APWEN urged to improve women’s participation in STEM
To limit dependence on foreign engineering products and labor, engineers called on the government to initiate policies that would revive technical and vocational education in the country.
They said building the future should be non-negotiable and guided by the use of technical and vocational education as well as industry partnerships for the development of local content.
For them, despite the successes and efforts of the government in the past through technical and vocational education to reduce poverty, hunger and unemployment, the challenge persists due to insufficient funding, poor condition of facilities, brain drain / the search for greener pastures, poor training and retention of staff. mechanism, static and parallel program of technical education and disintegrated educational value system.
The experts launched the call at the 12th annual distinguished annual conference of Olu Awoyinfa and the induction of new members organized by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), branch of Ikeja.
The call was led by Bells University of Technology Vice-Chancellor Ota, Professor Jeremiah Ojediran. He said that if Nigeria is to be free from poverty, scarcity and unemployment, technical institutions should be adequately and equitably equipped.
Ojediran, who was the keynote speaker, said that in order for the country to compete positively and satisfactorily in the changing global market, it needs to get rid of unskilled labor.
Speaking on the topic âKey factors in the development of qualitative local content: educational and industrial synergyâ, he recommended that industries encourage students, who intend to have their industrial training experiences, the National Youths Service Corps and other related professional and practical training opportunities.
He said: âThe curriculum taught in vocational training institutions should be studied, revised and improved to meet the demands of the current workforce, industry and national development, among others. Qualified and competent teachers must be engaged and retained, as well as priority and attention given to continuing education using technology.
According to him, policies and regulations must be put in place to ensure that Nigerians patronize local content developers in engineering infrastructure, while the production process must be regulated and monitored to ensure the quality and functionality of the products. local products.
FIIRO Acting Executive Director Dr Agnes Asagbra said the institute is helping develop local content through entrepreneurship, internship / NYSC student training, transfer training workshops technology, innovation, creativity and added value.
Represented by the institute’s research and development director, Dr Wahab Ashiru, she said university-industry collaboration and transfer of scientific knowledge was seen as one of the factors contributing to technological innovation and to economic growth.
Asagbra called for a government-sponsored scholarship program, incentives for small business development and a strengthening of vocational training institutions and the industrial training fund.
Branch president Olutosin Ogunmola said engineers were working with the Nigerian Railways Corporation to ensure local manufacture of spare parts for railroad maintenance and the partnership with the Federal Institute for Industrial Research.
The Representative of the Nigeria Engineering Regulatory Council (COREN), South West Region, Ms. Margret Oguntala, said COREN has developed an Outcomes Based Education (OBE) program that will promote development effective skills among graduates of higher education institutions.
Meanwhile, the Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) has been challenged to undertake programs that prepare girls for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and improve women’s participation in the field. economic development.
The Vice President of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineering, Dr Funmilade Akingbagbohun, who gave the charge in a technical session organized by APWEN, Lagos Chapter, observed that emerging engineering opportunities for national development abound in more than 25 major branches of engineering.
Akingbagbohun, who spoke on âThe Role of Women Engineers in National Economic Development,â said women in engineering need to be interdisciplinary, learn to network with other professionals and become familiar with how everyone around them works.
She lamented that Nigeria always neglects its engineers in policy development, formulation and implementation, adding that engineers must push for the application of local content in all economic matters.
According to her, women engineers play multiple roles in society. In addition to being professional engineers, they also play roles as housewives and community influencers, STEM educators, employees, employers and community leaders, as well as a significant force in politics and community leaders. public services.
Akingbagbohun, who is also the outgoing president of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), noted that being a woman in engineering is more difficult due to the multiple roles women play in society.
Lagos Branch APWEN President Mary Afolayan, who said engineering bridges the gap between society and scientific knowledge, stressed that the forum has become necessary to educate members and women in general on their role in socio-economic development.
She said that part of APWEN’s vision and mission is to serve as a catalyst for the advancement of women in the engineering profession, adding that this is aimed at national and global technological development.
Afolayan said, âWe have raised awareness that engineering is for women, thus increasing the digital strength of women engineers. We also encourage women to achieve professional excellence.