When President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Engineers (Registration etc) Amendment Act, in 2019, it was clear the Council’s responsibilities towards engineering personnel have increased. The old order will give way to the new order which required repositioning the COREN in the path of accountability and productivity.
The recent suspension of two of her registered members on charges of professional misconduct is a pointer to the renewed efforts to sustain the engineering profession on a high pedestal. This further proved that COREN is very alive to its mandates of monitoring, regulating, and registering engineering personnel.
COREN just conducted her registration examination in Abuja for prospective candidates. This was one of the many exams conducted in other parts of the country this year. The last exercise showed that the current administration is ready to bring back credibility and restore the integrity of the registration process. This is important at a time some professional regulating bodies are struggling to account for and deliver on set mandates.
While COREN could be said to have scored high in her recent activities (including constituting Disciplinary Tribunal to try its members who were found culpable of professional misconduct) the focus of this writing is narrow to her efforts to register candidates.
The last exercise held in Abuja could be said to have been smooth and well organized. Staffs, examiners, and Quality Control personnel were on the ground to ensure procedures were followed. Candidates also conducted themselves well possibly because a credible system has been put in place. The choice of exam centre was the right decision made as it provided enough space for candidates to independently attempt the questions. Examiners worked assiduously to ensure the timeline for submission of scores was met and an atmosphere of peace was attained throughout the period.
As the Augean stable is cleared, a few things need to be addressed to optimize current achievements. One noticeable fact was that several older candidates participated in the exercise possibly because COREN registration has become a major requirement in our daily engagements. It could also be because it is closing out Post Graduate Diploma as a requirement for registration. Thus, people who earlier felt the registration was not necessary are now coming to the reality of its importance.
In the course of conducting the exam, a few observations were made which will require Council’s action. The idea of having a question (without an option) under the Engineering in Society needs to be looked into because of the diverse disciplines in each core engineering field. Under it, two or more options can be made available to avail candidates the opportunity of answering questions that might be within their area of authority.
Another important issue that calls for attention is the need to organize workshops for candidates to prepare them for what is required in writing reports. This will help candidates to submit reports that follow the required formats and meet the stipulated standard.
While the formats may flow through, it’s also expected for the examiners to know that not all candidates’ work experience requires having anything to do with Bill of Engineering Measurements and Evaluation, BEME, or design and drawing especially for those working in the educational sector and some government establishments. Even in some multinational corporations, access to such documents could be denied. Examiners are expected to use their discretion if the scoring format must remain.
Again, questions should be thoroughly vetted for typographical errors and printed/photocopied question scripts should be clear and eligible.
Other than these minor snags, the entire process got on well. COREN staff acted politely attending to the needs of candidates. For me, the grand visit of the President of COREN, Engr Ali Rabiu was the icing on the cake. The visit created the opportunity for many of the candidates to know the man in charge of the affairs of all engineering personnel in Nigeria. It was encouraging to many who look forward to being registered as engineers and technologists.