Total, MIT, others task NUC on human capacity building

Managing Director, Eternity Services Limited, Tunde Makun (left); President, Petroleum Tanker Drivers, Akani Oladiti; Baale Marine Beach, Apapa, Lagos, Chief Joseph Ogunmola; Managing Director, Total Nigeria Plc, Jean Philippe Torres; and Lagos state Sector commander of the Federal road safety corps, Hyginus Omeje, during the Launch of a new fleet of trucks by Total at Marine Beach depot, Apapa, Lagos recently.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) fellows and other stakeholders have called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to re-structure the curriculum for higher institutions in the country towards productivity.

The MIT fellows, who made this appeal in Lagos, during the “Empowering The Teacher (ETT)” summit organised by Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, said the curriculum should be reviewed to focus on the needs of industries and the workforce.

One of the fellows, Prof. Francisca Oladipo, said the major contributor to the reviewed curriculum should be the industries, and not the academia because students after school end up in the various industries not fullyproductive, hence they should define the problems that the curriculum should solve.

Oladipo, who is the Head of Department, Computer Science, Federal University, Lokoja, urged industry players to suggest ways to solve practical problems, which may be encountered by the students in the labour market.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/TOTAL MIT – ETT partnership Programme, which is geared towards empowering young outstanding faculties in science and engineering through collaboration with faculty at MIT in developing new curriculum and teaching methods.

Speaking on the theme: “Convergence of Change Agents: five years of Inspiring Innovation,” the Executive Director, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Total, Nigeria, Abiodun Afolabi, said the NNPC, TOTAL, MIT programme is designed to largely change the face of education in Nigeria. It uses the fellows as change agents, with special focus on engineering and computer science.

“It is angled towards professors, whom through we can change the staff strength of their various institutions with the knowledge acquired at MIT and at the long run influence the review of the curriculum,” Afolabi added

Similarly, the keynote speaker, Funke Opeke, noted that the quality and products of Nigeria’s high institutions are reflective in the country’s low productivity and squat Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

Opeke, the Chief Executive Officer, of MainOne, highlighted technological deficiency in the education sector as a major challenge affecting the performances of Nigerian graduates.

She regretted that most of them often times couldn’t compete on global standards. “Our students are poorly prepared for the reality of the 21st Century.”
Opeke expressed her disappointment, saying that the system is failing to train youths for future productivity owing to poor education standards, “even the best are not well prepared for the market.”

The MainOne boss stressed that quantity is not the challenge, but quality which is paramount and should focus on the use of technology to achieve the right outcomes, rather than rely on text books imported from other climes.

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