akwa Ibom State had the second highest and an alarming rate of Out -of- School children in the country. The Commissioner discountenanced the claims as erroneous, mischievous, vague and misleading, saying that, the report as contained in the findings of NBS has been inconsistent with the reality on ground. He opined that with the free, compulsory and qualitative education policy of the present administration, it was impossible for Akwa Ibom to have ranked so high in the purported survey by NBS, when the rate of enrollment in both primary and secondary schools in the State have increased geometrically. The Commissioner insisted that the terminology in the report is not ‘school -drop -out’ as some people have taken it to be, it is ‘out -of -school’.
As it regards out -of -school children in Akwa Ibom State, the NBS have not done any house -to -house head count to ascertain the actual number of children that are yet to enroll in school. “What they have said is that, incidentally, Akwa Ibom State has increasing enrollment in schools but when juxtaposed with the population estimate and projections, students enrollment in these schools fall below expectations and projections. These are mere projections and estimates that are not in anyway in tandem with present realities on ground about our school enrollment status”. The Commissioner added.