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Experts seek engineering curriculum review for sustainable development

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Nigerian engineers have advocated restructuring of engineering curriculum to meet global trends and emerging needs of the nation’s economy.

They said, the new curriculum should lay emphasises on sustainable design, and manufacturing, integrating management, economics, communication ethics, and social responsibility.

According to experts who spoke at the virtual conference of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) themed, “the Dynamics of Engineering Education for Sustainable Development”, engineering education must provide engineers with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.
 
Leading the position, a senior engineer at South Jersey Gas, United States of America, Ms Adaeze Udeogalanya, stated the importance of cultivating a trans-disciplinary approach to solving complex engineering problems, eliminating conventional discipline boundaries.

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Udeogalanya said, there was a need to establish closer connection with industry through properly designed internship, and externships, sponsored sustainable design classes and hackathons.
 
She also stressed that the need to promote engineering education to support sustainable development goals, adding that the ability of the engineer to think outside the box, will depend on the type of education, quality and the component.

Udeogalanya said: “Engineers could choose to focus on and prioritise the fundamentals that include food production, clean water, and hazard response. Envisions bold outcomes through proactive and innovative responses to societal problems solving.”
 
She listed the challenges to sustainable economic development to include, limited financial resources, lack of diligence and consistency in implementing policies, corruption and resource misuse, short term view of economic value creation and ineffective or poorly implemented sustainability policies.
  
For the President, Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers, Ing Trudy Morgan, the outbreak of COVIS-19 affected engineering learning in that country as its largest institution which moved online wasn’t successful as all lecturers were not able to participate.

He stated that this was due to absence of critical facilities such as Internet, power and other important platforms. She added that the university therefore had challenges in providing practical learning to students.
 
The Director of Academics at the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, Prof. Peter Onwualu, explained that to circumvent the difficulties posed by the pandemic on engineering learning, the university has to move online but not without some shortcomings. 

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He said universities should be able to come out with research and innovations that could be used to deal with real life issues.

The Managing Director, Siemens Nigeria, Ms Onyeche Tifashe said the pandemic experience has drawn the nation to the reality that Nigerians are responsible for their development. She stated that engineering education is key, but there is a need to leverage the people to innovate and drive development.

She emphasised mindset change, and research development for economic gain.
  
In her contributions, APWEN president, Mrs. Funmilola Ojelade said the association remained committed to having more women in engineering by training, changing the mindset of girls in order to increase the numerical strength of the female gender in engineering.

According to her, APWEN will continue to give skills to girls, and women to enable them become self-employed.
 
Earlier, a founding member of APWEN, Mrs. Joanna Maduka commended members for laudable works aimed at increasing the stake of women in the profession.

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