By Perpetua Onuegbu/Dolapo Abimbola
The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) Thursday inaugurated the Committee of Technical Colleges aimed at fostering sustainable infrastructural development in the country.
The Registrar of COREN, Prof. Joseph Odigure, said during the inauguration in Abuja that there could be no sustainable development in the nation’s infrastructure if technical colleges were allowed to go into extinction.
According to Odigure, COREN has relatively regulated the education of Engineering and Technology programmes in universities and polytechnics and transiting from traditional education system to Outcome Based Education (OBE).
“On the other hand, the education and practices of the Technicians and Craftsmen have been relatively neglected.
“This is evidenced in the statistics of registered engineering personnel in the COREN register. As at June 2021, the total registered engineering personnel are engineers – 62,313, engineering technologists -6,587, engineering technicians -937 and engineering craftsmen – 2,778.
“The negative consequences of this neglect are visible in the national economy. The immediate effect of the dearth of technical colleges and education can now be felt in every household.
“Today, artisans of precinct countries around the nation’s borders have taken over craftsmen practice in Nigeria.
“Artisans are now imported from China, Taiwan, Benin Republic, Togo, etc. to fix technical problems in Nigeria,’’ Odigure said.
The registrar said this was what necessitated the need for the establishment of an umbrella body for technical colleges to be known as the Committee of Technical Colleges (COTEC).
He said this was in line with COREN established committees of Dean for Universities and Polytechnics/Colleges of Technology-Committee of Deans of Engineering and Technology in Nigerian Universities (CODET).
“Also the Committee of Dean of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology (COMPODET) respectively, and the elected Chairman of COTEC would be the committee’s representative in COREN Council.
“COREN is promoting OBE, which is responsive to changing the delivery method in engineering.
“The most important aspect is education, the outcome based has to change not just teaching for teaching’s sake but teaching that is focused and object oriented that is why we have certification level for skills to be acquired,’’ Odigure said.
The President of COREN, Mr Ali Rabiu, while inaugurating the committee said “the pyramid statistics is inverted, which is an unrealistic situation anywhere in the world.’’
He said the largest people seen in the engineering pyramid should be the craftsmen, technicians, technologist and few engineers.
Rabiu was represented by Prof. Sodiq Abubakar, the Head of Education and Training, COREN.
“COREN took the bold decision to correct the abnormalities in the pyramid; the council has taken a decision against all odds to ensure that the COTEC is effective.
“The council has decided to deepen the perspectives in terms of training and practice in the country.
“The council recently signed a new revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Board for Technical Education to deepen the accreditation of training of technicians and technologists.
“As a nation, we cannot import from the neighbouring countries to service us.
“It a sign of failure on the part of the engineering profession and not the government.
“We must be competitive as a nation, we cannot be engaging foreigners to do our work, so we must join hands to make sure that the situation is better and make our professionals competitive.’’
On his part, the Regional Manager, (South-South), Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr Irabor Pacqueens urged technical college principals to turn skills into sustainable enterprises to get funding from the bank.
He encouraged them to build education around enterprises by turning innovations into businesses and making the students co-owners of the businesses by marketing them to their communities.
“The two main mandates of Bank of Industry is solving micro economic problems in Nigeria, unemployment and underdevelopment.
“The problem we have in Nigeria is not a problem of poor curriculum but the problem of the delivery approach.
“Education is not just passing of information but you are trying to change the behavioural and value system of people.
“To be equipped with skills; the best way education can be taught is through apprenticeship.
“Students need to be taught not just the tactics and techniques but the business of what they are supposed to do.
“We have people that are skilled but they cannot create businesses. Entrepreneurship is not taught, you must have to influence people, see you doing it,’’ Irabor said.
The BOI representative disclosed that the bank was introducing the Education Around Sustainable Enterprise, (EASE) concept; we will work with all secondary and territory institution to achieve this concept.
“Students should be allowed to explore their course of study while in school.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that COTEC will comprise all the heads of the technical colleges in the country to give account of how schools are faring at COREN council meetings
In attendance were most of the heads of the technical colleges, directors in COREN and other stakeholders in the built industry. (NAN)