[Analyses]–In recent times, the ‘sign-out’ pictures of my friends, who just completed their studies at Olabisi Onabajo University, University of Ilorin and Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, flooded my Facebook wall like Lagos flood. What came to my mind was that, ‘these institutions have turned out another thousands of unemployable graduates to join their brothers and sisters on the streets; those who despite graduating with outstanding grades are still being fed by parents and uncles. Then you ask, why the usual trend?
Mr. Godwin Obasaki, Governor of Edo State at the 21st Convocation Ceremony of Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma remarked that, ‘universities in the country are not established to create job for people, but to advance learning, promote research and build character of students’, with the assertion that ‘the university needs all levels of supportive staff, but the current practice where the number of non-academic staff outweighed the numbers of academic staff and researchers is not acceptable, not tenable and unsustainable. Agreed! However, it is worth reminding Mr. Governor that the quality should be prioritized over number.
Have you ever imagined why leaders or influential individuals in the country will prefer sending their wards to foreign countries for a degree to leaving them in advanced secondary schools we call institutions? If you have been in the system in recent years, you will definitely have an answer. The quality of what is obtainable in those institutions is nothing to write home about.
Whenever falling standard of education in Nigeria is mentioned, we rushed to conclude that poor funding is the cause. Yes, but it is one of those reasons but there are more serious issues within those institutions. If you were an employer of labour in the private sector, would you employ a graduate who, while in school, was taught in the 21st century with a note written over 25 years while the lecturer was a student of a ‘glorified’ polytechnic? That is one of the things I am saying. If President Buhari’s administration hasn’t achieved anything whatsoever, N-power employees won’t say that. That alone took thousands from the streets.
In those Ivy League you see, [full of be giant structures] lecturers photocopy chapters of textbooks two weeks to examinations as course materials for students to read. Designs, analysis and engineering courses are taught the same way they were taught in their days without taking cognizance of recent development and challenges. How many of our engineering graduates can practice what they are taught? While on campuses, they were filled with downloaded PowerPoint slides from foreign institutions, and mandated to buy ‘copy and paste’ Wikipedia documents.
When in actual sense, our schools supposed to be major centres points for knowledge generation, transmission and application, what we have now are ‘institutes of cramming technology’. You hear words like, ‘I don’t expect you to write rubbish for me, give me what I gave you’. One day, a student of engineering stood up to ask, ‘how do we use these long rigorous and semi rigorous equations to solve pipeline and tap leakages as you have said? The lecturer’s response was shocking, ‘my friend, will you sit down and listen to what I have to say before you write rubbish during my paper?
Some are too worrisome that you wonder how the institutions employed them. They are the ones that set benchmark for the highest score a student can ever get in their course(s). You hear words like, ‘you can’t pass my course and you can’t fail; the lowest would be 40 and the highest, [for those that can cram very well], is 60. I can assure you, no one is going to fail my course’. This reminded me of a quality assurance questionnaire given to us months ago to assess the lecturers and facilities within the department. I trust my guys, sharp guys, you need to come and see how the grievances of poor lecturing and facilities reflected on paper. It was like giving a fasting lion in the zoo a goat.
As important as attendance is; reason why some had extra year, some lecturers come to class four weeks out of about twelve to thirteen weeks of lecture. Sadly enough, more than half of their two hours is spent on frivolities, telling stories of how they bought car charger on their way to class. They are the too busy, yet guilty; collecting money for the service they don’t in actual sense render. When agitating for unpaid arrears or salaries, they will be at the forefront.
Are you still looking for auxiliary proofs that our institutions are not living up to expectations? This matter speaks for itself. But wait, are these only happening in schools I have been to?
On a lighter note, 18 Nigerian professors were called to sit in an airplane. When the plane was about to take off, they were informed that the plane was made by their own students. They all quickly ran out leaving one man who was sitting confidently. Out of curiosity, one of the cabin crew asked him why he was still in the airplane and he replied, ‘if indeed this airplane was made by one of our students, trust me, it won’t even start’. That was the bitter truth knowing fully well what they have imparted in them.
If truly the future of a nation can be determined by the quality of its education system, then there is an urgent need for everyone involved to have a change of orientation and attitude. Attitude, they say, is everything. If even the federal government allocates 70% of the budget to education, our disposition to matters is of great value.
‘Femi Adesope is a final-year student of the University of Ibadan. He can be reached via: email@example.comPlease Follow Us @ThePageNg