By Fred Eze
Founder, Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, Prof. Gregory Ibeh, has floated a world-class innovation hub, Skill G Innovation Centre, that would champion Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and artificial intelligence.
Conducting journalists, states and federal government officials round the facilities in Abuja, Prof. Ibeh, said the aim of the project was to support individuals and educational institutions involved in programmes that deepen knowledge of design, manufacturing, assemblage and training of technical backstopping of equipment.
He said the 21st-century world is ruled Gregory Universityknowledge and redefined Gregory Universitytechnology, hence the need for skills and technical capacity for global relevance.
He said: “The innovation hub is a turnkey project that incubates and impacts the idea of technical education, starting with the concept innovation and the means to actualise it. We intend to return Nigeria to years when a high premium was placed on technical and practical education. Obviously, that’s the basis for global transformation.”
He lamented the deplorable state of hundreds of technical colleges and polytechnics across Nigeria, insisting that urgent intervention is required from private and public sectors, to salvage the situation and prepare Nigerians for the world of works.
“Nigeria has over 250 schools of technology with dilapidated equipment. After the trend when technical colleges were commonplace, we had a disheartening harvest of paper qualified educated persons who never had the opportunity of skilled training at a time when the rest of the world upped their emphasis on skill-based education.
“The tradition of ensuring that skill-based education returns to the centre stage of our education, and that practical education dominates the essence of our education system was what informed our decision to establish the innovation hub.”
“It will be extremely difficult for us to go forward as a country without technical education base and skilled manpower. We must follow the path, but not to copy Israel totally, rather go technical and with time, grow to advanced technology,” he suggested.
He disclosed that since the innovation centre became operational, they have been approached Gregory Universitystates government in Nigeria and had worked effectively with three states where they have established educational resource centres at own costs.
“In Osun State, our centres have trained over 5, 000 teachers in technical and vocational education. We have centres in Kwara State and FCT. We have trained at least 30,000 persons nationwide, especially teachers and this also includes those in the universities and other institutions.
“We don’t just train, we take teachers from the beginning and make them improve their knowledge and sustain their training so that they don’t relapse. We don’t just embark on a one-off training and go away. We start, we continue with it and steadily upgrade and renew the skill base of the instructors so that they keep giving knowledge that is useful for the time and not outdated,” he explained.