By Chris Ochayi
Determined to key into the rapid pace of globalization and emerging technologies, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, has taken a step to mediate in regulating the processes that would lead to local and international recognition of engineering qualifications from higher educational institutions in Nigeria.
The President of COREN, Engr. Ali Alimasuya Rabiu, who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 2nd COREN workshop for programme evaluators of Outcome- Based Education, OBE, Engineering Accreditation at Nigerian Turkish Nile University, Abuja, noted that such mutual recognition was expected to improve the quality, proficiency and mobility of COREN registered engineers.
Engr. Rabiu recalled that in pursuit of the above goal, “In November, 2015, COREN applied to become a member of the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP) and was accepted at its General Assembly in Perth 2016.”
According to him, “Such membership required COREN programmes to implement the Outcome-Based Education curricula. COREN, in 2018, began the process of the application for the Provisional Signatory Status of the Washington Accord (WA) under the International Engineering Alliance, lEA.
“ One of the many advantages of joining this Accord is that graduates of engineering programmes accredited by COREN using the OBE system, will have the opportunity of possible employment in other signatory countries as engineers without further examinations.
“The signatory countries of WA include: Australia, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, UK, USA, Malaysia, India, Germany, Russia and Sri Lanka.
“Based on the foregoing, the Council inaugurated a Committee to develop the framework for Outcome-Based Education (OBE) in Nigerian Engineering Programmes with the production of the COREN OBE Accreditation Manual as part of the terms of reference. This assignment was dutifully completed. “
The COREN President stressed further that, “The next stage in implementing the Council resolution on the implementation of OBE is to assemble critical mass of knowledgeable and experienced persons in OBE as well as mentees of OBE learning environment who are to pioneer and champion the capacity development of the various strata of Engineering Professionals involved in training, practicing and regulating in Nigeria (now referred to as University-based OBE implementors).
“The COREN Outcome-Based Education regional train-the- trainers workshop have been successfully held in 3 geo-political zones, namely:
North West Zone at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna (20th – 24th September, 2021). South South Zone at University of Benin, Edo State. (11th – 15th October, 2021). South East Zone at University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC) (16th – 20th November, 2021).
Engr. Rabiu noted that “The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, has a mandate to regulate the practice of Engineering in all aspects and ramifications.
“At the education level, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, COREN determines the academic standards of courses and accredits programmes to be offered by institutions training Engineering Personnel.
“The objective has been to recognize and acknowledge the value added in transforming students admitted in engineering programmes into capable engineering professionals with sound knowledge of the fundamentals, an acceptable level of professional skills and personal competence for ready employability in the national economy. Such accreditation process has been in existence since 1972.
“Today, after almost fifty years of existence, COREN is faced with some existential realities that make it necessary to change the paradigm of the Nigerian engineering education system. Firstly, there is expansion of engineering programmes in variety and number at various engineering faculties.
“This makes it necessary for COREN to strengthen its accreditation system. Secondly, the rapid pace of globalization and emerging technologies, make it necessary for engineering faculties to meet the requirements of local employers and international job markets in the Engineering and Technology sectors.”
On the workshop, he said, “The main goal of the Workshop which was “to train participants to acquire the knowledge and skill of OBf and be able to train others in the principles and implementation of OBf in Nigerian Universities”, was well achieved.
“Subsequently, the need to hold the 2nd category of training workshop became imperative – The Workshop for Programme Evaluators of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) Engineering Accreditation. The first batch held successfully at Benson Idahosa University, Benin, Edo State from 22nd – 26th November, 2021.
“We need to ask ourselves, what is Outcome-Based Education (OBE)? OBE is an approach to education that focuses on specific measurable attributes in term of knowledge, skill and attitudes that must be exhibited by the students.
“The planning, process and assessment of OBE are reverse of that associated with the traditional education approach. It is a shift from measuring input and process to include measuring the outcome.
“The OBE approach pursues the design of curriculum and teaching process that focuses on producing graduates with capabilities to meet the expectations of the stakeholders (Spady, 1994, 1998).
“By Implementing OBE, students are expected to be able to do more challenging tasks rather than memorize what was taught, manage project, analyze data and make decisions based on the results.
“In addition, OBE helps to empower a workforce that can compete in a global economy of the 21st century as it equips learners to transfer academic success to life in a complex, challenging and high-technology future.
“Under OBE approach, the graduates are completely prepared for the workforce after graduation with relevant soft skills needed in jobs, such as communication skills and human relationships skills.
“In Nigeria, accreditation is necessary for recognition of programmes and registration of engineering graduate as professional engineers.
“The goal of this workshop is “to train and equip Programme Evaluators of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) who would form COREN database for Accreditation of Engineering Proqrammes”.
“Every aspect of the accreditation process has been streamlined to enhance the credibility of the evaluation. Contrary to the earlier practice, it should be noted that there is no quantitative mechanism for the final decision making.
“Therefore, Programmes under accreditation must substantially comply with the requirements in all areas of evaluation. Every action you take must be driven by the responsibilities and conduct, according to the stipulated Code of Ethics for Evaluators, expected of you by COREN during any accreditation visitation.
“Consistency amongst various accreditation Team Members in terms of evaluation and final recommendation must be maintained. Our seasoned resource persons will take us through various topics, exercises and practical’s in order to achieve all aforementioned objectives. “ (Vanguard)