The most recent discourse and engagement about Nigeria’s education sector were done yesterday when a fellow on Twitter felt it was okay and within his capacity as an individual and profession to deride the First Class Degrees that was awarded at the last Convocation ceremony of Covenant University. Between yesterday I now, I am quite sure he got some backlash for taking on a giant that is higher and bigger than him. However, some of us decided to ignore after realizing that such people are trailblazers in controversies deliberately for attention and awkward relevance.
Going forward, there has also been a buzz on the merging of the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge into one subject in the Universal Basic Education as Civic Education. It was like an atomic bomb was dropped somewhere and everyone needed to respond by sharing their reservations about the development. Christian Association of Nigeria protested; the media did, Twitter celebrities did, religious bigots were not quiet either and everyone wanted an intervention on this matter of religion. If there is one thing it achieved, it was to yet again prove the distrust that exists due to religion more than the unity of answering Nigerians.
We all were busy dealing with religion that is practically the life and experience of every average Nigerian from childhood till old age. Children are religious at home, midday, in school, weekends yet we didn’t think it was enough for a lifetime in the life of someone.
Quick Disclaimer: I am a practising Christian, I believe in God, love Him and working and walking every day towards the perfection only Him can give.
However, religion is not a call to irresponsibility, laziness and shifting the entire saving of your life to a just and merciful God.
How could it be that we all in the midst of the threat of oil becoming useless in the next 3 decades or less, we are here focusing only on subjects that hardly help the child in creating values (yes, we all know what they teach in CRK and IRK), that’s if the teachers have not started using it to propagate religious intolerance and more. What happened to the sciences, the arts, commercial courses, to history, language, to the practical in biology, chemistry and physics classes? What happened to visits and excursions that can help the child see the realities of life outside the four walls of their schools.
We have been running an education that teaches people age-long values without telling to question some, ask how they apply to real life, stimulate their minds to think within, outside, around, upward and far away from the box. I am afraid that our education soon might start churning out near-zombies who have been programmed to think in a particular way and that will be their greatest undoing in life. Slavery of the mind is not done through Imperial colonists alone, it is also done by a wrong education that limits the thinking of individuals through an education that is unprogressive and dynamic.
Have you heard of what Elon Tesla and Mark Zuckerberg and others are doing? The plan to colonise Mars, the electric cars, Artificial Intelligence, the digital revolution in China and the entire Asia and threats that come with all these which will affect those who simply copy innovation without weighing the risks and threats. Thank God for the knowledge economy but Nigeria has limited ourselves to the vague and generic postulation of ideas without achieving much in the technical aspects of inventions, innovation and creating subjective thinking. In all these, I deeply appreciate and admire those who are breaking new frontiers in the tech industry; they are the MVPs of the Africa Rising concept.
Is it not simply ironic and embarrassing that despite the very many challenges that we have as a country, we seem not to care about changing the face of our education and a total overhaul of the system. Education should not be rigid, the processes can be changed to suit present day challenges of power, roads, hospitals, construction, kidnapping, corruption and a deluge of others that are tied to each other.
Nigeria can do more, we are not incapacitated in our minds below those who are engaging in space travel. We need to break-free from this trend of having foreigners coming to tell us what we already have in us or tell us how far we can go or remind us of the inalienable rights and potentials to be happy in life and achieve true liberty.
The liberty of the mind is that we are handed over the power to create the life we want and achieve true greatness.