It is no longer a secret that the standard of education in Nigeria is no longer what it used to be. It has not only nose-dived but is still very much on a down-ward trend. This much is agreed upon by virtually everyone concerned on the issue. However, this is where the unity on the matter ends. As far as who is responsible for this anomaly is concerned, the usual blame game and buck-passing is the order of the day.
While a school of thought believes that the teachers are to be blamed for the situation at hand, others point their finger of accusation in the direction of the government. There are also those who are of the opinion that the parents and guardians of the students do not seem to have enough interest in the proper upbringing of their children and wards.
In my own candid opinion however, every segment of our society has contributed its own quota in one way or the other to this shameful state of the country’s educational sector, be it directly or indirectly. I see a good number of people complain about how things are getting worse in our society generally and I am quite surprised at how many of these people actually fail to see the relationship between societal failures and our standard of education. People do not seem to realize that your actions in and outside your place of assignment actually depends on your level of education. I am however not talking about certificates exhibition here. We all know that there are too many people parading first class “upper” degrees all over the place and yet fail woefully when put to practical test in their areas of specialization. The fact remains that we parade too many “educated illiterates” especially in our strategic offices in this country.
Let us look at a few examples here.
A politician goes before his or her people, canvasses for their votes based on certain promises to them. When he or she gets into the office, all the promises to the people are suddenly forgotten and instead he or she goes on to loot the peoples’ treasury. A real educated person will never do such a thing because he or she not only knows the repercussion of such acts, but will be satisfied with his or her own salary which is by the way far higher than before he or she got elected into office. Secondly, it is only illiteracy that makes a person to build a row of mansions for himself in the midst of homeless neighbours and hope to be able to protect himself by building a high fence around it and surround himself with gun-totting security operatives without realizing that he has actually built a “prison yard” for himself! Same goes for the one who keeps stealing millions and billions of naira at every opportunity when he was nobody as at the time those before him did same and yet failed to carry the stolen monies with them to their graves. Why else do we think our “really educated” citizens keep on refusing to join the government? Those who gave the government a trial had no option but to opt out before an “accident” befalls them. We all know how many of such met their “untimely deaths” this way in the past. It is illiteracy that makes a person to loot millions of dollars from a state treasury in Nigeria and bank same in a European bank to develop a society that is zillions years ahead of Nigeria in terms of development. It is more painful when we realize that Nigerians are a people who will be satisfied with even half of what belongs to them in terms of infrastructural developments. If any of the criminals illustrated above were to be fairly educated citizens and were to invest their “loot” say in the transportation system of this country, I bet Nigerians would have even applauded them for doing such and they would have benefitted even more from that than keeping their loot abroad. But of course, when you are an educated illiterate, you not only fail to reason normally, you actually become a sort of bimbo for the use of Satan and its agents. Nothing good comes out of you anymore. While normal corpses need six feet deep graves, yours will surely need a minimum of six thousand feet.
Any society that looks down on its educational sector has only decided to commit suicide in a “slow motion” manner. There is no area of the economy of any country that does not need a properly educated person. This is the reason why I get confounded by unbelievable statements emanating from quarters that were supposed to be more enlightened in these matters. Let us take an example. The government of the day thinks that teachers are greedy people who are only after money and are not committed to their jobs. I wish to herewith challenge the President, the Senators and House of Representatives members as well as the Minister of Education to come out boldly to tell Nigerians that there are no teachers at secondary school level who are earning as little as #25,000 and below as monthly salaries in an age where it is difficult for even uneducated citizens to survive on #800 a day, rent, transportation, feeding, clothing, school fees and all the rest included. I make bold to say that is the situation on ground and I am willing to give the President a proof personally if he so desires. I am firmly convinced that the Minister of Education does not even know such facts. That is what happens when you lead a flock from a distance. You will never know the true situation on the ground and will keep making unpardonable mistakes which can rightly be attributed to mal-administration.
Now that we know the situation in which the teachers have found themselves, can you blame a teacher who decides to augment his or her situation by falling into the temptation of selling “akara” or “chin chin” to students in school when he or she should have been in class? Let us not even mention the temptation to pass some students from well-to-do homes on receiving some much needed cash gratifications from such students and / or their parents?
Is it not true that the millions of naira being stolen from those in power are far more than what is needed to pay teachers salaries comfortably? If it is, who do we think is fooling who in this country?
Is it not true that most of the young men and women being used by the Boko Haram and other militant groups are those who either got this same “illiterate education” or even non at all?
The government is in the same boat as the oil companies in the Niger Delta region. There they are presently spending a lot of money on security challenges that would never have arisen if they had done the right things in the first place. Half of what they spend now on security should have been part of their profit if they had been sincere enough to avoid environmental pollution in the area, built a few schools, given a few scholarships here and there, employed the qualified indigenes of the area, and little stuff here and there which is called host community development as practiced everywhere in the whole world and which they do in some of their host communities elsewhere. Instead, they decided to collude with some of our “Ogbanje” citizens to defraud the country thinking that Nigerians are still as stupid as they used to be some years back. Right now, I hope that they are enjoying the situation and should be prepared to enjoy some more serious ones to come soon. “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”.
In the follow-up to this article, I shall be concentrating on how to get solutions to this serious challenge confronting the nation’s educational sector.
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