Education: The Obituary Of Nigeria - A Must Read

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Ilohzidane

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Education: The Obituary Of Nigeria - A Must Read
Posted on: October 01, 2013, 06:54:22 AM
Not too long ago, Jeff Stibel, Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Inc., said in his Harvard Business Review article, “Our most precious natural resource is not diamond or oil or agriculture; it is human capital.” Sincerely, this insightful assertion
cannot be over emphasised. Globally,
countries are today striving and
working tirelessly to generate
innovative ideas and cutting-edge
insights that would give them sustainable competitive edge and
advantages in the 21st century global
marketplace. Hence, as a former British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair, used to opine with
regard to the United Kingdom’s
competitive race: Education!
Education! Education! Without
sounding unclear, the race to achieving “education edge” is clearly
the focus of all advanced and
emerging economies of the world,
today. Education, qualitative one, has
become the Holy Grail to being
competitive in today’s knowledge- driven economy! As a result, education spending,
policies and interventionist ideas and
programmes have been on the
increase, worldwide. Expectedly, the
influx of people (young and old) to
the education industry has immensely increased, thereby increasing the cost
of getting education, everywhere
across the universe. Experts argue
that it rose to 400 per cent in the US
alone. Another factor that sparked this
off was the 2009 Programme for International Students Assessment
results where the US students
performed averagely in Math, Reading
and Science. Its rival, China, outsmarted and came
tops in three of the subjects
outcompeting highly hymned and
cerebrally-gifted nations such as
Finland, Japan, Germany, South Korea
and others; despite the fact that the country actually competed in it for the
first time in the history of the globally
recognised scholastic assessment. It
became a wake-up call to the Obama
administration and other serious
nations at large. Globally, educational reform is being
clamoured for and agitations geared
towards radically improving education
quality and standards via monetary
investments and the like, for example,
have been on the increase. More so, innovative models and practices are
injected in order to boost existing
education quality and accessibility.
This writer has continually researched
and keenly observed educational
trends and developments amongst nations. From Ethiopia to Azerbaijan,
the US to Uruguay, among others, the
cry for educational reforms has almost
become a global mantra and a deep
yearning for accessibility of this
human conception has continued to grow tremendously. In the US, for
example, the government has recently
launched the “No Child Is Left Behind”
programme, to this end. On the
contrary, in China, students had to riot,
claiming that the government is not creating enough access to education
for its citizenry. In Nigeria, however, the case seems to be patently different. One begins to wonder and curiously ask: Are we living in Mars? Again, as a keen observer of global education developments, trends and practices, innovations and so on, empirical facts and the current realities in the country make one begin to imagine and ask questions such as: Is Nigeria oblivious of the current global realities? Or, are we just self- deluded and only pretending that all is well with our education system? Information and Communications
Technology advances have created
new avenues for communications,
learning, social relationship,
information gathering and so on;
cheaply and flexibly. The ICT has, also, helped to a very large extent – to the
democratization of learning. Think
about e-Learning, m-Learning, and
other online learning channels and the
list goes on. In their quest for
competitiveness, advanced and emerging economies are presently
exploring other unconventional and
informal methods and models for
educating their wards and citizenry at
large. In Africa, apart from South Africa, Botswana and of course, Ghana (whose education sector has developed to the extent that it is today exporting education, especially to the “Giant” of Africa: Nigeria!); and maybe some few thoughtful and education-oriented
countries in Africa who are gearing up
for “Global Education Race”, Nigeria, to
put it mildly, seems to be confidently
sleeping! From an objective and data-
driven perspective, our leaders, from independence, and the majority of the
populace today, considering the
current class and character of learners,
students, graduates and youths of
today, one is tempted to ask this mind-
boggling question: Does Nigeria still have the intellectual capital and cerebrally-gifted individuals to produce and recreate brilliant minds, leading luminaries, great geniuses and the like, such as Nobel Laurate Wole Soyinka, Mariam Aloma Muktar (first female Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Philip Emeagwali, Aliu Jelani, Adefolake Solanke (first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN), etc.; again? Hmm! What a tragedy! Is there any hope for this great, but hitherto, sleeping giant? Unemployment is one of the recurring
21st century challenges. The European
Union, the United States, and other
advanced countries are not exempted
from this global challenge! In Nigeria,
the case is even pathetic. In spite of the challenge of unemployment, there
are still people who move and even
turn down one job for another. I
know the qualities and attributes
these few “chosen” are made of. The
scarcity of “real” talent is universal. I feel the pains of this sea of
unemployed youths! But if the truth
must be told, can these graduates,
which our education institutions churn
out, compete with their
contemporaries in today’s global marketplace? From observations, most
Nigerians who observe and try to find
out the interests, passions and indeed
obsessions and of course aspirations
of most of these students and
graduates alike, shockingly discover that most of them glorify and deify
music rather than mind; singers rather
than scientists; comedians rather than
CEOs; dancers rather than doctors;
artistes rather than architects. What a national calamity! Just recently, I watched Teju Baby Face’s TV show and I wept for this nation! The Vice-Chancellor of Babcock University and a music maestro, Davido, who happened to be an undergrad also at the institution, were both guests on the TV show. The VC was first introduced and to the
audience, he was just a scholar and
nothing more! When the artiste was
introduced, the audience, in an
uncontrollable euphoria and seeming
display of disdain for knowledge, metaphorically closed down the
studio! It was as if, the long-awaited
“messiah” had finally arrived… I knew
immediately what our predominant
national value is as a people. Little
wonder, we (Nigerians) die for lack of knowledge! Across the globe, Poor Reading
Culture is, to say the least, a dying if
not dead habit. In this connection,
David Godine, once asserted that “Only
32 per cent of the US population has
been to a bookstore.” In Nigeria, however, the number, from all
indications is far less. Take for
example, a friend once joyfully
enthused that the last time he touched
a book was when he was doing his
National Youth Service Corps programme, and that up till now, the
book, “Gifted Hand”, by Dr. Ben
Carson, is still lying on a stool in his
room! This was several years ago.
Imagine! As Barack Obama said, “We know that
education is everything to our
children’s future. We know that they
will no longer just compete for good
jobs with children from Indiana, but
children from India and China and all over the World.” Given this, the
question that begs for answer is,
whose “obituary”, metaphorically
speaking, is it? The rich, middle -class
and their children or, the poor masses
and their ocean of uneducated and benighted children or Nigeria as a
nation? Time will, definitely, tell!


« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 06:58:01 AM by Everest »


 

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