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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