Building Technical Minds to Influence National Development

Building Technical Minds to Influence National Development

Experts at a public lecture organised by Pinnacle Leadership and Entrepreneurial Academy Nigeria have said, to move with the trend of globalisation, Nigeria needs to build technical minds that will influence national development.

They also called for a review of the curriculum at every level of education to match economic realities, saying the present one was not preparing students for the digital age.

The event which featured a panel of discussion was held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in celebration of the 60th birthday of its Chairman, Mr Gbola Sokoya.

A professor of Management and Associate  Dean for Graduate and Executive  Education  at Middle Tennessee  State University, U.S, Sesan Kim Sokoya  who spoke on the theme: “Sustainable national development in a globalized economy: Modest prescriptions,” said on many educational metrics in the world, Nigeria is missing the mark.  He said the core curriculum at every level should focus on developing skills for a global workforce with emphasis on not just knowing but the ability to do.  This he noted would require a shift in the pedagogical approach in transferring knowledge.

“We need to train students for the digital economy. This goes beyond having computers in classrooms. This does not mean they will all become engineers or software producers. The digital space and the corresponding speed means that we will need people that will think critically, plan better and coordinate with strong leadership skills. The world needs people like that,” he said.

One of the discussants and Chief Executive Officer of Benin Electricity Distribution PLC, Mrs Olufunke Osibodu said the larger population (aged 35 and below) represented 62 percent of the Nigeria’s population  was  not represented in the economy.

“In the power sector, we train graduates and what I find there is terrible. Part of the problem is that we do not know the statistics; neither do we know the extent of the damage.

“Only 29 per cent have seen classrooms in Nigeria. This tells us how the future is. The new age is the tech age. We need to start changing ourselves to that new age that can take us forward.  It is possible if we apply the right type of education.  Our present type of education is definitely out of the reality”.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of Swift Think Limited, Mr Ayoola Jolayemi, explained that the youth are not well informed despite being born in the information age.

“Children of today were born when technology is already rapt.  This means the critical mass can actually change the economy. The very foundation which will help them grow their root strongly is missing and that is because our education system in Nigeria is currently founded on things that are currently obsolete. They are completely of no relevance to the current economy realities of our country.

“I conducted a competency test for 3,000 Engineering students in UNILAG with a very fundamental Engineering design having visited three universities and saw the obsolete curriculum being used. Out of the 3,000, only seven students passed the test.  At that point, it was clear that we are in crisis situation.  This cuts across all learning fields.  For globalisation to occur, we cannot have a disparity in knowledge base” he said.

Culled from – The Nation


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