[Analyses]–The Nigerian atmosphere has changed drastically today in the twenty-first century from what it was in the days when people lived in huts and woke up to the songs of rivers and forests.
The Nigerian youth no longer burns with the fire of curiousity to extract all the knowledge possible from classrooms and books, unlike his twentieth-century counterpart. A different attitude has been taken on towards education as a whole. He would rather take to the “streets” – a metaphor for a perceived empirical mental-cum-physical landscape which allows for a wider experience field – than limit himself to the restrictive walls of the classroom.
Just like Immanuel Kant’s theory of the conceptual scheme explains, people’s actions and beliefs mirror their life experiences. The physiology of the society defines its structure and social nature. The demands of the fluxing nation facilitates a sort of apathetic, if not resentful, orientation towards education by the youth. It is quite evident that this is not a phase but a trajectory down which our society threads. It is hereby of extreme expediency to discuss the reasons why students are increasingly being fed up with school.
To start with, the over-intellectualisation of the academia is a self-destructing action that is slowly shedding its relevance. Our universities are now rife with cases of students being assigned projects that are so abstract in their focus and inconsequential in their significance that it has become increasingly difficult to take education seriously. So many students go through higher education without learning anything meaningful (not necessarily due to their own lack of seriousness, though that could be a contributing factor) because they are not being given the necessary weapons with which to battle the behemoths of life. They have been forced to view academic pursuit as a chore and a rite of passage in a world that demands one to have a degree just for its own sake. Instead of luxuriating in the power of learning, they develop a slave-complex mindset to their school life.
This should, however, not be misunderstood to mean that less youths are enrolling into formal educational institutions. In 2015, more than 1.4 million Nigerian youths sat for the Joint Admission Matriculation Board Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), amounting to about a percentage of the population (Vanguard, n.d.). It is proof that the sunny colours of interest in acquiring formal education has not faded away from the fabric of time.
However, the motive behind this interest is the belief that it is an obligation, a figurative ritual which is believed to confer one with a status of validity in a world of Western socio-cultural dominance. The enthusiasm is absent and replaced by a sense of compulsion, which is saddening to say the least. Even so, this feeling of obligation starts to wane, when the thought of job availability comes in.
Unemployment is a foe which has terrorised the country for much longer than one should be proud to say. A victim of the eternally dwindling economy, it has thrust Nigeria on a battlefield against a Goliath of obstacles and there is no David in sight to salvage the situation. As stated earlier, when one struggles to achieve the hyped degree, a reward is expected. Instead, our youths are flung into the job market. According to a report by Information Nigeria, sourcing the Central Bank of Nigeria as a notable reference, about 80 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed (Daniel, 2015). That paints a rather bleak future for a society that expects total dedication to formal education.
The ratio of yearly graduates to the availability of job vacancies widens at a ridiculous rate and one indeed has to fear what is to come. For this reason, the youths prefer to take to the streets. After all, what will it profit a man to burn candles studying at night, only to burn under the heat of sun, walking around, looking for jobs on roads of joblessness? It is basic human nature and the application of common sense.
The Nigerian educational system does not help matters. It can be likened to a cruel guardian who informs you of the need to eat and still goes ahead to have the food kept out of your easy reach. The society constantly portrays education as the key to individual refinement and security of a glowing future. Yet, so many hurdles are placed in the way. After secondary school, the students are expected to sit for at least three difficult examinations: West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), UTME and Post-UTME, all with the intention of disenfranchising them of their full rights to education. Even after these examinations, the politics of cut-off marks and selective admissions causes a major headache.
In 2014, out of 1,015,504 applicants, only 109, 853 scored above the 200 mark (Vanguard, Jamb Releases UTME Result, n.d.). The others have to either roam the streets for another full year or settle for lesser alternatives they had not planned for. Some people even spend about half a decade applying for admission. When this fails, they have no choice but to turn to entrepreneurial ventures and other fields that do not require their certificates.Please Follow Us @ThePageNg