Did you know that Nigeria has a Mechatronics institute that provides world-class training in automobile diagnostic and repair?
The Bola Ige Mechatronics Institute (BIMI) located in Osun State, is the first of its kind in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa as whole.
According to the manager, the institute’s programme covers every aspect of automobile technology.
Bola Ige Mechatronics Institute(BIMI) is one of the most recent efforts of the Osun State’s government to promote technology in the state and encourage the made-in-Nigeria movement.
This is not the first effort of the Osun state government towards driving technological inclusiveness. In 2011, the government of the state in a bid to promote local products inaugurated the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme- Technology (O-YESTECH), a 6-months programme designed to train 5000 participants in various aspects of applied technology.
Following the success of the O-YESTECH initiative, the state government in 2014 partnered with RLG-- a Ghanaian ICT company -- to commission the RLG/Adulawo Technology City, a world-class facility designed to train youths in the manufacture, assembly, and repair of electronic devices.
April this year, the RLG/Adulawo Technology company secured a $30.5 million deal to produce terrestrial broadcast set top boxes for the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA)’s TV enterprise, a big win for the company and the Osun state government.
The Opon Imo-- “Tablet of Knowledge”-- was another novel initiative introduced to the state educational system in 2013. The initiative provided e-learning tablets for 150,000 secondary school students across the state.
The tablets, reportedly contain 56 e-textbooks, 900 minutes of virtual classroom lessons and thousands of WAEC and JAMB practice questions.
According to the Osun State government, this initiative has saved the state over ₦8 billion in textbook costs and improved the academic performance of students.
Beneath the noteworthy initiatives
These feats by the Osun State government promoting technology are laudable and should be emulated by other state governments. However, beneath all the fanfare, are things exactly what they seem?
It is not uncommon for the Nigerian government to release awe-inspiring reports which are mostly untrue. Or implement mediocre solutions to existing (non) problems. So the question remains, are these reports just propaganda?
Is the Opon Imo initiative truly making an impact?
A certain beneficiary of the initiative revealed that prior to getting the tablet, there was no training or guide on usage; he had to figure it out on his own.
He also revealed that he mostly uses the tablet to play games and some of his friends download x-rated contents on their devices.
For an educational tool, the tablets’ access should and could be restricted to just educational websites, if not, the purpose of the initiative will be defeated.
The beneficiaries of the initiative can be further impacted if, in addition to the e-textbooks, coding tutorials for kids are also included.
If some of these students can develop interests in coding at such early ages and are encouraged, imagine the number of innovations that would emerge from the state in a few years.
Hopefully, the Osun State government will prove us wrong by seeing the Bola Ige Mechatronics Institute initiative through.
Technical institutions like BIMI have produced the likes of Jelani Aliyu -- current Director-General of the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development and the creative mind behind the Chevrolet Volt-- and many other exceptional professionals around the world.
If BIMI does not suffer the same fate as other vocational institutes in Nigeria, the automobile industry in Nigeria and Africa will boom.
Generally, Osun State will experience unprecedented growth if all its technology-based initiatives are properly implemented.