I have a real problem with the Nigerian educational system’s approach to student undergraduate project. The basic truth is this, the aim for the student is simply to graduate, and the aim for some lecturers is simply to maximize their last chance to frustrate the student, while for others it’s just the student’s last assignment on campus.
Now I strongly believe this has to change.
Solution Based projects
The fundamental technologies that brought about the creation of the semiconductor industry at Stanford University many years ago were the result of student works. If the industry is to collaborate with the institutions, the work cannot be left to the lecturers, it must be the students who transform industrial challenges to project works. Projects need to be selected based on relevance to industry and the community, basically they must be solution based.
We know things are not at their best in our educational sector, equipments are not sufficient, and students don’t have access to all the information and knowledge they need. Due to this, a real solution based project will most likely be too much for a student or group in one session to start and finish; but if the essence of the project shifts from “finishing at all cost” to making a significant contribution to the work, it no longer becomes a problem to finish the task, simply do your best to get a significant head way, and leave the rest of the work to the next set of students coming in the following year.
This is how student projects should be handled, why don’t we handle them that way here?
I know this is happening in some quarters, like my company is in collaboration in a number of institutions in Lagos, having students work on projects in the energy sector that are significant to the transformation in that sector that we are. We need a whole lot more of it, and we need it FAST!