By Emmanuela Anokam
The Committee of Deans of Engineering and Technology of Nigerian Universities is seeking to partner the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) to boost entrepreneurship in the country.
Prof. Christian Bolu, former Chairman of the committee made this known on Wednesday in Abuja when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to NASSI management.
Bolu, also Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Covenant University said that the aim of the visit was to involve NASSI in the training of engineers in Nigerian universities, particularly in the practical aspect.
He said that the partnership would close the gap between the academia and entrepreneurial in the country.
“There are about 55 universities offering engineering programmes out of the 200 universities in Nigeria and this committee is for all the Deans of the faculty of engineering.
“The main goal of this committee is to share ideas on how we can improve the training of our engineers. We found out that there are many things lacking, particularly getting our students to work and understand how industries operate in Nigeria.
“We want to make sure they acquire exact skills they need so that when they graduate, they don’t have to run around doing jobs outside their fields or go into banking rather they should be useful in factories,’’ he said.
According to him, the committee also wants to find out the problems in the industry and communities and be part of the solution so that the things we do as practical will be based on problems coming from the industry.
The Professor of Engineering recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had in June signed a new Engineering Law which emphasised on Nigerians solving their problems.
Bolu, also the Leader of the Committee working on Industry Academia Partnership underscored the need to ensure Nigerian engineering students were changed by this partnership for Nigeria to benefit economically.
Prof. Salami Ismailia of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta also decried the huge disconnect between the academia and industry.
Ismailia thanked the association for its cooperation and also hoped that the fear of sharing information which was one of the challenges in the industry could be tackled.
Chief Solomon Vongfa, NASSI National President said the partnership was timely, in view of the present challenges in the sector, adding that the association would work together with the committee for entrepreneurial development.
He said that there were 41 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, adding that such meaningful collaboration which would close the huge gap was needed to enhance the sector.
“There is a challenge on skills gap, so engineering students will be allowed to visit our factories for intensive training. Industrial Attachment is not enough.
“We are having relationship with China, India and U.S.A to meet up with global competitiveness, We will like to bring in modern machines to face the international market.
“The students will also be exposed on how to operate the equipment through the technology and knowledge transfer from our foreign partners.
“We have been doing a lot of trainings, especially in the internal villages to develop small scale entrepreneurs in the country. We are open for collaborations to build the industry,’’ he said. (NAN)