- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Whither Nigerian education?
I am stunned at the type of persons that our universities help to advance as graduates in Nigeria. The other day, I was looking at the degree certificate of my friend who graduated from one of the private universities in Nigeria. He studied Political Science, and graduated, to quote the certificate, in “2009 AD.” I was a little bit uncomfortable with the “AD” in the certificate because I couldn’t see the reason why it had to be added. But my discomfort came to a cessation when my friend told me not to worry that the “AD” on his certificate meant no harm, that it denoted “Adamawa” because he hailed from Adamawa State. The 2009 AD, is therefore, equal to 2009 ADAMAWA. Is it possible for one to study Political Science for four years in the university without coming across “AD” and/or its meaning? If a person cannot stand up for the printed content of his certificate, does he deserve the degree he claims to possess?
Again, just so lately, a person that I know who graduated from one of Nigeria’s federal universities with a lower second class honors degree in Economics, was promised a job in one of the newly established state universities, but could not make the most out of an opportunity he was granted for a reason: he couldn’t write an application letter for the job, and couldn’t have given anyone to write for him because he was asked to write the letter before the watchful eyes of the registrar of the university that attempted to employ him. The précis of the story: he missed a give-away job since he couldn’t make-happen his side of the bargain: an application letter! The university registrar in question did not find him proper for employment in the university.
Yet again, I recently received the curriculum vitae of a friend who studied Botany from a Nigerian university. The content of the curriculum vitae written by my friend got me numb. For a university graduate in the 21st Century, his conception of “educational qualifications” was not only mortifying, it was horrendous. Among the items that qualified as “educational qualifications” were: “National Examinations Council”, “West African Examination Council”, “National Youth Service Corps”, and “Nigerian Institute of Management.” If not for the fact that employers in Nigeria can be receptive to stoppable lapses and inaccuracies, my friend ought not to be in the running for any job interview in Nigeria. His ignominious demonstration of “institutions” to depict “educational qualifications” is enough a pretext to forbid him from attracting consideration from the most insouciant of employers. But since Nigeria is a country where jobs are tendered to the terribly incompetent persons through a most surreptitious employment procedure; alas, my friend found himself a relatively decent job!
What about the frequently foul, often deplorable performance of many Nigerian universities graduates in entry-level job interviews? It is very common for managers to think no more of Nigerian university graduates on the basis that a sundry of them habitually come across as barely-educated. Employees of preliminary level jobs more often than not attest to the verity that university graduates in Nigeria find it grueling to make simple, unadorned sentences in English language. It is utterly unbelievable that graduates couldn’t make proficient but simple sentences in their only language of instruction in school.
A lawyer recently related to me how a newly-graduated lawyer under his tutelage was able to write a formal letter to the office of the assistant commissioner thus: “To the assistance commissioner.” How about the young school teacher in Yola who holds the Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) but who could not make sense of “passport number” on his assumption-of-duty form on his first day at work? Little wonder why to the young teacher, “passport number” connotes nothing but the muffled reference number inscribed (by his photographer) in ink at the other side of his passport photograph?
Still not enough, my friend who has got an infrequent fervor for English language, and who teaches Veterinary Medicine in a university in Nigeria continually reminded me that he never fails to get so worked up for the reason that his lecturer colleagues, graduates of Veterinary Medicine alike, couldn’t stop troubling him through a much accustomed incessant requests: they need him to help them write formal letters, as it is pretty staggering a task if they were to do it themselves, thanks to their self-admitted surrender.
Who then is to blame? If university lecturers in Nigeria come across as stylistically challenged, how good or bad could one expect their students to come about? The scholarly dearth in our educational system is routinely uncovered when several university graduates from Nigeria go abroad especially to Europe to seek higher degrees. Because what is sometimes celebrated as brilliance in Nigerian university circles hardly outdo the ability of a student to memorise lecture notes or handouts and his/her ensuing ability to reproduce his cramming in examinations, several Nigerian university graduates find it difficult to muddle through that educational system that obviously is contrarily obstinate to what is customary back home in Nigeria.
Because of this conflicting systemic disparity in educational orderliness, the concluding postgraduate degree grades of many Nigerian students abroad hardly mirror the grade of their Nigerian-obtained undergraduate degrees. It is not improbable to come across an upper second class honours graduate from a Nigerian university who holds a European master’s degree obtained in the “Pass” grade. What Nigerian universities sometimes make merry as didactic finesse are what European universities allude to as intellectual mediocrity. The fact is that the capacity to cram lecture notes or handouts only and to subsequently graduate with good degree grades doesn’t, in European sense depict brilliance; it illustrates a certain kind of literary illegality which is cautiously termed plagiarism!
While modern European and American universities seek not only to impart age-old wisdom, but to equally elicit new knowledge by provoking and bringing out the ingenuity in the students under their instruction, Nigerian universities hardly transcend the teaching of old norms; they particularly balk at a student’s originality (if inventiveness), thus, they champion a fascination with the familiar spectacle of garbage-in-garbage-out scenario.
This epitomises the heartrending, defeatist reality of the Nigerian university and/or its teachings; the aimless notion that provides that when a learner is not a student of English Language, he is not under compulsion to write the language effectively.
On the other hand, in Europe and America, and in other modern societies, a student of say, Geology stands to score good grades if he understands little of the concept of say, plate tectonics and diagenesis provided that such a student can note down in good English the otherwise insufficient understanding of these concepts.
Unfortunately even academic papers in research journals in Nigeria are full of parsing errors. Journal editors in Nigeria hardly heed to stoppable grammatical inaccuracies. Yet, no one raises a query as to why this is so. If for nothing, we should accept that excellent grammar in academic sphere is not only a stroke of genius, it is a reflection of academic self-assurance, and no doubt, self-assurance is a much coveted virtue in contemporary academic style. Linguistic inarticulacy makes academic work rather stuttering. The aim of modern day scholarship as we see in Europe and America is to seek both literary excellence and scholastic poise. We must revamp our educational style by encouraging and being receptive to the basic principles of grammar.