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12 Jun 2016

An Open Letter To All Nigerian Students – The New Revolution


With all the graduates we have in this country, why has nothing changed? They say education is fundamental for societal and national development but then why has our educated fellows not brought this upon us. Well, there are some we can say have helped tweaked things a little but this is only a very tiny fraction of the lot.

Many graduates today roam around today unemployed and many are soon to join them, it is pathetic but it is the truth. When the average engineering student is interested in going to class and reading his engineering textbooks so he can get an A, graduate with a first class and get a job in a multinational oil company, then there is a problem. The first two pursuits are worth it but then the last rids the mind of the true purpose of education.

Get a good job, then what; reap the fruits of the labour of the years you spent in school, then what; make your parents proud, then what; work, raise a family, live and leave this life. Honestly, you are just like another Ford car that passed through the assembly line. You came, saw the process and did nothing about it. You saw the society decaying, poverty and starvation on the increase and people suffering but because you were among the ‘lucky’ few who got good-paying jobs, you claimed to be happy and say you lived a fulfilled life; that my friend is the height of egoism.

So we do not keep on recycling the same ‘waste’ for the society every year in the graduates we produce, we need a change of mindset, we the current crop of students,  the ones to influence the decisions of tomorrow; we need a total revamp of our minds. If we follow the same pattern as our predecessors, we would only be worse off. We need to consider our generations yet unborn and ask ourselves; do we want to leave the country for them as it was left for us?

Now, this is the message I preach; true education, a makeover of our mindset on the subject. We need to start asking ourselves the question; why are we in school? Is it to anxiously compete with each other to see who has a better short-term memory or who can memorize the most? Is it just so we can get good jobs and make a living? If this is where we still are, where those who had come before us had been; then we can only produce what they have produced. As Einstein has said,  the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. To change things, to transform the things as they are, we need to do something different; we need to start asking questions.

Plato had said ‘Knowledge acquired under compulsion holds no place in the mind’. One way I would propose in not making the mistake of our predecessors is reading because we are interested in the subject and not just because it is a course that we need to pass to graduate. Let’s take a hypothetical example, say I’m reading a textbook on wood; my intentions should be on making a chair or some other product that could be obtained from wood; or maybe on wood preservation and processing, making the by-products cheaper and more accessible for the populace, etc.

We know that the system does not encourage creative thinking of any sort but we would resolve not to subject ourselves to that principle. We also know that the government has not put some things in place to push our ideas forward but we need to realize that the government is influenced by our actions and if we do nothing they also do little or nothing. We are educated and are receiving education at one point or the other so I believe we can find a way to outsmart our obstacles.

I believe things could be a bit saltier; I believe the current crop of youths have it all within them to rewrite Nigeria’s story, to push the envelope of creativity to this part of the world, to build unicorns and companies that would employ hundreds of thousands around the world, to redeem the continent to glory, provide food for starving third world countries and make society better. I believe we have it in us; I believe we are the future and I strongly believe we would not make the mistake of our predecessors.

 

This is a Guest Post Submitted by Joseph Iwok, he has created a network for Nigerian students, the youths and all those who can help us in accomplishing our dreams at www.jacktank.me. A dedicated platform for Nigerian students to meet, help one another, share the best ideas and build connections.

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