Prof. Ayoola Olalusi of Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure, says there is need for urgent review of engineering curriculum in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Olalusi, a Professor of Agricultural Engineering, has said recently in Lagos that the new curriculum should be modern and competitive with international best practices.
He said that there was need to focus on the engineering faculties in the universities to teach and produce engineers that would be of global standard.
He noted that a standard and globally-competitive design and dynamic engineering curriculum was most needed at this present time.
According to him, government should invest heavily in modern machinery and equipment that will help young people to develop into qualified engineers in our tertiary institutions.
“The curriculum should take cognisance of how to convert indigenous resources to solve local problems. A good engineer should possess sound judgement, technical ability and ability to visualise. These are some of the issues that hamper the progress of engineering education in the existing format. We must review our curriculum to reflect competitiveness and global best practices”.
According to him, government also needs to invest in production of locally-fabricated machinery like tractors, cultivator, harrows, seed drills, transplanter, harvesters, manure spreader and ploughs and other farm tools.
“We can fabricate agricultural machinery locally to reduce cost but people are not ready to invest into it because of our value system.
“Many people prefer imported goods to the locally-produced ones. Our value system must be focused on the use of our local engineering content,’’ Olalusi said.
The don urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for local fabricators to thrive and produce machinery that would be adaptable to the environment.
According to him, several machinery and equipment imported into the country does not adapt to the peculiarity of the country’s environmental requirements.
“This has tasked engineers, technicians, technologists and fabricators to engage in local manufacture of agricultural machines and implements.
“Patronage of locally-fabricated implements is still poor while small holder farmers continue to use hoe and cutlass to perform their farm activities.
“The current manufacturing capability demonstrated by local equipment manufacturers reflects need gaps.
“There is need to produce qualified and well-grounded engineers that will bridge the gap in the industry.
“As government is putting in place appropriate infrastructure for mechanised agriculture, it is important to establish industries and manpower that will cater for the equipment need of small and medium scale industries in Africa,” Olalusi said.