In Nigeria, everyone is a victim. A victim of a system created by us, for the rest. Who are we?
We are not the necessarily the smartest, but we decide the experiences of the smartest within the system. We are the most powerful in the society. We get everything we want. Our lives are heavily subsidized by the same people who employed us to work for them. You see, some of us are into politics. Those of us in politics organize the greatest scam of all time every four years. Our most important tool is an uneducated mass. So, every four years, we get our act together and mobilize the people we have deliberated subjected to our system in various ways.
They say Nigeria will soon start benefiting from demographic dividend. We laugh. What’s that? You mean our most powerful tool will soon become our most dangerous threat? So, we rise to the occasion. By Googling, we understand that demographic dividend is a product of an educated mass. When this happens, it means we can no longer win elections by simply distributing naira notes and bags of rice. Our only option is to create a kind of system that ensures this doesn’t happen, by all means, at any cost.
Ultimately, our goal is to keep illiteracy high and ensure numeracy level low. Okay, it’s 2017 and that is becoming painfully difficult to achieve since our victims are becoming exposed. So, for those who escape this plot, we make sure we frustrate their efforts and create an environment that either demotivates them at every level or under reward them. We make sure we create economic conditions that make it difficult for their parents to afford the conveniences that keeps them above our system, such as private and foreign education. The ultimate goal, is to ensure that the best job and political positions are filled by our own children, friends or anyone lucky to be connected to us in some way. They are silent, thinking they have failed to get good jobs because they didn’t school abroad or are just under skilled, when really, it is a dividend of the system we created.
You might be wondering how we managed to create the world’s most organized system with no written code.
We understand this business very well, in fact better than some of those United Nations representatives. We understand the importance of childhood experiences in determining the outcome of an adult in any society. So with this understanding, we ensure our work starts from the grassroots.
First we under-fund primary education. Our first intention is to ensure some communities don’t even have any school. We admit that we fail at that in some communities due to pressure from UNESCO and other international organizations paying attention. So, where there are primary schools, we make sure the teachers are underpaid and negatively motivated. This way, they can get a side hustle which we know will reduce their performance in the classroom. Therefore, the children receive less attention from the teachers.
There is no way an underfunded school can erect classrooms that are conducive for learning. Therefore, classrooms without roofs, windows etc are not uncommon. We don’t even provide table and chairs for students in some of the schools. We simply ask them to pay for it themselves, not because we didn’t budget for it, but because it won’t work well for our system. All of these clouds the view of the average child. Through the system, we have made him think that is how education should be. He has never heard of anything better, so there is no basis of comparison. Instead he is deeply grateful for what he has.
The students progress to Secondary school thinking they have learnt enough, but we know that they have only learnt enough to be able to pass the secondary school entrance examination. The system is nothing different at the secondary level. We have mastered this art of making sure everything is below standard. So, the cycle of underpaid teachers continues. Labs and libraries get little to no attention. What practical? What experiment? Nonsense!
The Secondary level is very important to us. We know that it sets the pace for other stages in life. If students perform well here, and gain admission to a University, they automatically become a threat to our system. So, first, we must keep them out by all means. We start by hiring incompetent teachers and refuse to train them. We already know the students won’t be well taught. This works for us since we have already setup examination bodies that will help ensure they don’t progress to the next stage. Don’t forget, our children attend private schools where the best teachers are, so the exams have nothing on them. Our victims then sit for the exams and fail.
With parents employing private teachers to prepare their students specially for these exams, we really cannot guaranty the failure of most students. So, we step up our game. First we make sure there are no enough spaces in the Universities. This makes it very competitive. Then, we ensure only students with high grades can gain admission to the Universities we created in our system. Afterall, that’s what Ivy League schools abroad do too. So, when the masses cry out in pain, we will point them to Harvard as an example. This reduces the chances of the village boy to zero.
Finally, this is the stage where millions of Nigerian youth stop. With Universities with low capacities, failure to pass the entrance examinations, some move on to fill menial jobs. Some others continue to try every year hoping they will clear the exams someday.
As for the few who escape this stage, we still ensure we shape the experiences in the University to fit our system. So, we underpay their lecturers. In fact, some months we refuse to pay them. We know how they respond to this. They will go on a strike. We ignore them completely like nothing is wrong. So, in our system, it is not shocking to see a school closed down for 6 months. We have the keys, so we reopen the school at a time we want, deceiving their lecturers that all will be well rest assured that another strike is imminent in another two years or so. This keeps the students in school longer than normal. So, in some situations it is normal to spend 6 years studying a four year course in our system. Before then, our children should be back from “the abroad” and already filling job positions.
They ask us to fund R &D, but we don’t understand what that means, or maybe we just choose to pretend. They say a country’s development is directly proportional to the amount invested in education, research and development but that cannot be true for our system. There is nothing to research. Any new discovery or sustainable solution to any of the problems we created in our system will end up becoming a threat to us, thereby making us irrelevant. So, funding education is suicidal.
Because the system needs one more level, we decided to make it compulsory for all graduates pay us a tithe despite giving them nothing. They must give us a year of their life. Our intentions for this one is still a mystery to many, so let’s not talk about it. Know that it is also deliberate.
At the end, the system produces graduates that are disconnected from realities, less competitive (compared to global standards). We then turn around to blame them for the system we created. We abuse them when they can’t get a job. We pass negative comments on them in public when they simply cannot compete with the peers globally.
For the ones that discontinued at the secondary level, we ensure we continue to motivate them to achieve our objectives in the society. We have our own way of motivating them.
This is why student learning outcome isn’t so important to us. This is why we allocate more funds for bullet proof cars than research labs. This is why we create an environment that discourages foreign Universities from setting up branch campuses here. This is why we underfund our Universities. This is why we underpay our teachers. This is why we ignore you when you speak fancy grammar about all that is wrong with Education in Nigeria, because we understand that you’re only lamenting about a system created by us, for the rest of the society.