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Did You Know? Why SIWES Was Introduced In Nigeria

Almost every Nigerian students (if not all) at the tertiary level of learning must have heard of the acronym – SIWES (Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme); a term that has often been used to refer to the students period of Industrial Training (IT). The IT period is one in which students are expected to leave their primary institutions of learning and select another institution of relevance to their study, in order to work and gain practical knowledge of what they have been theoretically thought. This is intended to further broaden their knowledge and skills in their chosen fields of study.

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Why SIWES Came About

The Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) came about as a result of the mounting concerns about Nigerian students’ practical knowledge base. The concern was that students of the tertiary institutions were gaining more theoretical knowledge than practical knowledge and experiences in their chosen fields of study. This concern was what led to the establishment of the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES). The scheme was introduced in 1973/74. It was supposed to give the students some added practical knowledge to what they already know theoretically. The establishment of SIWES was a very welcome development which signalled the beginning of something groundbreaking across Nigerian institutions of higher learning.

The Aims and Objectives of SIWES in Nigeria

The Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) has the following aims and objectives from its inception:

  • To help in providing Nigerian students with the avenue to go out and acquire the necessary industrial skills and experience needed during their course of study in school. This will enable students of Nigerian institutions of higher learning to become more knowledgeable in not just the theoretical aspects of their areas of study but in the practical aspect as well, thereby making them completely grounded in their work.
  • To get students adequately prepared for the work situation they are going to meet after they have graduated from school. Because they now have practical knowledge and experience of what they have been taught in school, Nigerian students can go out and squarely face the work they have to do after graduation in familiar terrain, having trod on the same path during SIWES.
  • To expose the many students in Nigerian institutions of higher learning to all the work methods in their fields of study. For instance, Mass Communications students get to work in an actual TV or radio station and so get acquainted with all the work methods in that field. The students also get familiar with the various exciting techniques in handling the different machinery and equipment that are not readily available for them to use in their schools.
  • To help Nigerian students easily transition from their university, polytechnic or college world to an actual work environment. When students go to take part in SIWES, they get accustomed to what the real work environment looks like and so when they graduate from their institutions of higher learning, they find it a lot easier to transition into the world of work because of the experience they have already had while working during industrial training.

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  • To make it a lot easier for students to get contacts for job placements later on upon graduation. When students go to take part in SIWES, they meet different people who occupy some high positions and who can help them later on after graduation to land jobs. Smart students use this opportunity to get all the necessary contacts they can get while at their industrial training and this makes it simpler to find the jobs they need when they come out of school to seek them.
  • To help students bridge the gap between theory and actual practice. This is because they are sent to places where they are given the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge they already have in actual, real work situations and thus become more grounded in their fields of study thereafter.

The Duration of SIWES

The duration of the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme varies. For university students, it usually lasts for just 6 months. However, for Polytechnics and Colleges, SIWES takes up to an entire year. Students are warned to take the scheme very seriously because it is graded and will reflect on their overall CGPA at the end of the day.

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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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