The unending struggle in Nigeria by Abdulwasiu A. Otuoze
I wonder if it was the people that oriented Nigerians about education that explained wrongly or it was Nigerians that understood wrongly.
When they said education for all, they didn’t refer to school alone. Look at developed and developing countries and how their children’s are being educated, regardless of the status, financial supremacy, political luxuriant of every parents in abroad, their child(ren) will still be engaged with after school job or business to suffice themselves and be independent in some sorts, and with such experience, they tend to have things to do after school that will be of benefit to their lives and living.
What we understand and practice in Nigeria is of myopic magnitude and different in direction, when a Nigerian child(ren) is in school, what he/she thinks and what the parents advice is to disengage from every other activities and concentrate on school and probably make first class or the best of grade as every parent will so desire.
It is paramount to have good grades as that is your basic aim of being in school but if that is your only goal then you are limiting yourself to only one tool.
As Abraham Maslow rightly said; “if the only tool you have is a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail.” This is where our struggle becomes hellacious …
Every year in Nigeria, over three hundred thousand (300,000) students graduate from tertiary institutions, and about two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) embark on NYSC, after their one year of service, let us assume only two hundred thousand (200,000) of them seek for job. Combining private, government and every other job opportunities yearly we won’t have up to hundred thousand (100,000) job opportunities, even if we decide to coincide in agreeing that hundred thousand (100,000) are employed, the remaining hundred thousand will be left unemployed.
This is a consistent repulsive condition that occur every year, apparently, nothing is getting better in Nigeria especially the case of unemployment, considering the analysed figure of unemployed graduates, it implies that over the last ten (10) years, over 10 million unemployed resides in Nigeria and 10 million more to join in the next 10 years if the situation didn’t get worse, though we tend to have more graduates every consecutive year.
I think this is where the affected will agree with George Santayana when he said; “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”
A definition we should reflect on is that; Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. When you learn a particular skill and develop such skills so as it can fetch you your needs, you are educated, the comedic portion of this is that to those that didn’t go far or at all in school measures your education with your capability, for instance, when you go back home having studied Electrical Engineering, you will be seen as unserious if you can’t repair some electronics or fix wiring of any sort even if you are a first class graduate. Though, they are wrong but not completely wrong and also not blameable, they are wrong because they don’t know what being an Electrical Engineer is and right because your education should reflect on what you can do.
A piece of advice I will confer to the imminent youths is to learn a skill and if you’ve already learnt one, then develop it. Otherwise, engage yourselves with business orientation, be business oriented and equip yourselves with acquisition and training certificates. We all heard the story of Jack ma and his likes, such stories are not just to inspire or motivate our conscience, it is to swing us into actions that will propel us to an unimaginable height.
Our efforts can put Nigeria in a better economic league. If our determination remain unshakeable, then together we can.
Abdulwasiu A Otuoze
University of Ilorin