By Dayo Adesulu
The Federal Government has been tasked to invest massively in technology as it’s the panacea for socio-economic challenges.Delivering a paper during the 14th ASUP National Conference held at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, the Chairman COHEADS and Rector of Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, Alhaji Masa’ud Elelu said any nation devoid of technology-driven innovations wouldn’t develop. ”Education opens the eyes to what has always been there but not seen. If learning is encouraged, growth is constant. In order to turn around a country, the powerful weapon at the disposal of leaders is education”, he said.
Represented by the Deputy Rector, Dr Habeebah Nike Adam, he posited that technology must be deployed and explored in order to achieve sustainable development. ”Technological education is life. Every nation exists to tackle challenges. Each generation must discover itself, define its mission, visualize today how its tomorrow shall be, actualize the dreams of men of yesterday today so that when tomorrow comes, we would have fulfilled our mission or betrayed it, he added.Speaking on the theme Technological Education as Panacea for Socio-Economic Challenges in Nigeria, he explained that the 21st Century was in sharp contrast to 20th Century.
According to him, the 21st century is technology-driven, knowledge-based and thrives on competition, adding, it encourages collaboration, co-operation and co-creation. ”The advent of information and communication has altered the way we do things in almost all areas of human endeavour, he stressed adding ”As a nation, it is not as if we don’t think. We think down rather than think up. Lots of Nigerians know what to do, but few of them actually do what they know. Thus, knowing is not enough. Action must back it up. People fail because they focus on minor things. There is no doubt, if we don’t think, we shall sink.
”At a time, governments rolled out the 1st, 2nd and 3rd national development plans, 9-point Reconstruction Programme, Operation Feed the Nation, Green Revolution, DIFFRI, MAMSER, Vision 2010, NEEDS, 7-Point Agenda and two years to 2020 Vision 2020 is still on the drawing board.We dwell more on what. We ought to focus our energy on how. It is pedestrian to ask what? It is intellectual to situate the how. What is the problem is inferior to how to tackle the problem.” Specifically, we all know the what. Socio-economic challenges. The how is the platform of technological education which is the core of our gathering today. It calls for a deliberate plan to be short on theory but long on practice. Not until when we learn, we may not know that we didn’t know.
”Ideas are the most powerful things in 21st Century. The future of Nigeria rests on its academics – the thinkers who guide others on the path to progress and happiness.Education in 21st Century ought to imbue in the learner, not only how to make a living but how to live as well make them internalize the ”can do” spirit, think positively and pursue noble goals.Adequate skills can improve the employability of polytechnic graduates and this would translate to a national asset. Since the productivity of enterprises is hinged on the kind of skills possessed by their workers, polytechnics are in good stead to meet the yearning gaps in this important area.
”Individuals can become wealth creators and job providers on the basis of skills they possess. They can also facilitate the transfer of skills to others through their skillful display of knowledge in their domains. With solid minerals and steel development co-creation is possible with Metallurgical Engineering, Mining and Mechanical Engineering. Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Technology, Water Resources Engineering, Food Science Technology can co-create to make our cassava, tomatos, pepper, yam flour and other staple food more hygienic, more appealing, more cost – effective to farmers, buyers and sellers to mention just a few.