- Stakeholders Urge FG to Implement Aviation Education Policy
Stakeholders in the aviation sector have said that for Nigeria to benefit from the growth prospects of the global aviation industry, there must be a robust aviation education policy and the will to implement such policy.
According to the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, if Nigeria and Nigerians are to play in the mainstream of the aerospace industry and one day join hands with the global marketplace in the virtual and actual design of various aircraft parts and eventual creation and manufacture of airplanes, the aviation education policy and implementation strategies must be addressed.
Sirika and other stakeholders spoke at a seminar on ‘’aviation education infrastructure challenges and potential’’ which held in Lagos.
They noted that these and many other issues must be addressed if the country must play within the $5.2tn global aviation industry.
The minister said, “It should be noted that airlines alone have consistently generated a turnover in excess of $700bn per annum over the last five years, and reported profit over $30bn per annum on the average over the last five years. In this same industry, the airline and aircraft Maintenance Repairs and Overhaul organisation are expected to generate in excess of $1.8tn over the next 20 years.
He added, “This turnover excludes upgrade services. Other service providers in the aviation and aerospace industry such as Boeing, Airbus, General Electric, Pratt and Whitney, Honeywell, etc will generate far in excess of these in their capacity as aerospace and aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers.”
Sirika further explained, “The above predicted growth has implications for aviation education and education infrastructure, and Nigeria and indeed Africa needs to be properly positioned to be beneficiaries of the growth potential.
“For this to happen, Nigerian colleges, universities and other approved aviation training institutions will need to define the policy and strategy that will enable them train and graduate students who will join the global industry to move this number of passengers in a safe, secure and satisfactory manner.”
According to the minister, the challenge is for the concerned ministries to find a means through which Nigerian children and youths can have access to quality training institutions with appropriate infrastructure and relevant curriculum, teachers, lecturers and professors.
He said this would produce Nigerian graduates that could play a part in the global aviation market place.
The Executive Director, SpringFountain, Mrs. Tokunbo Fagbemi, said a viable aviation education and aviation education infrastructure would help to set up a framework to strategically address the identified skills gap and impeding challenges.
Failure to do this, she said, meant that the industry would continue to use skilled expatriates directly or indirectly.
“Either way, the implication of this is high cost of production, an extremely precarious situation in this slim margin industry. It is not unlikely that inadequately skilled resources may be used by some, this will definitely lead to safety and operational challenges on the long run,” she said.
According to Fagbemi, as Africa’s aviation begins to gather momentum and countries within the continent reposition, develop culture, business and economy around aviation and increased intra-continental air connectivity, stakeholders need to ensure that Nigeria does not lose out.