Articles and Opinion

Renaissance of Education in Nigeria

Education is seen ‘‘as any program of learning that is conducted formally or informally with the objective of making the receivers of such a program useful to their environment,’’ according to Fafunwa.

In respect to this definition of education by Fafunwa, education can be seen as a medium of making an individual useful to the environment and not only to himself. Unfortunately, many students in Nigeria are with the mindset of the more educated you are, the more money you get. Instead of helping the country, students tend to be more attracted to enriching themselves through education.

‘‘We want to lead a country where people will be less greedy. Where people will know that the commonwealth of Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians, where people’s wealth depends on the people around you. If you become a rich person and everyone around you is poor you are very poor,’’ His Excellency the former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan said. In line with this statement by the Nigerian elder statesman, students must understand that education is not only a route to making money but also adding value to the society. Instead of migrating abroad in such for jobs of high wages, students should have the zeal of building the Nigeria they want through the education they acquire.

Nigeria having the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, has one of the highest rate of unemployment. With this in mind, what bedevils us as patriots of the nation is: how can a country with large economy like Nigeria still be faced with a problem such as unemployment? I can recall what a colleague of mine said to me. ‘‘Don’t stress yourself with studies, because no matter how brilliant you are in this country, you will still struggle to find a good job, as long as you are not a graduate of a professional course.’’ This led me to ask myself what will happen if majority of Nigerian students believe in this stereotype. Each year, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) releases statistical reports of courses and the number of applicants that applied for each course. These statistic reports by the board has frequently shown that professional courses are indeed the most sought after, which makes me doubt the tendency of me getting employed as an education student—especially with the number of unemployed education students out there.

As an education student and a patriotic scholar of education, I have heard and seen a lot of my colleges underestimate our profession. Most of which got admitted into the faculty as being the choice of the university and not the individuals desired course of study, which led to some of the education students not being interested in the teaching profession. Doctors are proud to be called doctors, lawyers are proud to be lawyers, engineers are proud of what they engage in, but in my faculty of education, only few are proud to be teachers in training. Students blame the government for the poor financing of teacher welfare as being the reason of the poor interest shown towards being a teacher, others just want to get the white collar jobs. The teaching job was the last alternative for others as a result of the unemployment factor, and then only a few percentage are like me ‘‘the proud educationists’’ of which people called us teachers, lecturers, tutors, others called us educators, but one thing is certain ‘‘Teaching is our profession.’’

In conclusion, students should learn to dedicate themselves into serving humanity and their society at large. Nobody will build the Nigeria we want for us, we must wake up to the call of development and strive to create the Nigeria we will be proud to call home.

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