Utilising science and technology for national growth and development, By Jonas Odocha




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Growth and development, as a concept, in whatever shape or form, is predicated on measurable value addition. It is thus commonplace to learn of economic growth, industrial growth or population growth, all geared towards national development.

But there are obvious enablers in the form of available resources, which include human resources and natural resources. These resources are veritable tools, which when utilised optimally; confer on nations the quality growth and development required for stability and good governance.
Knowledge is the engine that propels the utilisation of these resources. It readily comes in the form of education, which embodies among others, science and technology. Science offers humanity the ability to acquire knowledge of facts or principles, in tackling challenges and resolving issues in a methodical, auditable and measurable manner. It is thus empirical. In the same manner technology opens up the practical use of scientific knowledge in advancing Industry and our everyday life.


This is why education is accorded priority attention in countries that focus on growth and development; and Nigeria must not be an exception. Ironically there are a number of tertiary institutions of Science and Technology in this country but their impact must be felt and recognized. In Agriculture they can improve technology for modern methods, to increase produce yield, and enhance preservation to ensure food security. They can be involved in infrastructure development and fabrication of equipment and tools that will reduce importation of such and help conserve foreign exchange.


In the next couple of days, one of these institutions will be graduating 4,412 students out of which 64 have been awarded the first class degree. In addition, 42 have attained the doctorate category, with 219 at the masters level. One question readily comes to mind: With this level of attainment in science and technology, why is it difficult for these institutions to design and produce METERS to monitor electricity consumption in homes and establishments? Have they even thought of contraptions like this which high school students in a country like South Korea toy around with? What are their challenges if any? These are issues we must begin to interrogate if Science and Technology must play a key role in our country.


It is heartwarming that this same institution is planning to establish a “SCHOOL OF ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY” [SESET] in the next academic year. But it is more important that the knowledge acquired be put into practical purposes, so that our country Nigeria can produce basic technological equipment and materials, to put an end to the importation of same.
•Sir Jonas Odocha writes from Abuja