For Nigerian universities to produce 21st century engineering graduates that will compete with their contemporaries and contribute to the development of the society, their curricula must be thoroughly reviewed and funding improved.
Founder, Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) who stated this at the maiden edition of Ademola Olorunfemi annual public lecture, said apart from the fact that most universities still use obsolete equipment to teach, successive governments have been deceiving Nigerians that qualitative education can be free despite poor budgetary provision to the sector.
Isaac Ademola Olorunfemi was the immediate past president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
The foremost legal luminary who spoke on, “Funding of engineering education and training for reliance” said quality education, whether in engineering, law, medicine, sciences or humanities is an expensive enterprise which government alone cannot fund having regard to several competing areas of need.
“When education is not properly funded, institutions of learning will be ill-equipped in terms of teaching facilities and staff while the products of such poorly funded institutions are bound to be poor materials that will find it difficult to meet the need for self-reliance and national development.”
Although Nigeria has embarked on Engineering education since 1932 when Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) was established, it still has a long way to go in terms of its engineering education.
“This is largely because Nigerian tertiary institutions are faced with enormous challenges in terms of general conduct of engineering education programmes which have failed to equip students with the necessary skills that will adequately prepare them to cope with the challenges of the modern day society, a phenomenon that will generally lead to a setback in the engineering education of such a country.”
Specifically, he mentioned poor funding, lack of functional policy framework, inadequate attention to research findings in engineering, inadequate functional workshop facilities, unstable engineering road maps, poor curriculum and decay in educational infrastructure as well as non-implementation of educational budgets as major setbacks which must be tacked.
To make engineering graduates relevant to societal needs, the legal luminary canvassed collaboration between the institutions and Industries, which is vital to stimulating and sustaining the economy through hiring of students, sponsorship of research, graduates, consultancies and grants.
Babalola, who bemoaned poor quality of teaching staff and paucity of requisite experience said it was unfortunate that teaching has become the last bus stop for those who could not secure any other form of employment.
To stop the trend, he said teachers must have a diploma or certificate in teaching. Babalola proffers solutions to dearth of quality engineering graduates
By Muyiwa Adeyemi