By Festus OSEJI
In a virtual meeting held recently by Nigerian Society of Engineer (NSE), sixteen secondary school students who were outstanding in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), received scholarship awards from the Nigerian Society of Engineer, NSE.
The scholarship award, instituted by NSE is to encourage secondary school student to study engineering and STEM related courses in the university.
In this case the 16 students are to enjoy a 5 year scholarship after gaining admission into the university of their choice studying engineering.
The president of NSE Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE, in his welcome address during the unveiling ceremony of the NSE 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), Best Brains in Engineer during the virtual event said, the key thrust of this initiative is to show that NSE is at the forefront of the drive to create enabling platform and encourage talents in the country to achieve their goals and transform the nation Nigeria to a technologically advanced country in the near future.
His words “The Nigerian Society of Engineers ( NSE) has , in line with her strategic mission and objective of getting more Nigerians to read and practice Engineering Advocacy, and to grow the Practice of the Profession in all its ramifications decided to award these high potential future inventors , innovators and problem solvers scholarship for the 5 year duration of their studies at their preferred local universities.”
In his words “We must necessarily light up tomorrow today”. If we fail to take affirmative actions to support, inspire, promote and indeed remove the barriers to a knowledge and skill driven society, we wouldn’t consider ourselves successful. We must therefore, intervene when and where we should. This serves as a positive example of what needs to be done by a highly regarded and well respected society like NSE.”
Engr. Babagana further said that with more of these direct collaborative, non – governmental, motivated interventions and schemes, the foundation would be laid for a tech savvy generation that would be capable of competing with, and besting their peers from other parts of the globe.
“In addition, this would guarantee the future of this nation from a technical talent pool perspective .Suffice it to say, that with similar initiatives by others “when I look at the future, it is so bright it burns my eyes”. On the other hand, if we fail to do what we need to, and saddle the government with all the responsibilities, we will be playing the ostrich.”
The NSE President urged all to see it as their duty and sacred responsibility to position the Engineering profession and future workforce to be in a position to play a critical role in our evolving Society where technical skills and creativity will be highly sought after.
He added that, “The seeds for Nigerian and indeed African technological transformation and breakthrough need to be planted and nurtured today.” “Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is Engineering that changes the World”. The Engineer has been, and is, a maker of history. Scientist study the World as it is, Engineers create the World that has never been. The way to succeed is to double our failure rate.”
“We are all aware of our challenges today. They are all easy to see because we do not lack sight. What we lack and need , is the foresight and the power to envision what tomorrow will look like and steps and measures that are required to mitigate the drawbacks in order to advance our nation.”
The NSE President also informed the participants of more laudable plans will be launched soon, one of such is a mentoring program called “Bridging the Gap” and it will start with this set of students as the first beneficiaries. They will be assigned mentors that will ensure that they stay focused and disciplined throughout the duration of their studies.
This scholarship and mentorship scheme according to the him will mark a clear departure from the past. It is an attempt by the engineering profession to have a handshake with the society through parents, guardians and pupils.
The Executive Governor of Borno State, His Excellency, Engr. Babagana Umara Zulum, FNSE, appreciated NSE for putting the awards together as this would serve as a motivating factor that would encourage secondary school students male and female to study engineering and STEM related course and become professional engineers
He also expressed worry over what he termed as ‘mismatch’ between educational system and the engineering profession.
Engr. Zulum urged NSE to work at bridging the gap between the engineering and the labour market, adding that the body must work hard to train students towards becoming self-reliant and focused.
He promised to replicate the award in his state to encourage the study of engineering for national development.
Some of the students who received the scholarship award and their scores in the UTME and their state of origin include; Maduafokwa Egoagwuagwu Agnes, Anambra State, 365; Nwobi Okwuchukwu David, Anambra State 363; Ojuba Mezisashe Shalom Edo State, 359; Elekwu Victor Chukwuemeka, Delta State 359; Adebola Oluwatobi Paul, Ekiti State, 358; and Gboyega Oluwatobiloba Enoch, Ekiti State, 356.
Others include: Ojo Samuel Oluwatobi Ondo State, 355; Utulu Jebose George Delta State, 355; Osom Akan Awesome, Akwa Ibom State, 353; Akakabota Fejiro Simeon, Delta State, 352; Ogundele Favour Jesupemi, Kwara State, 352; Alatise Monsurah Bisola, Oyo State, 352 and Adelaja Oluwasemilore Daniel, Ogun State, 352.
The highlights of the virtual meeting was the presentation of awards and laptops to the outstanding students. And some notable dignitaries present and participant at the virtual meeting were Engr. Emeka Eze, FNSE; the immediate past president of APWEN, Engr. Dr. Felicia Nnenna Agubata, FNSE, among others.