I boldly state that the Nigeria youths, at this time we are, are terribly and desperately antagonizing reading and learning (education, literacy), fundamentally because of poverty. There are reasons for this act, which I would not mention until I am fortunate to get an honorary discussion, with wiser men than myself. Poverty has blinded the eyes of the youths to see the significance of education, in Nigeria.
We cannot delete Education, and that is the bitter truth. But we change something about it, which is the Quality of the Education. And to nail one of the sustainable development goals on the head – Quality and Inclusive Education – is to change The Method of Educating. This is very important. The methods used before are now befuddling, and also unappetizingly pleasant. No one should think my approach seems inhumane. Of course, I am so much interested in Human Beings, especially Youths, because I am also a Youth.
I would love to share a personal story, which I encountered a few months ago. I served as a Corper, whose service would end by July 2023 in Gboko, Benue State, at the Isien Rock Innovation College (the first technical school in Gboko). The first time I had a biology lesson, as the teacher, with senior secondary school level three students, I was pushed into the scene to falsely believe the students’ physicality, that they were academically smart. I saw students who looked older than myself, probably between the ages of 18-26 years. I was 22 when this happened. After several lessons, assignments, and short class tests, it occurred to me that 85% of the students have no enthusiasm for learning, most especially, the prefects. Then, I proceeded in having a one-on-one conversation with them. These poor students had suffered damage in so many areas of their lives – mentally, socially, spiritually, and even, emotionally. I couldn’t help but empower them with words and sacrificed the first four months of my allowance from the Federal Government – a sum of one hundred and sixty-five thousand naira – to balance some school fees, purchase exercise books, and textbooks, items of clothing, amongst other learning materials. I wish I had had more money, I would have sponsored the whole school. Why? Because I love education. I love Wisdom. I love Knowledge. I love Understanding. But I also love interest and satisfaction and passion.
“It seems virtually everyone is looking for money, right?” I asked, during one of my lessons. I was bitterly struck to hear some say to me that spelling, retention, comprehension, writing, and/or calculation, to mention a few, of different origins, are challenges of their education. And as a Medically inclined individual, I knew they virtually had had one or two learning disabilities. Some of them said their uncles have a Ph.D. degree, but still go to the farm, and it sounded like a ‘retrogression’ or ‘back-to-square-one’ lifestyle in their minds. I was surprised at the zeal, these poor students displayed during our conversations, concluding that School na Scam. School is a scam, Education na Scam Education is a scam, Book no be my way. Book is not my way.
I am always astonishingly befuddled to ask myself why are the Nigerian youths being deceived by, for instance, some elders, who weren’t fortunate to have fully succeeded academically, and/or talent-wise, to believe that education is not the way. Why do they always tell the youths every day, that there is no job after school? Especially in my presence. I still don’t understand why.
It is time to encourage the youths, and not make them think, going to school, especially university, is a waste of time.
To the youths, who may be reading this piece. We have the biggest role to play in our lives and our nation. One factor or what I would call a value of life, deficient of the youths I’ve encountered is Irresponsibility.
Why are the youths of my generation, of my country, longing just towards the result of a vision, without understanding the process thereof? Why do we desire results, and are ignorant of the processes involved? I have done more than one hundred and fifty online courses, during and after the coronavirus break on personal development for the future. I got so joyful to have done all these, with licensed certifications affiliated with globally recognized universities. A major course, that I remembered was ‘Health System Strengthening’ with several abilities. I did all these not because I was financially buoyant (Poverty was my propellant). All were done on the premise of night subscriptions and passion for directions.
I always say to myself, still thinking about how to wave a magic wand, that would make the youths, so much keener on their growth and development. I unapologetically state that any job vacancy, with no request for curriculum vitae, personal statement, motivation/cover letter, statement of purpose, portfolio, and/or profile submission, is a highly devalued job vacancy. Such jobs, in this time we are in, are for lazy bones, especially the Illiterate, the unskilled, the ignorant ones, whom, I think, won’t have a sustainable employer-employee relationship, but a master-slave period at the workplace. The Nigerian youths, and perharps, to the global level, desire a job of over two hundred thousand naira as salary, for instance, but cannot write their curriculum vitae, or don’t have an idea of what it means. Youths of this season, in Nigeria, desire a job of over three hundred thousand naira as a university graduate, for instance, but cannot write personal statements, cannot write an application letter. Youths of this season desire a job of over five thousand dollars as a monthly salary, as a university graduate, for instance, but cannot write their motivation/cover letter. Then, who is deceiving who?
To support the youth also, the graduates of universities should be proud of it and tell it to the world. I am not ashamed to tell people that I am a graduate, because it doesn’t only make me feel that I am not financially capable at the moment when it glares, but it also energizes my mindset that I have experienced a university system.
Dear Youths, opportunities come all the time, at every moment. We now even live in a world of opportunities. Read and read always. Do not settle for less. Study to show yourself approved. We should develop the habit of understanding terms and conditions. We should develop the habit of understanding the process and the result, before starting. We should never antagonize reading at all, because of anything, most particularly, poverty. We should embrace reading and be students for the rest of our lives. We live in a world of evidence. No evidence, no belief. No evidence, no concurrence.
Any Headache after reading this? Then, we should organize a physical meeting.
Celestine Seyon Reuben
Twitter and Facebook: @Celeyon