The profession and field of engineering is crucial to the technological advancement and development of any nation. If you see a nation that is well developed, that is one that prioritizes professions such as engineering because such fields have a direct impact on development and technology. The field of Engineering in Nigeria has not seen much progress and here, you will find out why. This article writes on the problems of Engineering practice in Nigeria.
Problems of Engineering Practice in Nigeria
Read on below:
Poor funding for research and development
In developed countries of the world, researches are funded by the government and engineers are provided with a conducive environment so they can make researches concerning technological problems in their country. This is not the case in Nigeria. Many Engineers who are innovative enough and come up with technological breakthroughs have no means of receiving special grants to fund the projects. This is how many creative ideas that will solve many problems in Nigerian have seen their untimely death. There have been many cases where young Engineers have succeeded in developing prototypes of machines. However, they have no way of pushing through on such projects due to the lack of funds. The Nigerian government does not prioritise the engineering sector as well as emerging talents. The refusal of the Nigerian government to invest in the engineering sector of the country is one of the major problems of the engineering sector today.
Most equipment and laboratories in the Nigerian tertiary institutions are outdated and in terrible conditions. This is another problem of the engineering sector today. You will find that the equipment and laboratories used in most tertiary institutions are the old ones bought since the inception of the institutions. These equipment are completely outdated and inadequate for the training of current engineering students in the already technological advanced world. Institutions with laboratories also face the problem of shortage of equipment and other needed Engineering consumables. If Nigerian institutions offering engineering are to be judged wholly on the basis of the availability of equipment, many Engineering graduates in Nigeria will have their certificates rejected.
Lack of high-quality manpower (in terms of trainers or teachers)
Many in the educational system are not current on technological methods. You will find lecturers who do not know how to design the simplest machines. In most Nigerian higher institutions, lecturers only teach theories and insist their students cram these theories in order to pass their examinations. The lack of high-quality manpower in turn affects the quality of engineers in the labour market.
Lack of skilled manpower in the fields of engineering
You will find that during most recruitment processes, Engineering graduates are not tested on their abilities to create designs or be innovative. Wrong criteria are put in places such as the writing of essays or theoretical examinations only for recruiting talents. Most of the talented ones in the engineering sector are screened out based on the wrong requirements. It is sad to know that most engineering graduates have never had the experience of handling a tool or equipment throughout their schooling. This in turn affects their skilfulness in the field of engineering. Nigerian engineering students need to be exposed to the use of current technology machines during their engineering program so they can develop the required skills and confidence needed in the field of engineering. Inadequate industrial training of engineering students is the major problem in the practice of Engineering today because it gives rise to other problems such as the employment of foreign labour to the detriment of indigenous engineers.
Appropriate government policy to support indigenous Engineering companies and talents
The budget of the Nigerian government is always tilted towards recurrent expenditure rather than capital assets. Most capital projects and common engineering infrastructure are not funded. What is more, Nigerian contents, contractors and projects are paid little or no attention. The appropriate stakeholders in the engineering sector needs to be put pressure on the government to ensure that engineering sector gets more funds. The government should put the right policies in place to ensure that expatriate companies establish industries and employ Nigerians. This is a way to ensure that indigenous Engineers play more active roles in the infrastructural development of Nigeria.
Public and Private sector partnership
There needs to be a partnership between the private and public sectors. The Nigerian government does not have enough money to facilitate most projects, it is best to allow private companies to put down capital for such projects. When private investment is encouraged, limited government resources can be used for other purposes.
Employing youth and women
Unfortunately, most engineering companies do not like recruiting young graduates’ engineers while some do not employ female engineers. This is a discouragement towards women in the engineering sector. The number of slots available for young graduate employment is ridiculously low which means that they are not given the opportunity to learn on the job. Many companies argue they lack resources for the training of such engineering graduates which is why they employ people already skilled and experienced engineers.
Collaboration between academia and industry
There should be more collaborations between the engineering industry and institutions. Such collaborations should include the hiring of students by the industries, exchange of teachers and researchers, joint researches, the offering of grants and contracts, conferences, seminars, publications, etc. Stakeholders of industries can also be put on the board of universities. These are ways to promote science and technology in academia. Such collaborations are totally absent in the Nigerian education system.
Non-exposure to practicals
Practical’s in engineering should cover about 60 percent off a student’s syllabus while theory should be about 40 percent. However, in most Nigerian universities, this is not the case.
Nigerian lecturers insist that their students cram up various theories just to pass an examination instead of training them to be innovative. We end up with many Nigerian graduates who are vast in engineering theories but cannot handle the design, manufacturing or repair of single equipment or machine. Such graduates are not able to bring any technological breakthrough to the world of engineering and the country at large.