A careful study of the ideology of the people of Africa (with Nigeria, the giant of Africa, as a case study) leaves one with the discomforting option, to agree, though painfully ,with HENRY STANLEY, the American who described Africa as a dark continent.
Although the word “dark” here is pregnant with derogation in its ambiguity to the people of Africa, the American has cleverly escaped the wrath of Africans with the white lie excuse that the word dark was used because until the middle of the 19th century not much was known about the continent.Well,
be that as it may, the word still describes Africa perfectly well as at today. Very unfortunate! This conclusion is based on the look of Africa from different perspectives.
BUT what we are concerned about today is the perspective of Engineering and Technology. The contribution of Technology to a nations economy cannot be overemphasised.
We know about construction Tech, Information Tech, ICT, Assistive Technology etc and their contributions to a nations economy when patronised. This means that a nation whose Engineers cannot create the necessary technology for its challenges will ultimately rely on a borrowed technology to so do and eventually grow such countries economy as a result. This is exactly the plight of Engineering in Africa.
The light of education had long shone on the continent of Africa. While Europe sees by this same light and grows in leaps and bounds technologically and otherwise through their engineering, Africa goes the opposite way.
Now what makes the difference is this: Science, Engineering, and Technology are symbiotic in their roles .
Science they say is discovery. Science explores our environment to discover what is and what is not, while engineering harnesses the discoveries in designs to create technology. Technology therefore is the finished product of a body of knowledge of the sciences that include the mathematics, chemistry, physics etc.
NOW the Engineer is the man between science and Technology to ensure continuous creation of technology to solve technical challenges through design. So a situation where the Engineer can not design for challenges results in zero technology. This is where we go under. Now who takes the blame for all this? Our universities? the Government? It is indeed a big problem.
If we call ourselves engineers today and we agree that we are useless to ourselves as far as engineering is concerned, should we allow this to continue to our children? We must as a SOCIETY of ENGINEERS raise an alarm about it to the authorities concerned now. Anything short of this means we are wicked to the future of Africa or our Country because we will never grow our economy via technology.
Many times one attends seminars talking about benefits of Engineering to this and that. But hardly does one see the Engineers doing the Engineering.
In conclusion i want to say that there cannot be any meaningful Engineering without design. OUR universities training must not end without making sure that every graduating engineer knows how to design for basic technical challenges in his or her field.
It behooves the NSE therefore to start a discussion on this , involving the government and the universities. This is the only way our children who decide on studying Engineering can be self employed because they know their JOB.
This stitch at this time will save us a lot from embarrassment.
John Kembigha is an Electrical Engineer from Delta State