Monday, December 6, 2021
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Nigerian Education at the Expense of Creativitity – by Ipinlaye Oluwakamiye

Etymologically, the verb to educate originated from Latin educatus(to bring up a child mentally/physically, train a person in learning or art).(Education) Educere, the frequentive of educates refers to the mind,e (“out”) +ducere(  “to lead or draw”)  meaning to draw something out of the mind. On the other hand, education is to create by training and teaching.


The verb “to create” according to the Advanced English dictionary has about six definitions.


Some of which are; to make or cause to be or become, bring into existence, pursue a creative ability, be engaged in creative activity, make by artistic means, make or manufacture a man-made product.


In Nigeria, education has descended from its glorious peak and at the moment is limited to the four walls of the classrooms.


Secondary school students pay exam malpractice fee together with their school fee even as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) recently worsened this trend by reducing the cut off mark from 200 out of 400 to 120 for admissions into Nigerian universities.


This ridiculous action will lead to the admission of the worse of the worst into our tertiary institutions.


In universities, students go through a very strenuous academic calendar made worsened by the elongated mid- semester breaks and work strikes by members of universities’  associations such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and many more.


Students are made to learn in uncomfortable environments with dilapidated lecture halls and empty laboratories. More alarming is the fact that many lecturers do not know how to teach but dictate wiki pages as class notes.


Some barely understand what they seemingly lecture even as many others are just mere sadists just out to frustrate the hell out of students.


Students ‘cram’ (to prepare hastily for an exam) not ‘cram’- to mean studying intensively before an exam. Of note is the fact that some others get good grades by paying their way through the university and finally ‘buying’ themselves a certificate. We have first class graduates who cannot define the scope of their course of study.


These students eventually graduate with certificates they can  neither theoretically nor practically defend.


Interestingly, it’s rampant to hear statements like “don’t just go through school, let the school go through you.” What good is left of the Nigerian schools for students to go through or let  go through them.


The crux of the matter is that, these challenging conditions in the Nigerian educational system has left little or no room for creativity.


This is because the microcosm of the society which happens to be the family has produced children not raised liberally but brought up under the constraints of societal expectations.


The females are brought up to favour minor arts like, cooking, embroidery, weaving, poetry or painting while the males are taught to busy themselves with so called ‘professional jobs’ like law, medicine, engineering amidst others.


Congratulations are in order because I would say that we have moved if not one step ahead of this bias, but sadly parents and family still impose career choices upon a child which could be detrimental to a child’s future.


It is more than enough that we never get to choose our names or if our parents are the ones with glory or fame but it is necessary to leave certain decisions to a child especially if it includes a life changing choice like the choice of career.


A typical example is of a father and mother who are both medical doctors and their child wants to study Fine and Applied Arts, or parents who are lawyers with a child interested in music.


Most times the child never gets his/her way because according to the parents they “need someone to carry on the family legacy” plus “we know you are not a bastard” or “God forbid that I pay the tuition fee for you to be a painter”.


Another anomaly is the situation where parents expect that right after secondary school, you go straight into the university as this leaves no room for self-development which could involve learning a vocation or an art.


As it is, even students of today have no desire whatsoever for available vocations.


The next big enemy is the tertiary institution. They are by far the biggest enemy of creativity.


A lot of students get admitted to study what they did not sign up for even if they did deserve their choice of study by merit  coupled with the increasing number of students writing exams each year, they resignedly accept to study what they are given.


Very few of these people would later develop interest while majority will not bone up to it.


The few interested in their course of study will then be faced with other challenges like problematic lecturers; those that will not grade you appropriately without getting under your skirt, those that will bombard you with workload enough for two different courses, and others that will come to class to lecture, set tests and regardless of students’ proficiency expect them to fail or help fail them. These actions also play a very significant role in killing a student’s creativity.


The vital concepts of “educate” and “create” is missing in the Nigerian educational system. Our education does not create anything significant in a student. It does not train or teach you to become something.


Creativity is absent in our education system because students are not encouraged to think for themselves, as there are situations where your lecturers would not give you good marks if you write a definition different from theirs though by every means correct.


Our education does not “lead” or “draw” anything from the mind because the student only knows how to “cram”. This prevents students from unleashing their passion and making their ideas reality.


We rarely celebrate or support innovations and inventions but rather offer them envy and prejudice on the platter of eye service.


In conclusion, lecturers, teachers and parents are supposed to guide and encourage younger generations to becoming a better version of themselves.


Their duty is to support the student and applaud them when they deserve it. Students should be allowed to use their own reasoning and be courageous to answer questions their way as long as it is the correct answer.


We do not have to plagiarise our lecturers before we get good grades. It should be noted that even the worst student can be the best at something different.


It is the teachers, lecturers and parents’ duties to help students discover themselves by finding what they are really good at and ensuring they pursue it regardless of their course of study.  No man is an island of knowledge and no one is a fool.



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