Nigerian inventors and challenges of making progress
Without a doubt, necessity is the mother of invention. It is for this reason that so many things were invented and are still being invented by scientists and inventors to make life easy and bring about rapid development. These inventions are what differentiate the developed countries from the developing countries to which Nigeria belongs.
Across the globe today, there are a good number of Nigerian inventors in the Diaspora who have recorded breakthroughs in several inventions. Their success stories are not unconnected with the environment they find themselves, government policies and availability of the needed facilities to invent things.
Unfortunately in Nigeria today, the reverse is the case. This is because most technical education departments in the universities, colleges and polytechnics do not have laboratories or workshop space, let alone usable equipment and facilities where technical skills are distilled to students. Where they exist, they are grossly inadequate as the laboratories only have the items or equipment that were provided when the departments were established long ago.
It is however, most surprising to know that most technical education departments still depend on engineering workshops and lecturers to teach technical education concepts till date. This is a shame and a high degree of irresponsibility on the part of government and the operators of those programmes. The available facilities for technical programmes as at today are inadequate quantitatively and qualitatively, besides being obsolete.
Again, universities and technical schools in the country are owned by Federal and State governments and recently by private individuals or organisations. Federal and states universities rely predominantly on the governments for funding, while the private universities obtain their income from the exorbitant fees they charge the students.
While those entrusted with management of the funds for government institutions are in habit of diverting them, those in charge of private universities are mostly interested in profit making than quality education.
These are the reasons why it has been increasingly difficult to run experiments effectively for students and make the teaching and research in science and technology affordable and available. No wonder, Nigeria is producing insufficient and ill-prepared technical education graduates, necessary for driving the technological and socio-economic development of this nation.
The inadequacy in teaching, laboratory and workshop facilities has contributed to the diminution of the quality of technical education graduates in Nigeria. It would be recalled that Reyes-Guerra in 1989 categorised students into three, namely: Verbalisers, Visualisers and Doers.
The Verbalisers are those who learn easily if information is in written or spoken form. They benefit from lectures, tutorials and hand-outs. Visualisers learn easily when information is presented in pictorial or diagrammatic form while the Doers learn more easily when information is presented by practical demonstration of the lecturers.
The inadequacy of facilities both qualitatively and quantitatively has put the visualisers and the doers at a disadvantage. The verbalisers may also have problems in a class with large students’ population. The implication of this is that only a small proportion of the students benefit from the current pedagogical system.
Besides, there is scarcity of ICT facilities for the training of students. The high cost of computers and teaching aids ownership are major constraints to the acquisition of the items. Affordable, accessible and reliable internet connectivity is only available in a few institutions, faculties and offices.
Despite all these daunting and obvious challenges, there are talented and diligent Nigerians, who have invented a lot of devices that needs public and government assistance or intervention. Unfortunately, most of these inventors have either remained unsung heroes or have been neglected by the successive governments.
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