CHALLENGES AND PROSPECT OF TECHNOLOGY (ENGINEERING) EDUCATION IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS.
1.1 Background to the Study
Technical education programme in Nigeria evolved in response to technological an industrial needs of the people. It has received the backing of the National Policy on Education (NPE 1977 revised in 1981). The fields of science, Technology and Engineering have got much to offer in the area of economic development and provision of modern conveniences to mankind. This is why governments, institutions and managements emphasize the need for practically oriented technical education curriculum and the need also to provide effective teaching of technical subjects in Nigerian colleges (Nkeweke 2007). For anybody to assume the duty of serving as a technical teacher, such a person is expected to possess the needed competencies for imparting technical knowledge and skills, especially now that the emphasis is on competency-based learning (Davies 2001) Today, efforts are geared towards retrieving Nigeria from the shackles of technological dependence This is why the Nigerian youths are encouraged to be creative and inventive oriented through participation in introductory technology, technical education and engineering studies (Wokocha 1985). Technical teachers have to provide quality technological training that keeps pace with quality control in technology education This means that the technical teachers have to plan their lessons based on good instructional objectives as well as see the learners through practically. Furthermore. the benefits of technology cannot be over-emphasized Whereas science produces knowledge, technology produces gadgets. Technology applies scientific knowledge in providing solutions to practical problems that plague and puzzle mankind. In other words, mankind put in labour so as to come out with inventions and discoveries to satisfy his needs, This explains why people undertake farming work to obtain food, build houses to obtain shelter, weave and produce clothes to wear against adverse weather-conditions Mankind also works to discover electricity, pipeborne water, and many other modern conveniences (Nathaniel 2002).
There is a general consensus among engineering educators, entrepreneurs, industry and business leaders that engineering education in Australia is in crisis or at least is heading towards this direction. Australia, which has a small population of approximately 20 million inhabitants, is now facing a shortageof professional engineers, which is a cause for serious concern, and the prediction is that this problem will only become worse given the dramatic decline in student enrolment numbers in engineering courses at the university level (Farrell, 2006). An urgent call for more funding to be directed to engineering education is needed in order to address the national skills shortage of professional engineers in Australia.The general perception is that the current government is not investing enough interest and resources in improving the engineering education system in Australia, thus neglecting the future role of this important profession. It is predicted that if the problem with the skills shortage of engineers and the declining student numbers is not resolved, then this could have a directly negative affect on the future economy of Australia because engineers are seen as the creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and key drivers of the economy.
Despite the advantages of technical education, vocational and technical education in Nigeria are bedeviled with certain constraints (Aghenta 1985) Technical education contends with training that borders on acquisition of knowledge and skills in woodworks metalwork, electrical/electronics, welding and fabrication, building, auto-mechanics etc including workshop organization and management There are five technical institutions in Nigeria outside the universities namely-prevocational and vocational schools at post primary level: the technical colleges, the polytechnics and the colleges of education (technical) at the post secondary level established to provide a base for technological take off of this country, which according to Ekpenyong (1995) are being set back by lack of funds and inadequate infrastructures. Hence there is need to evaluate the challenges and prospect of technology education in primary and secondary schools.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The major objective of the study is the challenges and prospect of Technology (Engineering) education in Primary and Secondary schools.
1.4 Research questions
(1) what is Technology education?
(2) what are its advantages?
(3) what are its benefits to the society?
(4) what are the challenges facing Technology education?
1.5 Significance of the study
The study gives a clear insight into the challenges and prospect of technology (engineering) education in primary and secondary schools and the possible solutions to the challenges.
1.6 Scope of the study
The research focus on the challenges and prospect of Technology (Engineering) education in Primary and secondary schools.
Aghenta, J. A (1985) Analysis of Education and Employment of Vocational and Technical Schools Graduates Human Resources Development Approach in Ehiametalor and Adesina (Ed), Trend in Vocational Education in Nigeria. Benin Education Research Association pp. 54-71
Davies, I.R. (2001) Effective Technical: A manual for Engineering Instructors. New York: Mcgraw Book Company
Ekpenyong, L.E. (2005) Foundations of Technical and Vocational Education. Evolution and Practice. Benin: Ambik Press Limited.
Farrell, P., Engineering, innovation and entrepreneurship. ATSE Focus, 141, 14 (2006).
Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) National Policy on Education (Revised). Lagos; Federal Ministry of Education Press.
Nathaniel, T (2002) Science and Technology in the Development of Agriculture in Daily Sketch 2102-02.
Nkweke O.C. (2009). A Source Book for Teacher education in Nigeira. (Revised Edition) PortHarcourt: B Alive Publications Co. pp. 77
Wokocha B. A (1985) “Retrieving Nigeria from the shackles of technology dependence” in Ukela Magazines pp 5-6