Dedicated to my dear friend Tosin Abejide, who is sitting at home on her birthday while her school is on strike…I mean holiday.
Many years ago, only the rich and powerful Nigerians ever made it to university. Surprisingly that’s very similar to what happens today. Maybe the times haven’t changed much. Okay, Let me try that again.
In the world we live in today, almost exclusively the rich (middle class included) and powerful go to university. The numbers are a lot higher than they used to be but that’s just because as a country, we haven’t discovered birth control. The reality is there are many potholes on the road to the university.
The first and most important is Money, our country is filled with poverty (I don’t need to explain this, you surely must get it). Then there’s Jamb & WAEC. For as long as I can remember, there has been mass failure in those exams. They used to blame lazy students, then bad teachers, then Facebook (the leave Facebook and face your book movement), then poor infrastructure, now it’s PDP/APC (depending on where you stand). The bottom line is that less than a quarter of the people that seat for the exams pass, but you already know this because you either didn’t pass or you know people who didn’t make it.
Let’s assume that by a miracle of mercy (not excluding naira mercy), you pass, you have options.
1. Go to a polytechnic and have a third class certificate and spend the rest of your life fighting with secondary school graduates for jobs even though you’re more qualified than half of the nations university graduates.
2. Go to a State university and hold a second class lower certificate, because as far as universities go, state universities are a no go area (if you have the money, even if you don’t, they still are).
3. Go to a federal university or if you’re rich enough go to a private university and have a second class upper certificate. Problem is, you’re going to be mildly (maybe chronically) undereducated when you’re against the big guns.
4. If you have the money, cross the Atlantic (or just go to Ghana, South Africa or any other African country that hates Nigeria). You’ll get a premium certificate, finish on time, get “international exposure” and automatically qualify for jobs faster (if you’re flexible enough, I suggest you get an imperfect foreign accent. it actually helps).
See, all isn’t bad with the federal republic. Who am I kidding, it’s horrible!
I feel the need to mention that should you understandably go for options 1-3, you’ll be faced with the possibility of outdated libraries and learning equipment, school infrastructure that is falling apart, management with retired thought patterns, pointless rules that have no bearing on actual education (hello private universities) insecurity, and most importantly a prolonged educational prison sentence because of the mighty ASUU or strikes.
If and when you do graduate within 5 years, be sure to prepare yourself for the realities that what you were thought is now irrelevant or wasn’t taught properly, so you must learn with rapid rapidity to discard EVERYTHING YOU LEARNT IN SCHOOL. Well almost everything.
But rest assured, ‘the challenges of the educational sector will soon be resolved’.
Oh sorry, that’s just what the government has been saying since we sent Ghanians out of our schools.
But seriously, just ask the students of OAU, who are currently sitting at home, while the government and school management plan to renovate the decaying infrastructure (by that I mean collect, direct and divert money…I mean traffic…yes Internet traffic).