MIT’s Empowering the Teachers (ETT) program, launched in 2011, has been instrumental in transforming engineering education in Nigerian universities. The initiative brings Nigerian academics at the postdoctoral level to MIT for an immersive semester, providing them with valuable insights and perspectives. These fellows then return to Nigeria to apply their learnings, teach, conduct research, and assume leadership roles in higher education.
The program has had a significant impact on the teaching methodologies in Nigeria, particularly emphasizing the importance of clear course objectives, continuous learning, and evaluation. Structuring classes to include weekly problem sets, labs, post-labs, and design projects has become a norm, enhancing practical learning for students.
The success stories include innovations such as modifying the traditional Nigerian auto rickshaw (keke) by adding features like a tracker system and GPS, demonstrating the application of engineering principles to solve real-world problems.
The ETT program also focuses on grant-making and collaborative research initiatives. Fellows audit MIT classes, compare teaching methods, learn how to choose research topics, write successful grant proposals, and collaborate on projects.
The program has been generously funded by TotalEnergies and coordinated by the MIT Center for International Studies. TotalEnergies’ involvement stems from a commitment to contribute to the modernization of engineering education in Nigerian universities. The program has witnessed the emergence of Nigerian female STEM pioneers making significant contributions to the field.
As the program enters its second decade, its impact is evident in the rising careers of former fellows who have become decision-makers and leaders, actively contributing to the industry and shaping its trajectory. The fellows’ network has grown into a supportive community with the potential to drive significant changes in the coming years.
The MIT-ETT program continues to provide opportunities for young academics in Nigeria to apply and participate, fostering a collaborative and transformative approach to engineering education.