And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were their commandment. 1Chron. 12:32
Ever heard of children of Issachar in the Bible reputed and known for understanding the times; you will ask what does that really mean? There are no better skills and gifts to thrive in uncertainty than this one; when oil prices crash, when commodity prices plummet and when opportunities and ideas that mattered in the last decade become goldmines for the now and the future, when people based on historical data, events and a monitoring and analysis of them equips one to be almost able to predict the future. That is rare but possible even in this generation and decade.
Now to education, our failings in Nigeria and some parts of Africa and why we need to readdress it, realign, renegotiate and reestablish our stand on it. Education is a continuous means to a continual end, and it never ends. For the world that is evolving with fresh and tougher challenges emerging and confronting mankind, we need more than a garbage in and out system that churns out near robots with the inability for detailed thinking. We need a system that enables foresight, insight and Farsight; we need to understand history, keep a pulse on it, refer back to it and use it to secure the now and predict future.
Every decade and century have their challenges; they are not far-fetched, we can always take a cue from a globalised world or discover them ourselves; the time of Thomas Edison (feared darkness) necessitated that they developed electricity and this can be said of various times in history when different challenges arose. Today, what can you say are the challenges of Nigeria that need immediate attention and if when addressed will jump-start our economy?
They are enormous but basic things that will take a strong will and sincerity of purpose on the part of leaders first, who then will move by inspiration that citizens might follow. However, we need to embrace an education that is timely, an education that is at par with our realities, an education that shifts us from generic to the specificity of our challenges as an emerging nation. We have power challenges, this is no time to just start doling our monies for infrastructure; we need to understand the scientific, social, cultural, economic and political dimension of the problem before taking a step that can bring a lasting solution. Half-measures and approaches never last more than 5 years because, by the end of a political tenure, they all phase out politically.
We need visions and national plans that stretch up to 100 years with a breakdown in yearly or decade spans beyond political appeal, interests and calculations. With such a plan we would be able to identify the challenges for each decade, for each year, for each half a decade and then design our education for the young based on that. There is ni way to secure the future by seeing it and preparing for it by educating the ones that will be in their prime then. Even though we sang songs of being future leaders, what steps did we take to identify the challenges of today from the 90s when many of us were still young. If peradventure we were able to know how the future will turn out, the floodgates of heaven opening up on Lekki and Lagos, the climate change issues that causes sea and ocean rise and much more.
One can never go astray with understanding and when understanding is gotten about human civilisation and history, you will simply be in command and definitely ahead. Great leaders are those who are able to solve the challenges of the future today. If you wait for the future to come before you prepare for it, then you won’t have any other option but to get overwhelmed.
It is a risk for us to be running or educating our people based on vague curriculums or learning materials, we need to teach and equip to solve problems.