Examining the Nigerian University System

Examining the Nigerian University System

It will not be out of place to place the essence of education over just emancipating man from the shackles of ignorance but also to build him into civilization. The Microsoft Encarta dictionary, captures Education as the impartation and acquisition of knowledge through teaching and learning, especially at a school or similar institution. Suffice me then to state that my hauling today is towards Nigerian institutions and not the process of learning how to read and write; those are fasts no one can scratch.

If you had started the odyssey with me then you will agree with me that the definition stated above is not holistic enough as it has not captured what an educated society should look like. Having that in mind, it becomes easy to create a mental picture of the society a civilized mind will create. One can be caught lying to others but what you shouldn’t be caught doing is lying to yourself.

Question: Has the school given us education? Why do you finish schooling and the best suggestion ever is still about going off to learn a trade or skill? Permit me, therefore, to say that Nigerian tertiary education is a bluff, a mere social status, an institution that people enter and joke around, a make-believe cycle that trick people into believing that they have been given a future. A system that produces automobile engineers that can’t repair cars, not to talk of making one, a broadcaster that cannot edit their voice records or videos, nurses that cannot administer injections; the list is endless. Though this article might not be applicable to all disciplines; however, the majority of faculty in our education system falls under this pathetic cycle.

Just a week ago some of my students were discussing the yahoo yahoo rave destroying the fabric of our society with me, their submission was/is pathetic. They feel the scam scheme has helped Nigerian youth to have ‘a life’. Waiting for you in any way agree with them, you are not fit to read this piece beyond this point because you are either too young, infected and corrupted. If an educational system brings in young boys that will later graduate as yahoo boys or with the belief of get rich quick mentality, then something is wrong somewhere. Impacting is lost.

The Devils Cycle

It is clear that to hold important posts in Nigeria, you have to be educated. Positions that people occupying are to make decisions millions of other people in the nation. It is then understandable that educated people (and by educated I mean people that graduated from university) run the country. That means they all have to be in the womb of the educational system before they get born to rule. But what has the mother prepared them to become? Have you seen the political scientists curriculum? The sociologists, communicators, and other social science subjects in the country? Are their curriculum designed to tackle (real) societal problems and enact positive changes that are peculiar to the black nation? Does our school recognizes the apparent nature of our politics and policy and groom the coming generation to fix them? And these people are to be future leaders, right? Carrying forward the irrelevances and/or cluelessness that the fathers let down to the children to put the madness on repeat.

NUC: Fathers will not be at the market square to see the head of a child loop-sided pass over

The NUC is the body that is meant to checkmate the universities so that they can perform their role of ‘education’. It will sound ridiculous asking if NUC understands what education is because they are (to be) educators and professors. Let me see your hands up if you also wonder the usefulness of professors in this black nation.

For you to be approved to run a programme in university, the NUC must accredit the programme. Ok, we all know this happens; that most universities at the point of accreditation know they have to meet up with the requirements. Due to either short of money (which is an ever standing problem), or just Blackman mentality of always trying to jump the line, the universities go around hiring make-believe equipment and loan senior staff from other universities to pass accreditation so that they can continue producing more internally-destroyed-graduates. The fun part is that the NUC knows that this is how things are done, they know that many universities can’t meet up with the outrageous and archaic requirements which are an extension of an apparently failed system. Yet they go ahead and accredit the programme if the make-believe is convincing enough. I should also mention that a lot of money and bribes go in and out of that exercise and the ridiculous requirements keep the university at the mercy of the NUC so that they can extort from them. So how can a body that does these be able to build a sustainable curriculum that will educate the nation; education expected to engage its goal of developing the nation?

The Paperwork

I have always tried to logically track the to the genesis of this problem, will you be interested in my theory?

The colonial masters brought in education as we cant do that ourselves; we were probably busy with building juju cults and undocumented wisdom. Their idea is understandable. Since this part of the world to them is the place where they mine slaves for exportation, exploitation and building their own world. They designed the educational system to build slave masters. Where the masters do the thinking, do paperwork (write papers, this might be the origin of the millions of useless theses we are so much concerned about to dictate hierarchical movement in our educational system), the slaves (black men who apparently owns the land) will execute the plan. And after they were gone, we adopt the system forgetting that we are no more slaves; that we need to plan from the paper (research works) to the field; that no one will execute the paperwork but us. Now, someone will blame the colonial masters. Wait, were they in league with our gods or God to colonize us? Were they not men like them? Did they have two heads and double organs? If we were not stupid like they felt, how come the history went that shameful and blames are still placed on them that ironically make them seem like superhuman that can put a jinx on others? Isn’t it time to learn and move on? Well, lets forgive the past because we were not there and did not know how things were. Maybe forefathers actually lived on trees and the Alaafin was not exposed enough to note that mirror and gun power do not worth an exchange of a man like himself… of his race to be given out as slaves. And all those brags about voodoo?(sigh). But this is the present. It’s almost half a century now and the curriculum is still trash while the world is moving in jet speed but our contents are from the notes from the colonial days, ehn, our Professors?

And let’s talk about those papers that the system have been busy writing. Promotion is determined in Nigeria Universities, not on the quality of students trained but by how many papers you’ve written is an academician. Now imagine how many academicians are present in Nigeria, then imagine how many papers have been written, now imagine where we are still at don’t cry yet.

The Wikipedia online encyclopedia defines the paper as an essay or article, particularly an academic one, read at a conference, or submitted for publication. That does not carry enough description so we go the way of Wikipedia which defines academic papers as a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to particular disciplines published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transparent forums for the presentation, scrutiny and discussion of research. They are usually peer-reviewed or refereed. Content typically takes the form of articles presenting original research, review articles, and book reviews. The purpose of an academic journal, according to the first editor of the world’s oldest academic journal Henry Oldenburg, is to give researchers a venue to “impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences.

The important part of the definition is the purpose of academic papers. After imagining how many papers that are written in Nigeria one will not be mistaken to believe that the growth in every sector in Nigeria will be astronomical. Is that the case? As a matter of fact, if producing paper in the literal sense of it is what is done, I mean making papers from wood, then you know by now we will be exporting papers as a major. Have we asked ourselves what these papers have done for us? Will it be hard to figure out that 90% of academic papers are wuruwuru (scams) work done for the selfish sake of promotion and dull intention of bringing intangible change? But how has the NUC fixed this after years of its failures? And don’t be thinking I am scratching the surface here, because that is not the point. If you scratch the surface in the United Kingdom (where our masters came from), your nails will gather impressive developments from a system that is constantly checked for sanity. The efficiency and effectiveness of the educational sector at the tertiary level gives direct development to the country growth because it provides sound manpower/ Human Resources. So why can’t the board of NUC take time from their business routines and fix us a working curriculum for the sake of the nation, our children and for intellectual pride sake? A world where every paper counts from the pen to the field? This is possible and I think it is simple considering how the value we put on professorship and the money paid to them.

Don’t get me wrong I believe in research, however, imagine a world where only research is the thing? The implication of the failure in the system of our universities is no doubt serious, it means we are on the circle on foolishness in running a country that is not planning to be slaves to others in the future. Ironically, robots powered by AI are what others think will be slaves in the future, so we wont sell even if we are in the market for slavery. If the leaders are a disgrace and their thinking faculty are always called into question then one will face the place of intellectuals: Universities. Failure of the school system is simply asking a question on how we reason as a whole.

As at the time of writing this piece, I was listening to a Nigerian ‘technopreneur talking about how he got to be successful, after listening to him, what is clear in his submission is that he let us know his story will not be complete without highlighting that his Nigerian education has nothing to do with his accomplishment. Must it always be like this? It always seems that to be truly successful in Nigeria, you have to shit on your degree. Can we look forward to a future where lecturers in universities shall be rewarded with the impact they have on the students? If not, in this case, it will be good if promotion and ranks are (also) given when academicians impact on the surrounding environment. If we think towards these then our curriculum shall be holistic. While many great lecturers focus on students development as common-sense suggests, ones that are there for money are busy writing more (useless) papers, resulting into good ones remaining stagnant and unrewarded and the bad-eggs having the glory while they run after someone daughter to relax after frustrating them. They spend their time on their personal development which has nothing to do with communal and student development and they suffer the student with a ridiculous, fruitless and irrational task to cover-up their uselessness. These silly efforts and hardship many confused, fooled, derailed and misled Nigerians went through in universities delude them into thinking they have done something in life and have paid their price enough to sit and await the fruit of their labour. These deliver to us unemployed, not-employable frustrated youths who do not have a proactive heart”. And we also have yahoo boys and their advocates for product. Let us remember none of our universities makes the first 2000 in the world.

As a young man, I never thought I would be concerned about my generation this much, about the past and the future generation, about the race. I thought some older wise people that run things shall be busy with these. I thought as a troublesome young man my job is to be riding fast cars and using computers but when I look around, I see a lot of potholes and darkness in the nation then I understand where the disappointment and anger come from. If the system that builds men is corrupt then the future remains doomed. We might just leave the output for now and focus on the machine because the machine is bad. This is how I feel, and it can only get worse if things don’t get better.

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