The Nigerian Academy of Engineering has urged the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria to push for the modernisation of the engineering curriculum in the various higher institutions of learning.
Alex Ogedegbe, president of NAEng, disclosed this to Financial Street during the academy’s first virtual public lecture, themed, ‘Strategic Role of Engineering in Containing COVID 19 Pandemic.’
The engineer noted that the academy was about producing thought leadership papers for the development of engineering in Nigeria; promoting innovation in industries and tertiary institutions through research, design and fabrication, as well as encouraging competition across broad areas of engineering needs in Nigeria.
Engineering contributions, he remarked, would help to reduce the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, as well as assist the global economy.
Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Nigeria, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari as the special guest of honour, admitted that the theme of the lecture headlines the single most consequential occurrence in the world. An occurrence, he reiterated, that was spreading exponentially and practically shutting down the global economy.
If the current momentum in engineering feat is maintained, he stated, the next few years will be quite rewarding, and assured the academy of the government’s support and partnership.
The guest speaker, Prof Babatunde Ogunnaike of the University of Delaware, USA, explained that as engineers, they take things that look like web and make things out of them.
He said, “We don’t predict the future, but we make the future happen, by identifying the enemy and designing a defense against it. We are dedicated to translating scientific knowledge into useful solutions to keep society functioning.
“Good science and engineering is necessary but not sufficient. We need to engage with public policy makers and governments at all levels.”
He noted that effective engineering in the 21st century should be technically feasible, financially and societally viable.
Nigerian engineering students, he added, are naturally-born innovators, but insisted that they need to be encouraged.
“There is nothing wrong with the foundation, but they need to be modified. We need to develop infrastructures,” he added.
In his remarks on what has transpired in Lagos since the outbreak of the pandemic, the state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu recalled that the government has done a lot of training and capacity building for its frontline medical and health workers.
According to him, “We have been able to increase our infrastructure capacity, built three brand new hospitals and international Infectious Disease Centre, to be able to respond to outbreak of diseases. The government is developing interest in the application of block chain technology in healthcare management.
“For me to be able to situate our response on how engineering has been able to assist, I will say that everything we used and are still using, had one engineering component or the other. We had students in the engineering faculty in UNILAG who assisted in constructing ventilators for us.”
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