NIMechE & other Stakeholders Brainstorm on Automotive Engineering Curriculum Development for Higher Institutions in W/Africa.

National Chairman, Dr. Robinson Ejilah

Higher Education Partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa (HEPSSA), Automotive Engineering Curriculum Development with Industry Collaborations – a project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, Anglo American Group Foundation, and Global Challenge Research Fund, held its 2nd Knowledge Sharing Workshop at the Assembly Hall, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from Tuesday 6th to Wednesday 7th March, 2018. The theme adopted for the Workshop, was “Towards Excellence in Engineering, Training and Practice in Sub-Sahara Africa”.

The Chairman at the Workshop Opening Ceremony was Mr. Jelani Aliyu, MFR, The Director General, of Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council, represented by Dr. Fidelis Achiv. The Chief Host was Prof. Ibrahim Garba, FNIMGS, the Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, but he was ably represented by Prof. Kabir Bala, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The Host was Prof. Muhammad Dauda, FSEM,the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

The Workshop attracted about 345 registered participants, which comprised of 110 Academics, industrial executives, engineers, technologists, technicians, and craftsmen, and 235 engineering students. The workshop was aimed at evaluating, discussing and proffering solutions to issues of automotive engineering curriculum development for higher education training and the need for industrial collaboration in the African sub-region.

At the workshop, good will messages were also delivered by Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu, FNSE. President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, ably represented by Engr. Zamani D. Ishaya, FNSE, FAutoEI, National Chairman, Automotive Engineers Institute, Kaduna, and Engr. Dr. Robinson I. Ejilah, MNSE, FNIMechE, National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers who graced the event as Special guests of honour, and active workshop participants.

The following workshop facilitation papers were presented:

  • The need for Academia-Industry collaboration in Automotive Engineering Curriculum Development by Engr. Prof. Muhammad Dauda .
  • Automotive Engineering Curriculum Development with Industry Collaboration by Engr. Dr. Mohammed M. Ojapah.
  • Steel and the Automotive Industry by Engr. Suleiman M. Umar
  • Knowledge Sharing on Automotive Engineering Curriculum Development with Industry Collaboration by Engr. Dr. Fidelis Achiv
  • Developing Automotive Engineering Curriculum focusing on the Sub-region by Engr. Augustine I. Okolo
  • Automobile Engineering Curriculum in Nigerian Educational Institution and the Global Best Practices by Engr. Dr. Fatai .O Anafi
  • Automotive Engineering in National Development and Human Empowerment By Engr. Dr Nehemiah S. Alozie

This very interactive workshop came to a close with the following observations and recommendation on its well circulated communiqué:

  1. The Workshop observed that the disparity presented in the available automotive engineering curriculum calls for a strategic need to bridge the existing gaps between the academia and the industry. It is hereby recommended that a curriculum that integrates the technical, professional and organizational knowledge and skill-sets will be more impactful for the training Automotive Engineers in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  2. The need for secondment/industrial attachment of academic staff and technologists of Nigerian Universities to Automotive and Allied industries, and vice-versa was emphasized. It urged stakeholders to work out modalities in collaboration with foreign based sponsors like Royal Academy Engineering, UK.
  3. The insufficiency of funding for acquisition of essential training equipment in the universities and research Institutes was observed. The Workshop recommended that concerned regulatory bodies should be called upon to impress on government to adequately fund automotive engineering research and development in Universities and related institutions.
  4. The Workshop observed that metal and materials sub-sector plays critical role in the development of the automotive industry in Nigeria. Hence, it was recommended that the re-invigoration and completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant and Aluminum Smelter Company, Ikot-Abasi be fast-tracked for needed automotive component production.
  5. The Workshop noted that the business environment was unfriendly due to the high cost of energy and import tariff. Hence, an appeal is hereby made to Government to provide more enabling business environment through policy formulation that will promote the resuscitation of comatose private industries that were contributing to local contents in Automotive Industries, such as; tyre and battery industries etc.
  6. The Workshop observed that small and medium scale investments opportunities in the automotive industries are not fully explored. Hence, it is recommended that much efforts should channeled to facilitate the growth and expansion of small and medium scale industries for component production, such as; foundry, fabrication, and machine tools , to create jobs, grow wealth, and enhance the development of the local content in the automotive industries.
  7. In view of the current trend in the national economy, the Workshop observed the need to redirect Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Plan to unlock the massive employment potential within the sector.
  8. The Workshop observed that the review of the current BMAS in conformity with Washington Accord benchmark, to encourage outcome based curriculum development in automotive engineering will give the students early start in the engineering practice, and also improve their mobility across the globe. The Workshop supports COREN in this regard as it strives to actualize the mandate for which it was set up.

The HEPSSA Project Coordinator and British-trained Internal Combustion Engine expert,  Engr. Dr. Mohammed Moore Ojapah, was visibly enthused by the success recorded thus far. At the close of the workshop, he informed all stakeholders that the next leg of the workshop will hold at the University of Lagos in the month of July, 2018.

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