WHAT IS YOUR IDEOLOGY ABOUT EDUCATION AND HOW FAR HAS THE CERTIFICATE YOU ACQUIRED IMPROVE YOUR LIFE?
The sound of education generally appeals to both old and young, illiterates and the learned alike. Especially in our Nigeria context. This is seen by the people as the shortest way to escape from sufferings, poverty and its attendants variables aside from indulging in crime. This no doubt accounts for the reason so many Nigerians, irrespective of their ages, economic status; pursue education with their last breath. This development should be applauded without hesitation. At least as any country that has majority of her populace educated assuredly overcomes the risk of underdevelopment and job insecurity.
But the question generally is, in the face of this too much quest for education, how has the lives of holders of the certificate be affected or improved upon? What developmental changes have been effected in the country Nigeria where education is now the opium of the masses?
This is where most of the erroneous belief that if one can affords to go to school and acquire Degree, ones problem when it comes to matter of common interest such as poverty is over. The reason for this common belief by Nigerians is not far fetched. It is because of their misconception of the word “Education” or “School”.
Secondly, the orientation or system of education given to Nigerians by the colonial masters during missionary era was based on European and American standard which is not in cognizance with Nigeria level of development. A typical example was the system of development in America where students been trained in professional courses are exposed to the practical aspects of it with the believe that on graduation, he or she will be able to improve upon his course of study.
Before going further, it will be better appreciated if we can have dictionary explanation of the word education and what education is all about in Nigeria context. According to oxford Advance Learners Dictionary: “Education is a process of teaching, training and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skills”. While to an average Nigerian, education is all about “certificate acquisition” notwithstanding whether the student been trained is abreast with the necessary knowledge to improve on him/herself. With the first definition, emphasis is on training, learning and skill acquisition. Whereas the latter mainly concentrate on the students ability to memorize. In other words, one can obtain higher grade depending on ones ability to memorize what is been taught in the classroom. It does not matter if the person cannot practically demonstrate it. With this system of education, a PhD holder in Geology is free to boast of his qualification even if he has not visited any bush for practical studies. As long as he is connected to the power that be, his job is sure. But whereby reverse is the case, his paper qualification cannot lead him anywhere nor enable him earn a living, despite the huge amount spent in school as tuition fee. Face with this unexpected ugly situation, the person may either result to endurance; waiting for better days ahead or switch to crime related deals that will survive him or her. What an irony of life?
However, it should be understood that beside the white man’s system of education which Nigerians are imbibed with, which unfortunately is not helping the country, there are other ways to be successful without indulgence in criminality.
Although no one is disputing the importance of been literate as this has a very big way of helping people to understand their environments, but the basic problem is that majority have put all their hopes in the system as the only sure way to make it life. That is why when there is no white collar job forth coming, it looks as if all hope is gone for the persons who have passed through college. This is an error in thinking.
A survey carried out recently in Ika land revealed that most of the elderly people are drifting to school without personal knowledge of why they are doing so. Some of them interviewed said it does not matter whether the knowledge acquire during the process of schooling improve their lots or not. So long as education is what is in vogue, they will join the bandwagon. This ideology is not helping matters. Anybody embarking on a venture3 should be able to pre-design what he/she will achieve aqt the end of the exercise. An apprentice brick layer for instance should be able to expect that after following his master for sometime as a trainee, he would become perfect one day in the trade. The same thing is applicable to the son of the farmer who has been closely watching his father’s activities in the farm. He can work like his father or even improve on his father’s mistakes. Ironically, this is not the case with the academic world in Nigeria. No wonder graduates get frustrated without hope of a happy future. But should it continue like that? For how long should continue looking for a job in vain? Should government job be the only aim of going to school as a youth? The answer should be no!
Nevertheless, there is still hope for a tree if it stump does not die according to the bible. That is to say there is still hope for the youths and elderly to succeed in life irrespective of their educational status. The time, money and energy expended in going to college to obtain Degree or paper qualification without commensur4ate returns as some even regret attempting it, if invested in other things or skills can earn people, especially the youths long lasting happiness rather than languishing in abject poverty. Western education is good. No controversy about that. Ok? But it is not the only alternative to wealth acquisition. It is good to give self analysis to the things we learn in school as a people. We may not become rich over night but self actualization, dependence and master of ones business is what matter most. Small scale businesses, development of other skills are some of the ways to excel. Why waste time and money in applying for one job for years without success or give out money to politicians to have an appointment, instead of channeling those talents somewhere. Where you are not a barrier, even as an ika youth, the opportunity is very much at your disposal. All you need is orientation from somebody who is willing to teach if you avail yourself of the opportunity.