Tuesday, October 23, 2018 3:12 pm
As Nigeria grapples with issues of unemployment and nation building, Mr Yekini Ismaila, Acting Director, Federal Science Equipment Centre, Ijanikin, Lagos, says that if adequately funded and equipped, the centre will contribute to producing employable youths.
Ismaila, who made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos, said the centre, a national treasure with great potential, must not be allowed to go comatose.
According to him, the centre is pursuing its mandate vigorously to increasingly harness both the technical and vocation skills of youths to enhance their employability and entrepreneurship.
“It should be fully funded, get massive investment and all other much needed support for it to function more effectively in its drive to improve teaching and learning of science and technology at the basic and post-basic education levels.
“As a former National Chairman of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (Physics Panel), if our laboratories are well equipped and teaching of science in schools encouraged using practical methods, the effects of problems in science will be things of the past.
“The reason why people are excited while using their telephones is because it involves the use of their hands, eyes and brain.
“When you touch, you cannot easily forget, it is a simple philosophy in learning. You observe and see results, so, you cannot forget easily, unlike theory which is abstract.
“That is why we go through the known to the unknown in teaching and learning,’’ Ismaila said.
He promised that the centre would continue to sustainably increase the number of youths and adults with relevant skills for accelerated national development.
Ismaila said that the Federal Ministry of Education attached great importance to effective teaching and learning of science in the country’s post-primary institutions.
Hence, provisions were made in the Second National Development Plan between 1970 and 1974 for a school science equipment centre.
He disclosed that the development prompted the Federal Ministry of Education then to submit a request for assistance to UNESCO and UNDP and entered into a tripartite agreement that led to the establishment of the centre in 1971.
NAN reports that the objective of the centre is to consolidate and provide national programmes of care, repairs and maintenance of school science equipment in secondary schools to extend their life span as well as put them to constant use for effective teaching and learning of science and technology subjects.
In addition it is established to upgrade the skills and career prospects of graduates of laboratory science and offer courses to laboratory technicians.
It is also meant to produce the needed personnel for the country’s polytechnics, universities and even industries among others.
Ismaila noted that innovation would sprawl among young people if the government should continue to sustain the purpose for the establishment of the centre.
“The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, being a scientist has shown keen interest in the promotion and propagation of Science, Technology and Mathematics education and it is our hope that in the near future, it will yield positive results.
“That is why our centre is also relevant to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that government has embarked on and which will last till 2030.
“And for this centre to better serve the nation in Science, Technology and Mathematics education, through the SDG indicator, there is an urgent need for a general upgrade of the equipment and other facilities.
“We need to procure more equipment as most of the existing ones are obsolete and will hardly meet the demands of the 21st century.
“We must also look at design and fabrication of the laboratory equipment,’’ he said.
Ismaila noted that most scientists in the world with world-class innovation had it through practicals.
According to him, it is through practicals, knowingly and unknowingly that people get into innovation.