By Goke Ilesanmi
There is a popular maxim that if you want to plan for a year, you plant a seed; if it is for ten years, you plant a tree; but if it is for a hundred years, you teach people. This saying stresses the importance of learning, knowledge and, by extension, education. Any country or society that is thirsty for enviable development needs to take its formal education seriously.
It has been affirmed that education is the greatest legacy that can be given a child. In short, education is so much valued that people tend to tell those who think education is expensive to try ignorance. Education is about learning and development of intellect or the mind. In other words, it is about knowledge acquisition. A society that lacks the required knowledge will definitely lag behind in area of growth and development.
According to Jim Davidson, author of the masterpiece “How to Plan Your Life”, education is one of the best ways to see beyond present problems to future opportunities. Davidson adds that you have to be willing to work at education and reading, despite the temptations to waste time that always surround us, for instance, television. He expatiates that the only requirements for getting good education are the ability, the desire and the willingness to read.
This is true. Reading is the key that will unlock the doors to all kinds of new opportunities. Failure to have the desire to read and failure to learn to read properly are the major causes of school dropouts. Many people do not know that this trend carries over into adulthood as well. Adults drop out of society just as students drop out of school.
Belief and reading
To achieve personal excellence and national development, we need to have strong belief and thirst for continuous knowledge. Belief is an attitude, the way we think about something. You form attitudes through knowledge and experiences. You can change your attitude if you motivate yourself to do so. To continuously acquire knowledge, you must embrace continuous reading.
In the words of Peter Drucker, a business management expert, “More and more knowledge people work in business. Indeed, modern business is the biggest source of jobs that allow men to put knowledge to productive use. The knowledge worker in whom so much expensive education has been invested should be held to high demands for effort and performance. But he also should make high demands on the job for satisfaction and stimulation.”
However, it is a pity that in Nigeria, we want appreciable development and growth through quality human capital without putting in place quality education and desire to acquire required knowledge. The standard of our education is daily falling, so much that it now becomes visible outside the shores of this country. The fact that the standard of our education has totally collapsed finds practical confirmation in the exclusion of Nigerian universities from the list of best universities in the world.
A look at the Nigerian job market reveals that there are a lot of workers and job-seekers with enviable paper qualifications without correlative academic knowledge. We now have a lot of people with more than a master’s degree but with academic knowledge of a Senior Secondary School 3 student. Why is this so, one may begin to wonder? One of the major reasons for this is our falling standard of education, occasioned by rapid rate of examination malpractice perpetrated with different types of sophistication.
Lack of enforcement of the Examination Malpractice Act No.33 of 1999 is one major reason why examination cheats still operate without fear. Every year, major public examination bodies cancel hundreds of thousands of results and report thousands of errant invigilators, teachers, etc. Yet nothing happens. It is an open secret that many study centres and private schools are agents of examination fraud operated by members of organised by syndicates.
When the products of examination malpractice at the school-certificate level finally gain admission into tertiary institutions, they continue with the tradition of examination fraud by cheating in examinations and buying some lecturers over. Most of them even join cult groups to intimidate “un-cooperative” lecturers in a desperate bid to graduate by all means. The result is that we end up producing graduates without corresponding academic knowledge, while national development continues to suffer because they (the graduates) have nothing to offer.
There is direct relationship between examination malpractice and the high level of corruption and financial and economic crimes in the Nigerian society today. Examination malpractice plants the seeds of fraud that later germinate and bear many fruits in the minds of students, which they carry on to adulthood. The harvest is the current realities of pervasive fraud and corruption in all sectors of our economy.
Though colonialism has always been perceived as an unnecessary punitive experience in Nigeria, one of its positive legacies is formal education. To underscore the desire of the colonialists to make people literate, during the missionary and colonial periods, primary, post-primary and tertiary schools were established in various parts of the country.
In the oil boom period, very ambitious expansion programmes were embarked upon by various tiers of government with the objective of increasing access to all levels of education. With the end of the oil boom in the 1970s, government’s income nosedived and poverty at the family level increased. This consequently negatively affected access to basic service, especially education.
To achieve rapid national development and success in Nigeria, we need to enhance our overall knowledge. Acquisition of knowledge is possible through reading and quality education. We need to exploit the internet positively by using it for research instead of turning it into an avenue of perpetrating all sorts of crimes. Government should take concrete steps towards restoring and improving the standards of our education.
GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of https://www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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