14 December 2019
Among experts there is the observation that in the midst of the plethora of developmental advancement in climes outside Nigeria, Nigeria a developing country lacking in innovation is not even learning from other developed societies and reproducing for her own development and betterment.
Friday in Calabar while fielding questions from a cross section of the press in Cross River, Engr Ben Akak corroborated this widespread observation above. According to Akak Nigeria is not copying and pasting effectively. He disclosed that the country needs to be renowned for something either, the Arts or Science and Technology. He said that the population is replete with enterprising resources which have not been harnessed because of poor education. However, he said Nigeria should not prioritise the Arts over science and technology and vice versa while advocating for special institutions of training in the performing arts. Akak made these observations at Sure Foot International School immediately after the engrossing performance of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' by pupils and students of the school.
According to Engr Akak, 'The point is that we are not even doing the science, what science are we doing? In fact, What is obtainable in the world is copying and pasting, and we are not even doing it. We are not copying and pasting effectively.
'So there is a challenge there. We need to be identified with something. If we are going to be identified with Art, we need to do it. So that people will begin to come to Nigeria on the basis of Art.
'We have enterprising young people with so much energy. But we are not channeling it properly. And because we are not channeling it properly, that gap is where we are having issues. My emphasis will be there should be exceptional institutions to train and seriousness should be payed to this sector but not also ignoring the science sector.'
Engr Akak who noted that our educational standard has fallen almost beyond hope of salvation observed that our budgetary provisions for education is paltry. In fact, he disclosed that it is the lowest. And queried what level of advancements Nigeria will achieve without quality education. Accordingly, he called for a total overhaul of the educational system especially the current curriculum with which Nigeria students are trained. He added that collaboration and partnership between the private and public sectors will make a difference in Nigeria's educational standard.
His words, 'I mean our education is falling not just below standard but, far, far deep down. If you look at what is happening in our system… what is our budgetary provision for education? It's the lowest. Which country moves forward without education? China, Indonesia, everywhere. It's education. And if we miss it at this point when do we get it back?
'So, my message to our people is that we need to invest more in education. Because a man that is not educated is deformed. If you're deformed you're not informed and the gap between you and the other will be so wide that you can't keep the pace. I think we need to do more both as private citizen and as government in Cross River.
Continuing Akak said 'I think it has to do with cooperation and partnership. Everybody must acknowledge that we are deep down there. That is the only way we can put ourselves back. I think we must be able to synergise ourselves, put our resources together and then channel it effectively. It's not just a government thing.
'In fact, I think we need to review our curriculum. We really need to review everything about the educational sector in Nigeria. It is at that review that we incorporate the modern things and move forward.'
Engr Akak while commending what he described as the excellent performance by the pupil and students of Sure Foot Intl Schools said that, 'You often find that most times most of us finish school but we can't talk to a crowd. I saw a group of young talented children with exceptional boldness. But I must commend the proprietor, chairman and principal of the institution, they've done a lot.'
Present at the performance were the immediate past Cross River State Commissioner for Education Godwin Etta, Commissioner for Finance Asuquo Ekepenyong, and former Senator, Florence Ita-Giwa, etc.