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Opinions Sat, 4 Nov 2017

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The brouhaha of project topics among final years in our universities

It is yet another project year in our universities and as part of the requirements for the award of a bachelor's degree, final year students are tasked to undertake projects in order to increase the volume of information in the bank of knowledge.

This exercise which should have been a great opportunity for students to enter the scientific and research world had become a horrible nightmare that most project students are eagerly waiting to wake up from.

My heart bleeds knowing that after three full academic years, most students are still found in the middle of the Sahara wondering what problem on earth their 3-years of education can address. It is so pathetic to see students in arrant dilemma eagerly waiting for a supernatural being to drop them a project topic.

In some parts of the world, as early as high school, students start undertaking science projects. I am sure you have heard that the Casio calculators our math students use are manufactured by some primary school pupils in China. 'Lol', Casio is a profit-making manufacturing company!

Our system has always failed to produce innovative and creative graduates who are abreast with various trends in the scientific and research world. The system encourages us to cram and get to the highest classes. What the system doesn't teach is, if you are not phenomenal, innovative and creative, you will always be relegated to the background; your nation will stay where it is and you will always use the hard-earned money from your natural resources to buy the priceless knowledge developed by the advanced world. The world has grown passed natural resources, it's a world of innovation and ideas and our system must evolve to cope with current trends.

So what is the problem? and who is to be blamed?

Students simply lack the required training to spot worthy projects when they surface. The culture is to go to Google and search for topics only to be disappointed with huge amounts of PhD and professorial projects with titles so complex that you will need to take five balls of Ga kenkey before you attempt the pronunciation. Students themselves are not pushing hard to be the imaginary Bill Gates and Einsteins they envision themselves to be. The last time I checked, only *ENACTUS* and RAN was actually training its students on ways of identifying and solving problems and it was really great.

Students, take it upon yourselves to know the hot topics and latest discoveries in your areas of interests. Join student chat forums and discuss relevant topics with students from other parts of the globe, be up to date and challenge yourselves to be more, at least to invent or discover a thing or two before you graduate. In this way, when your project is due, you wouldn't be waiting for divine intervention or bounced back severally by your supervisor just like most people.

What we can do

Universities or SRCs must also roll out programs to address this challenge by awarding and supporting innovative and creative clubs like *ENACTUS.*

I am sure when such steps are taken it will greatly reduce the confusion and stress students go through in their final year.

Students will be able to identify projects long before they reach their final year, this will prevent the helter-skelter rush by students into lecturers’ offices in the frantic search for topics.

So continuing students of various universities, it’s not late, you can start now if you were sleeping. You will be glad you started earlier when you get to the final year.

Columnist: Mohammed Hamza

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