By Kehinde Olatunji
As part of efforts to meet with current trends and new innovations in the sector, the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), has called for digitization of university curriculum, especially for teaching and learning of Geosciences. They also canvassed for collaboration between university and industry, as there is the need for academia to align their research and development activities to suit industry needs.
Addressing journalists at a virtual conference at the end of its 15th NAPE-University Assistance Programme’s (UAP) Leadership Forum themed: “Bridging the industry-academia gap: Consolidating the gains of the past and projecting into the future,” the group decried the lack of high quality workforce needed for the country’s energy transition, saying it has been a nagging concern for the industry and the academia over the years.
NAPE is the umbrella association of persons involved in the professional application of geosciences and related disciplines for the exploration and production of oil and gas in the country. The forum was conceived to provide a platform and ambience for students studying the geosciences in Nigerian tertiary institutions for the exchange of technical knowledge, exhibition of new technologies and industry with the collaboration of the academia.
At the conference addressed by the President, Dr. James Edet and Publicity Secretary, Tunbosun Afolayan, the group stressed the need to bridge the gap between the old and new generations of workforce in areas of grounded knowledge, artificial intelligence (AI) and innovations to avoid knowledge loss and to stimulate energy growth.
“The lack of high quality workforce needed for Nigeria’s energy transition has been a nagging concern for the industry and the academia. The situation is further exacerbated by talent flight and high level of competition for the relatively few skilled and well-trained professionals.” The group tasked universities on the need to work closely with the industry in a mutual and symbiotic manner, where values are created on both sides.
Edet also stressed the need to re-engineer university-industry collaboration in research and development, current trends and emerging technologies for solution-driven challenges. He said: “There is need to provide basic upstream geosciences and reservoir management and operations geology training platforms for internship with the intent of building local human capacity for future use and good succession plans. We need to build our society and stop capital and knowledge flight. There is need for universities and industries to collaborate on special projects that would add value to the academia and industry by way of SIWES and Internship programmes where teamwork and business goals can be reached.”
The group also appealed to NOCs and IOCs to offer more internship and sabbatical opportunities for Nigerian Geosciences students and lecturers, respectively, to enhance knowledge transfer. Dr. Edet added that the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) would be encouraged to collaborate with NAPE to enable data access for the academia for research and training.
In a similar development, Kola Daisi University Vice Chancellor has said his university is collaborating with foreign institutions for global relevance.
To meet the demands of the current generation of students, Vice-Chancellor, Kola Daisi University (KDU), Ibadan, Prof Adeniyi Olatunbosun, said the institution is reinventing and repositioning itself for present-day challenges. Olatunbosun, who noted that today’s students are no longer interested in conventional programmes said the institution keeps itself abreast of the demands of its students, and it’s integrating modern, friendly and technology-driven programmes into its curricula. “We need to be abreast of the demands of our students and prospective students because most of the students nowadays are not interested in conventional programmes; they want the ones that are very modern and friendly. So, we review our curriculum from time to time so that we will be abreast of what will be the aspiration of most students who want to come in. We are working towards that to meet the demands and yearnings of our prospective students and also students who are already in the system,” he said.
To achieve this, Olatunbosun said the university is partnering with some foreign institutions to provide students with what obtained in their chosen fields in terms of technology, outside the shores of the country. “We have had collaborations with some universities in the U.S, Ohio State University, the University of Indiana and a couple of other universities. We have signed an MOU with some of them for the purpose of ensuring that we have a kind of working relationship. We also have a working relationship with some other organizations and institutions. We signed MOUs with them and they are already here trying to help us offer some technical knowledge to our students in the area of ICT, artificial intelligence and other forms of certificates so that even when they graduate from the university, they still have another certificate which will help them compete very well with their colleagues from other universities,” the VC said.
The don also noted that to keep up standard, the university is improving the quality of its staff by supporting them to acquire more knowledge in their respective fields through conferences, seminars and furthering their education.