Have you ever heard of The Talk?
What are the actual obstacles that the ordinary current Nigerian student experiences that are so onerous that they become suicidal or, worse, act on their suicidal thoughts?
Do we truly comprehend what causes these problems?
Have we attempted to understand the situation from their point of view?
I could enumerate a slew of obstacles that the ordinary Nigerian student experiences in his or her pursuit of postsecondary education, but it would be redundant.
So I’m here to lead us all through various scenarios, or better yet, to create a clear image of the existing system’s numerous flaws and how it’s rigged against the typical student.
Is This the Right Way? Or a shift?
Meet Olatunji Davies, an Ondo State native who is now enrolled as a 200-level civil engineering student at the University of Ilorin.
What do any of these have to do with the difficulties that students confront while applying for admission? One may argue, “Well, we’d have to go back to the beginning,” and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a good flashback?
Davies graduated from secondary school with great aspirations of being admitted to his chosen institution (The Federal University of Technology Akure), or FUTA as it is more colloquially known.
Since his js2 class’s tragic visit to the engineering department of the institution, he’d always wished to study there as a civil engineering possibility.
The Civil Engineering department attracted his curiosity, and he became resolved to become a university engineering student after that.
When he graduated, he was certain that the recently completed WASSCE and SSCE, as well as his jamb score of 257 in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), had put him on the right track for a “stress-free entrance.”
He’d done his permutations and combinations and determined that the cutoff would not surpass 70%; all he needed to accomplish in the Post-UTME was a score between 75-80%.
And when the WASSCE results were out, he couldn’t have done any better. With an A1 in Mathematics and Technical Drawing and B2s in Chemistry and Physics, the only recognized flaw in his otherwise great performance was a C4 in English.
The POST-UTME came with a 70% score, an overall aggregate score of 67%, he thought he could pull it off because the cut-off mark for civil engineering at the University was set at 68%, he was just a mark off, but weeks after the exams and with other students getting admission, Davies and his parents were forced to resort to the next available method, you guessed it, the highly popular “Connection.”
After being recommended to Mr. Ajayi, a claimed admissions official at the institution who was being hailed as “the miracle worker,” he assisted every single student who had previously contacted him in getting into the university and pursuing their desired subject.
But after paying more than $250,000, our so-called “sure person” could only provide “Physics education” to our darling Davies, and then the excuses began, such as “you should have contacted me before you wrote the POST-UTME”, “The new VC didn’t gather any names”, and so on.
You may still study Physics at the 100 level before moving on to Civil Engineering at the 200 level.
That was a year ago, when Davies and his parents prepared for the next year’s UTME, yet it was the same narrative all over again.
He was exhausted and frustrated until he learned about the A-level programs (JUPEB & IJMB). After receiving a reference to a licensed study facility, he completed the course for a year and achieved 11 points on the assessments, which was more than enough to get his desired course at the University of Ilorin.
He didn’t get into the institution of his choice, but he’d matured enough to see that he was receiving a very uncommon bargain.
Being in it is a Nightmare
Babatunde Dimeji will be the subject of our second case study. A University of Illorin 300-level Computer Science student.
He is the son of a retired secondary teacher and trader, the first of four children, and all hopes are pinned on him to make the most of his life. With the rising cost of living and education in the Nigerian sphere, he has to do his bit to support both his education and living condition, and he tries in the way he knows well the “Internet space.”
Make no mistake, he is not involved in any type of criminality, but rather in legitimate web enterprises that demand computer abilities. Nonetheless, for someone juggling so much and so little time, the internet space can be a very demanding and brutal place.
Let us attempt to traverse the fundamental daily routine and discover why he is burdened by so much for someone his age.
Dimeji is awake and eager to start the day on Monday morning, with an 8 a.m. lecture to beat. Doing everything that needs to be done and leaving at 6:45 a.m., he’s still on track to beat it, or so he thinks, but an almost 30-minute wait for a bus to the school campus wasn’t in the plan for him, and as a result, he barely makes it in time for the lecture and has to make do with the cursed back area of the lecture hall where one would hardly hear any utterance from the lecturer, who spends nothing more than
He barely gets anything in class and has to rely on the lecturer’s materials that were sent to the group, making it a self-study, with little effort from the lecturer at the end, what was the point of all the preparations done over the weekend if he could have just stayed at home and gotten the same insight as an individual in the class?
If he had remained at home, he could have produced his cold pitch for his customers online and done some productive work with the time spent transporting and preparing for the ill-fated class, or if he had housing on campus, he would not have had to go through the stress of daily traveling.
Various difficulties confronted our beloved buddy.
It may not be worth it.
Our final case study is of Ademola Adeniyi, a 400-level history student who, to put it mildly, has given up on “School.” I don’t think I need to explain what he’s into because he prefers to stick with what has been working for him for the past 2-3 years. He understands that what he is studying is only to finish his tertiary degree and be referred to as a “graduate.”
It’s easy to criticize him for his objectives, yet the system gradually formed him into the person he was now.
Let’s go back 10 years. Damola is a js1 student at his private secondary school, and he is struggling with his academics. He is mocked by both professors and peers.
The customary refrain of a boring youngster who can’t keep up with his friends will ultimately become a nuisance is a hymn he grows used to. So he decides that that sector of life (Formal Education) isn’t his way, and when he meets other individuals who are more accepting of him, he is brainwashed into a new notion that “anyway is a way” as long as you can rig the system to favor you.
And so he continues with the steps and ways set by the new clique he looks up to, cheating his way through the educational system that is more concerned with results than anything else, and so he continues on this path until he gets to university, where he is more interested in making money than learning.
He is fine with just being able to go the next step into the next level with little regard for grades; after all, he is unfamiliar with the rigors of studying and making the effort to study, and therefore while his way through school to just obtain a degree and be done with it.
At the end of the day, he believes he is doing better than his friends since he is living bigger than them while they are subjected to unpleasant school activities.
He might have been better if he had a solid foundation and if the system wasn’t designed to appeal to a certain group of individuals. Only those who could keep up with the system would progress.
What’s the big deal about?
We’ve looked at three distinct scenarios of students at various phases of the tertiary system, how various variables lead them to their current positions, and what we may deduce from each of them. Be my guest as we negotiate the many scenarios that have brought them to this point.
Davies took the ostensibly noble road and had to work hard to acquire what he desired; why was it so difficult to get what he wanted?
Some of the criteria are as follows:
Lack of Standard Institutions; This is common knowledge to anyone familiar with education in Nigeria, which is why, despite boasting of being the “Giant of Africa,” Nigeria is nowhere close in the aspect of education, as Nigeria has the highest outflow of students moving out of the country in search of better tertiary institutions abroad as opposed to attracting foreign students, as countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and others, to name a few, do.
All of this is because our higher institutions are nowhere near where they should be. Instead of establishing more subpar institutions, the Nigerian government should focus on improving the ones that currently exist. Students like Davies would have more options to achieve what they desired if there were more standard schools.
Corruption; this phrase and Nigeria seem to be virtually synonyms since corruption exists in every sector of life in various ways.
Education is no exception since it is no longer news that merit is nearly a laughingstock in our beloved nation these days. Beginning in primary school, students are taught to believe in “helping” one another.
In a system that prioritizes outcomes above efforts. When money and power can cross boundaries, everything is conceivable, and those on merit lose out to those with “connections.” Unfortunately, it has become such a natural part of our system that it is now accepted as the usual course of events. Moving on to Dimeji, his issues arise from the system’s lack of concern for its citizens. It is connected with the following factors:
Complicated study pack; This is an issue that has been since our primary school days when pupils were pushed to learn numerous subjects that they would soon forget. Students at the institution may take up to 9-10 courses, of which only 7 are required for their degree.
Why do we have to continue studying certain topics/courses that we have already covered? One could inquire. These are needless responsibilities placed on students, making their job far more difficult than it has to be.
After the journey, there is a needless “brain drain” that drives students to hurriedly cram all they can in a short period for tests, and then everything returns to normal settings.
As a result, significant time is wasted, and learning does not place; rather, students cram to pass tests.
Non-Existent Government Support; It is common that the Nigerian government does not regard education to be a crucial aspect of its development, since education consistently receives a very low budget despite its relevance to the nation’s progress. Federal and state-owned institutions are left to fend for themselves in terms of infrastructure and facilities, which are either subpar or unmaintained. Hostels and lecture halls at tertiary institutions aren’t enough to accommodate students, so they must rely on off-campus housing, which isn’t always inexpensive, and this adds to the high cost of living for a student. What is the recurring topic of ASUU strikes each year? The government also fails to cater to its instructors, which reflects in their lack of passion for teaching, and kids are now trapped in the same predicament as our darling Dimeji.
When you examine carefully Damola’s tale, you will see that it matches the stories of many individuals around us. We may have seen it differently, but from what we can tell, the system was not kind to them, driving them to the other side.
What are some of the possible explanations? So, let’s see what happens, shall we?
Poor Educational Foundations and Backgrounds; This is a very tragic truth of Nigeria’s educational system.
It starts with the poor elementary foundation, as an elementary school can be found on almost every corner of a typical Nigerian street; which is supposedly the most important phase of learning and development, but in our part of the World, we leave this important aspect of the Nigerian child’s life to inexperienced and unqualified individuals, no wonder most children do not come out as sound as their more affluent counterparts who have been exposed to a better system, and in turn if
This is one of the primary reasons for the prevalence of malpractice in the Nigerian educational system.
Weak Educational System; It is intriguing and mystifying, if not tragic, that a nation with a wealth of potential, such as Nigeria, does not have the necessary tools and systems in place to bring out the best in its skills.
Some may argue that our system has altered because of a lack of creative thinking at the top or a reluctance to challenge the status quo.
The system was created by the British to fulfill the needs of the early nineteenth century, but we’re in the twenty-first century, and even though the British have adjusted their procedures, the system is still what governs us two centuries later.
There’s a very solid reason why more wealthy schools follow foreign systems like that of the British and Americans rather than ours; the blueprint is simply out of touch with the times, causing kids to study irrelevant subjects that are no longer useful in the outside world.
The educational system is no exception to this rule.
To realize our maximum potential, the system must be adjusted to adequately prepare Nigerian students for the outside world.
Negligence/absence of The burden of duty must be shared by all parties, including the government, the school, and the student.
Because everyone has decided to blame one other, the system has become “a heavy concern.” The kids think that the school hasn’t done enough to prepare them for what’s to come, as well as the difficult lifestyles they lead.
In response, the schools have criticized the government for delegating all catering tasks to them in a bizarre game of “rock, paper, scissors.” The authorities have also placed responsibility on the pupils, labeling them as unserious and not working hard enough.
All of the blaming has left everyone insulated from accountability, and as a result, the true issue has not been addressed. To address the situation, all parties concerned must reach an agreement for the greater benefit.
Thank you so much, Emmanuel Adinoyi Omiya.