Natural talents abound among Nigerian youths, but the opportunity to fully harness them is still a mirage to many of them.
That reminds me of a friend, who performed brilliantly during his first year in the University, but later get frustrated and due to poor grades and pressure of Engineering school; and presently in a state of despair. He needs help, just like a lot of us, and on the verge of a failing dream.
Growing up, I used to believe that success is as a result of a chain reaction involving reading, passing examinations, developing one’s technical capabilities and solving problems that occur in our immediate environment. Unfortunately, there has been psychological shift, as many engineering students today are not willing to pass through the intense training.
Moreover, academic achievement are no longer celebrated to encourage young scholars; while the efforts appear not to worth the pain. Or what is the aim of shows such as Big Brother Naija, if not to remind us that intelligence and sanity is no more celebrated but mediocrity.
The morale level of many young Engineers is low, as academic performances which is an index for competence of Engineering students in tertiary institutions is taking a negative trend over the last few years. The kind of celebration that accompanies the end of engineering school is synonymous to an African country winning the world cup, as they feel as they just got loose from a cage. When asked what the plan for the future is, it is saddening that a few, who are not even sure of themselves wishes to stay back in the Profession. This is a big concern for all relevant stakeholders!
The technical capacity of young Engineers is also a concern, as they are struggling to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with their peers in other part of the world. The teaching curriculum is majorly outdated and ineffective, and there are just few tutors who understand the blend of practical and theory, and the ability to impact knowledge and the resources for research is absent. It is unpleasant to know that Engineering students still make drawings with paper and pencils in the 21st century, while the industry requires those who can deliver complex drawings at a very fast rate.
Government policies and preference for expatriates, with a ripple effect will lead to loss of competitive power of local establishments, causing collapse of local businesses which leads to loss of jobs by local Engineers. There is then a fear that the Engineering space might be dominated by foreign minds.
There is a need for knowledge transfer from the older generation to the upcoming Engineers through collaborative research and increased partnership. The older Engineers should make it a point of duty and their own contribution to national development by providing mentorship and opportunities for growth to the younger Engineers, as it would be pivotal to the quality of service the can render.
Also, homes and religious institutions should make it appoint of duty to train morally upright individually, who are capable of defying all odds to join hands, to join hands in nation building.
We all have a role to play, and together, we can achieve more.
Sobanke Abideen is a fresh graduate of Civil Engineering from Federal University of agriculture, Abeokuta. While in the University, he functioned as the southwest zonal coordinator of the students affiliate of Nigerian institution of Civil Engineers, coupled with other leadership positions.
He is a project lead at Enactus, where he focuses on solving challenges of communities, innovatively using locally sourced solutions. He is good at team working, Engineering design and Analysis, with special interest in Cost Engineering and construction management. He is currently in search of internships positions in that space in a reputable organisation.