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School or education?




Sir: No venture is as time wasting as going to school, especially in Nigeria where the essence of school is not made clear. A school is a place people go to get educated. Education is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values which make one a useful member of the society. And so will you say schools in Nigeria still educate with graduates of computer science who cannot put on a laptop, and graduates of English who can’t define preposition? It is not so much the students’ fault anyway; it is the system that is faulty.

Have you wondered why the educational system in Nigeria was called 6-3-3-4 and not 6-6-4? It is because students should be tested after junior secondary school for their academic or vocational strength. Those who are academically inclined should proceed to senior schools and those who are good at vocational/technical acts should proceed to one of the six vocational schools that were made available in all states. There the problem begins. They are all pushed to SS1. I even imagine sometimes if any Nigerian mother will accept being told that his or her ward will be better in a technical school? You sure want trouble. But truthfully not all children are mentally designed for academic career; many will be fulfilled in vocational schools.

We were/are all moved to senior schools and from there all to the university and then we leave the polytechnics for those who cannot make it to the university. Where has it led us? What can the graduates do? How useful are they? Education is not another word for formal education (schooling). Skill acquisition is another relevant type of education called semi-formal education and it is not for the less-human or unprivileged. Informal education which takes care of attitudes and values and which should be taught at home and in schools is also essential for any human being who will be tagged educated. This informal education is called ‘eko omoluabi’ (the knowledge of the well-trained child).

Essential to the development of any country is education and educated people, not schools and schooled people. We need to pay attention to the aptitude of wards and determine if they are academically or vocationally inclined. Both kinds of wards are conditions for a great nation. The over-schooling and little regard for vocation is the factor responsible for the fall in educational standard.

Educate your children and this may demand more than formal schooling.

Bamgbose Ganiu, Lagos.

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