SCIENCE, TECH EDUCATION, KEY TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT -DG NISLT
The Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), Dr. Ighodalo Ijagbone, says unless the country lays emphasis on the development of science and technology education, the goal of the Federal Government to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs), vision 20:20:20 would be a mirage.
To the DG, the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, which includes NEEDs, MDGs, vision 20:20:20 remains the 'hottest' government policies in the drive to revitalize the nation's economy but any attempt to ignore the development of science and technology and agriculture may be the country's greatest disadvantages, adding, agriculture remains a sector where the country has great competitive advantage.
Delivering a lecture entitled: 'Science and Technology: The bedrock of national development' at the 8th annual Federal Public Service Forum in Ibadan, the laboratory scientist observed that ' in modern economies, it is longer tenable for any nation to base its development on natural resources alone as it being done with oil in the Nigeria'.
According to him, the principal capacity which a country needs to succeed was intellectual capacity, which would enable it to create knowledge. 'Therefore, the main goal of Nigerian's innovation and transformation must be centered on the need to activate her intellectual capacity by investing more on science and technology from the primary through to the university level for human capacity building'.
'At tertiary level, world class scientists, engineers and technologists must be produced having capacity to stimulate inventions and generate innovations for sustainable development. Relevant to this was the need to provide adequate support for continuous training, strengthen courses in technological entrepreneurship and management of technology, encourage and provide opportunities for on-the-job professional training and promote academic - industry exchange programmes to enhance knowledge sharing'.
Of all the problems confronting the country, Ijagbone observed that poverty, unemployment, security, deplorable state of infrastructure remains the major threatening the continual existence of its people.
Using the Republic of China as a case study, Ijagbone said Nigeria can look at functional models which have worked in China and other developed countries and used it to reverse the nation's present economic problems.
He noted that China's miraculous economic feat within the last thirty years was grounded on the development of appropriate science and technology infrastructure. 'We cannot proceed as if science is irrelevant for the solution to our problems. The draft National policy on Science and Technology and Innovation (STI) system when approved by the Federal Government should kick start the new initiative to set the country free for development. Science can only work for those who deliberately commit resources to critical activities that can yield the desired results over a sustained period of time,' he stated.