Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.
Sustainable technology development of any economy is anchored in a sound knowledge-base for her citizens. But successful development of such knowledge-base depends on modern infrastructure, rule of law and functional institutions. When a society completes infrastructural development phase, jobs are created, flourishing markets emerge and unemployment gradually grows extinct. Trends have indicated that stimulating entrepreneurship is one of the most viable ways by which people can be empowered. Having realized this, many industrialized and newly industrialized countries have committed resources and time to the promotion of entrepreneurship through various means including specific emphasis and reforms on the educational sector, especially in the administration of Engineering Education. Now, the question is; what pattern has engineering education followed in Nigeria? Has Engineering practice accelerated or retarded technology development and self reliance in Nigeria? Are our institutions and the current engineering curriculum fertile for the growth of proactive, vibrant, state-of-the-art Engineers compatible with the demands of a radical global industrialization and development? Are there opportunities for improvement? This paper attempts to look into some of the foregoing issues. It further discusses the need to properly link Engineering Education with enterprise, technology development and self-employment for graduates of engineering at least.
KEYWORDS: Engineering education, Infrastructure, Technology development, Self employment.
Track 1: Engineering Education.
Sustainable development at local, regional and global scales is perhaps the most daunting challenge that humanity has ever faced. Knowledge and its application are two elements common and central to each of the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development and the many approaches aimed at achieving sustainability. Solutions to the major sustainability problems of the 21st century including poverty alleviation, decoupling of economic growth and environmental impact, renewable energy sources, desertification, diminishing ecosystem services, biodiversity maintenance and use, climate change, and the risk of megacities – all critically require knowledge from scientific research and appropriate technologies. Those solutions are available to any society which invests adequately in the optimum education and training of its engineers. The role of educational outcomes in the promotion of economic growth has long been recognized by economists and other people. Early researchers like Smith are cited by Okoye (1989) to have noted the acquisition and use of the abilities of all inhabitants or members of a society through education as part of its economic fortune. Engineering education has been an integral part of national development strategies in many societies because of its impact on productivity and economic development. Galloway cited by Eze (2008) made a serious case about engineering education reform for the American Society in particular and for the global arena in general. She argued that if engineers are to compete successfully in the global world in the 21st century and establish the profession as a leader in solving most of the world’s problem of infrastructural development, engineering education must embrace the need for professional innovation and do so very quickly. Central to this innovation, the presentation explained that the institutional understanding for the long established methods of practicing engineering and educating future engineers are in critical need of reforms, if the profession must remain relevant. If United States that have almost finished public infrastructure can be...