By Douglas Okoro
Abakaliki – Prof. John Eke, the Ebonyi Commissioner for Education has called for the establishment of more science and technical schools in order to boost Nigeria’s technological growth.
Eke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abakaliki that technical education was key to the nation’s technological advancement drive.
He said that science, technology and vocational training were critical to the development of any society.
He maintained that functional technical education was required to tackle underdevelopment and socio-economic stagnation.
“We live in an age where science and technology are the pathways to social, economic and industrial development.
“To develop alongside other nations of the world, we need to give attention to science and technical education.
“This is also necessary to empower our people with practical skills.
“Technology is either stolen or copied and never transferred; hence the need to develop and sharpen the capacity of our scientists, technologists and engineers.
“These can only be achieved through sound science and technical education,’’ Eke said.
He called for adequate funding of technical and vocational institutions as well as the faculty of engineering in the nation’s universities.
“Nations develop in accordance with the level of the scientific and technological breakthrough they have achieved.
“Also, scientific and technological advancement determine how great; how wealthy; how powerful and influential a country can be.
“A country’s military prowess is determined by its level of scientific and technological advancement.
“This can only be powered through technical and vocational education.’’
Eke also called for the abolition of the dichotomy between graduates of polytechnic and their university counterparts to encourage polytechnic education.
He said that polytechnics education was more practical oriented in its academic programmes.
The commissioner added that the country’s quest to achieve self-reliance in science and technology would remain a mirage if the policy was not abolished.
Eke, a professor of Mathematics Education said that Nigeria’s polytechnic education ranked among the best in the world, in terms of curriculum content and manpower development.
“Government should review the policy and place graduates of polytechnics at par with their university counterparts.’’
He added that emphasis on science and technical education would make the Nigerian economy more knowledge-based, where industry and manufacturing sectors would become the major driving force of the economy.
The commissioner explained that the U.S, Britain, China, Japan, and Russia among other developed nations, achieved greatness because of their sophistication in science and technology.
According to him, Nigeria too has potential to belong to the league.
He commended the Ebonyi Government for equipping its three technical colleges with state-of-the-art facilities to enhance teaching and learning of science and technical education.