Group demands review of engineering curriculum in line with global trends

Prof. Samuel Adefila, NSChE President

The education committee of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) has called for a review of the engineering curriculum in relation to global trends and the emerging needs of the nation’s economy.

The group, in a communiqué issued at the end of its workshop held at the Julius Berger Hall, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka and signed by its National President, Prof. Sam Adefila and Chairman, Education Committee, Dr. Atoke Ogunbayo, expressed concern on the adequacy of the chemical engineering curriculum in the various tertiary institutions and stressed the need to review it to bring them to world-class standard through appropriate benchmarks.

Participants at the one-day event themed, “A review of the chemical engineering curriculum in Nigerian universities and polytechnics,” highlighted the major challenges and made recommendations on ways of enhancing the course in Nigeria.

“The laboratories, workshops and IT facilities available in most schools are poor and grossly inadequate. There are too many students in the classes, for the resources available. Besides, the typical curriculum is overloaded; thereby leaving no room for students to develop vitally required critical thinking and analytical skills. It also tends to be unduly wide, ultimately sacrificing in-depth understanding of fundamentals.”

“The curriculum does not sufficiently emphasise requisite soft skills and business skills, which are absolutely essential in today’s world. Often it is not designed with in-built course pre-requisites, which ensure that students are adequately prepared for courses enrolled for.

“The engineering profession is not doing enough to sustain acceptable standards in engineering schools, especially in relation to other comparable disciplines.

To address the trend, the association tasked COREN to intervene more robustly in upholding standards in engineering schools across the county.

While advocating a review of the curriculum, the group said it must be done in such a way that the course load would be reduced while priority attention would be given to engineering fundamentals, as well as analytical skills and critical thinking

The group also canvassed the overhauling of the SIWES programme to ensure that students get a verifiably worthwhile experience.

“There is a need to ensure that every student is placed in a relevant engineering establishment, supervised by an engineer or a related professional in the industry. There is an urgent need for a regular interface between industry, academia, and government to continuously look into various issues of critical interest, including the training of engineers.

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