“Las Las, School na scam!”
By Ezinwanne Onwuka
I am sure the slogan will not appear strange to you; not with the way it reels out the lips of the average Nigerian youth. It won’t be an overstatement to say that the slogan has turned out to be the national anthem among the youngsters. At a first glance, you might think the words are mere nonsensical and that the youths are just being misled to abandon their education. After all, education is pivotal.
I am sure you will agree with me that in every nonsense, there is an iota of sense. Based on this, let me reveal to you, in the paragraphs that follow, that our educational system is not only a scam but also a sham.
Financial education is not taught in schools. Each time education is mentioned, what usually comes to mind is school and this is because we assume that school should teach us everything necessary about life. However, the reverse is the case. For instance, you can be a medical student and know lots of things about the human anatomy and medicine or a law student and know everything about the law profession. Unfortunately, that does not mean that you know anything about money.
Also, you can be an accounting student who presses calculator every now and then to calculate millions of naira but that equally does not mean that you know anything about money. The reason why most professionals don’t know anything about money is because school wasn’t designed to give education about money; and it doesn’t matter how long or how many years or how many degrees you get in a formal educational system, I am sorry, you may know nothing about money and because you know nothing about money, you may be dead broke even with five degrees. Permit me to say, school na scam!
In Nigeria today, emphasis is no longer on the core element of true education, which is critical thinking and ability to proffer solutions to real life problems. The focus in most of our institutions of learning today is not knowledge acquisition but basically on degree acquisition. Thus, the joy of learning is being sucked out and education is reduced to a soulless process of ‘delivery’ of prescribed syllabus. The result being that students raised in this system are ill equipped to face real life challenges. They are not trained to think for themselves. The emphasis is just to pass some certain examinations. Consequently, students employ the la cram la pour method where they cram to pass exams and afterward they can hardly discuss the subject matter. Is school not a scam?!
Teachers are insistent on good academic grades. They make you believe that without a degree or a certificate, you will not be successful in life (we know, however, that this is erroneous). They do not care if the student is actually learning any valuable skill or not. Without mincing words, it is our primary and secondary education that instils the textbook education obsession in students form a young age. Our school system judges the potential of a student based on his/her performance in a written exam. Universities filter out the ‘best minds’ from the lot with high cut off marks for admission entry. The school system do not take into account the non-academic competencies of the students. Students who excel in theoretical exams may not necessarily perform well under job pressure or have an innovative problem-solving approach during crisis. School na scam!
The majority of the courses studied in schools are designed to cater to textual knowledge, rather than foster and encourage practical and logical thinking.
This is one of the main reasons that the quality of work force even from the reputed institutions is not up to the required standards. Fresh graduates hired for various industries face difficulty in dealing with the work demands. Sooner or later, they find out that most of the concepts learnt in school are hardly relevant for the job at hand. Today, there are a lot of graduates who did not learn any relevant skill during their studies. The system tricked them, because they were busy reading textbooks only to obtain certificates but without knowing the applications of what they read. School na scam!
School prepares people to be good employees. Our school system do not teach students to make use of their hands, head and heart (the 3Hs of education). Teachers tell students that getting good grades is a prerequisite to getting quick employment after graduation. They make you believe that certificates are ends in themselves. They make you forget your passion. School, however, should help us to know ourselves better, nurture and develop our gifts and talents. Teachers should be able to detect the unique contribution each and everyone of us will make in life based on our unique abilities and give out relevant knowledge that will help us in this quest; not subjecting writers, public speakers, artists, journalists, musicians, models, etc. to the same syllabus, curricula and examination. School na scam!
From the foregoing, it is evident that our educational system needs to be overhauled and reformulated for the better. Until this is done, school remains a big scam and a sham.