Sequel to the training programme in the Armed Forces Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (AFEME), Defence Headquarters has developed a curriculum for its Mechatronics School. BINTA SHAMA reports.
Due to the bilateral agreements in form of memorandum of understanding signed in 2011 between the German and Nigerian Ministries of Defence to establish AFEME Mechatronics School (AMS), the DHQ is developing a curriculum for the proposed National Innovative Diploma Certificate in automobile mechatronics.
The Defence Headquarters in collaboration with National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Kaduna, Monday embarked on a 5-day curriculum development workshop for the proposed National Innovative Diploma in automobile Mechatronics, (Autotronics) Technology Programme.
While declaring the workshop open, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, said that the aim of the innovation in technical and vocational education, is to expand access to tertiary training in the technical and vocational education technology (TVET) sub-sector of the education as well as provide the necessary link between education, science, technology, innovation (STI), and the labour market.
He further said the Innovation Enterprise Institutions (IEIs) initiative came into being in 2005 with limited private participation in TVET and restrictive sector classification. However, he said the IEI concept has over the span of 12 years recorded tremendous acceptance by both public and private proprietors.
He added, “as at 2018 there are 152 registered and functional innovation institution. federal and state government agencies, public and private polytechnics and universities have all ventured into this global initiative with a view to providing tertiary level training as well as opportunity for up-skilling graduates and non-graduates in our society.
“ As you are aware, Nigerians unemployment crisis is ironically in the increase due to acute shortage of technical and vocational skills manpower in the country. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2018 survey shows that an average of 1.3 million Nigerians enter the job market every year. Similarly, 53% of Nigerian citizens of age 24 to 44 years are unemployed, while the National Committee on Job Creation 2014 put the total number of unemployed Nigerians at 49 million. The largest group are the youths who are unemployed or under-employed.
“Consequently, the army of these restive unemployed youth has resulted in increased urban violence, kidnapping, militancy and insurgency in the country. It is against this background that the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Education initiated IEIs, while the National Board for Technical Education developed the curricula for them in various novel technological fields.
“You will believe with me that the curriculum you are about to develop is novel and is a result of innovation in the automobile industry that combines mechanical and electronic components. Thus, as experts, you were selected to use your experiences immensely for the development of the curriculum.
The CDS was represented by Deputy Director of Production C DHQ Air Cmdr. Dele Alonge.
During his welcome remarks, the Commanding Officer AFEME Workshop, Lt. Col. Ebiowei Odede said the establishment of a AFEME Mechatronics School (AMS) is to enhance the technical manpower of the armed forces of Nigeria (AFN) through German Nigeria bilateral cooperation.
According to Odede, “technology has started evolving overtime and because of that dynamism the nation should not be left out in the aspect of engineering, because whether you like it or not we have equipment that we maintain and service and we use to fight war including ICT and so if we continue to stay back, we will be left behind and so we will try to meet up in the modern train of technology and science.
“As you can see, we have this mechatronics school so that we can improve the efficiency of our men in modern engineering. The curriculum development we are having today is for autotronics and this plays the mainstay of autotronics engineering in the world today and since we don’t have an autotronics curriculum in Nigeria, this can be developed where other schools can use it for their institution.
“Like the Chief of Defence Staff mentioned earlier, these are parts of his visions to expand technical knowledge in engineering and other expertise so that at the end of day, we will be efficient in our own engineering to take care of our equipment. For this programme, it is an initiative based on defence alone.
“We also manufacture things. Like between last year and now, we have modified and refurbished some fighting special vehicles. For instance, the Nigerian Army was able to produce the MAN resistance vehicles fighting in the Northeast and the expansion of such innovation is very large and wide. Like last week they displayed some at the headquarters.
“At least, this local content drive can be circulated trying to achieve it for the drive of modern technology as can be achieved. This innovation is peculiar to us and that is why we have trainings and institutions to manage this so as not to go wasting our resources elsewhere when we have the capacity of achieving that here.
“On the other hand, ties has been strengthened between both countries in so many ways, like technology with the Army, even though medicines because they have submitted medical equipment in the Army to fight insurgency in the north east and they have also supplied to the armed forces through mass men. They also have instructors that train men on how to locate ID’s to safeguard our equipment fighting in the North East,” he noted.
Commending the institution, he said the step will steadily build-up technical proficiency in highly trained personnel who will become essential. This he said, will ensure maintenance and serviceability of military equipment to meet all operational, logistics and administrative requirement. “We expect that as this institution grows, it will be the nucleus in building renewed and invigorated workshop outfits in the Armed Forces of Nigeria. It is to this end that this workshop is constituted to develop a standard school curriculum that will foster the attainment of these objectives. On our part we shall continue to support the school in capacity-building through strict attention to the curriculum you shall develop and otherwise.”
Fighting the existing insurgency in Northeast
Speaking, the (GTHG) Lt. Col Jens Gliemann said amongst the seven African countries they are partnering, Nigeria is the biggest and strongest partners especially when it comes to fighting the existing insurgency in the Northeast.
“The German Chancellor has decided that Nigeria will continue to be a strong partner as long as it will be needed which means we are not on the one side of vocational workshops but we are also supporting with equipment and also to provide the right success in fighting this insurgency troubling this country. Par the initiative isn’t only to develop the security sector but also to be partners in the world market and therefore not only partnering in the military side but to focus on partnership with more countries which is one of the biggest plan for the German country just like the Chancellor said that “Nigeria isn’t one of the partner but the partner.”