A few weeks ago, I saw a video of a Chinese firm advertising its garri-processing machines. In that video, all the processes involved in the making of garri, starting from peeling the cassava to frying the flour and sieving the end product, were done with machines. The person that shared the video, as expected, lamented that Nigeria has not bothered to fabricate machines like the ones in the video. From the person’s comment, you will believe that the country is lagging behind in technology. Well, in as much as the poster wasn’t totally wrong, he made a mistake by implying that those machines cannot be produced in the country without verifying his assertions. Fortunately for Nigeria, she is not found wanting because Project Development Institute (PRODA) Enugu has fabricated all those displayed garri-processing machines a long time ago. However, it is uncertain whether the machines were produced for commercial or research purposes. Nevertheless, those that need more information about the machines can visit the institute’s website or visit their office for further details.
One of the things I’ve noticed about technological development in Nigeria is that it is not hyped like it is done in other countries. Many things are going on in this country but a lot of us are unaware of them. As a result, many of us believe that we are incapable of producing machines or even tools. An average Nigerian believes that everything that looks like a machine or parts of a machine is imported. Well, it is high time they knew that Nigerians have been doing their best in producing some of the tools, equipment, and machines used in the country. But the truth remains that the country still needs more fabricators.
During my secondary school days, there were secondary schools run specifically for grooming technologists. As far back as those days, the Nigerian government appreciates technology and gives room for technological innovations to thrive. Then, the technical schools in the country were all owned and managed by the government. They were scattered in different states of the federation and they bear the name “Government Technical College (GTC)”. But the problem remains that most of them were out of the reach of many Nigerians because they were few. One would have expected that private investors would establish more of this type of school to make up for the need. But, alas, we are getting disappointed.
In today’s world, where people are encouraged to build and create things, it is surprising that Nigerian private educational investors do not consider establishing technical secondary schools. Many parents, including me, want to send their children, especially those that show more interest in crafting than in writing, to technical schools but they have no access to them. By the time they get tired of searching, they push their children into “ordinary” secondary schools that flood the whole country. By the end of the day, the child that is supposed to build will waste his talent on other things.
But then, what could be the reasons our private investors shy away from establishing technical colleges? Could it be the cost of setting up and managing them? Could it be they are afraid they will not find customers? Are they worried they may not find the right teachers to handle the students? Or maybe they are afraid parents cannot afford the school fees (since it will involve a lot of practicality). Whatever the reasons are, there is a need for more technical secondary schools to be established.
It is high time we Nigerians started allowing our young ones to think outside the box. It is time children learned to be creative and develop things that can solve problems in the country. There is a need to allow these children to work in real workshops and laboratories that are not found within the enclosures of their classrooms and textbooks. Our current secondary schools do not prepare children to solve problems but to pass WAEC, NECO, and JAMB, and then gain admission into the university to learn how to search for “office jobs”. We cannot continue like this. Please, if you are planning to open a school in Nigeria, consider a technical school. We already have enough conventional secondary schools.