Between unemployment and summer lessons
Growing up as a child was really hectic in terms of schooling and holiday. My school closed by 2pm; but my parent organised an after-school lesson, which started by 3pm and ended by 6pm. As if that was not enough, I would be made to read my books from 8pm to 9pm after which I was allowed to sleep by 10pm.
I was always anticipating the long vacation popularly known as “summer holiday” so I could have a break from my book to rest and play as much as I can, but this joy was cut short as I was faced with another round of compulsory classes called summer coaching or lessons. The Western education curriculum is designed in such a way that the children could have a break to themselves but our parents tend to take it to extra height without due considerations for other aspect of the child’s life.
It is my view that none of the children faced with “no break education” have become geniuses through the process. There are several cases where these same parents still paid for special centres during professional examinations like WAEC or NECO to enable their wards attain good grades. What then is the main essence of this trauma forced on children?
Children deserve some break to enable them refresh from classroom lessons, an opportunity provided for by the summer holidays. With rising cases of unemployment in the country, it would have been better to put the summer holidays into better use by equipping children with the needed skills to be self-sustainable in future, rather than forcing down more academic work on them. Basic skills such as digital technology, tailoring, baking, arts and craft, computing and programming skills can go a long way in bridging the gap between unemployment and more academic work.
The total absence of white collar job has made it difficult for our graduates to adapt to the realities of the labour market after passing out from the compulsory one year service to fatherland. This is because during their formation days, they have been deprived of the basic orientation that will prepare them for the ever-changing realities of the real world, and the skills needed to adapt to this reality. They have always been made to believe that western education could pave way for them in future but in most cases, the essence of all those hectic academic workload is defeated as soon as they become graduates.
Here, parents have failed to understand that there is a place for critical thinking; the ability of an individual to be able to critically weigh the choices before him for an informed decision-making process; but most children are denied the chance to develop even this basic skill from childhood. They are not given breathing space due to constant heaps of academic workload.
Nigeria has the highest number of unemployed youth in Africa today and this can be attributed to total dependency on certificate for white collar job. Probably over 70 percent of our youths do not have a life outside the Western Education they had as a result of the orientation they got from the society while growing up.
Parents approach to Western education and securing a child’s future needs an urgent and critical review. Children could do better if they are allowed some break. They could take a skill out of the many skillset that abounds. No child deserves to be forced through a process; for example, those children who aren’t doing well academically are likely not to have passion for education, they could be taken to Technical school, where they could learn things they have passion for like fashion, dancing, singing to mention a few. Children could make a better life out of these, which could pave way for them in future. Western schooling is good but it doesn’t guarantee a bright future.
Anthonia, an Intern at PRNigeria Center, writes from Kano.