The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ikeja Branch, has offered scholarships to four secondary school students who had demonstrated engineering skills and showed interest in studying engineering in the university.
The Branch Chairman, Mrs Olufunmilade Akingbagbohun, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the presentation of a cheque of N150, 000 to one of the beneficiaries of the branch’s Engr. Kayode Adekoya Scholarship on Friday.
NAN reports that the branch presented the cheque to Mr Baki Sadiq, a 300 Level Student of Automobile Engineering at the University of Benin, Benin City, who had been on the branch’s scholarship from the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
Akingbagbohun, who noted that there had been a wide gap between classroom teaching and engineering industry, urged the government to review school curriculum in engineering for the nation to reap the gains of engineering.
According to her, Sadiq emerged the winner of the Project Skill Competition in 2016/2017 session in Lagos and was offered scholarship, having shown interest in automobile engineering.
“The motive of this scholarship is to encourage younger ones that are interested in studying engineering.
“Sadiq, while in secondary school, was able to design a toy vehicle on his own and we were impressed with this.
“After being examined by a panel of judges and showed interest in studying engineering, we encouraged him, paid for the UTME, helped him to get admission and put him on yearly scholarship.
“Engineering is the bedrock of any nation that wants to develop and if we don’t bring up the younger ones that will take over from us, we are going to run into chaos and the country also,” the chairman said.
According to her, young students who have displayed high skills in engineering should be encouraged to give hope to the country in a world driven by engineering technologies.
Akingbagbohun said that the future of the country lied on young students who could show dexterities in engineering technologies “to do something for Nigeria and make a change in Nigeria”.
On how the society identified talents in engineering, the chairman said that the branch wrote to schools for students to design what they could do in engineering, saying the best were placed on scholarships.
“We had somebody last year that came up with a washing machine that actually worked and they are all from public schools and we want to encourage them.
“One of the children designed a traffic light and the parents could not even pay his JAMB form and nobody could do that, the branch took it up. Those are the things we want to be encouraging.
“We want to be encouraging intellectual knowledge and innovations. We want to encourage them to study engineering and become problems solvers in Nigeria.
“Kayode Adekoya Scholarship has been on for about four years and we have had four beneficiaries,” she added.
According to Akingbaghohun, one of the beneficiaries is at Bells University, another at the Ekiti State University and the last at Lagos State University.
On how the government could help develop engineering, she said: “Government should make schools better and review the school curriculum for engineers in Nigeria.
“By the time we do this, the huge gap between the classroom and the industry will reduce. The gap is enormous and we need to reduce it.
“We need to graduate better engineers that can think out of the box, produce things that will help the economy not only engineering on paper.”
The chairman said that the branch was committed to mentoring of graduate members, walking in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and groom young graduates on practical experience.
In his remarks, Adekoya, who commended the branch for naming the scholarship after him because of his sacrifice for the society, tasked young engineers on innovations.
Adekoya, who noted that he was elated having a scholarship inaugurated in his name in his lifetime, urged beneficiaries to face their studies and not let the society down in providing solutions to engineering challenges in the country.
Speaking, Mr Mike Joseph, the Step Father to the beneficiary, who described the scholarship as laudable, said his entire family would forever remain grateful to the Ikeja Branch of NSE.
Joseph, a printer, who could not hide his joy, said that the scholarship had made the family proud of the NSE and the boy.
In his comment, Sadiq commended the branch for offering him a scholarship of N150,000 annually.
Sadiq, a former student of Keke Senior High School, Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos, said that the scholarship had not only footed his tuition but also helped him acquire various engineering skills like programming, artificial intelligence among others.
The student, who said that with the right environment and funding, Nigeria could reap much in engineering, noted that he had met a lot of talented young engineers on campus who could change the country.
“We have people that can really make Nigeria giant of Africa in engineering. All we need is good environment and funding and let the curriculum change also,” Sadiq said. (NAN)