Enwono-Abasi Elisha

Educational stakeholders, Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO) and concerned Akwa Ibom persons say the Akwa Ibom State College of Science and Technology bill is timely as it will offer the State viable educational opportunities and openings.

These were contained in speeches during the Public Hearing organised by the Committee on Education, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Chaired by Hon. Godwin Ekpo representing Ibiono Ibom State Constituency, yesterday.

Declaring the event opened, the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey who was the Chairman of the event said the bill is very timely and will bring hope to the youth in respect to skills and vocational studies.

The Speaker who was represented by the member representing Ibesikpo State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko said the bill when passed will position the State to benefit from donor agencies and 80% of Akwa Ibom persons would have been trained on skills.

“As one of the persons who visited the school, we met that school in a very dilapidated State and I don’t think any of us here can send our children to that School. We saw a whole lot of hope on the faces of the students and they saw Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly as the only hope to get them out of the present predicament.

“So as an Assembly it behooves on us to do everything necessary to pass this bill into law.

“When this bill is passed one of the benefits include the teaching of Science and Technology. It behooves on the Assembly to upgrade the standard of the School so they can benefit from donor agencies as in other States of the country.”

The lead sponsor of the bill and the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Godwin Ekpo in his opening remark said that the bill when passed will be beneficial to the State and its citizenry.

“The new College shall produce Higher National(HND) and Ordinary National Diploma Certificates (OND) and other certificates as approved by NBTE. Also the College shall benefit from the support of Federal and State donor agencies.

“The proposed College is to take over the physical structures, assets, liabilities of the present Akwa Ibom State College of Arts and Science in Nung Ukim, Ikono Local Government Area.”

The Commissioner for Education Prof Nse Essien said in 1997 the College of Science and Technology started as a School of Remedial Studies but to meet with educational demand of the teeming youths for a post Secondary Education the institution was upgraded in 2003 to School of Art and Science. In April 2017, the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel by proclamation upgraded the School to the status of College of Science and Technology.

He went further to say the idea to upgrade the School was to restructure the School administratively and curriculum wise to be able to produce skilled and high technical manpower for rapid industrialization and development of the State. As a State the purpose will help in the industrialization drive at a long run.

The commissioner concluded that if the bill is not passed into law, the College might lost accreditation.

The Executive Chairman of Ikono LGA, Mr. Itoro Columba thanked the Committee for the special interest in reviving the college. He argued that the Committee should be explicit about the formation of the governing council and a native of Ikono should be a member of the council.

The Acting Provost of the college, Elder Vincent Essien commended the State Legislature for the move and noted that with the law in place the college will stand to gain a lot which will give a facelift to the educational sector of the State.

The Chairman of CLO in the State, Otuekong Franklyn Isong thanked the Assembly for the bill in place but urged the Committee to expunged the section which gives the Rector utmost power to expel a student from school.

Other members of the 7th Assembly present at the event included; The Leader, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian (Oruk Anam); Chief Whip, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong (Ini); Rt. Hon. Mark Esset (Nsit Atai); Hon. Asuquo Nana (Ikono); Hon. Kufre Edidem (Itu); Hon. Anietie Eka (Uyo) and Hon. Udeme Otong (Abak).


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