Obaseki’s education reform: Don harps on synergy between research institutions, private sector to promote local content

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…as Edo Poly holds first inaugural lecture

To drive Nigeria’s quest for industrialisation, effective policies and measures must be implemented to enhance collaboration between research institutions and the private sector to promote local content.

Chief Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, Dr. Obokhia Asikhia, said this while delivering the maiden inaugural lecture, at the Polytechnic in Usen, near Benin City.

The lecture is the first  in the Polytechnic’s 17 years of existence and is coming in the wake of reforms by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to revamp the institution for global competitiveness.

Dr. Asikhia said collaboration between town and gown was essential for Nigeria’s quest for industrialisation, especially in the promotion of local content, noting that a lot needs to be done between research institutions such as universities, polytechnics, research institutes and others to bridge the gap, especially in the field of engineering technology.

Dr. Asikhia noted that in the course of his career, he has worked with a number of research institutes and development agencies, adding that the root cause of a number of problems with machines made locally has been the inability to integrate effective user-friendly features for optimal use, which often causes disuse in the long run.

Stressing that only robust collaboration between industries and research institutions can boost industrialisation, he said he started the journey through a partnership with the Market Development in the Niger Delta (MADE) programme to design user-friendly machines to drive development in the region.

According to him “we were consulted to design a specialised 600 capacity fish Kiln for use in the creeks. This imposes challenges ranging from the size of the kiln, material selection that will reduce rapid environmental degradation and the heat that will be generated from the charcoal pot to address the even drying of the fish. This is a massive project that will require extensive design consideration. We have proposed to use single/multiple kiln design that will address the multifaceted aspect of the challenges imposed by the product based on the peculiarity of the people that will use the facility.”

Noting that there was need to work on making use of machines simpler, he said, “I have few compilations of some facilities – everyday products and mainstream massive industries – that I have identified that can be improved on in terms of ease of use. I have seen some massive designs that are highly sophisticated, but the interaction aspect of the use of the products has not been well managed. This has resulted in user apathy towards the use of the facilities.”