2016 KEYNOTE ADDRESS

ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION FOR A DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY

By

*Prof. (Mrs.) Ibiyinka Ogunlade**

Department of Chemistry,

Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti

 

PROTOCOLS

PREAMBLE

It is nice to be back home at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo after fourteen (14) eventful years. I was privileged to serve this great citadel of learning for Nineteen years and eleven months in various capacities. To God be the glory for the great transformation in both human and infrastructural facilities. I want to sincerely appreciate the efforts of our leaders both late and serving for molding, touching lives and adding values to this Institution. Permit me to single out late Prof. Babatunde Ipaye, under whom I served as Head of Chemistry Department, Sub-Dean and Dean of School of Sciences and member of various committees. May I therefore, humbly request that we rise to observe a minute silence in honour of Prof. Babatunde Ipaye, a one-time Provost and by extension others that had served this college but have departed this world. May their souls rest in peace.

I want to sincerely appreciate the Provost, Prof. O.A. Oge, the entire Management team, members of the School of Science, the organizers of this conference for inviting me as the keynote address presenter for the conference this year.

The theme of the conference "Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Science and Technology Education for a Diversified Economy" is so apt at this time that the whole world is experiencing economic downturn since 2008 and our country, Nigeria is now in recession. All possible and viable strategies and action plans must be formulated, adopted and appropriately implemented to ameliorate the economic hardships and diversify the Nigerian economy. Hence, all hands must be on deck to prevent the current recession from further escalating into depression.

 

 

 

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*Visiting Professor at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD).

**Prof. (Mrs.) Ogunlade is the Director of Children-in-Science and Technology (CIST).

 

INTRODUCTION

The role of human in wealth creation and overall influence on the economy of any nation cannot be overemphasized. This in turn could be hinged on the utilization of Science and Technology education in providing appropriate knowledge and skills for its citizenry which will enable them become creative and innovative, thus opening up new entrepreneurial opportunities.

 Nigerian economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector. As at 2000, oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of Federal government revenue, as well as generating more than 14% of its GDP. It also provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of government budgetary revenues. Prior to independence, agriculture was the main source of the nation's revenue, but the discovery of crude oil coupled with the high demand and astronomical rise of prices of oil in the global market  --- led Nigeria to be over dependent on oil, to the neglect of other viable sectors in the economy. The proceeds accrued from the oil have been mismanaged with corruption as the hydra-headed monster. Focusing on only one source of revenue leaves the national economy highly vulnerable to fluctuations in supply and demand of crude oil (in terms of volume exported) and the volatility in oil prices, which makes planning for economic development difficult. Several studies including Leiderman & Maloney (2007) and Hesse (2008) in Nair et al (2011) have established that diversified economies in the long term perform better than mono-cultural economies. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is enhanced learning, which occurs especially through manufacturing and ends up raising income and productivity levels within the economy. Hence it can be said that an economy needs to have a reasonable degree of diversification if it is to achieve sustained long-term economic growth and development.

 

CONCEPT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

A synthesized definition of entrepreneurship from various authors states "Starting a business from scratch." It is the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage business venture along with any of its risks in order to make profit. It includes the process of designing, launching and running a new business. It could also be defined as the process of bringing research from the laboratories to the market.

Entrepreneurship is about self-employment which will generate employment opportunities for others that must work with an individual as the work cannot be done alone. Entrepreneurship is the most effective method of bridging the gap between Science, Technology and the market. These entrepreneurial activities significantly and positively affect the economy by providing jobs and supplying goods, services, needs and requirements of the market. Creativity alone is not sufficient for innovation. Innovation also requires the development, production and implementation of ideas and for innovation to occur, the entrepreneur must possess not only business acumen but capability, ability as well as ingenuity with focus on all environmental factors to make significant impact. Nwafor (2007) stated that an entrepreneur must be skilled, confident, creative, and competent and disciplined enough to seize opportunities that present themselves, regardless of the economic situation.  According to Okpara (2000), an entrepreneur is a human bulldozer who can convert a stumbling block into a stepping stone with the knowledge of Science and Technology. Entrepreneurship is concerned with wealth creation through the addition of value rather than its manipulation. Soyinbo (2006) analyses entrepreneurship as the process of identifying an opportunity related to needs and satisfaction and converting it to products and services of value.

ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES AND INNOVATIVE ACTIVITIES

Nigeria is naturally endowed with entrepreneurial opportunities. However, the realization of the full potential of these opportunities has been dampened by poor national infrastructure, adoption of inappropriate industrialization policies at different times amongst other factors. Several policy interventions that were aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship development through small and medium scale enterprises (SME) promotion based on technology transfer strategy have failed to achieve the desired goals. This has led to the most indigenous entrepreneurs becoming distribution agents of imported products thereby jettisoning indigenous entrepreneurial capacity for manufacturing, mechanized agriculture and expert services (Thaddeus, 2012).

With the recent global economic crisis, virtually the whole world has embraced free enterprise economic system, thereby making entrepreneurship the cornerstone and mainstay of free enterprise economy which according to Afolabi (2015), involves discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities to introduce new goods and services.

Studies by United Nations International Development Organization in Nigeria (UNIDO-Nigeria) in 2012 showed that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) have the propensity to drive the Nigerian economy. Data revealed that there are currently over 17 million MSME employing over 31 million Nigerians. MSMEs account for over 80% of enterprises that employ about 75% of the Nigeria total workforce. Therefore, formulating and effectively implementing MSME policies which represent ways of building capacity to engage in entrepreneurial activities. This is expected to play a central and invaluable role in helping Nigeria to diversify its economy; especially by reducing dependency on oil. In 2012, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) empirically identified Nigeria as one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. The study showed that 35 out of every 100 Nigeria are engaged in some kind of entrepreneurial activities. It is therefore imperative at this point in time to critically examine and evaluate not just the principles of entrepreneurship but the practice and its critical role in economic growth and development as well as diversifying a developing economy such as Nigeria’s.

 

ENTREPRENEURIAL START-UP PROJECTS

The bridging of gap between the town and gown can be achieved faster if entrepreneurship education is embraced in all institutions. Hence, the recent introduction of entrepreneurship activities in institutions of higher learning across the country.

 Recently, Education Regulatory Bodies, such as NUC, NBTE, and NCCE designed and recommended entrepreneurship courses that will expose undergraduates to necessary skill acquisition, sufficient and relevant knowledge and required attitude for job creation and employment opportunities.

 It is believed that the entrepreneurship education will inculcate in the students the capacity and ability to start, develop and run profitable enterprises both during and after their graduation from the school system.

Start-up projects which are believed to require minimal capital to be sourced from government, non-governmental organizations and other funding agencies include but not limited to the following:

Small scale and medium scale enterprises and services which involve manufacturing using locally available human sources and raw materials. This cut across:

- Production of essential chemicals for agricultural, industrial and domestic usage.

- Pig, fish, poultry, snail farming as well as other veterinary services. 

- Service delivery: e.g. Laundry services, school runs, reliable car pick-up, home service for the wealthy, busy individuals and the aged and so on.

- Food and food products such as yam, plantain, cocoa flour.

- Fabrication of machines and equipments for various designs of building blocks.

- Dress and bead making, dyeing and design materials.

- Making of detergents in different concentrations for industrial and domestic uses.

- Gift items: Utilization of locally available raw materials for souvenirs and gifts would help to preserve cultural heritage and identity as well as bring in the much needed foreign exchange and create employment/jobs for the Nigerian youths.

- Ornamentals: The use of ornamentals for scenic and aesthetic purpose continues to be a source of foreign earnings in most parts of the world; such include tropical flowers which are in high demand in the developed world. Nigeria, endowed with variety of flowers will generate substantial foreign currencies if many indigenous Nigerian tropical flowers such as Anthurium spp. in different colours, Ginger flowers of various colours, Sunflowers etc can be processed for export.

- Drinks: Beverages - alcoholic and non-alcoholic, such as Zobo, Kunnu, Soya milk. Raw   materials for cocoa-based products and beverages which are in high demand all over the world can be utilized as a basic entrepreneurship opportunity start-up material if government and private investors can tap into the venture especially now that Nigeria is witnessing dwindling revenue from its major export product; oil and gas.

- Fabric: Use of imported clothing materials is a major drain of the lean foreign exchange due to high rate of foreign exchange. Hence aggressive use of locally manufactured clothing is imperative and all necessary area of this industry should be given comprehensive attention in order for the sector to be optimally developed.

- Cosmetics and Chemical/ Pharmaceuticals: A lot of cosmetic products with edible and non-edible oils as base are in abundance and can be developed for local and international use. Such include local soaps, Coconut oil and Shea butter, Moringa oil. Hair attachments and weave-on which are in high demands can equally be captured as a foreign currency earner.

- Skill acquisition in building materials and accessories making to complement building technology; such as paints making, tiling, aluminum materials and asbestos.

- Knowledge in computer application and services such as setting up internet connections, software development, hardware solutions and repair.

- Providing technological services in the area of alternative to power such as skills in inverter and solar panel production.

In order to harness all the start-up projects, science and technology must play a prominent role.

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION

Science is the systematic way of acquiring knowledge through observation, experiment, sometimes testable explanation and predictions about nature and the universe. Technology can be said to be the practical application of scientific knowledge. It can also be defined as the study of science and skills to design and produce resources for the benefit of the society. The relevance of Science and Technology education to entrepreneurial opportunities and hence national development cannot be overemphasized. Science and Technology is a basic platform on which other developments are hinged as illustrated in Figure 1. Science and technology is an integral part of the policy and strategy for national development, hence formulation of educational issues that will aid implementations and interpretations of such policies to make science and technology education have a meaningful and significant impact on all the facets of society must be put in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 1: RELEVANCE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

 

 

Importance and Benefits of Science and Technology

The advent of Science and Technology has brought so many improvements to mankind. Since the industrial revolution in the 18th century science has witnessed steady improvements. Some of the sectors which have been positively impacted by science and technology include energy, physical sciences, information and communication amongst others. The human society in general has enormously benefited from invention of technology. Infrastructure in our world has grown with the aid of science and technology. Means of transportation by air, sea and land were realized and these benefited the society a great deal. In the past, almost everything was analog but thanks to science and technology, for the continuous digitization. The invention of the telephone and radio services has expanded human communication.

Some advantages of science and technology include improved transportation and communication, quality health care, easier methods of conducting business, and improved learning capabilities. The increased convenience of travel and improved levels of health care that have resulted from investments in science and technology have had a positive and significant impact on the society. Society cannot do without the industries as at today. With improved technology, time is no longer a constraint on communication. Technology has made the world a global village. Technological advances also enable people to access education from across the world. E-learning provides students with personalized educational resources that allow them to manage and control the process and content of their studies. E-learning tools and resources allow for immediate feedback on the learner's performance. It also connects students from different locations and makes the learning and collaboration experiences more enjoyable. Additionally, the combination of medicine and technology is paramount in the revolution of health care. Chronic diseases such as cancer are only treatable as a result of scientific and technological advances.

Science and technology education equips students with basic knowledge, life skills and scientific literacy which prepare them for the future. In a rapidly-evolving world, science and technology education is an instrument of utmost importance in the search for sustainable development and poverty reduction. In Nigerian context, educational system is faced with many challenges in science and technology. Some of the challenges are:

1.      Falling enrolment

2.      Increasing gender gap

3.      Outdated and irrelevant curricula

4.      Faulty teaching methodology

5.      Lack of qualified and competent teachers

6.      Lack of adequate infrastructure

7.      Lack of role model

8.      Scarcity of books

9.      Communication gap between scientists and researchers’ societies

However, these challenges can be surmounted with a diagnostic approach to the economy of Nigeria.

 

NIGERIAN ECONOMY: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Nigeria with a population of about 170 million people is comprised of different tribes of various socio-cultural and religious backgrounds. It is a middle income mixed economy and emerging market with expanding services, communication technology and entertainment sectors. As a nation, she is blessed with natural resources scattered all over the states of the federation. Fossil fuel and mineral oil and gas are found in the south-south, south-east and south-west; coal and lignite in the south-east; bitumen, also known as tar is of large deposit in some parts of the south-west and south-south regions; solid minerals such as tin ore, columbite, tantalite, woltraxmite, therite and molybdenite are found in sufficient quantities in the north, middle belt, part of south-west and south-south. Other natural metallic and non-metallic mineral resources found in different regions in Nigeria include lead, zinc, silver, gold, copper, iron ore, manganese, uranium, thorite, zircon, limestone, marble, clay, kaolin and so on.

Nigeria is ranked 21st largest economy in the world and largest in Africa in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is the total market values of goods and services produced by workers and capital within a nation's borders during a given period (usually 1 year). It is also the 20th largest in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The size of the economy is expected to increase with the manufacturing projected to be the largest on the continent. However, this could be hampered by underdevelopment coupled with years of mismanagement of the country's oil revenue and its vast resources. Economic reforms of the past decades have failed to put Nigeria back on track toward achieving its full economic potentials. Agricultural sector is largely subsistence, which has not kept pace with the increasing population in Nigeria. This has led to high dependence on large quantity of food imports.

After the global meltdown in 2009, several domestic economic outputs have been driven by entrepreneurship with several sectors contributing to the GDP of the countries. Nigerian GDP growth in 2016’s two consecutive quarters has been negative. It is no longer news that the present situation of Nigerian economy is precarious as it is in the middle of a recession. This has in turn affected the interest rate which is put about 30%. The recession has taken its toll on every facet of the lives of the citizenry as there is untold hardship due to high prices of commodities. Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol is currently sold at N145 per litre. A bag of rice is currently sold for N32, 500. The unemployment and underemployment rates are at 12.1% and 19.12% respectively and are still growing. The level of inflation is in double digit while Naira to Dollar exchange rate is over N400 to $1.  Youth employment is at 42.24%. The stock market value is on a continuous steady decline. Loss of jobs is common while the country's purchasing power is rapidly declining.

Having crude oil as the chief source of revenue earner hasmade Nigeria to be classified as a mono-commodity based economy, thereby causing economic crisis and with the recent drop the prices of crude oil in the global market, the present economic situation calls for an aggressive diversification of the economy. An essential requirement in sourcing for other economic activities is INNOVATION, which is defined as the ability to achieve change that creates a new dimension of performance that is novel to the national economy.

 

 

DIVERSIFICATION OF ECONOMY

A diversified economy is that which has different revenue streams and provides a nation with the ability for sustainable growth because of elimination of sole reliance on one particular type commodity for its revenue.

It can also refer to the diversification of markets for exports or the diversification of income sources. This economic concept equips a nation with the security and reliability that it needs to cushion the effects in the case of a revenue stream failure. A well diversified economy can withstand the adverse impacts or shocks from external events while fostering robustness, growth resilience over long term. Economic diversification in its standard usage, either in terms of the diversity of economic activities or markets, is a significant issue for many developing countries, as their economies are generally characterized by the lack of it. They have traditionally relied heavily on the production and exportation of primary commodities that are predominantly vulnerable to climate variability and change. Nigeria, should borrow a leaf from the Gulf Cooperation Council states such as United Arab Emirate, Qatar and Bahrain. They have successfully diversified their economies and reduced dependence on oil and low-wage expatriate labour and refocuses it on other economic activities. The new economic activities involve tourism, education, solid minerals exploration and exploitation, production, construction and other service sectors. As a matter of fact, researchers are able to point to empirical evidences that list diversification as one of the primary reasons that an economy is less likely to be volatile.

 

Benefits of Diversification

Diversification when implemented properly and appropriately makes a nation's economy robust, stable and ensures resilient growth over long term. Greater diversification would:

1.      Reduce shocks to volatility and uncertainty in the global oil market

2.      Create private sector jobs

3.      Increase productivity and sustainable growth, and

4.      Establish viable non-oil based economy, that will be needed in the future when oil revenues dwindle further or ceases outright.

 

Factors Affecting Diversification of the Nigerian Economy

I have strong convictions that successive governments must have made some efforts at diversifying the Nigerian economy but some factors must have been militating against such efforts. The factors in my opinion are as follows:

1.       Lack of political will to implement previously proposed diversification plans and road maps

2.       Decay in the country's educational system

3.       Incessant corruption at all levels of government

4.       Insecurity of all sorts; such as food insecurity

5.       Lack of patriotism – (I want to call our attention to 2nd stanza of the Nigerian National Anthem and Pledge)

6.       Lack of proper control, management and governance at all levels of government

7.       Lack of initiative and creativity

8.       Erratic power supply

9.       Unavailability of potable water

10.   Poor health care system

11.   Poor road networks and transportation systems

12.   Misplaced priority

13.   Relatively expensive communication tariff

 

Way Out and Way Forward

The way out of this economy downturn is to think nature, act nature and go back to the nature. All we are saying is Agriculture is the way out. A nation that cannot feed its people cannot survive and thrive

 As a nation, we must all come together to help the country and bring it out of its present economic woes through innovative ideas. Nigeria must be self-reliant; in order to achieve this feat, our children, our youths, our future need re-orientation at an early age. Science and Technology education must be given priority.

 

Personal Contribution to Science and Technology Education in Nigeria

Chairman, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, permit me to inform this audience that realizing the gap in our educational system, I started a crusade over two decades ago, here on this campus Adeyemi College of Education,Ondo by initiating a project in 1992, aimed at catching them young for science. This is tagged “Children Science Clinic (CSC)”, designed for African children,aged 5 to 12 years through out-of-school activities, community-linked and integrated approaches.

The objective of the project is to develop scientific skills in children and motivate them through science drama, science exhibitions, competitions and excursions to science-based industries within their immediate environment. The skills acquired enabled the children initial ideas to be linked to new experience as discussions of scientific ideas, principles and concepts are handled by professionals as role models, using activity based and child-to-child approaches (Ogunlade, 1999, 2005, 2015).

The effect of the workshop series on the performance of the children was assessed using various methods such as verbal, written and formal evaluation pre and post workshop tests. At exactly a decade of the operation of Children Science Clinic, the phase two of the project was launched alsoin this citadel of learning, on the 5th of November, 2002, tagged Children-in Science and Technology (CIST). The aim of CIST is to popularize science and technology among children for self-reliance, through workshops, talk shows, role modeling, seminars and conferences.

It is gratifying to inform this gathering that CIST has become a household name within and outside Nigeria, since its inception with various workshop and conferences held in different locations in Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania.

It is my belief that with CIST, the rate of unemployment will be drastically reduced and our youths will be successful entrepreneurs.  

 

CONCLUSION

This paper has elaborated on the need for diversification and the importance of science and technology education in the diversification process. The Nigeria economy has to be diversified away from crude oil and  have other means of revenue generation.

 There is a need to create awareness and inculcate the spirit of science and technology education in our schools right from the primary level.

 The science and technology curricula should  address issues that are typical to our environment and culture.

 Science concepts and fundamental principles must be integrated to make science fun to all including children.

This will make science education become more meaningful, less abstract and more practical.

 Students of various branches of physical and chemical sciences and technology should be empowered with technical, practical and applied knowledge and skills with which they can be self-reliant, hence become self-employed and employers of labour.

 Finally, quality science and technology education is essential in achieving an appreciable level of entrepreneurship opportunities which is essential for the diversification of the Nigerian Economy which will reduce poverty and make sustainable national economic development a reality.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Mr Chairman Sir, may I propose the following recommendations:

1. There is a need for stepped-up investments by both government and private sectors in education, especially in science and technology, technical and vocational education.

2. Investments in physical infrastructures, and strengthening of the legal and regulatory environment to reduce the cost of doing business (including providing free trade zones) should encouraged.

3. Encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation through improved access to information, communication technology, and finance, together with aggressive investment in Research and Development (R/D)

4. Science and technology education should be made a priority by government in the broad national development strategy.

5. Demonstration of political will by the government in working to rebuild the Nigerian economy through science and technology education.

6. Constant and aggressive media awareness to promote science and technology education and programmes that will inculcate in the Nigerian youths the value and importance of science and technology education to national development.

7. Provision of intermittent courses, capacity building, training and retraining in science and technology education for professional development.

8. Bridging of gaps between science, technology and the public.

9. The Federal Ministries of Science and Technology and Industry Trade and Investment should, in regular consultation with our universities, design various business models with locally sourced raw materials that entrepreneurs can tap from.

10. Universities offering entrepreneurship education should be close to industries for practical exposure of the lecturers and students to create awareness of different business models and opportunities.

Thank you for listening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Abumere, D.I., Agweda, F. E., Garuba, M.A. (2012). The Contribution of Science and Technology Education to National Development: The Nigerian Experience. Journal of Education and Practice, 3(1), pp. 20 - 21.

Afolabi, A. (2015). The Effect of Entrepreneurship on Economy Growth and Development in Nigeria. International Journal of Development and Economic Sustainability, 3(2), pp. 49 - 65

Atkin, J.M., Black, P. (1997). Policy Perils of International Comparisons. Phi Delta Kappan, (September), pp. 22 – 28

Callen, T., Cherif, R., Hasanov, F., Hegazy, A., and Khandelwal P. (2014). Economic Diversification in the GCC: The Past, the Present, and the Future. IMF Staff Discussion Note, SDN/14/12, pp. 4 - 11.

Dess, G.G., Lumpkin, G.T. (1996). Clarifying the Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct and Linking it to Performance. Academy of Management Review, 21(1), pp. 135 -172.

Duru, M. (2011). Entrepreneurship Opportunities and Challenges in Nigeria. Business and Management Review, 1(1), pp. 41 - 48. Available online at http://www.bmr.businessjournalz.org [Accessed 15 Sept. 2016].

Nair, R., Veeresh, N., and Eagar, R. (2011). Innovation for EconomicDiversification – Experiencefrom the Middle East. Prism / 2 /, p. 49.

Nwafor, P.Z. (2007). Practical Approach to Entrepreneurship: Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME). Enugu, Precision Printers and Publishers, pp. 27 - 29.

Ogunlade, I. (1999). ‘Catch Them Young.’ A Philosophy for the Development of Science in Nigeria. Corporate Publications, pp.19 – 22.

Ogunlade, I. (2005). Non-formal Approach to the Popularization of Science and Technology Education to Children in the 21st Century. International Journal of Children-in-Science and Technology, 3(2), pp. 146 – 149.

Ogunlade, I. (2015 : Food and Education: Catalysts for Sustainable Development.41st Inaugural lecture delivered at Ekiti State University,Ado-Ekiti.

Okpara, F.O. (2000). Entrepreneurship, Text and Cases. Enugu, Precision Printers and Publishers.

Omole, C.O., Ozoji, B.E. (2014). Science Education and Sustainable Development in Nigeria. American Journal of Educational Research, [online] Volume 2(8), p.595. Available online at http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/2/8/6 [Accessed 15 Sept. 201

Soyibo, A. (2006). The Concept of Entrepreneurship. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 1A(i), pp. 65 - 84.

Thaddeus, E. (2012). Perspective: Entrepreneurship Development and Growth in Nigeria. Entrepreneurial Practice Review,[online] Volume 2(2), pp. 31 - 35.

Uzonwanne, C.M. (2015). Economic Diversification in Nigeria in the Face of Dwindling Oil Revenue. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, 6(4), p. 66.

Benefits of Science and Technology to the Society. [online] Available at: http://www.studymode.com/subjects/benefits-of-science-and-technology-to-man-page1.html [Accessed 23 Sept. 2016].

What is diversified economy?  [online] Available at: https://www.reference.com/world-view/diversified-economy-55ce5506ad732b10 [Accessed 23 Sept. 2016].

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/strengthening-education-systems/science-and-technology/browse/1/ [Accessed 23 Sept. 2016].

National Bureau of Statistics.

2016 LEAD PAPER

ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION FOR A DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY

 

Femi Olajuyigbe Ph.D

Department of Biology

Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo

 

 A Lead Paper Presented at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 ANCOSOS at the Obonganwa Grace Ekong Lecture Theatre

8th November, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

The Chairman,

The Provost and the Management Team,

The Dean, School of Science,

The Deans of other Schools,

All Heads of Department,

Great Nigerian Students

INTRODUCTION

      It is my pleasure to stand before you on this auspicious occasion to deliver this lead paper at this year’s ANCOSOS with the apt theme “entrepreneurial opportunities through science and technology education for a diversified economy”. The theme is aptly relevant at this time when Nigeria is witnessing a biting economic recession and the Federal Government is seeking alternative ways of rejuvenating the economy through diversification of our income generating resource bases.

      It is appropriate at this juncture to define certain key terms and put them in perspective for the purpose of our conference. These important terms are identified as follow: entrepreneurship; science and technology education; diversified economy

      Entrepreneurship – is defined by the businessdictionary.com as the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. Hence, the American Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes an entrepreneur as one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. In our O’Level economics classes we learnt that when we combine entrepreneurship with labour, land, capital and natural resources, then we will make profit. We will all agree that the drive for profit is the main reason many people are in business and this becomes necessary for every individual to meet several personal and family demands, which ultimately contribute to the GDP growth of the country. This was corroborated by Schmeimann (2012) when he stated that “most writers agree that entrepreneurship is also driven by a desire to generate profit or other types of rewards, be they linked to monetary gain, personal satisfaction, career-related status, a change in lifestyle, recognition, or other benefits.

      According to Hagel (2016), “in the public mind, entrepreneurs have been reduced to young people who want to create world-changing businesses that can quickly reach $1 billion or more in market value”. This creates an impression that entrepreneurs are the eagle-eyed young fresh graduates from Colleges and Universities who can put their ideas and visions into concrete models to propel them to the top of the social ladder in a very short span. Hagel argued that there is more to an entrepreneur than that, thus suggesting that “a more useful definition might be someone who sees an opportunity to create value and is willing to take a risk to capitalize on that opportunity; some elements of this are opportunity spotting, risk taking, and value creation”. This arguement broadens the definition and gives some glimmer of hope to aspiring entrepreneur but who are worried that age is no more in their favour.

      Schmiemann (2012) defined entrepreneurship as ‘the mindset and process to create and develop economic activity by blending risk-taking, creativity and/or innovation with sound management, within a new or an existing organisation’.

      Entrepreneurship ranges in scale from solo, part-time projects to large-scale undertakings that create many jobs. Many "high value"

entrepreneurial ventures seek venture capital or angel funding (seed money) in order to raise capital for building the business. Angel investors generally seek annualized returns of 20–30% and more, as well as extensive involvement in the business; many organizations exist to support would-be entrepreneurs, including specialized government agencies, business incubators, science parks, and some NGOs (Kamalian et al., 2014).

      Science and technology education – the Merriam Webster dictionary defines the three key words in this phrase as follows: science is a set of knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. (It is a body of knowledge that is essential for exploring and gaining a better understanding the physical world around us); technology is the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems; education is the action or process of teaching someone especially in a school, college, or university.

      What we can add is that education may not necessarily be restricted to the three places mentioned in the definition as Africa and other civilisations have a rich history of an informal educational system.

      Diversified economy – economy is defined as the management of the resources of a community, country, etc., especially with a view to its productivity (Dictioanry.com, 2016) while the Financial Times defines a real economy as “the part of the economy that is concerned with actually producing goods and services, as opposed to the part of the economy that is concerned with buying and selling on the financial markets”. An economy is also viewed as an area of the production, distribution, or trade, and consumption of goods and services by different agents in a given geographical location. Diversification is, according to dictionary.com, the act or practice of manufacturing a variety of products, investing in a variety of securities, selling a variety of merchandise, etc., so that a failure in or an economic slump affecting one of them will not be disastrous. Merging these definitions we can conveniently view a diversified economy as that which bases its production of goods and services on a wide array of resources to avoid a devastating impact in the event of a crash of any aspect of the production process.

      In the real economic sense, Nigerian economy cannot be said to be totally reliant on a single commodity (crude oil), as there are diverse resources feeding the larger economy. However, the problem could be traced to the failure of successive governments to develop the potentials of the other sectors to provide the shock-absorber needed in the event of the crash in crude oil prices. It is pertinent to remind ourselves here that crude has been the major backbone of the Nigerian economy for more than four decades and it created a deceptive bubble which further created a seemingly invincible aura for itself in the minds of our political leaders over the years. That bubble burst recently and the country almost ran aground.

THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY

      The state of the Nigerian economy as it stands today is anything but encouraging. All basic ingredients of a once booming economy are in a perilous state. The indices are all pointing to an economy that needs a very urgent massive rejuvenation. It all came to a head in July 2016 when the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, admitted that the country was technically in recession (Adebayo, 2016). This was further corroborated when the National Bureau of Statistics released their GDP quarterly report for 2016. In it they wrote “in the Second Quarter of 2016, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by -2.06% (year-on-year) in real terms. According to the report, the GDP was lower by 1.70% points from the growth rate of –0.36% recorded in the preceding quarter, and also lower by 4.41% points from the growth rate of 2.35% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015. Quarter on quarter, real GDP increased by 0.82%. During the quarter, nominal GDP was N23,483,954.78 million (in nominal terms) at basic prices. This was 2.73% higher than the Second Quarter 2015 value of N22,859,153.01 million. This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the Second Quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points” (NBS, 2016). The African Development Bank also wrote that “the Nigerian economy has been adversely affected by external shocks, in particular a fall in the global price of crude oil. Growth slowed sharply from 6.2% in 2014 to an estimated 3.0% in 2015. Inflation increased from 7.8% to an estimated 9.0%. The sluggish growth is mainly attributed to a slowdown in economic activity which has been adversely impacted by the inadequate supply of foreign exchange and aggravated by the foreign exchange restrictions targeted at a list of 41 imports, some of which are inputs for manufacturing and agro-industry. This has resulted in cuts in production and shedding of labour in some sectors” (AEO, 2016).

      It should be noted that prior to this recession, Nigeria was rated the largest economy in Africa, overtaking South Africa that had hitherto been in that position. However, the NBS (2016) observed that “the turmoil in global commodity markets, witnessed in the second half of 2014 brought their full weight to bear on the Nigerian economy in 2015. Oil prices fell 66.8% from $114/barrel recorded in June 2014, to $38.0 by December 2015. Prices fell even further in 2016, to $32.6 as at 3rd February, 2016. Beyond commodity markets, recent developments in the global economy created a trifecta of headwinds that the nation has to contend with”. The table below gives a historical and projected situation of the key economic indices for the country.

Table 1: Historical and Projected growth rates for GDP, Inflation and trade, annual (%)

Year

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015e

2016f

2017f

2018f

2019f

Real GDP growth

5.31

4.21

5.49

6.22

2.97

3.78

5.03

5.61

5.61

Inflation

10.83

12.22

8.5

7.98

9.55

10.16

9.49

8.67

8.54

Total Trade

48.75

-4.30

-24.26

10.34

-24.30

2.41

31.11

17.31

11.64

Source: National Bureau of Statistics (2016)

      With the above statistics and barring any unforeseen national calamities, one can only hope that the projected growths expected in the real GDP and total trade as well as the drop in inflation rates in 2017 will be realistic and sustainable. The import of the figures above is a pointer to nothing but the need to reinvigorate the county’s drive towards diversifying its economy farther away from crude oil.

      Another ominous indicator of our precarious economy is the growing rate of unemployment among the very active youth population of Nigeria. The NBS in its unemployment/under‐employment report for the second quarter of 2016 stated that “in Q2 2016, the labour force population (i.e those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 79.9 million from 78.5 million in Q1 2016, representing an increase of 1.78% in the labour force during the quarter. This means 1.39 million persons from the economically active population entered the labour force, that is individuals that were able, willing and actively looking for work. This magnitude of the increase between Q1 and Q2 2016 is smaller when compared to Q4 2015 and Q1 2016, which was an increase of 1.59m in the Labour force population. Within the reference period, the total number of person in full time employment (did any form of work for at least 40 hours) decreased by 351,350 or 0.65% when compared to the previous quarter, and also decreased by 749,414 or 1.38% when compared to Q2 of 2015”. The infographics in figures 1 – 4 give a snapshot of the unemployment situation vis-à-vis the growing population of Nigeria.

Figure 1: Unemployment rate in Nigeria for the second quarter of year 2016. (NBS, 2016)

 

      It is important to note that the county’s population, which was put at 140,431,790 in the 2006 population and housing census, is projected to reach well over 200 million by the year 2020 (World Bank, 2016). In fact a new UN report projected that Nigeria’s population, which is currently ranked number seven in the world, is the most rapidly growing population in the world. “Consequently, the population of Nigeria is projected to surpass that of the United States by about 2050, at which point it would become the third largest country in the world” (United Nations, 2016).

Figure 2: Rate of underemployment in Nigeria for the second quarter of 2016. (NBS, 2016)

      The most disturbing aspect of the demographics is the rate of youth unemployment. As can be seen from figure 3, there are 17.6 million unemployed/underemployed youths in Nigeria as at the second quarter of 2016. This is 49.5% of the youth labour force in the country and if we do not want to give this vibrant and energetic class of the population the excuse to become a menace to the entire country, then there is a need to be more innovative in providing employment or, at least, create the enablement for them to be gainfully engaged.

Figure 3: Rate of youth unemployment in second quarter of 2016 (NBS, 2016)

                                                                                                                          

Figure 4: Rate of unemployment/underemployment on gender bases in second quarter of 2016. (NBS, 2016)

 

KEY INDICATORS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

      Entrepreneurship can be viewed from different perspectives and many authors have defined it from the economic, social, philosophical and management angle. However defined, what cuts across in all angles is the fact that the phenomenon has a broader scope beyond the market economy or profit-oriented perspectives. It is a concept driven by individuals, who have identified opportunities and courageous enough to take the attendant risks and which outcome ultimately impacts on the society at large. In fact economic policy experts have suggested that entrepreneurship has the potential to alter macroeconomic indices either positively or negatively and this has led various governments in Nigeria to pay so much attention to programmes encouraging youths to set up businesses in pursuance of their entrepreneurial dreams. One good example is the Youth Empowerment Scheme, under different epithets, embarked upon by various state governments. The federal government, through the Bank of Industry’s N10billion-Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) scheme, launched such scheme aimed at developing the entrepreneurial capacity of youths and providing start up loans at concessionary interest rates to execute their business plans. The realisation of the important link between entrepreneurs and National economic growth was alluded to in Schmiemann (2012) when he wrote that “indeed, economists and policy-makers have long identified entrepreneurs as important drivers for employment, innovation and economic growth, although the links between entrepreneurship and the various facets of economic growth are less well understood”.  

      The motivation for the entrepreneurial venture ranges from desire for profit, status change, social mobility, altruism and personal satisfaction, among others.

      There are many key indicators of entrepreneurship which are recognizable in individuals. These include, inter alia, relevant skills, personal drive, ability to identify opportunities, and risk taking.

Relevant Skills.

      A prospective entrepreneur must possess certain skills necessary for him to successfully nurture his entrepreneurial ideas to fruition. Such skills could have been acquired through some form of training (formal and informal education) and knowledge gathering. Such skill acquisition begins with the knowledge of businesses and business ventures, specialist knowledge in relevant fields/endeavours as well as managerial skills to enable him manage human and material resources towards deriving benefits from them. Above all the entrepreneur must have something useful to offer.

Risk Taking.

      Risk is the potential of losing something of value, weighed against the potential to gain something of value (Kungwani, 2014).

      According to Johnson (2005) entrepreneurs are leaders willing to take risk and exercise initiative, taking advantage of opportunities in the market by planning, organizing and making use of resources, often by innovating new or improving existing products. The Merriam Webster Learner’s Dictionary defines risk taking as the act or fact of doing something that involves danger or risk in order to achieve a goal. Entrepreneurship means risk. The risk of walking away from security and career path to create something new (Ashbrook, 2016). An entrepreneur could be an individual who was in paid employment but has ceased to derive any form of satisfaction from the previous job, a fresh graduate from a tertiary institution, a corps member who had just concluded the one-year mandatory National Service or even a recently retired worker who believes he can still actively engage in some form of meaningful business venture. Whichever of the foregoing, entrepreneurship involves taking a plunge into a world previously unexplored by the individual and this will entail some risk taking.

      After all, “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over,
nothing is all you will have gained” (Gaiman, 2008).

Personal Drive

      As mentioned earlier, the entrepreneur is driven by the desire to attain some personal goals in life and this may be influenced by profit, desire for status change, zeal to make an impact in his society, quest for survival or even satisfying personal ego. Whatever the driving force is, a successful entrepreneur must have set goals driving him. In addition to this is focus because there are many distractions from friends and family that are capable of derailing the drive.

Ability to Identify Opportunities

      A focussed entrepreneur must have the eyes to see what other do not necessarily see. This is not about conjuring a super-human imagery of the prospective entrepreneur but it took Bill gates the ingenuity to identify the need to make computers more user-friendly in coming up with the Windows operating system (OS) and a variety of windows-compatible applications software. His business shrewdness saw him sealing deals with major desktop computer manufacturers to have his windows OS as the default operating systems on their computers.

      All the indicators mentioned above as well as others such as resilience, focus, self-restraint and discipline, ability to market ideas and products, managerial skills, readiness to learn new ideas, etc. are qualities required for any prospective entrepreneur to succeed.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA.

        Science and technology education can be viewed as a pedagogic system that focuses on the teaching of science and technology in a formal learning environment. Our societies are dominated and even 'driven' by ideas and products from science and technology (S&T) and it is very likely that the influence of science and technology on our lives will continue to increase in the years to come (Sjøberg, 2002). The Nigerian government also recognises the importance of science and technology in national development hence admission into many of the tertiary institutions is skewed in favour of S & T education. In the National Policy on Education, the Federal Government of Nigeria clearly affirmed their bias for science and technology when they stated that “special provisions and incentives shall be made for the study of the sciences at each level of the National education system. For this purpose, the functions of all agencies involved in the promotion of the study of sciences shall be adequately supported by government. In addition, Government shall popularize the study of the sciences and the production of adequate number of scientists to inspire and support national development”. The National Policy further states that “science and technology shall continue to be taught in an integrated manner in the schools to promote in the students the appreciation of basic ideas”. (NPE, 2004)

      Bybee et al., (2008) identified the following categories of goals for science education: scientific knowledge, scientific methods, social issues, personal needs, and career awareness.

      Science and technology education has evolved through various developmental processes and curriculum modifications since the advent of education as it is known today in Nigeria. These programmes have tinkered with the concepts, operations and curriculum of science and technology education with the aim of tailoring them toward the contemporary needs of the country.

      Although the focus of this paper is not on the historical evolution of science and technology education in Nigeria, however it is pertinent to mention a few of the government programmes and interventions driven towards improving S&T education in Nigeria (parts adapted from Ojimba (2013).

Ø   Yaba College of Technology was established in 1947 as an immediate successor to Yaba Higher College.

Ø   Establishment of higher colleges for the defunct HSC (A’ Level) programmes.

Ø   The Science Teachers’ Association of Nigeria established in 1957.

Ø   Basic Science for Nigerian Secondary Schools (BSNSS) undertaken in 1962 at the Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro.

Ø   Nigerian Integrated Science Project (NISP) in 1971, a project of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN).

Ø   In 1969, the historic national curriculum conference further paved way for the involvement of some government agencies such as;

o  the defunct Comparative Education study and Adaptation Centre (CESAC),

o  Nigerian Educational Research Council (NERC), which later merged to become the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to fully participate in many other science curriculum development projects both at the primary and secondary levels of our educational system

      Irrespective of the interventions, it cannot be said that Nigeria has attained the desired levels of development in S&T of the expected outcomes. The sector is still bedevilled with a lot of problems, largely in the areas of implementation of the various policies. According to Okebukola (2014) “science education is not as impressive as it ought to be in Nigeria”. He noted that students are not doing as well as expected in public examinations in the sciences. According to him, “at the university level, the quality of students that we are getting is not impressive in terms of their knowledge of Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.”

      The fall in quality of science and technology graduates is all the more disturbing because the country’s dream of having them contribute meaningfully to national development becomes unrealistic.

      In the opinion of this paper, the problems with the science and technology education in Nigeria are not as much with the policies as there are with the implementation of these policies. It is also worthy of mention that, based on personal observations and experiences, the following are also culpable in the ineffective implementation of the country’s science and technology education policies:

·    Overpopulation – the population of students admitted into science and technology related programmes in the Nation’s educational institutions (Senior Secondary and tertiary institutions). According to the NPC/RTI (2015) “the percentage of youth aged 12–17 years attending secondary school more than doubled from 1990 to 2015. In 2015, 56% of secondary school-aged youth attended secondary school, compared with 44% in 2008, 35% in 2003, and only 24% in 1990. In 2015, the overall GAR was 69%, compared with 65% in 2008, 61% in 2003, and 35% in 1990. If we compare this astronomic rise in Net Attendance Ratio (NAR) and Gross Attendance Ratio (GAR) between 1990 and 2015 to the investment in infrastructure then there seems to be no correlation as many public schools remain understaffed. The teacher:student ratio is far higher than the recommended standards. (NAR is the percentage of the official secondary school-aged population (aged 12–17 years in Nigeria) who attends secondary school. GAR is the total number of students attending secondary school—regardless of age—expressed as a percentage of the official school-going age.). Although this statistics made no distinction between arts and science students, we can only imagine the population ratio based on the National Policy on Education.

·    Inadequacy and Incompetence of Teachers – the quality of graduate teachers being produced by many of the teachers training institutions have also attracted concerns among researchers and relevant government agencies. It is clear that the downturn in the Nation’s economy over the years, corruption as well as poor political leadership have led to the neglect of many critical sectors begging for attention. Education sector has been one such critical sector with successive budgetary allocations falling below UNESCO’s recommended standards. The little allocations that came went mainly into overheads and recurrent expenses. It has also affected the quality of training and training facilities in the many conventional institutions. This has necessitated the commissioning of several training and re-training programmes by government. Even at that, there are still the problems of inadequacy of instructional materials especially in the science and technology disciplines. Another problem is the lack of competence in the handling of such materials where available. The question, however, remains what the trainee teachers do with the training received.

·    Relevance of policies and training modules to societal needs – there is no doubt that Nigerian educational policies, at the points of conception, hold so much promise for the potential turn-around of the Country’s educational sector into a utopia of sorts. A sector that could serve as a solid base for the knowledge-driven economy that will project Nigeria into an enviable position among the league of world leading economies.  However, there is always that yelling gap between conception and implementation. Societal needs are dynamic so should the educational policies be if the Country’s graduates must become relevant in the quest for sustainable national development to fit into the fast-changing global dynamics. The old order of spending years through three levels of education and settling into a public service job then wait till retirement is no longer attractive; neither is it capable of propelling the country to the heights of economic and social development we desire. Countries leading the world today have leveraged on scientific and technological breakthroughs to dominate the important sectors of the global markets – agriculture, medicare, electrical/electronics, construction, automobiles, aviation, communications etc. All these are billion-dollar industries.

·    Disorientation of Learners – this is a very disturbing trend in the Nigerian educational systems these days. It is common to find pupils list music icons, film actors and showbiz personalities as their role models these days. More disturbing is a scenario where those who occupy the upper quartile in the academic performance ratings end up in professions with remunerations that cannot afford them the luxuries of life that these youths find attractive. The attractions of lucre as flaunted by people with dubious reputations, corrupt politicians and fraudsters have caused majority of the present day Nigerian youths to misplace their sense of value judgment. This has become a disincentive for purpose-driven education. It is not uncommon to see pupils in secondary schools and tertiary institutions skipping classes and practical sessions, only turning up for examinations with a view to obtain just the minimum pass or at best cheat their ways to get the certificates. The focus is on just the certificates worth nothing more than the paper it is printed on.

·    Poor Quality of Research in Tertiary Institutions – universities and tertiary institutions are basically set for teaching, research and community development. However, the quality of many research outputs, in the sciences and technology disciplines, from the many universities have yet to make the necessary impacts on the relevant sectors of the Nation’s economy. It is still obvious that majority of the consumer products derived from science and technology found in the Nigerian market are imported. Save for a few agricultural inputs and herbal products, Nigeria is yet to tap fully from the potentials offered by science and technology.

Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship – the opportunities

      According to Ilori et al., (2009) it has been shown, both theoretically and empirically, that technological innovation and entrepreneurship play an important role in fostering the development of today’s industrialised nations. They viewed technology entrepreneurship as “a style of business leadership based on the process of identifying high-potential, technology-intensive business opportunities, gathering resources such as talent and cash, and managing rapid growth using principled, real-time decision-making skills”. However a likely discouraging aspect of this view in present day Nigeria is the ‘technology-intensive’ aspect because of the inefficient electricity industry.

      The first symposium on technology entrepreneurship was held at Purdue University in October 1970. This was the first time researchers gathered together to exchange findings and observations on this topic (Bailetti, 2012). Afonja (1986) made a distinction between technological and commercial entrepreneurship when he said the former deals with the manufacture of products or provision of technical services and the latter means trading, buying and selling or provision of non-technical services.

      In Ilori et al., (2009), they identified a ‘valley of death’ between research resources and commercialisation resources. The former refer to the various research outputs in the engineering and science-based courses while the latter means the resources required to turn technology ideas into profitable business ventures. This valley is further deepened by factors such as sincerity of the researcher, quality of the research output, adequacy of research inputs, timing of the research, unfriendly investment climate, high interest rates on lending, low return on investments and poor business ethics.

      Opportunities abound for S&T entrepreneurship and the following are highlights of these areas:

Ø Biotechnology – the biotechnology industry cover industries from drugs, food and agricultural as well as environmental products. It uses biological systems or living organisms for the development of its products. According to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the biotechnology industry has grown rapidly in recent years, doubling in size between 1993 and 1999. Globally, around 170 billion U.S. dollars were spent on biopharmaceuticals in 2013. This figure is expected to exceed 220 billion U.S. dollars by 2017 (Statista, 2016). Nigeria is blessed with rich floral and faunal resources that could be exploited for their bio-resource potentials to tap into this billion dollars opportunities.

Ø ICT – information is power, as they say, but what we do with the information is what matters. ICT generates, organises, manipulates and trades information in a way to attract value to them. According to Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang, World Bank economist and editor of a new Bank Group report on information technology and development “the mobile platform is emerging as the single most powerful way to extend economic opportunities and key services to millions of people”. Various aspects of the ICT are open for skilled entrepreneurs to tap into. These include data encryption and security, software development (including mobile apps), hardware inventions (computers and mobile technologies), movies and entertainment, financial transactions etc.

Ø Electronic/electrical/automobiles – this is another aspect of S&T that is capable of generating huge incomes for individuals and the Nation. Although capital intensive, however of there are genuine ideas that are capable of attracting investors’ attention, then why not. Remember that General Motors Chevy Volt was designed by a Nigerian.

Ø Chemical and cosmetics industries – global chemical industry turnover was put at 3.534 billion euros in 2015 while the cosmetics industry, over the past decade, has witnessed a steady growth and is anticipated to grow with a CAGR of 4.3% during the forecast period of 2014 -2022. According to the Allied Market Research website, “rising trend of the use of natural ingredients in cosmetic products is observed among various manufacturers. This trend caters to the ever increasing demand for natural or organic cosmetic products among customers. Use of herbal cosmetic products minimizes the chances of any possible side effects of the product. This ultimately increases the usage of cosmetics among individuals”. With Nigeria’s vast agricultural potentials we can leverage on the demands by supplying the herbal raw materials at first then escalate to the major production industry.

Ways Forward for Nigerian science and technology entrepreneurs

      There are a few commendable efforts aimed at commercialising research outputs in Nigeria. However, there is yet to be built that critical bridge across the ‘valley of death’ in order to engender the required synergy between research efforts, industries and investors for the Nigerian economy to become science and technology driven. There is no gainsaying the facts that all developed economies in the world today have ridden on the back of science and technology to arrive at where they are at present. In view of this realisation the following are some suggestions for Nigeria to leverage on S&T to leapfrog into the league of developed countries of the world.

 

1.   Strengthening science and technology education

        There is no doubt that the Nigerian government has done a lot in providing adequately for educational advancement of the county’s teeming youth population. There have been various government programmes, multilateral interventions and international cooperation aimed at improving the education sector. Policies are in place to promote science and technology education. There are investments in procurement of S&T teaching aids and facilities; although electricity which is a basic requirement for the operations of these facilities remains unreliable.  In fact, available records have shown that Nigerians in the diaspora are contributing immensely to the intellectual foundations of most technological achievements in the world with many of these science and technology eggheads having their educational foundations in Nigeria. Hence, we need to find that disconnect between the massive investments in educational institutions and the outputs because as it stands, the quality of outputs cannot justify these investments.

However, there is the need to further strengthen S&T education as no amount of investments is ever too much in education.

2.   University spinoff

This is a concept referring to a commercial relationship between universities and the industries. University spin-offs transform technological inventions developed from university research that are likely to remain unexploited otherwise (Shane, 2004). It is actually an offshoot of a broader concept called research spin-offs which, according to Callan (2001) may fall into at least one of the four following categories:

ü Companies that have an Equity investment from a national library or university

ü Companies that license technology from a public research institute or university

ü Companies that consider a university or public sector employee to have been a founder

ü Companies that have been established directly by a public research institution

This idea comes highly recommended if Nigeria must join the league of countries generating huge income from science and technology ventures. Some examples of spin-offs are Qinetiq (a British multinational defence technology company); Genentech, Inc. (is a biotechnology corporation which became a subsidiary of Roche in 2009); Crucell (a biotechnology company specializing in vaccines and biopharmaceutical technologies, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, based in Leiden, Netherlands); Lycos, Inc., (a search engine and web portal established in 1994, spun out of Carnegie Mellon University); Plastic Logic Germany (originally a spin-off company from the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge) basedin Dresden, Germany.

In Nigeria, the National Biotechnology Development Agency was established in 2001 and part of its mandate is to develop viable and commercial biotechnology and technologies through strategic investments in biotechnology R & D to support innovation and economic development. Another body is the National Board for Technology Incubation which oversees the Technology Incubation Center (TICs) established in 1993. They were designed to nurture new start-ups in science and technology related businesses; and speed up the commercialization of R&D results by effectively linking talents, technology, capital and know-how in order to accelerate the development of new enterprises. There are many such technology incubation centres scattered all over the country. However, these agencies and research centres in our tertiary institutions do not seem to have attracted enough confidence and trust from industries and investors.

3.   Improving business climate

Nigeria ranks number 169 in the world ranking of ease of doing business. We were 170 hitherto. Many investors have been driven out of Nigeria largely due to systemic corruption, inconsistent economic policies, unreliable industrial adjudication procedures and dilapidated infrastructure.

If Nigeria must attract the needed investments in critical but delicate S&T businesses, then we must have a solid infrastructure base such as stable electricity, efficient and timely transports system, access to funds and security.

Conclusion

      Science and technology entrepreneurship have a potential to catapult Nigeria to the league of developed nations in a very short time if there is the political will. This paper has reviewed the concept of entrepreneurship and its key indicators, science and technology education and some of the challenges. Attempts were also made to present the state of the Nigerian economy vis-à-vis the socio-economic indices.

      While it is obvious that there are challenges, it is not all a tale of gloom as we, as a country, have all the ingredients required to propel Nigeria further ahead in its leading role as Africa’s largest economy and the most populous black nation on earth. In our bid to succeed, we must be ready to take on our challenges head-on. A major one being corruption.

      Corruption is not only about embezzling money or misappropriation of funds. An insincere science researcher is corrupt if the sole motive for his research is seeking monetary returns by falsifying research results, publishing untruth in order to meet promotion criteria and exploiting research students.

      There are many science professors out there who might not have stayed one hour in any laboratory.

      Thank you all for listening.


TAKING THE BIG RISK



 

 

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The World Bank (2016). Health Nutrition and Population Statistics: Population estimates and projections. Retrieved from http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx on October 27, 2016.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2016). World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. New York, The Unite Nations.

 

Senator Bode Olajumoke's Speech- ANCOSOS 2016 Opening Ceremony Chairman

CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS AT THE 2016 ANNUAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE SCHOOL OF SCIENCES, ADEYEMI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, ONDO HELD AT THE OBANGAWAN GRACE EKONG LECTURE THEATER ON TUESDAY 8TH NOVEMBER, 2016.

The Provost, Adeyemi College of Education,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

I am glad to be with you at this opening ceremony of the 2016 annual conference of the school of Science (ANCOSOS) of Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo. My task is simple- to ensure a smooth take off of the 2016 conference, and I am poised exactly to do9 this with your cooperation. The 2016 conference Theme- “Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Sciences and Technology Education for a Diversified Economy” is most apt for the times we live in, in our present day Nigeria and I congratulate the organizers of the conference for being sensitive to our situation. I will not bore you with any long address neither will I attempt to preempt our eminent lead paper and keynote address presenters.

 

Nigeria as a developing populous nation is confronted with myriad of challenges such as infrastructures, problems of production to meet our needs in technology, energy, agriculture etc. There are problems of the environment and global warming which remain in the front burner of national and international discourse.

To compound all these, Nigeria lacks strong democratic structures and institutions, just as we are plagued with the absence of maintenance culture norms, and societal ethos. Above myriad of challenges are in dimensions that native intelligence and old ways of doing things can no longer apply. We cannot afford to do things in the conventional ways we are used to.

Ladies and gentlemen, in order to join the league of democratic, developed nations, we need to diversify our one-line economy-hence the importance of this 2016 Conference theme.

Our educational curriculum should enhance creativity and entrepreneurship. We cannot all depend on white collar jobs at this material time. Let us not insist any longer that our children should be well certified but rather that they should be well educated.

Mr. Provost distinguished ladies and gentlemen, here then is my proposal: perhaps, ANCOSOS can take a giant leap this year by progressing from an annual talk shop into something practical using this 2016 Theme to institute an Annual Young Entrepreneur Award of Make Your Pitch competition across Ondo State.

As I wind up this address, let me illustrate my proposal above with the fascinating story of a Nigeria- George Oni.

The parents of George-George Snr and Kemi Oni are close family friends. George Snr. Died about 4years ago.

George Oni Jnr is a 20 year old Nigerian based in Canada as a student, and a young entrepreneur. Born in 1996 in Lagos, he attended Home Science School Ikoyi and Corona School Ikoyi for his primary education. George left Nigeria in January 2013 for Canada in furtherance of his education three months after his father died. At age 17, while in High school, barely 5months after his arrival in Canada from Nigeria to study, he won the 2013 annual Young Entrepreneur Award of Make Your Pitch Competition Across Onatorio, Canada. He is the innovator of the World’s First Premium Interchangeable and Customizable Backpacks. At age 18, he founded Kemis Supply Company (KSC) (note that Kemies is formed from his mother’s name- Kemi) - KSC is the Maker of the world’s First Premium Interchangeable and Customizable Backpacks.

Make Your Pitch is a competition hosted by government of Onatorio’s Ministry of Trade and Economic Development in partnership with the Onatorio Centre of Excellence (OCE) where the competition took place. The OCE hosts an annual conference where the best innovations and technology across the country is displayed. The guest speaker at discovery was Silicon Valley’s very own Peter Diamandis, who is the chairman and CEO of the X Price Foundation and Singularity University. On the 28th of May 2013 the day of the award, among the dignitaries at Onatorio Centre of Excellence (OCE) was the Premiere of Onatorio, Premiere Kathlyn Wynne, the Minister of Trade and Economic Development- Eric Hoskins, High government officials and Captains of Industries both within and outside Canada as well as Kemi the mother of young George.

Winning Make Your Pitch Competition gave young George a reserved spot on the Province summer company flagship programme. In the summer company programme, he was given a grant to kick start his business talent. The World’s First Premium and Interchangeable and Customizable backpacks was launched and successfully funded.

The goal of the Kemies Interchangeable and Customizable backpack is to change the backpack of company for kids, teens, youths, and individuals in general to express themselves through their backpacks, tote bags, sports bags, gym bags and laptop bags. What a success story! We can similarly create entrepreneurial opportunity for our young ones using this example of Onatorio as a model to contribute to the economic growth of Nigeria.

Gladly the Federal government of Nigeria on 12th August 2015 at the Villa appropriately recognized the entrepreneurial feat of young George. He was a special guest at the UN 2015 INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY where he was given an Award of Excellence by His Excellency president Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, accompanied by his proud mother as African representative of Kemies. Also, he has since been featured in many Media outlets with his quotes posted for inspiration.

Young George has gone further by the launching of the NIGERIAFY PORTAL, a portal that connects Nigeria Youth Innovators to the World, and a veritable source of youth empowerment. The launching was done by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in collaboration with The George Oni Youth Empowerment initiative on the 21st of April 2016 at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.

The modalities for this competition as proposed by me here can be put together by a small committee to be set up by ANCOSOS targeting 2017 conference.

I am done with my address. I thank you all for your attention.

Senator Bode Olajumoke LL.M, PhD, LL.D, B.L

LEAD PAPER PRESENTATION ON SUSTAINING A DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY AND COMBATTING SECURITY CHALLENGES THROUGH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA

BY PROF. SAMUEL OLUWOLE SALOKUN

Professor of Sport Psychology and Health Education

Department of Physical and Health Education

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

 

PREAMBLE

            I want to start by giving hearty thanks to all deserving bodies of Adeyemi College of Education Ondo for availing me the rare opportunity to deliver a lead paper on the theme sustaining a diversified economy and combating national security challenges through science and Technology Education at the 2015 Annual Conference of the school of Science of this great Institution. I take great delight in observing that the conference theme this year and those of 2013 and 2014 share the common thoughts that:

i.                    Science and Technology are veritable organs of a nations economic development and security and

ii.                  Nigeria, as a nation, is lagging behind in the area of Technological self-reliance and, as the ‘giant of Africa’ with historical evidence of indigenous technology, is still wadding in a muddy pull in seeking the right way to terminate her total dependence on foreign nations for technological expertise in solving economic and security problems.

            It is quite gratifying that the theme of this year’s conference is flavoured with the word: education which thus leads credence to the saying - ‘knowledge is power’ and insinuates that science and technology education is a potent grass root approach to realizing the object of our mission as a nation.

Economy and Security: An Inseparable duo in National Building  

The morphology of the theme of this conference insinuates the existence of a nexus between the status of a Nation’s economy and her security strength. Truly, economy and security as a matter of common belief are interlinked, neatly fused in functional potency and in the course of a Nations all-round development. They are a pair of mutually reinforcing variables. The truth in this claim can be easily seen if a Nation’s Public Spending (PS) on security and her Gross Domestic Products (GDP) are taken as proxies for security and economic development respectively. Another support for this is the notable rise in the security expenditure of many countries especially the developed countries of the world. These facts provide a solid ground to rock on and say, without any fault of fallacy, that a Nations economy and her security status are related in a positive direction and on a cause-and-effect basis. The robust composition of these two constructs makes them elements of superior relevance in Nation building. The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria found it worthy to provide in Section 14 (1) (b) with regards to the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy that “The Security and Welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government, thus, the first indicia of Statehood is the State’s capacity to maintain law and order. Prime facie, a state will be deemed as having failed to the extent that it has failed to guarantee the safety of life and property of its citizenry (Otto, 2003).

 

 

Diversified Economy in a Technologically Backward Nigeria

            In the opinion of Hornby (2010), the word economy denotes the relationship between production, trade and supply of money in a particular country or region. It involves the use of time, money and other resources that are available in a way to avoid waste (leakages). A nations economy is a function of many variables namely: its natural resources, human resources, leadership style and management efficiency. (Adebakin and Raimi, 2012). 

            A diversified economy consists of a wide range of industries products, interests and skills that are very different from one another in order to be more successful or to reduce risk. There is in Nigeria today a glaring case of localization to Petroleum, crude oil exploration and exploitation nevertheless the country can boast, though with caution, of many other areas of natural resources which are viable enough to boost her economy to a global dimension. Mining, Agriculture, Food processing, Robber, Logging, Groundnut Oil. Hides and skin, Textiles cement. Iron and steel, Palm oil, consumer goods foot wears, Agric chemical, fertilizer, printing press pottery, Boat and Ship Construction, Automobile transport. Entertainment (Music Drama Dance) film-industries, Telecommunication, Banking, Animal husbandry and Merchandize Trade are some example. Diversified as the economy may appear, it is still a disheartening truth that these industrial units are localized and exist almost below subsistence level.

            This ugly trend can be attributed mainly to technological backwardness which characterizes our country. Nigeria as indexed by her inability to produce capital goods and earth moving equipments, her inability to harness her natural resources without the major assistance of foreigners, her heavy dependence on foreign countries for the supply of machine tools and spare parts for all industrial machinery as well as her inability to export finished products instead of her raw materials which are converted to finished products for her to import in foreign currencies (Okafor, 2008).

            There are historical evidences to support the existence of science and Technology in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The 8000 years old Dufuna canoe discovered in May 1987 by a Fulani herdoman in old Borno State that is now in Yobe state which is the oldest in Africa and the World’s third oldest canoe (Sowunmi 2014) is a good example. Painfully and regrettably enough, Nigeria is still marking time on the field of science and technology advancement, appearing to be enjoying the baby stage of (Indigenous) technological development as she has continued to be babied by developed countries of the world. Her indigenous Technological know how have dissipitated with the wind of industrial revolution owing to impotencies which include what Akinbile (2014) drawing from Dayanatha (2006) identified as:

·         Being less capital intensive

·         Being environmental and ecological friendly

·         Being location and site specific and having limited adaptability.

·         Being only able to generate small increments in output and

·         Being only able to diffuse over small homogenous zones.

To sustain a nation diversified economy the following must be suited:

·         Availability of abundant natural resources

·         Availability of human resources experts in engineering, and Technology.

·         Good leadership

·         Availability of adequate equipment and machinery engines

·         Availability of adequate security to protect Territorial boundaries on air; land and sea against infiltration and piracy and, above all,

·         Security of lives and property of the entire citizenry. Nigeria can adequately boast of only abundant natural resources most of which are waiting or begging to be topped.

National Security and its Challenges in Nigeria

            In a nation, security is a term denoting a situation which provides national and international conditions that are favourable to the protection of a nation, a state and its citizens against all exiting and potential threats to lives and property. It has to do with safety or freedom from danger and protection from external attack or infiltration, whether with reference to individual or the state (Otto, 2003).

            It can be viewed as emancipation or freedom from physical structural, political and psychological violence or oppression. In the opinion of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2004), human security may be expressed as including the absence of suchchronic threats as hunger, disease and repression. It means protection from hidden and hurtful disruptions in the patterns of daily life in homes, offices or communities. Wehmeier and Ashby (2002) perceive security as protection against something that might happen in the future or as the activities involved in protecting a country, a building or persons against threats, danger etc. It also relates to the abundance of peace, safety, happiness protection of human and physical resources and structures.

            The samples of definition above succinctly illustrate the features that characterize national security. Therefore security challenges in any nation, including Nigeria, will mean those existing and potential factors or variables or conditions that can lead to insecurity.

            Some disturbing criminal acts which constitute security risks have pervaded the atmosphere in Nigeria for some years now. These acts, some people claimed, were fired by such causative factors as, Historical sentiments, Religious sentiment and fanaticism, ethno-regional inclination, Bad leadership, civil and economic irritants as well inter and intra-political disharmony. They include

·         Boko-Haram bombing and antisocial as well as other inhuman acts such as Rape and Arson.

·         Kidnapping for ransoms,

·         Ritual killing and the terrifying blood-markets stories,

·         Pipeline vandalization,

·         Attacks on public and private institutions by organized gangs.

·         Cultism,

·         Armed robbery,

·         Threats to educational institutions,

·         Unemployment and

·         Drug dealings (Onifade, Imhonopi and Urim, 2013).

            Associated with these are massive loss of lives and property, fear, Panic, prolonged anxiety, mental agony, increased poverty economic stagnation, inadequate medical attention as well as educational and business retardation.      

            It is no longer a fresh news that terrorism, a global phenomenon which was once alien to our country Nigeria, has found its way into the country, to earn her the inglorious tag of a Terrorist Country, which is almost becoming a permanent global political blight.

            Today, Nigeria, is in a state of insecurity that is already known as a most topical issue of discourse from the way it impinges negatively on all geopolitical divisions as well as socio political, educational, cultural and religious institutions. (Okafor, 2008; Otto, 2008, and Bello, 2012). 

Education, Science and Technology

            Education is, simply defined, a process of imparting knowledge or disseminating elements of facts, critical thinking, theories and principles guiding natural phenomena to a learner or a group of learners. Education involves the teaching of skills and dexterity in manipulations, the ability to comprehend, analyze and observe relationships between allied or similar situations, features and structures including their implications. Education instills confidence and causes change of attitude leading to the development of tolerance, contentment, open mindedness, scientific orientation, healthy rivalry and skepticism (Langer, 1977).

            Education takes an individual through socialization which is a life-long process through which social norms, values, and culture of the community are learnt, renewed, conserved, shared and transmitted from generation to generation (Erder, 1966, 1980, Igbo, 2003 and Shaefer 2007). The educated individual is thus equipped with the ability to discernbetween what is good and desirable and what is bad and should be discarded; to embrace what is important, worthwhile and worth striving for including achievement, honesty, liberty, constructiveness, progress and so on. (Annarino, Cowell and Hazelton, 1980; Haralambos and Heald, 2006), Okoli, Obiajulu and Ella, 2013).

            Education viewed from the descriptions of the construct as given above is sine dubio, a potent instrument for shaping an individuals destiny especially through enhancing upward social mobility.

            Education therefore, is better than, and, can be good substitute for policing and hunting of criminals (e.g. oil pipe vandals) because it teaches strict compliance with natural laws and principles. People learn the importance of the rules of law as they affect lives, things, events and how to apply these rules to life situations.

            Science, as a term, is the study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world and society, based on facts that can be proved especially through experimental procedures. (Horby, 2010) Science requires and inevitably utilizes the knowledge of mathematics. It exists in different forms and aligns with different other terms to diversify itself. Among these professional educational terms are social science. Political sciences, sports science, Health Science, Medical Science, Agricultural Science, Engineering Science, Physics Science, Biological Sciences, Science Education etc.

            Technology describes the scientific knowledge used in industries for example in designing new machines (Hornby, 2010). It is the practical application of the knowledge of sciences to create, build, prevent waste, recycle or products. Technology exists in different forms to create areas of specialization such as Educational Technology, Food Science technology. Health technology. Information technology and Sport technology etc.

            Science, Technology and Engineering are allied terms with functional and morphological similarities. The word “technocrat” for example describes an expert in science and Engineering and so an, who has a lot of power in politics and or industry.

Science and Technology Education:

            Science education in Nigeria has a long history dating back to 1962 with the advent of Basic Science for Nigerian Secondary Schools (BSNSS) followed by the Nigerian Integrated Science Project (NISP), a project of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) in 1971. There was a merger of the defunct comparative Education Study and Adaptation Centre (CESAC) and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC). This latter body further engaged in other science curriculum development projects with the aim of improving the unsatisfactory traditional method of teaching science in schools. Technology education vary in definition and therefore, in scope or dimension. In one dimension, it could be seen to describe the pedagogy of computer usage and in another dimension as the branch of vocational education. In yet another dimension, technology education could be understood as referring to the artifacts used in the Pedagogy of Education such as educational technology which entails the science of Audiovisual Technology.

            In broader terms, technology education involves that problem-solving approach or situation which engages children in the use of all available intellectual resources and in developing new ones in order to solve particular problems (Benenson, 2001). These include abilities to collect and analyse data, understand spatial and arithmetic relationship communicate in oral and written forms as well as make sense of social relationship.

            The American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS 1989, 1993) and the National Research Council (NRC, 1996) more widely perceived technology education from the perspective of its usage in trying to change the world, improve its suitability especially in relation to mans needs for survival, food, shelter, defence, affection etc and human aspirations. These bodies embarked on a science education reform proposals which sought the introduction of technological studies in the curricula of elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The primary purpose was to introduce and foster the understanding of the concepts and principles of technology, with regards to control, designs and systems as well as the very significant ideas of technology in areas such as manufacturing information and material energy.

           

            Science and Technology education in Nigerian Tertiary institutions has metamorphosed from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and Technical Drawing into more sophisticated and functionally productive subjects such as:

Agricultural Engineering, Aeronautic Engineering, Engineering Physics, Chemical Engineering, Food Science and Technology,

Building EngineeringMarine Engineering

Mechanical engineering, Petroleum engineering, Sports technology and engineering, Electrical engineering, Civil engineering, Computer engineering etc.

            The Nigeria Transformation Agenda declared by the Federal Government and the Nigeria vision. 20:2020 have directed the efforts of the government in the direction of designing programmes for long term goals in the areas of energy production, employment creation, wealth generation health service production and agriculture and values orientation.

The way to achieving these is through in science and technology orientation. Therefore, science and technology education is unarguably the master key to diversified economy and security of a Nation. It serves as both initial and catalytic driving forces behind the match towards economic, independence and self-reliance, political stability safety of lives and property and healthful living. It provides the required foundation and leverage for economic reconstruction, social and economic reformation and transformation. It facilitates the production and provision of food, shelter, clothing, medical facilities equipment and attention, raw materials for industrial activities science and Technology education facilitates efficiency in and effectiveness of communication transportation, energy production, power generation, printing press, photograph, mass media, recreation, sports facilities and equipment, water supply facilities and equipment, eateries and shopping complex.

            The potentials of science and technology education for job creation, employment of labour and entrepreneurial development is evidenced by the existence in different parts of the country of Information Communication Technology Institutions (ICT) Schools for Oil and Gas technology, the film academy, Technology Institutes and Seminar centres for soap and detergent, paints, cream, Airfreshiner manufacturing. Construction and Engineering Institutes, Institutes of Welding and Fabrication.

            Existing Government Trade Centres (GTC) should function effectively in the direction of training technologists, and technicians who can become self-employed or be gainfully employed in industries, production companies and government parastatals.

            The police, Armed forces (Army, Navy and Airforce) and other supporting security detachments (Federal Road Safety Commission FRSC, Nigerian Immigration Services NIS, Nigeria Customs Service NCS, Nigerian Civil Defence and Service Corps NCDSC)  need the knowledge of science and technology for effective performance of their duties. This attracts the establishment of a Continuing Education Programmes in Science and Technology.

            The Production of Technocrats, technophiles and scientist as well as architects creates a life of technocracy to the elimination of technophobes in the society. No longer will expertise such as detecting and detonating bombs or any form of subterranean dynamites, production of machine spare parts etc. be alien to our Nation Nigeria.                

            The importance of Science and Technology in revolutionizing Agriculture cannot be overemphasized. Nigerians Agricultural sector requires to metamorphose from its present antiquated methods into a large scale mechanized system if it must be able to provide food for her over 160 million inhabitants.

There is a lot to achieve in the quest for sustainable diversified economy and national security.

·         Hunger will be eradicated. This will put smiles in the faces the onetime hungry men and woman.

·         Peoples health status will, as a matter of fact, improve. Sound minds will inhabit sound (healthy) bodies.

·         Our societies and institutions will be inhabited by individuals who are physically sound, mentally upright, emotionally stable and therefore, socially well adjusted. What qualities can be better for peaceful co-existence in a heterogenous population like Nigerias.

·         More individuals can venture into entrepreneurship in mechanized agriculture in a wider geopolitical coverage.

·         A wider base of employment opportunity and job creation are created for unskilled and skilled labour.

·         The building of Dams will be encouraged and the provision of automated irrigating facilities and equipments will be enhanced.

·         Both the government and individuals can venture also into large scale cattle ranching with vibrant ranch life and extended form of animal husbandry.

·         These agricultural programmes provides additional job opportunities for citizens where scientists technologists, pharmacists, veterinary doctors company nurses and dispensers can gainfully and effectively practice their professions under an atmosphere of social and task cohesiveness, mutual love, understanding and mutual tolerance – an approach to developing national peace.

            Sport is a unifying factor and a social institution which assembles people from all works of life for social interaction irrespective of creed, social class, race or sex. It is also an organ of economic development, technological growth and political recognition for nations as well as a veritable instrument of social mobility for athletically endowed individuals.

            Science and technology has impacted significantly on sports, especially competitive sports, touching very impressively on such areas as facilities, equipment, spectator/audience, participation, officiating, recording and media activities for convenience and security purposes mainly, (Rosandich 2008 and Trei, M. 2008).

For example, owing to knowledge and skill in technology;

·         Over 70 million people were recorded to have viewed the 2010 world cup football competition online.

·         A record-breaking television audience estimated at 28 billion was recorded.

·         The world of science and technology was said to have boasted to have people watch the next (2014) world cup games on television, mobile phone, computer as well as interact with (people) other fans.

·         Technology is in use today for settling controversial decisions an examples is the Hawk-eye motion analysis technology for cricket umpires.

·         Major events and venues now use smart systems to optimize security, transport and facilities management etc

·         Sport venues are also able to conduct environmental and energy management in real time through the use of technology which links the event schedules and occupancy information with building management system. The implications these have for national economy can best be imagined.

            Nigeria as a nation can see and utilize this premise as a fertile area of economic growth and national security through science and education programme.

 

Deduction:

            Nigeria as one country must be united first in the attitude of the entire citizenry towards Western Education, which rather than being seen as a heresy or a forbidden process of education (Boko Haram?), must be embraced as a veritable tool of progress. Therefore, in all the six geopolitical zones of the country, all necessary machinery must be put in place for the encouragement of Western system of formal education. This is a more reliable approach to solving the problem of Boko Haram as it will eradicate the erroneous belief that forms the underlying factor. It is further necessary to take this brand of education to the door steps and backyards of all Nigerian homes irrespective of how remotely located.         

            Nigeria as a nation must lead the campaign and actions/to support revisiting the curriculum at all levels of education, based on a sound science and technology oriented philosophy of education and management policies. This will encourage the breeding of science and technology literates who are empowered to teach, build, design, construct, trace and discover faults, maintain, prevent and cure illness without relying on the assistance of foreigners.

            All junior secondary schools must have sufficient of well trained teachers to handle the teaching of mathematics, basic science and technology if the interest of more students is to be enlisted.

·         Well-equipped laboratories and workshops as well as adequate equipment in science and technology practicals must be in all these schools and be put to adequate use rather than being neglected or abused.

·         Schools and teachers must be regularly visited by Inspectors of Education who must be honest and god fearing individuals from the ministry of education and the ministry of science and technology.

·         In senior secondary schools, where Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics are compulsory subjects for science students, academic activities must be oriented towards the acquisition of knowledge, a what-have-you-learnt or what-do-you-know ideology rather than an inglorious ‘how- can-I-pass’ short cut. Knowledge, it must be remembered, is power.

·         Field Trips to Industries, Power stations manufacturing companies, steel rolling mills and sawmills, computer villages, if well arranged with development oriented vision, can buttress science and technology education and enlist the interest of Nigerian youths in related professions.

·         Universities and Polytechnics through science and technology education can develop to the level of producing and preserving what students and the entire community members would eat. Home made cooking utensils, cutleries, preservatives, insecticides germicides and herbicides can be part of the final year projects. Faculties of pharmacy, technology, engineering Agriculture and science as well as Institutes (or departments) of Human Kinetics or physical Education and sport are in good position to encourage technological self-reliance in Tertiary Institutions.

            The home is the child first agency of socialization, where the first learning experiences begin. Parents are the primary agents of this process. The saying, ‘charity begins at home’ aligns with this view. The family which is the smallest unit of any community must lay the foundation for active technocracy by lavishing efforts on the socialization of their children into science and technology. Efforts in this direction should include:

·         Providing magazines, comics on science and technology designs and pictures of machines, engines and their parts.

·         Turning television sets to science and technology programmes for children.

·         Providing toys of machines, engines, cars. Truck radio, handsets which children can dismantle and reset on their own.

·         Leading children to visit technology parks for site seeing and leading a family discussion on same to further insinuate them into technology.

·         Homes should provide series of Do-it-yourself books in technology, automobile-engineering, electrical-electronics, engineering architectural design which introduces children and adolescents to the theory and practice of these areas in simple language with discernable illustrations.

·         Schools in Nigeria must change their perceptions of science and Technology as subjects for special breeds.  Mathematics Science and Technology must be conceived as an integral part of the total educational efforts of the school. All students must be availed the opportunity to partake in all activities relating to these subjects within and outside the classroom. 

·         Annual Mathematics, science and technology programmes to show case talents, can be organized in communities by the school.

·         Teachers of Mathematics, Science and Technology must demystify these subjects through the use of simple pedagogical expertise and the buttressing influence of Teaching Aids on learning.

 

 

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SUSTAINING A DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY AND COMBATTING SECURITY CHALLENGES THROUGH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION

Sam Oluseyi Oyekan, B.Sc., Ph.D. (Ife)

Department of Special Education & Curriculum Studies,

   Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Nigeria.

          seyoyekan@yahoo.com

 

A keynote address presented at the 2015 Annual National Conference

of the School of Science (ANCOSOS), Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo,

Introduction

            Every nation across the world desires enduring peace, harmony and steady progress of sustainable development and national stability that could ensure safe environment and better living standard of its citizens (Oyekan 2015a).  In reality, the society and education are both dynamic and responsive to the transnational wind of change for sustainable development and environment.  The contemporary Nigeria needs an extensive change in orientation as a means to achieve a comprehensive improvement in capacity building, democratic governance, economic diversity and quality human life (Oyekan, 2015b).  It is informed by the fact that the prevailing social, economic and political crisis in our community is an impactful function of brazen leadership failure, corruption, unemployment, insecurity, illiteracy, infrastructural decay and poverty at all levels of humanity.  Emerging conflicts, disputes, contradictions and inadequacies in our homes, schools and governments are creating the critical gaps in quality knowledge and skills’ acquisition, training needs and ethical orientation for the children, youths and adults to cope with the vicissitudes of nation building.

            Hence, functional education that is qualitative and relevant to the needs of a self-reliant society remains the veritable instrument and strength of change for sustainable development, stable polity and dynamic economy (Oyekan, 2009; Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2013).  Science and technology (S&T) are inevitable forces in the modern educational drive towards a guarantee of good life, peace, security and survival of mankind.  Admittedly, the social, economic, political and industrial development of a prosperous country is intimately connected with its level of technological advancement which is predicated on acquiring and applying the basic principles of science.  This implies that no nation can develop, prosper, protect and cope with the challenging prospects of a changing world when a bulk of its citizenry lacks the necessaries of science education and the foundations of technical capacity, which severally anchors the necessity of quality human life.  Herein functional science and technology education (STE) would promote harmonious human development, environmental management and economic prosperity in a modern society.  Meaningful STE is, therefore, expected to nurture competent professionals who shall deploy their scientific knowledge and technological expertise for efficient infrastructural development, increased agricultural and industrial production, quality nutrition and medical care, effective ethical orientation, and comprehensive security of the people and their precious property.

            The destiny of our nation shall largely depend on collective efforts of the citizenry to embrace, popularize and apply advances in S&T to the practical resolution of many human conflicts, health problems, infrastructural deficits, security challenges, industrial backwardness and environmental disasters.  Our clarion responsibility, determination and vision towards improved economic productivity and security of quality human life could be anchored on STE for all.  It is heartening that STE is an important component of schooling in highly industrialized and emerging nations.  Rational investments in the future generation coupled with prudent management of human and natural resources would enable any developing nation to empower its people with comprehensive STE, creative entrepreneurship and sustainable wealth creation.  The tendency is to nurture the cream of responsible professionals, entrepreneurs and captains of industries with the requisite scientific competence, technological innovation and ethical orientation.  Such vibrant citizens should utilize their refined talents, generative ideas and pragmatic visions to eradicate poverty and incapacity, resolve emerging environmental degradation, and achieve enduring economic growth and stable polity in a secured democratic society.

            Being the sure path to success in joyful life and service to humanity, comprehensive education and training are often recognized as the prerequisites for quality manpower development, wealth creation and shared prosperity of the citizenry (Oyekan, 2015c).  Improving the quality standards of STE, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, welfare and security of the people has been of great concern to many progressive nations worldwide.  This provides the basis for schools to emphasise STE in strategic human capital development with diversified subject curricula, instructional materials, teaching methods, evaluation procedures and professional ethics.  It is intended to make the schools become generative learning centres that will nurture the required manpower for sustaining a diversified economy and combating the security challenges through STE initiatives.

            The thrust of our discussion is to explore the correlates of functional STE in sustaining a diversified economy and ensuring the security of life and property in Nigeria.  Efforts shall be expended on highlighting hindrances to sustainable national development, and the necessity for diversified curricula at all level of education.   It is hoped that the prospects of comprehensive STE might halt declining fortunes of Nigerian educational system, and produce vibrant workforce required to revitalise the economy, polity and security architecture of our changing society.  This could promote a sustainable mechanism for viable schooling, productive manpower, robust economic development, good governance and quality human life in a safe healthy environment.

 

Hindrances to Sustainable National Development

            Nigeria is a country of rich ethno-cultural diversity of over 350 distinct ethnic groups and over 500 indigenous languages with an estimated population of 170 million (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2013).  Across the African continent and the world, Nigeria is a prominent black nation blessed with abundant human and natural resources.  Today, functional education and entrepreneurial training have become the powerful tools to unlock and nurture inherent human potential and vision for the resolution of social, economic, political and security challenges confronting the stability, survival and greatness of Nigeria in the 21st century (Oyekan, 2015b).  Articulation of coherent policy guidelines on standards and strategies to ensure and sustain the delivery of qualitative education prescribes 1-6-3-4-4 schooling pattern for the attainment of the goals of education in Nigeria:

·         1 year of Kindergarten,

·         6 years of Primary Education,

·         3 years of Junior Secondary Education,

·         3 years of Senior Secondary Education, and

·         4 years of Tertiary Education.

The specific goals of education in Nigeria are, therefore, to be accessible, comprehensive, self-reliant and relevant to the development of morally sound, patriotic and competent citizens for their educational advancement, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation in the world of work.  At all levels of schooling, concerted efforts should be made to popularise and promote creative thinking, scientific literacy and technological competence in harnessing human and natural resources for sustainable national development.

            However, the Nigerian society is fraught with endemic corruption, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, impunity and insecurity in the recent times (Oyekan, 2015b).  The pervasive manifestation of our collective failure, inaction and immorality, in Oyekan’s (2012) opinion, is visible in the prevailing rot in education, health care, power and energy, roads and railways, manufacturing industries, ministries and agencies, legislature and judiciary.  The Next Agenda (2014) also identified security, education, youth employment, corruption, national unity and governance as hot-button issues that are vital to the progress of our country and the wellbeing of our people, which the Presidential candidates for 2015 elections must address in their action plans.  As potent impediments to sustainable development, they might have been hindering effective delivery of qualitative education in meeting the five national goals of Nigeria, namely:

1.      a free and democratic society;

2.      a just and egalitarian society;

3.      united, strong and self-reliant nation;

4.      a great and dynamic economy; and

5.      a land full of bright opportunities for all citizens (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2013).

As noted above, Nigerians must embrace the breeze of change in attitude towards prudent management of resources for quality education, healthcare, infrastructural development and wealth creation.  This may provide a vibrant platform for diversification of the school curriculum’ national economy and security architecture required to ensure extensive intellectual horizon, creative entrepreneurs and shared prosperity of the citizenry in a safe environment.

            The perennial factors that often aggregate to decline the prospects of functional education, economy and security should be diagnosed and remedied by dedicated stakeholders of sustainable development.  Earlier efforts of Kuti (2012), Oyekan (2000, 2012), Okebukola (2007) and Ike (1977) have severally highlighted the classical challenges confronting the Nigerian education system recognised as the key to sustainable development, among others, to include:

 

1.      inadequate funding worsened by dwindling oil-reliant revenue base and fluctuating budgetary allocations to education at all levels of schooling;

2.      paucity of professionally trained, qualified and motivated diligent teachers and support staff;

3.      insufficiency of functional infrastructures exemplified by irregular supplies of electricity and clean water; bad roads, air/sea ports, and railways; dilapidated school buildings; ill-equipped laboratories and workshops/studios; and poor healthcare and sporting facilities;

4.      apathy towards effective reading, meaningful and educational excellence;

5.      dearth of quality educational materials for multimedia instructional systems approach;

6.      inadequate sponsored mandatory professional staff development programmes for enhancement of professional competence, career progression and certification;

7.      cancellation of student-teachers’ bursary awards;

8.      intrusion of indiscipline and social vices depicted by corruption, cultism, militancy, insurgency, electoral fraud, rape, kidnapping, vandalism, indecent dressing and examination malpractice;

9.      inconsistency in educational and economic policy formulation and implementation;

10.  incessant students’ demonstrations and staff industrial actions laced with elongated school calendars;

11.  high enrolment and large class size resulting from increasing national population;

12.  inadequate instructional supervision and institutional accreditation by educational leaders, supervisory agencies and regulatory bodies;

13.  insufficiency of internship, career orientation and entrepreneurial capacity of school graduates;

14.  ineffective leadership and imprudent resource management in public and private organizations;

15.  poor language and communicative competence typified by

16.  increasing rate of rural-urban drift and unemployment of the school graduates;

17.  overpolitisation, administrative centralization and proliferation of schools;

18.  insufficientagricultural extension and low capacity utilization of manufacturing industries;

19.  poor implementation of curriculum diversification, professionalisation and vocationalisation of education; and

20.  inordinate ambition for material wealth and overdependence on foreign goods and services.

 

These inexhaustible challenges were not much pronounced in the pre-colonial period as a result of morally diligent society with lower population and insufficient inclination towards education, industrialization, corruption, and insecurity of life and property.  However, declining fortunes of education and economy as well as increasing rates of criminality and unemployment could be associated with the galloping population, urbanisation, leadership failure, infrastructural inertia and defective implementation of diversified school curricula anchored on entrepreneurship (Oyekan, 2015c).  Exposition and sensitization of all educational stakeholders to these contemporary challenges shall largely assist the nation in resolving them with requisite sufficient resources, research development, coherent wisdom and strength of character.  Otherwise, these pervasive impediments to joyful learning and career choice in science and technology-related courses, economic prosperity and enduring security may continue to threaten the future prospects of inclusive schooling, wealth creation and national development

 

Recipes for Functional Science and Technology Education

 

Education is the engine of sustainable development that can enhance prudent utilisation of natural resources towards economic progress, technological advancement, industrial growth and environmental management (Oyekan, 2000). Modern Nigeria will need functional STE whose diversified curriculum should provide the groundwork to meet the self-reliant imperatives posed by the basic tenets of functional education, entrepreneurship and globalization which comprise scientific literacy, technological revolution, economic liberation and democratic governance in a secured world (TWAS, 1997; Oyekan, 2002). Herein a growing knowledge-based Nigerian society requires appropriate S & T in the current drive towards a guarantee of good life, peace, security and survival of mankind. The changing nature of the society makes S & T relevant in our collective efforts to educate, entertain, empower, democratise, industrialise and feed the nation through an inclusive education, economy, polity and security of quality human life.

Hence, humanity must learn how to produce, conserve and reuse their resources for ‘greener’, safer and shared prosperity of a natural, healthy living environment. Amidst the broad concerns of educated citizenry, environmental preservation, poverty elimination and global terrorism in a democratic society, it is hoped that adequate inculcation of scientific knowledge, technological principles and social values will strengthen individuals with vocational competence, industrial experience and ethical orientation towards sustainable human development. Emerging vibrant professionals and entrepreneurs would act as an integrated resource base to tackle the country’s knotty problems of illiteracy, corruption, agricultural and industrial stagnation, economic recession, infrastructural inertia and decimation of humanity (Oyekan, 2002; Akinbami, 1987;). It’s time for a positive change that empowers the educational system for sustainable development and stimulation of the productive base of the economy for continuous production of durable goods and efficient services to humanity. The thrust of the nation on STE will be a pragmatic inducement to enhance scientific literacy, industrial development, economic growth and collective prosperity of the people in a secured health environment.  It will be expedient to conceptualise the relevance STE within the instructional context of our dynamic cultural heritage and strategic vision for sustainable development.

Science is a continuous intellectual process of thinking and seeking new knowledge, new explanations and deeper understanding of the natural world (Hurd, 1969) for sustainable improvement of humanity (Oyekan, 1993). It is a pragmatic human activity that creates a system of knowledge, skills and values for sustainable development of nations. This implies that science evolved from the creative ability of man to think, communicate, study, understand and provide enduring solutions to emerging challenges of their living environment. Herein science is regarded as the refined product of human thought being nurtured by reflective cognition, explorative observation, investigative experimentation and creative application of rational principles and methods for sustainable national development, integration and cohesion (Oyekan, 2002). It is necessary to embrace and popularise science as a daily way of quality life of the children, youths and adults in any organised human society.  The human spirit that is formed from pervasive interaction with culture, nature and universe will strengthen man to face emerging challenges of the globalised world.

Furthermore, science should occupy a unique position in our life and school curriculum as it forms the basis for scientific literacy, healthy growth, technological development and economic vitality of any prosperous nation. Against this background, all the citizens and learners should be exposed to STE in all aspects of their schooling, work and socio-cultural life. Science education, therefore, could embrace systematic exposition of learners at all levels of schooling to:

1.                  Biology education                                           7.         Earth Science

2.                  Chemistry education                                       8.         Home Science

3.                  Physics education                                           9.         Mathematics education

4.                  Computer science education                           10.       Space Science

5.                  Agricultural science education                        11.       Environmental Science

6.                  Health science education

 

At various faculties in the universities, advanced scientific knowledge and skills enriched with industrial experiences can be acquired in:

·         Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics & Statistics

·         Biochemistry, Microbiology, Geology, Nutrition & Dietetics (Food Science)

·         Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Quantity Surveying, Nuclear Physics

·         Medicine, Nursing, Radiography,  Pathology, Dentistry, Physiotherapy

·         Computer Science, Agriculture

·         Public Health, Architecture, Estate Management

·         Horticulture, Geographic Information System

Technology is the practical application of scientific knowledge, skills and attitudes to solve human and societal problems. In reality, scientific principles and technological innovations are applied for environmentally sustainable creation of commodities, enduring wealth, and efficient welfare services to improve the security and quality human life. This may spur progressive nations to invest in STE to ensure their inculcation of scientific literacy and technological capacity of the citizenry towards healthy living, economic resilience, responsible parenthood, poverty reduction and environmental protection. It is intended to nurture a prosperous, united and peaceful nation that is graced with a crop of educated and enlightened S & T manpower supply to the national economy and polity. The tendency is for these eclectic professional leaders and entrepreneurs to use their creative talents, generative ideas and industrial experiences in sustaining an inclusive economy, polity and security of our growing democratic society.

Technology education comprises meaningful teaching and learning of scientific, technical and engineering concepts and processes in polytechnics and faculties of universities:

·         Basic electricity                                            *Materials & Metallurgical Engineering

·         Basic electronics                                          *Electronic & Electrical Engineering

·         Automechanics                                             *Chemical Engineering

·         Building construction                                               *Civil Engineering

·         Carpentry and joinery                                              *Mining Engineering

·         Catering Practice                                         *Agricultural Engineering

·         Clothing & Textiles                                      *Mechanical Engineering

·         Cosmetology                                                 *Food Science and Technology

·         Furniture Making                                          *Computer Engineering

·         Metal works/Welding                                               *Science & Laboratory Technology

·         Painting and decorating                              *Aeronautic Engineering

·         Plumbing Works                                           *Satellite & Rocker Engineering

·         Photography                                                 *Building Technology

·         Printing technology                                      *Petroleum Engineering

·         Refrigeration & air-conditioning

·         Technical drawing

·         Upholstery

·         Woodwork

·         Vulganising works

·         Rewiring & Battery charging

Empowerment of the future leaders usually occurs in the school.  This is an educational institution where the teaching, learning and certification in scientific, technical and engineering programmes take place.

Human learning is categorised into cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains to promote total development of learners in organized learning centres. Being a pragmatic human activity, science also provides us with:

1.                  organised body of knowledge about things in our living environment (scientific literacy);

2.                  systematic techniques of investigation and generation useful ideas (scientific skills);

3.                  decent moral disposition towards practical resolution of human, industrial and environmental challenges (scientific attitudes).

 

The learning and application of science to sustain human life know no borders and transcends race, culture, religion, and gender and career preference of the citizenry. Our schools, leaders entrepreneurs and governments should realise that no progressive nation striving for sustainable development and prosperity could achieve economic self-reliance, social harmony and stable polity without first developing a sound base for STE at all levels of schooling and training.  Without STE, learners will not be able to face the challenges of the globalised world.

Necessity for Diversified School Curriculum

Nigeria is in the dawn of a new era of change that is expected to return the country to the glorious path of integrity, progress and development. It is expedient to have the right policy frameworks, functional infrastructures and the political will for a radical departure from brazen impunity of corruption and insecurity in a parlous economy. Offering diversified subject curricula could be the fulcrum of a continuous march to an inclusive functional STE that will sustain development of viable economy and polity for shared prosperity of the citizenry. The school curriculum should provide a diversity of learning contents, creative innovations, professional standards and industrial experiences that will maximize the inherent talents of learners, generate job opportunities and cater for the critical needs of a self-reliant democratic society.

Since the curriculum is one of the foundational elements of effective schooling and teaching, it is often the object of viable reforms, most of which are broadly intended to either mandate or encourage greater curricular standardisation and consistency across states, schools, grade level, subject areas and courses (Great Schools Partnership, 2014). Basic factors which could contribute to meaningful curriculum reforms include experienced professional teachers, educators, learners, subject disciplines and socio-cultural values of the society that often emanate from varying social, economic and political activities of the people. Schools are the generational educative agencies which would provide the functional learning experiences required to refine and nurture learners into productive manpower for technological advancement, industrial development and economic growth of the nation. Our education system should aim at the creation of a new society of educated people who will continually adopt practical reasoning, critical dialogue, creative production of things and preventive diplomacy in rational resolution of human and environmental problems. The corollary is that emphasis should be placed on functional STE that will stimulate learners to think, construct things and harness the abundant natural resources of their living environment for sustainable economy and security of the people.

A practical preparation for sustainable human development is anchored on a functional education that integrates the core and vocational curricula with academic guidance. This connotes a comprehensive education which incorporates relevant occupational possibilities, industrial experiences and work ethics in our classroom operations (Oyekan, 2000b). It is pertinent, therefore, to intensify the link between preparation for the world of work and social relations of the school. Sufficient STE and entrepreneurial training ingrained with all the basic tenets of exemplary morality, probity and saliency to the basic needs of the society remains a glorious means by which an individual may want to improve or maintain his/her social status and economic mobility. It is this crop of responsible personnel with adequate professional and social competence in science and technology that could sustain functional self-reliance, vibrant economy and stable polity in a safe democratic society.

Diversification of the curriculum content and integration of cogent learning experiences with varied work options within the same academic setting could facilitate sustainable human development, economic growth and collective security of the people. In practice, students shall be exposed to academic subjects, vocational studies and industrial training experiences in functioning industries and innovation enterprise institutions across the country. Such productive individuals ingrained with the necessary professional competence, entrepreneurial abilities and managerial skills would sustain quality production of goods and services to ensure human survival, peace and prosperity. This could eradicate the social vices, economic recession and political instability that continually threaten the enduring peace, unity and existence of humanity in Nigeria. As creative individuals, they would be inspired to continually contribute to the growth and development of economy and security of their community.

Across Nigeria, primary education is expected to inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy required for scientific thinking, effective citizenship and opportunities for professional and industrial experiences in both the Junior and Senior Secondary Schools (JSS and SSS) classes. Students who leave school at the JSS stage may then go to Trade Centres, Technical Colleges, and Innovation Enterprise Institutions for out-of-school vocational training which embraces the apprenticeship system. Herein the pupils are made to acquire some marketable technical skills to design and fabricate (machine) tools and equipment for small-scale use particularly in farming, building, household wares, food technology, instructional material production and environmental protection. Such an intermediate technology in cottage industries is anchored on functional self-reliance for the production of beneficial local implements and raw materials of high-tech industries.

Sustaining A Diversified Economy

The wealth, influence and power in the life of any nation depends on her capacity and capability to utilize science and technology to the maximum level (Salami & Ojewumi, 2011).  On this premise, the potency of quality science and technology education (STE) makes the progressive nations across the world to use the functional school curriculum for intellectual, moral and vocational engagements of learners as a means of nurturing the required S&T manpower needs in public and private sectors of the economy.  This implies that the comprehensive school curriculum should reflect creative skills, generative ideas, viable industrial experiences and entrepreneurial needs of the contemporary society.  A diversified school curriculum shall become a potent platform to seek and resolve the prevailing problems associated with equal access to quality STE, human capacity building, self-reliant employment opportunities, environmental management, welfare and security of the citizenry.  In specific terms, meaningful STE would nurture the required scientifically-literate professionals, exemplary diligent leaders and technologically - proficient entrepreneurs to diversify the regressing oil-reliant, import-dependent economy of Nigeria.  The tendency is to promote prudent management of resources by S&T professionals to increase the revenue generation drive of public and private sectors of the economy.

Hence, functional STE, change of human attitude, and economic diversification are the catalysts for effective citizenship, industrious workforce and sustainable development of prosperous nation of our collective dream.  Shediac, Abouchakra, Moujaes and Najjar (2008) corroborated this assertion that economic diversification is the road to sustainable development:

 

A strong, growing, sustainable economy is the goal of every

nation in the world.  A sustainable economy enhances a nation’s

 standard of living by creating wealth and jobs, encouraging

the development of new knowledge and technology, and helping

to ensure a stable political climate.  Having a diverse economy –

that is, one based on a wide range of profitable sector, not just a

few – has long been thought to play a key role in sustainable

economy…. And economic diversification can reduce a nation’s

economic volatility and increase its real activity performance….

Long-term economic health and stability (P.I).

            Diversification is a critical component of a sustainable economy.  A monolithic oil-reliant economy that has historically relied on the export of a single commodity should have its economic base diversified in terms of economic output and input distributions.  For mulations of economic development strategies and transformation agendas must be made to build a strong, sustainable economy.  This involves adopting STE to develop productive manpower with creative knowledge and modern technology, promote good governance and make robust policies focused on effective investment of oil and gas revenues on non-oil sectors.  It is intended to insulate hydrocarbon-rich nations (such as Kuwait, Omar, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Norway and Nigeria) from the excruciating shock of global oil-price changes.

            Science and technology are used to harness the forces of nature and to transform the raw materials which nature endows man into goods and services for better quality of life, self-actualisation and national development (Salami and Ojewumi, 2011).  It is necessary for Nigeria to engage in massive investment on STE, solid minerals, infrastructures, manufacturing industries, mechanized agriculture and transport system as means to boost human capacity and capability for technology-driven internal economy with strong foundation in export business.  The realities of underdevelopment of a distressed nation today requires the adoption of STE to produce scientifically and technologically competent, responsible manpower that can revitalize the economy and security of the people.  Within the fabrics of our culture and modernity, STE has concrete recipes for labour productivity, technological competence, entrepreneurship and economic growth in a developing technocratic society.  This may encourage the pursuit of individual utility maximization anchored on the mainstream of economistic thinking, which portrays social and economic life as being driven by national decision-making strategy.  It is capabable of raising the income per capital and the economic resilience of the Nigerian society if the survival strategy aspect of self-reliance and entrepreneurship is purposefully adopted.

            In our steady march towards self-reliance and economic prosperity in the 21st Century, visionary leaders and stakeholders should engage in rational formulation of viable policies, development programmes and massive investment on non-oil sectors of Nigerian economy.  Notable examples of technology-driven non-oil sector with profitable investment and economic prosperity include:

1.      mechanized agriculture,          6.         tourism and hospitality,

2.      education,                               7.         intellectual property,

3.      healthcare,                               8.         extractive and manufacturing industries, and

4.      infrastructure,              9.         information and communication technology,

5.   electoral process.

Extensive economic activities in a wide range of profitable non-oil sectors will diversify

and increase the revenue base of the nation.  Utilization of scientific principles and technological innovations will enhance creation of jobs and labour productivity in the production of durable goods and efficient services thereby increasing the gross domestic products (GDP).  This may help purposeful leaders to facilitate economic development and good governance aimed at ensuring the safety, security and welfare of the people.

            Adoption of scientifically – improved livestock, seedlings, reagents, tools, machineries and storage facilities in mechanized agriculture will increase employment opportunities for youths, provide raw materials to manufacturing industries and reduce criminal tendencies associated with poverty.  Increased agricultural productivity could also prompt agricultural engineers, researchers and extension officers to embrace more productive agricultural operations and innovations.  Emerging agricultural products will ensure sustainable food security, industrial productions and economic prosperity of the nation.

            Education is the universal catalyst for qualitative development of effective citizenship and competent workforce required in building a modern dynamic society (Oyekan, 2015d).  They will be equipped with professional artistry, multimedia instructional systems approach, and scientific process of adjusting education to the changing needs of learners and development of their community.   Emerging well-educated, enlightened and skilled S&T professionals such as agricultural officers, biologists, chemists, physicists, doctors, dentists, engineers, food scientists, geologists, architects and technicians would become vibrant manpower to revive the regressing economy as they ensure the security and quality human life.  Functional education with diversified curriculum shall expose the enterprising and self-reliant citizenry to relevant academic knowledge, technical know-how and vocational skills necessary for viable agricultural, industrial, infrastructural and political development of the country.  This could be enhanced with the integration of modern technological devices in blended learning of basic concepts and processes beyond the classroom settings.  For instance, the use of computer system, power point and Internet resources with concrete objects, charts compact dises, films and closed circuit television will stimulate students’ interest and conceptual understanding for greater academic performance.

            Training of health personnel with the state-of-the-art facilities such as scientific and technological equipment, tools and materials will equip them with modern medical knowledge, professional skills and best global practices in surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, dentistry, pathology, pharmacy, nursing and radiology, among others.  Quality human life is attained through good lifestyles, healthy living and environmental hygiene anchored on basic principles of science. For instance, eradication of malaria, obesity, cholera and cardiovascular diseases require our application of biological knowledge of metamorphosis of Anopheles mosquito, balanced diet, physical exercises and cleanliness. Technology-based medical care is usually associated with tertiary healthcare delivery system that involves medical research, diagnosis of ailments, surgical operations and physiotherapy aimed at curing ill-health and saving human lives.  Quality healthcare system will halt medical tourism to foreign hospitals for medical care.  Herein the life-threatening issues of infertility, sickle-cell anemia and chronic ailments require the universal understanding and application of basic science of human sexuality and reproductive health.

Infrastructure is made up of basic facilities that support effective functioning of an organized system such as the economy, industry, school of society. A strong, growing sustainable economy requires steady provision of electricity; good air/seaports; railways and roads; clean water; fuel energy; information and communication technological (ICT) devices; accessible markets; affordable hospitals; profitable financial institutions in both rural and urban areas of the country. The state of infrastructure is a critical factor which may influence the trends of investment, productivity and prosperity of a nation. Fixing the prevailing infrastructural rot in Nigeria requires commitment and deployment of electronic and electrical, mechanical, aeronautical, chemical, petroleum and civil engineers as well as accountants, architects and technicians to use their scientific, technological and managerial competence. Why should Nigeria continue to suffer infrastructural decay/deficit amidst these abundant human and natural resources?  Why are the four petrochemical refineries not working?  Free, natural abundant renewable energy (solar, wind, tides, hydro and ocean waves) and non-renewable (coal, petroleum, nuclear, biomass) resources could be harnessed for sufficient supplies of power and energy in Nigeria. This could be used to power and make all basic utilities and industries perform at their installed capacities, provide full gainful employment for all school graduates, and increase the revenue base of private and public organisations.

Tourism and hospitality sector is a goldmine if it can be developed to a global presence with online marketing strategy and furnishing to international standards. It requires rational improvements of their sites, buildings, operational facilities and installation of Internet resources for booking and reservation of rooms and halls across the world. Continental tastes of customers in food, accommodation and services could be accessed online and provided with higher profitability.  This could boost foreign earnings and commercial activities in Nigeria.

Intellectual property is the expression of human creativity and innovation that provide source of a livelihood for people in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. This expressive power of mind is severally displayed in creative productions such as inventions, business logos, industrial product designs, certified plans, books, artworks, journals and music. (Gurry, 2015). Injection of scientific and technological competence with ingenuity of the authors or producers can improve the production efficiency and product quality for maximum profits. For instance, the use of computer system, digital printing machines and online marketing of intellectual property have prospects for economic growth and industrial development of the country.

The lingering corruption, violence and loss of lives often associated with electoral process can be curbed with a careful integration of scientific procedures and technological devices. Earlier investigation and resolution of peculiar electoral challenges of election wards with scientific method will ease adoption of electronic machines in registration and accreditation of voters. Use of closed circuit televisions with surveillance cameras could capture electoral malpractices before, during and after elections. It is intended to enhance free, fair and credible elections that could produce good leaders who will promote sustainable democratic governance, economy and development. Unnecessary wastes and insecurity associated with rigged and cancelled elections will be curbed.

Science and technology become more visible in the oil and gas industry with the installation of exploratory, production and refining equipment, tools and oil rigs on seas. This might have led to overdependence of Nigeria on oil export and import of any commodity with the oil revenue, which contributes more than 70% income in foreign earnings. Other non-oil sectors were neglected with much impact of global slides of oil prices on the nation’s revenue base and economy. It is necessary to diversify the economy by using S&T professionals, processes and machineries to tap abundant resources hidden in many non-oil sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The prevailing economic recession is not beyond redemption with eradication of corruption and prudent management of accruable revenue in building small and medium-sized enterprises, andresuscitating closed down manufacturing industries such as petrochemical refineries, textile and food industries.  Adequate attention should be shifted now to exploitation of bitumen with the available knowledge and expertise of S&T professionals and entrepreneurs beyond the Nigerian shores.

 

Combating the Security Challenges

            Nigeria is going through life-threatening challenges with appreciable distress in education, infrastructure, industry, polity, economy and security of the people.  The manifestation of our collective failure, inaction and immorality is visible in the prevailing corruption, infrastructural rot, massive students’ failure, youth unemployment, and insecurity of life and property.  Resolution of these problems remains the provision of an inclusive STE laced with the acquisition of core human values and enterprising industrial experiences for gainful living.  In Morakinyo’s (2011) view, education has the power to transform societies, provide the children and youths with the protection they need from hazards of poverty, labour exploitation and diseases; and give them the (scientific) knowledge, skills and confidence to reach their full potential.  Regular provision of well-maintained state-of-the-art infrastructural facilities, blended learning with multimedia devices, recreation and relaxation centres, and counselling services shall ease effective acquisition of relevant scientific knowledge, enterprising skills and work ethics required in ensuring sustainable economy and security of Nigerians. 

            Hence, resourceful and responsible personnel in our schools require extensive re-orientation towards curricular innovations in STE as means to improve their subject knowledge, pedagogical skills and ethical orientations.  Educators and teachers would need to be digitally literate as they cultivate the attitude of a learner with utmost patience, humility and willingness to improve their instructional knowledge, pedagogy and ICT skills (Oyekan, 2015c).  Our children, children and adults also require periodic discussions and guidance on time management, effective study habits, vocational choice, coping with stress or anxiety, conflict resolution, cordiality and healthy living in a safe environment.  This strategic intervention in sustainable human development could help to mitigate the variegated challenges of massive learning failure, defective subject and career choices, examination malpractices, rising unemployment, cyber crimes, drug abuse, rape, cultism, stealing, kidnapping, electoral frauds associated with the political instability of our growing technocratic society.  Schools will have the capacity and opportunities to provide comprehensive STE, collaborate with relevant industries, and nurture career-conscious learners with strong achievement orientation and curious survival attitude to fruitful work and safety of human life.

Prospects of Science and Technology Education

            The destiny of our nation shall largely depend on the committed efforts to popularise, study and apply science and technology to provide practicable solution to varying problems associated with sustainability of education, economy, polity and security of the citizenry (Oyekan, 2002).  Adoption of scientific knowledge, skills and attitudes in every sphere of our lives could assist in practical resolution of many human conflicts, health problems and environmental disasters such as communal classes, religious riots, wars, diseases, energy and food crises, flood and erosion, wildlife extinction, accidents and desert encroachment.  Humanistic inquiry approach to acquire and apply the techniques of science (scientific method) in teaching-learning activities could largely improve students’ interest and nurture an educationally-enriched and scientifically-literate citizenry.  It is more likely to enhance greater students’ achievement for further learning, choosing S&T-based professions and enjoying comfortable healthy living in the society.

            Hence, effective use of scientific method in functional education and conflict resolution towards national development involves:

1.      the mental processes of learning and assimilating basic concepts and principles;

2.      acquisition of the basic process skills of observing, classifying, measuring, predicting, interpreting, inferring and reporting research work; and

3.      adoption of enduring attitudes of being objective, curious, open-minded, humble, honest, patient, decent, independent, articulate, selfless, studious, civil, just, creative, rational land critical of issues.

 

Scientific method in all aspects of our individual and national life shall enhance human civilization and economic prosperity when creative knowledge, skills land habits are conceptually used within the socio-cultural context of the society to solve emerging problems of mankind.  It should, therefore, be the basis of classroom practices, human actions and environmental management strategies.

            Nations must imbibe the globalization breeze and develop towards technocratic societies with established economy and technology for sustainable development.  This will invariably provide a healthy workforce and vibrant infrastructure for the schools and cottage industries.  Such small-scale manufacturing industries are the indispensable lubricants to diversify our monolithic oil-reliant economy and employment prospects by utilizing the abundant natural resources of the country.  Herein science and technology are expected to provide efficient public healthcare, transportation, communication, industrialization and required manpower for sustainable economy and security of the people in democratic society.  It is envisaged that an emerging virile populace armed with scientific and technological literacy shall be free from superstition, poverty, ignorance, hunger and diseases which often induce conflicts and crises which may disintegrate the nation.

 

Conclusion

            Science occupies a unique position in our life and school curriculum being the foundation for healthy growth and technological development of any nation.  Adequate prioritization and universalization of S&T education could enhance scientific literacy, technological dexterity and production efficiency as vital ingredients of national development and integration.  It is envisaged that S&T education shall enhance affordable provision of:

1)         Vital prerequisites of existence in form of clean air, safe water and usable land;

2)         Basic necessities of life as depicted by durable clothing, sufficient food, comfortable shelther and comprehensive security of the people; and

3)         Fundamental necessities of S&T education in terms of sufficient fund, well-stocked laboratories and workshops, comfortable classrooms and hostels, and recreation centres.

 

A conducive learning, living and working environment shall be created to nurture

competent professionals and entrepreneurs with requisite capacity for wealth creation and

national integration.  This shall prevent the conflicts and crises associated with illiteracy and

poverty.

            It is suggested that a viable educational system requires sufficient human and

infrastructural resources to nurture a productive citizenry that would cope with the dynamic challenges of national development and integration.  All the training schemes in education, industry, medicine, agriculture, commerce and finance should be based on a combination of practical work and theoretical study.  Meaningful adoption of scientific approach and infusion of humanism into the teaching-learning process could inculcate good health habits, creative production skills land responsive leadership qualities for sustainable development and integration of the citizens with the national objectives.

            Wealthy people, school alumni and private organizations could be encouraged to build, rehabilitate, and equip classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and workshops; institute endowments and prizes for outstanding achievements; grant scholarships and bursary awards; and facilitate the establishment of exchange programmes with national and international tertiary institutions. Emergence of a nation of our dream will be blessed with educated and responsive captains of industry that could energise an inclusive economic and industrial growth.  It shall raise an expansive resource base that will drive the critical infrastructures, instructional mechanisms and production systems to create jobs and wealth for the sustenance of peace, security and welfare of healthy citizenry in a developing knowledge society.

 

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