By Prince Charles Dickson
The gun does not know who carries it. Anonymous
The last two weeks, many of the young university kids I speak with seem unnecessarily in a hurry, and have a false sense of seriousness, one that had been missing in the last six months. The rasion detre is one word—EXAMS!
The Nigerian school is dead, this maybe, a harsh comment to make however, it is not far from the truth, infact I see it as the truth. Sometime in 2006, I had written a letter to then Minister for Education, Chinwe Obaji, it was in the incubating stage of the “third term’ saga, she never replied, I am almost tempted to copy the letter to the current Minister, Wike, but again, it is the heat of 2015, so I do not expect a response, so I would address my admonition to ASUU, Parents and Nigerians at large.
There is this book titled School Is Dead, it is a sociological text, by Everett W. Reimer and old one at that written in the good old 70’s I think 1971 precisely, it was those days, Nigeria had money and spending it was a problem.
The book discusses alternatives in education, the book was about the fallacy of school, it debunked the value of school in the society, and it talked about schools having empty walls. It was primarily by an advocate of de-schooling.
For a book that old it must not just be a sociological text, but a prophetic piece today in the light of where we are in our educational journey.
And ask me where are we, as a nation educationally? I would tell you, we are at the point where kids write exams after staying at home for six months watching premier league, Mexican soaps, and going to several MTN/GLO music gigs ‘screaming no long thing and nothing dey happen’, when indeed the nation is in for a long thing and a lot is happening.
Why is school dead in Nigeria, do I need tell us what we already painfully know, so I am only reminding us.
I honestly cannot grasp regarding the real tangible and intangible gains of a six-month industrial action that ended with teachers paid for not going to work, please where is the logic and moral, when there is even in-fighting how the money should be shared. Have we solved the issues…NO!
All I see are ‘olodos’ and empty-headed ‘spaghetti and jeans wearing’ young people that litter our dead buildings called schools, in the name of they called off the strike and we are back to school. Same buildings, same lecturers, the modus operandi is still same difference.
I weep for this nation because we cannot have a nation with a generation of young persons who lack qualitative education baptized in the waters of the 3E’s Enlightment, Exposure and Experience. Beyond those well-prepared speeches at convocation grounds and occasions, the Nigerian School system is dead and most of us cannot see any reason this should be the portion of a nation that has and continue to produce a lot of first class brains nationally and internationally.
Sadly, school is dead, today’s students come with their smiles but little to offer for all the years of numerous assignments, group work, candle light burning, sex-for-marks and handouts buying. Even the basics of their chosen field seem very alien when mentioned to them.
It’s sad that I do not know exactly how some of our so-called schools feel when the let loose these caliber of empty-headed products.
Despite all the propaganda of free education by some states, the scholarship schemes scattered, both home and abroad, what we have is simple politicking, PTDF wont pay scholarship monies because monies have got stuck somewhere, The UBE thing has been all propaganda with most States Primary Education Board serving as conduit pipe for educational donor agencies’ money to State CEOs.
Really where are the schools in Nigeria, …the type you went to, the same Baptist Secondary School, Ansaru Deen, St. Gregory, Sardauna Memorial, Barewa College, the Unity schools and many such in which discipline, and morals were treated?
Today what we have are prestige schools were the school fees run in millions of Naira, infact some of these so called ‘good’ schools charge their tuition fees in hard currency in our own country and no one is saying anything.
Now young graduates do all sorts of things to make a living when their paper qualification cannot fetch them the big break or the executive seat and all the years at the University or Polytechnic did not prepare them for the task ahead and the society itself is not ready for them.
In 2014, pupils will still receive classes under the trees, after Grammar school our young ones may only have the likes of Obasanjo to thank on how to write an open letter skills.
In public universities, lecturers are playing their own game turning the ivory tower into an all comers affair, it is enter as you pay or pay as you enter, the course determines the price, admission racketeering is a rave, JAMB has been jammed, there is no belief in the system.
Half of the entire nation’s education has been entrusted into the private school system where standardization and quality control are Latin terms and are treated as non-issue.
One morning it is six years mandatory primary education by noon it is nine years by night who knows. One state is returning schools, another is taking it back, the policy makers do not even have faith in the system they claim to be reforming.
Can I ask the Reuben Abatis, the Fani-Kayodes, the Fasholas, Rabiu of Kwakasiya fame, Rochas and co, which school do you children attend, how much do they pay per term or session, how many Nigerians away from your league can pay that amount, the local primary school in your village what is the state, is it not dead?
Take a visit to the primary school the President attended…visit Bisi Akande’s or Lai Mohammed’s Primary schools, or is it that they did not attend one?
I have said as a nation, we have the wherewithal to make education from primary to tertiary free, let ability be the determinant. The way we are treating our educational system, I dare say that when the consequences will stare on our face, may it not be like the gun, it does not know who carries it, do we want to resurrect our schools, only time will tell