Since Nigeria got her independence from the British colonialists in 1960, it has never produced a prime minister or a president who was a product of the country’s educational system. That was until the year 2009 when Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan had to complete the first term of President Umaru Yar’adua. This later resulted in President Jonathan having to contest to become the next substantive president. His tenure ended on May 29, 2015. He had a PHD from a Nigerian university.
The intention here is not to periscope his administration. This has to be touched in relation to the value of education received in Nigeria. Thus, for the first time, we had a president who is a product of the educational system in Nigeria. It is noteworthy that he did not study political science, rather he read Zoology. A lot of university graduates in Nigeria do not earn their living from the course of study which they pursued. This also holds true for polytechnic graduates. The notable exception is found in the products of colleges of education, faculties of education and the universities of education that we have. This however comes with a modification what such people are meant to teach, the modification is in what they do. Graduates of history civic/political science and the religions are often found to be teaching English Language.
This is the major factor responsible for the annual high rate of failure in WASSCE’NECO and UTME that the country continues to witness. Graduates of PHE, Yoruba language physics, chemistry and Biology are often found in banks as workers. The argument has always been that numeracy is the primary consideration. This may hold true for graduates of Mathematics, it does not favour the banking industry being an all-comers affair. Graduates of Banking & Finance and the actuarials are hardly found in the banks. The above reflects the fact that the curriculum is not tailored towards providing well equipped manpower needed to grow and sustain the economy of the country. It requires a total overhaul.
This becomes necessary when we look at the current state of development of our country in relation to that of other countries of the world. The curriculum is still not much different from that given by the British Colonialists which was tailored towards producing clerical staff used in the main for administrative purposes. Most of the products of our educational system were merely suitable for administrative work. Which is why even after graduating from the university, clerical and administrative duties get priority consideration when such graduates are looking for jobs. This does not exclude graduates of polytechnics, colleges of education and other specialized institutions. We live in a world of computers.
The rest of the world is inventing machines for production while we are merely using such invented materials. Ordinarily, considering the weather of our country, we should have been the ones to invent the refrigerator, air conditioner and even the fan. Rather, those who did not need such materials have been the inventors. Hardly do they even use such materials as fans, and ordinary refrigerators which we still regard as status symbols in our country. We still have a long way to go in using technology to solve our essential needs. The curriculum of education has not been tailored to cater for this interests. In this world of communication we are more of consumers. Products from other countries are brought and dumped in our country. Such have turned our country into a dumping ground for substandard products. Laptops, hand held phones and accessories are not manufactured in Nigeria. On the whole, if the curriculum of Education remains as it is, Nigerians shall continue to lag behind other countries of the world especially in the field of technology. The first essential stop is a total overhaul of this curriculum of education in Nigeria. With this, institutions of learning will start to yield human capital that is relevant to the technological advancement of the country. This is the first necessary step to ensure that NIgeria does not lag behind in the comity of nations.
Comrade Kayode Adebayo (NCE, B.ED, M.A)
Immediate past PRO (ASUSS), Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools,
Ogun State, Nigeria. 08061668690