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M.O. Ebah


The attainment of Mr. Presidents Vision 20/2020 necessitates capacity building in engineering.
Engineering Capacity Building entails academic and professional training and education in
engineering and technology. This paper is about academic and professional training and
education in engineering and technology. It highlights the issues that must be considered for the
provision of effective engineering, technology and technical education and training for the
attainment of vision 20/2020. It is about how our polytechnics and other higher education
institutions can be empowered to effectively contribute in engineering capacity building for
sustainable national development such as being proposed in vision 20/2020. Since human
capacity in science, engineering and technology is impossible without necessary infrastructures
and facilities. The paper also highlights requirement therein. Professional competencies and
educational attributes expected of Engineers, Technologist and Technicians for effective
engineering capacity building are covered.

1.0 INTRODUCTION technical and engineering multi-national

companies that will invest appropriately in
It is the desire of Mr. President Alhaji Musa
the development of a country making use of
Yaradua that our nation is among the first
available qualified workplace. Such multi-
twenty most developed economics by the
nationals come with and make effective use
year 2020. The attainment of Mr. Presidents
of foreign funds to provide appropriate
vision in a developing country such as ours
infrastructures and technically competent
can be effectively stimulated by building the
personnel to run them. A competent
technical capacity of our workforce, through
technical and engineering workforce enables
quality engineering and technology
small business startups by technically
education and training. A competent
qualified and competent entrepreneurs. A
technical and engineering workforce
nations ability to initiate economic growth
provides many routes to economic
and development largely depends on her
development. Such workforce will attract
engineering capabilities (Juma, 2007).
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Engineering capabilities determines a 20/2020. The technical capability for the
nations ability to provide the essential provision of sustainable structures and
indices of development such as clean water systems requires technical capability which
supply, good health care system, adequate can only be provided by engineers,
power supply, good transportation system, technologists and technicians. Our technical
housing, in for nation and communication capability building efforts must be aimed at
system and food. developing a sufficient pool of well
educated and certified engineering and
A good capacity building in engineering
technology graduates and technicians. The
should produce sufficient number of
World Federation of Engineering
professional members of the engineering
Organization is ready to assist developing
family (Engineers, Technologists and
countries such as Nigeria in capacity
Technicians) to strengthen our industrial and
building endeavors.
manufacturing capacity. To achieve vision
20/2020, the quality of our engineering The building of indigenous pools with
education and professional training must be competencies in science, technology and
higher than what it is presently. engineering can help lead to economic
growth and healthy economies which is
Dr Russel C. Jones, the President of the
what vision 20/2020 is about. These two
Capacity Building committee of the World
areas that can lead to economic growth in a
Federation of Engineering Organization
developing economy - utilization of
(WFEO), defines capacity building as a
advanced technologies and education that
dedication to the strengthening of
leads to high skills in technological areas
economies, governments, institutions and
(Easterly, 2003).
individuals through education and training
and the infusion of resources. According to A quick look at the examples of India and
him capacity building aims at developing South Korea shows the effect of concerted
secure, stable, and sustainable structures, effort in the education of engineers and
systems and organization. The development technologists on economic development.
of secure, stable and sustainable structures South Korea had about 6,000 engineering
and systems will enhance national and technology graduates in 1970. By 1980
development and the attainment of vision South Korea produced 14,000 engineering

66 Nigerian Society of Engineers YANKARI, 2008

and technology graduates. Ten years later 2.0 ENGINEERING PROFESSION
South Korea had 80,000 engineering and CURRICULA
technology graduates, when these numbers
Given the acute shortage of highly skilled
are plotted against her per capital GNP
engineering professionals in Nigeria, a basic
growth, it is seen that the number of
concern for our vision 20/2020 is to ensure
engineering and technology graduates
optimum use of the period available for
greatly favoured economic growth. It has
formal education. Do the existing courses
been the same story with India. The growing
equip our embryo technicians, technologists
number of its technically competent work
and engineers to cope effectively with
force has enabled India to become a prime
current and future technological needs? In
location for out sourcing technical personnel
other words are we applying the right type
by the worlds technology leaders.
of curricula and for the right disciplines?
Excellence in science and engineering
Effective training and education can only be
education helps a country to be
provided for in the various engineering
technologically innovative and economically
disciplines when the curricula ensure the
competitive (US National Science Board,
production of professionals with the right
attributes and competencies. Our
The following outline has been used in the engineering curricula must be such that will
main body of this paper. engender the acquisition of technical
- Engineering Profession Curricula competencies and attributes in the
- Engineering Discipline for Curriculum engineering profession.
Curriculum can be defined as the detail
- Engineering Discipline Attributes and
course of study or discipline. Such details
Professional competency Requirement
may be in the form of modules, specific and
- Professional Competency Requirement
general objectives. Curriculum is also
- Polytechnics and Engineering Capacity
defined as subjects taught in a learning
Building for Vision 20/2020
institution or things that are studied in a
- Conclusion and Recommendations
particular subject (Pearson, 2008).
Curriculum consists of the continuous chain
of activities necessary for translating

67 Nigerian Society of Engineers YANKARI, 2008

educational goals into concrete activities, in these fields of engineering. It suffices to
materials and observable behavioral change add that the United States of America has
(Igwe, 1988) created the following engineering disciplines
for rapid development courtesy their
2.1. ENGINEERING DISCIPLINES National Science Foundation (ANSF, 1993);
we should follow suit.
The revamping and sustaining of our
economy for vision 20/2020 entails teaching - Advance Manufacturing Technologies:
and learning in the following which are the (intelligence manufacturing, advanced
fundamental or traditional engineering fabrication and processing methods,
disciplines: integrated computer based tools for product
- Electrical engineering design and manufacturing, pollution
- Civil engineering prevention and minimization of resource
- Mechanical engineering waste, total quality management.
- Chemical engineering and - Information and communication
- Industrial engineering technologies: analog to digital processing,
information super highway.
These are the five largest traditional areas of
- Advanced materials and processing
engineering. Computer engineering may be
(biodegradable polymers, high temperature
considered as part of electrical engineering.
ceramics, durable materials for artificial
There are also more specialized non-
limbs and joints)
traditional engineering disciplines such as:
- Biotechnology (pharmaceutical
Aerospace, Materials, Biomedical,
manufacturing processes, restoration,
Industrial, System, Agricultural, Ocean,
maintenance, remediation of environment,
Environmental, Petroleum, Mining, Nuclear,
improve health care services)
Manufacturing and Engineering
- Civil infrastructure system (rebuilding
and expanding for new design of more
All the above listed engineering and durable materials, improved decision
technology disciplines are needed for the making and management)
attainment of vision 20/2020. Therefore all - Improved Health Care Delivery
efforts in engineering education and training (Increased productivity, better access to,
for the attainment of vision 20/2020 must be advanced materials)

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- Advanced Environmental Technology developed competency based standards for
(Improving existing and creating new registration of engineering personnel.
remedial environmental technologies,
Educational and professional accords for
developing environmentally sound
mutual recognition of qualifications and
extraction/production systems to minimize
registration including the Washington
or prevent waste and contamination,
Accord, Sydney Accord and Dublin Accord,
developing a better understanding between
have developed statements of graduate
human activities and the environment)
attributes and professional competency
These additional new areas are fields where profiles (Peterson, 2001)
we must also produce competent engineers,
technologists and technicians in our bid to
grow and sustain economic development For a sustainable economic development,
and for the attainment of the objectives of graduates from our engineering and
vision 20/2020. Our universities and technology institutions must posses the
polytechnics must therefore be empowered following essential attributes. The graduate
to produce engineering personnel in all the attributes have been defined for educational
above listed engineering disciplines. qualification for engineers, engineering
technologist, and engineering technicians.
These attributes are classified according to
COMPETENCY REQUIREMENTS the range of engineering activities thus:
For our vision 20/2020 our engineering complex activities, broadly defined
education curriculum must be such that will activities, and well defined activities.
produce world standard graduates with
The following essential attributes are
attributes and professional competencies in
necessary for effective performance by our
engineering and technology. Several
engineering and technology graduates if
accrediting bodies for engineering
they are to help sustain and revamp our
qualifications have developed attribute
outcome based criteria for evaluating
a. Academic Education
educational programmes. Also, a number of
Completion of accredited programme of
engineering regulatory bodies have
four or more years of study at post

69 Nigerian Society of Engineers YANKARI, 2008

secondary level; completion of accredited research literature and solve broadly defined
three or more years of post secondary study, engineering problems reaching substantiated
completion of accredited two or more years conclusions using analytical tools
of post secondary study for engineers, appropriate to his or her areas of
engineering technologists and technicians specialization of discipline. The engineering
respectively. technician graduate should be able to
b. Knowledge of Engineering Science identify and solve well-defined engineering
Graduates engineers must be able to apply problems reaching conclusions using
knowledge of mathematics, science and an systematized scientific methods of analysis
engineering specialization to the specific to his or her discipline.
conceptualization of engineering models.
d. Design/Development of Solution
Graduate engineering technologists must be
able to apply the knowledge of mathematics, Graduate engineers must be able to design
science, engineering fundamentals and solutions to complex engineering problems
engineering specialization to broadly and design system components or processes
defined and applied engineering procedures, that meet specific needs with appropriate
processes, systems or methodologies. consideration for public, societal and
Engineering technician graduates must be environmental considerations. Engineering
able to apply knowledge of mathematics, technologists should be able to design
science, engineering fundamentals and an solution for broadly defined engineering
engineering specialization to wide practical technology problems and contribute to the
procedures and practices. design of systems, components, or processes
to meet specified need with appropriate
c. Problem Analysis
consideration for public health and safety,
Graduate engineers should be able to cultural, societal and environmental
identify, formulate, research literature, and considerations.
solve complex engineering problems
Our graduate engineering technicians should
reaching substantiated conclusions from first
be able to design solution to well-defined
principles of mathematics and engineering
technical problems, assist with the design of
science. Graduate engineering technologist
systems, components, or processes for
should be able to identify, formulate,
specified need with appropriate
70 Nigerian Society of Engineers YANKARI, 2008
consideration for public health and safety, techniques, resources, and modern
cultural, societal and environmental engineering tools to well defined
consideration. engineering activities with an awareness of
the limitations.
e. Investigation
g. Individual and Team Work
Graduate engineers should be able to
conduct investigations of complex problems The graduate engineer should be able to
including design of experiments, analysis function effectively as an individual and a
and interpretation of data and synthesis of member of or leader in diverse teams and in
information to provide valid conclusion. multi-disciplinary settings. Graduate
Engineering technologist graduates should engineering technologists should be able to
be able to conduct investigation of broadly function effectively as an individual and as a
defined problems, locate, search and select member of or leader in diverse technical
relevant data from codes, databases and teams. The engineering technician should be
literature; design and conduct experiments able to function effectively as an individual
to provide valid conclusions. Graduates and as a member of or leader in diverse
engineering technicians should be able to technical teams.
conduct investigations of well defined
h. Communication
problems; locate and search relevant codes
and catalogues; conduct standards tests and Graduate engineers should be able to
measurements. communicate effectively with the
engineering community and with the society
f. Modern Tools Usage
at large about complex engineering activities
Graduate engineers must be able to create, by being able to comprehend and write
select and apply appropriate techniques, effective reports and design documentation,
resources and modern engineering tools, make effective presentations and give and
including prediction and modeling to receive clear instructions. Graduate
complex engineering activities, with an engineering technologists should be able to
understanding of the limitations. communicate effectively with the
Engineering technology graduates should be engineering community and with the society
able to select and apply appropriate at large about broadly defined engineering

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activities by being able to comprehend and j. Ethics
write effective reports and design
The graduate engineer, engineering
documents, make effective presentations and
technologist and engineering technician
give and receive clear instructions. The
should understand and be committed to
engineering technician should be able to
professional ethics, responsibilities, and
communicate effectively with the
norms of engineering practice, engineering
engineering community and with the society
technology practice and engineering
at large about well defined engineering
technician practice respectively.
activities by being able to comprehend the
work of others, document own work, and
give and receive clear instructions. k. Environment and Sustainability

Graduate engineering, engineering

i. The Engineering and Society
technologists and engineering technicians
Graduate engineers that can effectively build should understand the impact of engineering
and sustain our economy should be able to solutions within a societal context and
demonstrate an understanding of the demonstrate knowledge of and need for
societal, health, safety, legal and cultural sustainable development.
issues and the consequential responsibility
l. Project Management and Finance
relevant to engineering practice. The
graduate engineering technologist should be Graduate engineers for sustainable economic
able to demonstrate an understanding of the development should be able to demonstrate
societal, health, safety, legal and cultural knowledge and understanding of
issues and the consequential responsibilities management and business practices, such as
relevant to engineering technology practice. risk and change management and know their
The engineering technician should also be limitations. Engineering technologists
able to demonstrate knowledge of societal should be able to demonstrate an awareness
health, safety, legal and cultural issues and and understanding of management and
the consequential responsibilities relevant to business practices, such as risk and change
engineering technician practice. management and know their limitations. Our
graduate engineering technicians should
demonstrate an awareness of management

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and business practice such as risk and comprehend as well as apply the knowledge
change management. contained in widely accepted and applied
procedures, processes, systems and
m. Life-long Learning
methodologies. Also our engineering
All engineering graduates must recognize technician should comprehend and apply the
the need for and have ability to engage in knowledge in widely accepted technician
independent and life-long learning. practice.


The engineers we produce should be able to
To be able to grow our economy, sustain its define and analyze complex engineering
development and attain the objectives of problems to a reasonable standard. The
vision 20/2020, we must produce engineers, engineering technologist should likewise
engineering technologists and engineering identify clearly and analyze technology
technicians that are able to practice problems. Our engineering technicians
competently a few years after graduation in should be capable of identifying, stating and
their disciplines to the reasonable standards analyzing well defined technical problems to
expected of professionals in those a reasonable extent.
categories. Professional competency entails
c. Design and Development of
performing to a reasonable standard in the
following acquired attributes.
The engineers we produce must after
a. Comprehensive and Application of professional apprenticeship for the stipulated
Universal Knowledge number of years be able to design or develop
standard solution to complex engineering
The engineers that we must produce to
problems. The engineering technologist
sustain economic development after
should be able to design or develop
professional apprenticeship should
solutions to broadly defined engineering
comprehend and apply sufficiently advanced
technology problems to a reasonable
knowledge of the widely applied principles
standard. Our engineering technicians
underpinning good practice. Similarly, our
should be able to design or develop
engineering technologist should be able to

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solutions to broadly defined technical Also all engineering professionals must in
problems. the conduct of their professional activities:
protect the society, communicate effectively,
d. Evaluation
partake in continuous professional
The professional engineer should be able to development exercise, give sound judgment,
evaluate to a standard level the outcomes and meet all legal and regulatory
and impacts of complex engineering requirements and protect public health and
activities and projects. Our engineering safety in the course of duty.
technologists must also be capable to
evaluate the outcomes and impacts of
broadly defined engineering technology BUILDING FOR VISION 20/2020
activities and projects. Also engineering The polytechnics are vital for promotion of
technicians must be able to evaluate the capacity building in engineering for the
outcomes and impacts of well defined attainment of vision 20/2020. For these
activities competently. institutions of higher learning to
successfully play their part in this regard
e. Responsibility for Decisions
however, they must be properly funded and
The professional engineering staff we supported with some basic requirements.
produce should be responsible for decisions
they make at their various levels.
For the kind of qualitative education that can
f. Managing Engineering Activities
enhance and sustain economic development,
Our professional engineering personnel the polytechnic academic staff (lectures)
should effectively and efficiently manage should possess at a good HND, B.Tec or
activities and projects at their various levels B.Sc. In addition, B.Sc holders must have at
good and competent managers and least two years relevant cognate industrial
supervisors. experience and show verifiable interest in
technical and technological education.
g. Ethics Senior academic staff must also be
Our professional engineering personnel must registered professionally in their respective
always conduct their activities ethically. fields. Senior non-teaching staff (i.e.

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administrative officers) should possess a building, apart from the general library, each
good HND or B.Sc with relevant and school or faculty in our polytechnic
cognate industrial experience. institutions should have a library of at least
30 metres by 20 metre. The libraries should
For effective management of polytechnics,
be equipped with standard furniture and well
principal officers and other management
stocked with current and relevant books,
staff should be trustworthy men and women
journals and other reference materials.
of good character that are knowledgeable of
the system they are to manage (Ebah, 2007) 5.4 WORKSHOPS, LABORATORIES
For our vision 20/2020 these infrastructural
Our polytechnics can effectively contribute
items are also vital for engineering and
to engineering capacity building for
technology capacity building. For qualitative
sustainable economic development and the
engineering technology education our
attainment of vision 20/2020 if they are
polytechnics should be provided with
provided with the physical facilities and
workshops of at least 30 by 20 metres size.
equipment stipulated by the National Board
Laboratories and engineering drawing
for Technical Education (NBTE). These
studios of at least 15 metres by 10 metres
infrastructural requirements include
are also required. (Plint,1997). Workshops,
libraries, workshop, and laboratories,
laboratories and drawing studios must be
drawing studios, water, power and
equipped with furniture, tools and machines
as required by the National Board for
Technical Education (NBTE).

The library should be the centre of academic 5.5 WATER, POWER AND
activities in any institution of higher TRANSPORTATION
learning. It is the building where books,
There must be adequate supply of water,
tapes, newspapers, journals internet services
electric power and provision of good
etc are kept and provided for use. For
transportation in our polytechnics if they are
polytechnics to successfully play their roles
to effectively play these roles in the
in engineering and technology capacity
attainment of vision 20/2020.

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CONCLUSION AND attributes in the engineering profession or
Apart from the traditional engineering
Education and training in engineering is the
disciplines such as electrical, mechanical,
main key to progress from one level of
civil, chemical and industrial there are also
economic development to another. The
more specialized engineering disciplines like
attainment of vision 20/2020 will depend
aerospace, materials, biomedical, industrial,
largely on education and training in science,
system, agricultural, ocean, environmental,
technology and engineering.
petroleum, mining, nuclear, manufacturing
From an economic stand point, higher and engineering management. We must
standards in schools are the equivalent of develop appropriate curricula in those fields.
competitiveness internationally. Our Our national economy.
engineering education and training be
Finally, our polytechnics and universities
effectively regulated and controlled by using
must be properly staffed, equipped and
good curricula. Our engineering curricula
funded for them to contribute to the
must be such that will engender the
attainment of vision 20/2020.
acquisition of technical competencies and

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1. American National Science
6. Krugmon, P. (1990) the Evolving
Foundation (1993). Scientists, and
Global Economy. U.S.A.: Harvard
Engineers: Surveys of Science
Business School Press.
Resources, Washington DC.
7. Korchiro, M. (2000)
2. Easterly W. (2002) The Elusive
Contribution of Engineering and
Quest for Growth, USA, MIT Press.
Technology to Development:
Proceedings of the First World
3. Ebah, M.O. (2000) Nigerian
Engineers Convention. United Nations
Polytechnic Education: Association of
Nigerian teachers.
8. Pearson Education Limited
Capacity Building in Developing
9. Peterson, G (2001) Graduate
4. Igwe R. O. (1998) Basic
Attributes and Professional
Principles of Curriculum and Instruction,
Competencies. Profiles for Engineers,
Lagos, Faculty of Education, University
Technologists and Technicians.
Lagos. th
Retrieved on 25 June, 2007 from
5. Juma C. (2007) Building
Engineering Capacity Key to Africas
Development, Business Daily.

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