Monday, September 27, 2010

What about your own education?

Last week, we started an interesting discourse on “What is Education?” Some readers took out time to respond and share their views. What does your education mean to you? Is it preparing you to be competent in what you do?

Education in Nigeria encourages most of us to stop at classroom learning. I realized in college that there was a need to complement my classroom with experiential learning. The type of education I received is one that emphasized so much on succeeding in the classroom and graduating with the best result. This in itself is not a bad idea. However, what is a first class certificate without an ability to translate it into a first class life?

A couple of students the other day shrieked in alarm when they saw an advertisement requesting for students with first class result to apply for internship placement. Their argument was that first class students are not necessarily the best for the job- because they spend a lot of time cramming without taking out time to reflect on how these theories work in practice. Where does one find the balance?

Education as a process

“Education is a process of creating and liberating the mind for social functions” Destiny I. Samuels Ogoja C.R.S

Internship to augment classroom learning

Chioma Chukwuneta, Abuja, in an email wrote, “Volunteerism and internships are areas our nation is yet to explore and also the concept of learning by doing… While an undergraduate, my holidays were spent in libraries because I thought I had no opportunity to do anything else apart from reading to make good grades. This cause is going to bring a lot of change to the mindset of many youths and help them in early development of their skills.

Education is continuous

Every soul on earth is educated. The scope of education goes far beyond attending universities. Right from the day we were born to our last day on earth we are directly and indirectly been educated in one aspect of life or the other and at the same time ignorant or uneducated in one aspect of life or the other. We only go to school to enhance our level of education not because we are uneducated. Muh’d Awwal Yunusa. Minna Niger State.

Nigerian Education system needs revamping

“…I just went through your column on education in the nations newspapers now. It is sad to note that while in advanced economies emphasis is on producing entrepreneur, over here we keep going on incessant strike and producing half-baked graduates who could hardly write correct sentences, let alone solves practical societal problems. I guess the difference lies in the premium place on education in the two world. Keep up the good job. Tony

Monday, September 20, 2010

What is Education?

I'm 12, uneducated, and wish I was.
I'm sitting with a book that my mom,
saved me when she was younger.
But she never got to read it.
She never knew how.
She said: "when you go to school,
come, and read to me, I want to know.
"I never got to read it...
Our school got locked up, and we all left.
Barefoot through the prickled field,
All sad, and uneducated for life.
And I will be just like my mom,
When she was younger,
and She was poor, uneducated,
and lived with hunger.
Read for me, young and kind citizen,
what about is that precious book,
that my mom gave to me...
I am 12, uneducated and I wish I was
somehow educated, and somehow more free.
(Poem by Tetyana Shabanu Klymko culled from Article 2 NEWS, 14, USA).

So many people are in school and do not even know why! Isn’t that so infuriating? An article on Taking IT Global portal themed “Understanding learning & education” read: “When we think about education, we often view school in a traditional, formal sense. Many people believe that true learning can only take place in a formal classroom setting. Others feel education occurs in many different forms and environments. There may not be a definitive answer to the question of, ‘What is Education?’ However, we can start thinking about the purpose of education. Is it to educate youth to be responsible citizens? Is it to develop individuals, as well as society, in order to ensure a society’s economic success? Or is the purpose of education to simply focus on developing individual talents and intelligence? Perhaps it is the balance of all three that defines education?“

Education, in the society we live in, seems to have lost its essence. Now, you hear people saying Nigerian graduates are unemployable and you wonder what they are talking about…

Olumide Idowu, in his article “Nigerian graduates and overfed academic theories” proffer solutions to ameliorate the decaying education system: “…An overhaul of the infrastructure, teaching methods, teachers and curriculum needs urgent attention to make the product of the system not only employable in Nigeria, but also across the globe. Infrastructural turnaround includes decongesting overcrowded classrooms, stocking laboratories that are quickly becoming scientific museums and organizing field trips and corporate visits which are becoming nonexistent. Internships and scholarships ought to be properly managed by Nigerian government board with endowments from corporate and international organizations. Online classes using advanced e-learning techniques have to be available through the Internet access present in our higher learning institutions. Academic teaching needs to focus on how education and theories translate into practical forms, steering student minds towards creativity and innovation… Vocational centers and after-school business training centers should be in place to imbue workplace ethics and managerial skills before being pushed to the corporate environment.”

Friday, September 17, 2010

First Impression: “Excuse me brother, your rejection in showing”

What has not changed in Nigeria since my return home? The nonchalant attitude of some Nigerians towards things, the way they are and loosing faith on reformation.

The young man that drove me home from the Airport didn’t hide his disdain for the condition in Nigeria. He didn’t hide his helplessness or lack of interest to do anything to change it either. He said he was not interested in voting in the upcoming election. And added that he does not think he will ever vote. He does not trust the Nigerian politicians. What is making him so bitter?

Last election, he watched politicians brainwash his neighbors and other voters with a plate of rice, bottle of drink and N500. That was the entire manifesto for change they offered and his neighbors aggressively accepted it, wiped their mouth and cast their vote into a leaking box.

How will such leaders not take us for a ride after they get into office? He asked too many questions, but I had no answer to offer because I think it bizarre that we should all still feel detached and powerless to do anything but nag about everything In Nigeria.

The young Taxi driver made up his mind- not to vote in the next election because none of the politicians catch his eyes or his heart. My advice? If you do not like the leading parties contesting in the election, vote against them. But whatever you do, just cast that vote.

Like the young Taxi driver, there are other Nigerians overwhelmed with the same level of nonchalant attitude. Some have settled to sitting on their hands and watching things happen. Ignoring how possible it is for their action or inaction to changed things- doubting their ability to be and re-orientate others on the change we would like to see in the world.

What other impression have I experienced since my return home? Change is sometimes very slow…Electricity is still epileptic. That is a normal thing, the driver said. The potholes in the drive from Ikeja to my house are still as I left them. Has the government leaders been sleeping or the roads are beyond their repair? The driver travels on the route every time, and like many others he just shrugs his shoulders and drive through.

Nothing will change in Nigeria, unless ordinary boys, girls, men and women rise up to tackle the different challenges of our time. Not by nagging but by the simple art of taking practical actions to provide solutions, by helping one another and by daring to do things in extra-ordinary ways. Waiting for the government leaders in Nigeria, is useless.