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History was made recently at the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State. The purpose was the Orientation programme for the eligible Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme, (SIWES) of the University.

The Vice Chancellor of the premier Federal University of Health Sciences in Nigeria, Prof. Innocent Ujah, mni, OON, NPOM, officially declared the maiden internship programme opened for the 300 level students of the Faculty of Sciences, held at the multipurpose lecture hall at the Otada campus.

Speaking further, the Vice Chancellor expressed delight at the proactive and foresightedness of the Coordinator – SIWES, Dr. Andrew Ichoja, who had to come up with the orientation programme on short notice for the intending students. The Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology drew a dichotomy between practical skills and theory, maintaining that the programme was aimed at skills acquisition as opposed to theory.

While underscoring the importance of the programme, the University Boss recounted with nostalgia how he went through an internship training over 50 years ago, stressing that the experience he garnered had positioned him in life. He therefore, challenged the excited students who were looking forward to the novel experience to be worthy emissaries of the University, emphasizing that nonchalance and reckless behaviour would not be condoned by the University.

Furthermore, the VC recounted how as a science student at the University, he had to delve into reading novels which was at variance with his discipline as a science student; the venture, according to him had a profound impact on his life as it shaped his perspective, and broaden his horizon. To this end, he challenged the students to go beyond their chosen discipline into a different field and learn something uniquely different.

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Earlier, the Coordinator of the Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme, (SIWES), Dr. Ichoja, profusely appreciated the VC and management for the support the scheme had enjoyed, pointing out that the purpose of the parley was to expose the students to the nitty-gritty of the industrial programme, noting that the programme was primarily geared towards the acquisition of requisite practical knowledge germane to their field of study, and not a jamboree.

Delivering a topic titled ‘‘Anatomy of SIWES programme in Nigerian Universities’’, Dr. Ichoja traced the historical antecedents of SIWES, assuring that the process for certification is being vigorously pursued to the appropriate quarters. He reminded the students to be serious with the programme, noting that an evaluating mechanism had been put in place to monitor the progress of their training. The Coordinator cautioned against complacency, noting that the programme is an extension of their degree programme which has six credit units, revealing that a report is expected to be churned out by each student, which must be defended by a panel, adding that a team of external and internal supervisors would scrutinize their performances in the field of assignment.

The Provost, College of Medicine, Prof. Oladapo Shittu, while making a presentation on ‘‘Technical Report Writing’’, challenged the students to aim for excellence by breaking frontiers. He maintained that the programme was intended to give students an insight into what work ethics is all about.

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The Acting Dean, Faculty of Sciences, Dr. Agboola Oludare, in his closing remarks appreciated speakers who contributed and those who honoured the invitation at short notice, and called on participants to take full advantage of the industrial training programme very seriously.

Speaking on the topic, Attitude and Character Disposition of FUHSO students During Industrial Training, Dr. Celina Aju of the Department of Biological Science, admonished the students to be above board and discharge their responsibilities with all sense of propriety, she alluded to the bible as she likened them to the first fruits of the University. The Scientist noted that foundation is very critical in any organization, to this end, she called on them to put up their best performances, emphasizing that what would be issued at the end of the internship would be ‘Sabificate,’ a coinage that presupposes practical application of knowledge.

The Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) is a skill training programme designed to expose and prepare students of universities and other tertiary institutions for industrial Work situations they are likely to meet after graduation.

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