05 August 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – As we recently concluded the 6th Annual Vision 2020: Youth Empowerment & Restoration Initiative (YERI) Summer Camp Retreat where we had 45 students hosted at Dowen College, Lekki Phase I for one week, we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt about the role of Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists (JETS) Clubs in the future of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry. More so, we are better enlightened that it requires the commitment of government and private sector to build the institutional capacity for Nigeria to develop its transformers and innovators who would lead it out of the doldrums created by poor leadership.
Surprisingly, this year the best students from public schools in Lagos State out performed their counterparts from the private schools so I can conclude that government initiatives and private intervention programmes will make the difference in the future of Nigeria.
Schools need to reawaken logical reasoning, creative thinking, innovation, science and technology through a recreational learning process such as that provided in the JETS Club. The subjects covered in the club are Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Introductory Technology, Computer Science, Integrated Science, Technical Drawing etc.
JETS provides an avenue for students with extraordinary abilities in Mathematics, science and technical subjects to think, concentrate and construct simple tools. Through exciting activities, we can groom her future Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Oliver Wright, Graham Bell, Thomas Edison etc.
Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) is the key to solving the multitude of problems that plague Nigeria. It is the key to national development and socio-economic transformation. Jobs and wealth in developed countries were created through investment in technical and vocational training. For Nigeria to leap frog from the agrarian age to the ideas age of the 21st century, its youths must be re-educated, empowered, enlightened. The quickest and surest way to achieve this is through TVE.
The fact that we have the state secondary school representatives in Lagos State out perform their private secondary counterparts is an indication that the Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency and Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola is doing an extremely good job with transforming education in the area of science and technology
The need for a highly skilled workforce in any nation cannot be overemphasized. Foreign Direct Investment gravitates towards countries that have amongst other key requirements, skilled, qualified and certified workers. The public-sector private sector partnership model for developing skills through formal, semi-formal and in-formal training is a well-established model that has worked successfully in the BRIC nations, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to mention a few. To ensure that the right quantity and quality of entrants are available to laudable initiatives such as the Vision 2020: Youth Empowerment and Restoration Initiative there is a need to encourage supporting activities that would act as feeder programmes to the trade schools as well as bring the potentials and talents of our youths to bear in our nation’s quest for industrialization, economic growth and development. We all must support and encourage active arts and crafts clubs, Boys Scouts, Girls Guides, Brownies, Junior Engineers, Scientists and Technicians (JETS), Junior Achievers (JAN), Young Entrepreneurs (YE), Young Transformers & Innovator’s(YTI) & YERI Clubs and the which are designed to promote creativity, out of the box thinking, innovation and problem solving skills sets.
The implementation of the NOGICD Act must promote the delivery of world-class standards and International Certification within the shortest possible time. The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has a very crucial role to play in the definition of the future of Nigeria’s development. To encourage professionalism and development of capabilities and competencies, NSE should promote a merit based system and ensure that only its members that are qualified, certified, appropriately experienced with the right capabilities and competencies are assigned to positions that are critical to Nigeria’s progress are assigned the positions as the Minister of Works and Housing, Power and Petroleum as a minimum.
To avoid the collapse of technology driven industries, unprofessionalism, bribery and corruption, on an annual basis, NSE should publish the names of its members that have been blacklisted for one level of incompetence, unprofessional act or corruption in the public domain and newspapers. This would encourage increased performance, excellence and integrity in the delivery of service to the nation. Also, those professionals who have done well should be celebrated and given public recognition based on merit.
About the Author
Dr. Ibilola Amao is the Principal Consultant with Lonadek Oil and Gas Consultants, a firm of technical consultants with their core competence in the area of human capital and vendor development. For more information or to reach Dr. Amao you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lonadek.com