It is a good thing to be educated. It is good to have someone sponsor one’s education. It is good for one to find himself/herself in an environment where academics display their wealth of knowledge. It is good to one day be called whatever one wants to be called after years in the university. It is also good to find oneself in the midst of others who are actually learning. But it is doom for one to crave for all above when one hasn’t got the capacity even at the availability of resources.
It is bad to come to the higher institution and struggle so much with acquiring knowledge while others just keep soaring in their academic endeavors.
The “Nigerian” higher educational system (I use the word ‘Nigerian’ as an adjective because it means something particularly disturbing to me), has been enjoying patronage since the first republic, because of the importance attached to higher education (knowing the ways of the west) then. Significance is not only attached to education; emphasis is laid on the ‘fake fact’ that some courses of study should be preferred over others-courses like medicine, law and accounting are seen as the best to be studied in the Nigerian higher educational system.
However, my concern is not about the scale of preference (whatever anyone has chosen to do is what he/she is serious in doing); my concern is how some have gotten into traps by craving for knowledge in the four walls of a class room.
Education may come in many forms as far as one is going to know. It may be a vocational training, or other training that follow the procedures of passing ideas and knowledge to people. But it is unfortunate that emphasis is still placed on ‘a classroom’ to the destruction of many young Nigerians. For how can one whom God has blessed with the use of his or her hands (in making good stuffs) be struggling to use the brain to seek a certificate that would come with so much cutting of corners and sufferings? It is high time the vocational ventures are given full attention by the new government.
We all don’t fit into this Nigerian higher institution system. I have been observing how this system serves as traps for many-those who are not good with using their brains to scrap ideas from bulky texts and materials. The system kills them daily and makes them look like they are very useless. This is in fact, changing individuals’ destinies in the name of trying to help them learn in this ‘one way educational system’. They will never learn and that is not a curse.Lecturers would keep on churning out bad grades for them and make them feel like they are not part of those who should have any reason to stand out tomorrow, if the aphorism,‘we are the leaders of tomorrow’ is still appropriate.
Meanwhile, these individuals would have been better off if they had found themselves in another society or had a government who will give entrepreneurship and vocational ventures the proper attention. Daily, many awake to the fact that school has become a trap for them and think they cannot do anything meaningful with their lives, they watch others do what they find difficult to do ( using the brain in the issues of books). Majority, having realized that they have gotten into a trap, employ a do-or-die means of getting the best grades. It is either they bribe insatiable lecturers or they sleep with sex-hungry lecturers that hold the philosophy: your-body-for-good-grades or they engage themselves in different theatrics of exam malpractices that may possibly put them into another trap.
My point remains that there are thousands of youths in classrooms who are suppose not to bother themselves with all kinds of theories, but are suppose to find what suits their dreams and aspirations in life. For what kind of system of education system do we operate that render so many lives useless and make many ‘want more’ at the end of the day.
I pity many parents in Nigeria because this system has successfully made them believe that the moment they give birth to children, it is the Nigerian higher institution that will make them become what they want to become in life by offering them degrees of all kinds, not minding what the child went through to get these degrees and most importantly, not minding if their children are actually fulfilling destiny. This is not their fault. The problem is in the emphasis laid on getting degrees at the expense of vocational ,technical and trade schools (not as if these do not exist, they only have to be given much attention).
Education needs to be redefined in our country-we are far behind in defining what learning and getting educated actually is.
Let us all say no to a system that robs majority of their joy, brains and dreams.
Kolawole Taiye; a poet and an undergraduate.
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