Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) has said consolidating Geosciences education is an investment in the future of the nation, and the world and relevant to the infrastructural development of the economy.
Mr Elliot Ibe, President of NAPE stated this in his keynote address at the 11th NAPE and the Nigerian Mining and the Geosciences Society (NMGS) Mini-Conference for students, hosted by the Department of Geosciences, University of Lagos.
Ibe added that it would also be relevant to entrepreneurship in mineral exploration and exploitation, solid mineral development, environmental issues, and renewable energy.
He noted that not only would the investment be beneficial to the future of the nation and the world, but also to the geosciences and geoscientists themselves.
Energy landscape: According to him, there is no better time to highlight the development than this period when the energy landscape is shifting and new technologies are emerging at a rapid rate.
He added that the training, in addition to preparing graduates for the oil and gas industry, which accounted for over 80% of the nation’s income, should also include making geosciences education relevant to the infrastructural development of the economy.
- “The Students’ Conference is a key component of NAPE’s University Assistance Program, geared toward enhancing the continuous improvement of educational standards in Nigeria.“The essence of the conference is to afford students the opportunity to showcase their geoscientific knowledge by presenting papers on Petroleum, the Environment, and other related issues.
- “The conference will also provide a platform for Oil and Gas (producing and servicing) companies to engage with some of the best talents on offer,” he said.
Retooling strategies: Speaking further, the association president noted that retooling strategies should not just be focused on the students, but also on the faculty.
He added that a clear roadmap for achieving this within a set time frame was advocated.
“Support for these retooling efforts also does not rest solely with the education commissions but is a collective responsibility that includes the academia and Industry.
- “Associations such as NAPE and the NMGS, thus have a great role to play to provide vehicles similar to this conference to enable thoughts in this space to be properly articulated as well as ensure input to the evolving geoscience curriculum and by inference, on national policies on education.
- “NAPE believes that this conference will therefore provide a veritable avenue for industry experts, academia, students, and decision-makers to share experiences in formal and semi-formal settings,” he said.
Also speaking, the NAPE University Assistance Programmes Chairman, Mr Philip Ajaebili, said that the theme of the conference was carefully selected to spur the interest of participants and inspire the next generation of geoscientists.
According to him, it will also assist them to be adequately equipped to handle emerging challenges requiring geoscience expertise.
- “Our dynamic world is rapidly evolving with the speed of light. Environmental sustainability of our mineral exploration campaigns as well as application of artificial intelligence/machine learning, as well as geoscience entrepreneurship, are some of the topics we shall be looking at.
- “NAPE believes that identifying and incorporating a number of these emerging geoscience concepts into the Geoscience curriculum of our tertiary institutions is a task that is past due,” he said.
Prof. Akinade Olatunji, President of the NMGS, said the theme of this year’s conference is apt, going by the current feverish attempt by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to force down the throat of Nigerian universities, a new curriculum that had been roundly criticized by virtually all professional societies.
He added that it had also been criticized by statutory registration councils set up by the government.
According to him, of particular concern is the proposed curriculum for the geosciences.
He added that it was a curriculum that had jettisoned the core of the geoscience training and rather, introduced strange and irrelevant courses that could not be said to be in the best interest of the geoscience profession.
- “A curriculum that did not make provision for all basic courses in the physical and mathematical sciences needed to prepare the geoscience students for a rigorous future in the geoscience field cannot be said to befit and proper for the educational system,” he said.