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The Role of Engineers in Nation Building

By Edited Mar 4, 2014 0 0

Engineers are professionals that specialise in various technological fields, who use the basic principles of science to solve the problems of humanity. Such problems are solved by design, construction, modification, maintenance, invention, initiation, analysis, innovation and developmental projects. On the other hand, engineering is a generic activity designed to solve technological problems of nations. It is the package of actions taken to put technology to work in the production of goods and services. Engineering provides the final vehicle for development out of the knowledge provided by technology and, by extension, science. It is therefore no exaggeration when it is being said that the future of every nation begins with engineers! 

Qualified professional engineers are important in all forms development. The delivery of health, education, transportation, agriculture, and other economic services depends on engineers. They are crucial for collecting and managing data, debating and developing good policies based on evidence of what works and what does not. Engineers are important when implementing the policies and monitoring how the policies are put into use. Scientifically and technologically, proficient engineers are needed to identify opportunities arising from innovation and scientific discoveries, and to develop effective policy in areas such as science, trade and resource management. These particular skills of engineers are essential in the performance of any nation, especially in the private sector.

In addition to what has been mentioned earlier, the engineering profession is the most versatile profession in any economy. There is no human endeavour where engineers do not play a vital role. The development of any sector of the economy requires the provision of an appropriate institutional framework, adequate infrastructural and techno-structural facilities. The engineering sector, which has the greatest effect on the socio-economic life of the people, is no exception and requires a well thought out and planned structure. Without engineers, a nation can never be self-reliant. In fact, even the strength of currencies of nations is linked to engineering. This is because the strength of the currency of any nation is based on the production capacity of the nation which in one way or the other cannot be done without engineers.

Engineers play a vital role in capacity building. Capacity building is a dedication to the strengthening of economies, governments, institutions and individuals through education, training, mentoring, and the infusion of resources for the main aim of achieving a particular goal or objective. If one looks at the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, water, clothing, shelter and infrastructures, the more engineering plays a role in meeting these needs, the more easily and successfully one satisfies them. Take the most basic needs of food, water, clothing and shelter. Food is produced through agriculture which is inconceivable without engineer-in; virtually all forms of engineers are involved ranging from agricultural engineers, civil engineers, chemical engineers, electrical engineers, irrigation engineers, and mechanical engineers. Another basic need is water and is best achieved with the help of civil, electrical and mechanical engineers. The next basic need of clothing is most efficiently produced with the help of agricultural, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering. As for shelter, all forms of engineers are involved in providing houses and the necessary infrastructures needed to make the houses comfortable. These basic human needs propel every nation to industrialise. The more a nation industrialises, the more successful it becomes in ensuring that its citizens meet their basic needs. Industrialisation demands educated and trained work force to design, develop and maintain the industrial complexes required to meet the identified human needs which in turn require schools, colleges and universities of high standard at all levels.

Furthermore, engineering acts as a vital agent for employment generation. Most productive activities in the national economy involve manufacturing and distribution of goods and services. In each of these activities, engineering is crucial. The facilities required for the manufacturing and distribution of the goods and services are designed, fabricated, installed and maintained by engineers. In all of these activities, manpower is required. The more facilities are set up, the more the manpower that would be required. It is important to realise that the more goods and services that a nation produces locally, the more employment opportunities that are created locally within the nation.

The role of engineers in research and development cannot be overemphasised. Most multinational companies spend more than 5% of their annual turnover on research. That is why companies like Mobil and General Motors spend billions of dollars on research every year. This ensures that they constantly come up with new products and processes as it is the only way they can stay competitive in their markets. Any company that does not engage in serious research and development will gradually fall by the wayside. The effect of this policy on engineering universities and research institutes is immense. 
Today’s world would not be the same tomorrow especially in the area of technology development. Changes take place constantly and the realm of education and enlightment campaign are particularly sensitive in efforts to bring up new information generation. Technology advances can further economic growth because they contribute to the creation of new goods, new services, new jobs and new capital. The application of technology can improve productivity and the quality of products. It can expand the range of services that can be offered as well as extend the geographic distribution of these services. The development and use of technology also play a major role in determining patterns of international trade by affecting the comparative advantages of industrial sectors. This can be greatly influenced by advances in engineering, organisation and management of firms, and especially government policies and activities. Therefore, the participation of engineers in good governance at the national level will provide a strong foundation for technological progress, and will attract both official development assistance and vital investment from the private sector, particularly in the area of energy. Business and industries need stable governments and predictable regulations before any meaningful technological development can be achieved.

In conclusion, it could be clearly perceived that the future of any nation is destined to fall at the hands of the technologically orientated citizens of such nations. The so called great nations just boast of the engineering power they possess and nothing more. Thus, engineers are the root of windows and wisdom governing all global prosperities!

    Zazzauline.

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