Education And The Modern Illiterate By Abubakar Abdullahi
Adam is a 22year old lad who had studied as far as the common entrance exams before venturing into subsistent business. Noted to be a very smart and vibrant student, it was a big surprise when news came in that he had made up his mind not to further his education. Several years into starting his business, he has managed to grow from the young man around the block to a business mogul calling the big shots. When asked how he appreciates his current state and if he had any regrets, he would gladly breathe in the air of contentment and say: ‘Alhamdulillah (Meaning we thank God) but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing’.
Though he has made a notch for himself as a productive and industrious entrepreneur, they are many who still feel or see him as nothing but a mere big pocket with a little brain. These set of people are found roaming the university grounds trying to get a piece of paper that barcodes them as professionals. But Adam believes otherwise. In his defense he argues with a question fairly rhetorical in nature: why do we go to School? When eventually this question is answered to be because we want to learn, become educated and empirical thinkers so as to be a force promoting development in our great society, he would smile with innocence and argue that that is nothing but our naïve excuses. He would always conclude with certain confidence that the sole reason we burn those candles at night and wear out our eyes by day, keep going to class every day of our lives to learn more things, answer correctly our exam questions with hopes of passing, is simply to finish with good grades which is believed to put us among that class that are of the advantage or likelihood to enter the labour market of skilled professionals, thereby becoming adults liable to take care of responsibilities; nothing that suggests the will or drive of patriotism is connected to our hopes of securing good results. He would further add that why spend about 10years or more before he is considered to be professionally equip and identified as a well deserved and important part of the labour market when he can, in his so-called ignorance, create business such as the one he is in now and make more profit than the so appraised educated lot.
Adam here is a Modern illiterate and he lives inside us all, though certain people are lucky never to meet him. If perchance we find ourselves asking “What am I doing here?” then we should know that that is the Adam in us trying to convince us on the thesis of his ideology.
Just to bring more clarity, a modern illiterate is not the normal traditional ignorant fellow who would not go to school out of the misconception that it is unethical and only a mimic of the western way of life, he is that person who has tasted the sweet, flavoured milk from the motherly breasts of education only to lose faith in her because of the teeming intervening variables leaving that sweet milk soared and bitter to the tongue that has once savored its taste. He is one of those people who know and had been submissive to the importance of education in any given society but was lead to lose faith in her standards and competence to mould him into the man he had hoped to be. He is one who feels the time he is to spend to educate himself is far too valuable than the education he is to receive either because he already has, within his reach, the ends, or there is a favorable shortcut for him through the means.
Alas, the Adam in us is most times encouraged by those institutions that are supposed to heighten the points in our arguments against his philosophy. The fact that we need not go through serious brain storming, empirical analysis etc to count the flaws ravaging our educational sector shows just how bad we have it; by mere purported assumptions, it is easy for those of us who have been faithful to the institution to start having doubt and question our commitment to the tradition (Learning). The decaying state of infrastructure in our universities, especially the public ones which were traditionally built and put in place to simplify the stress of learning is increasingly disturbing, the ever inflating cost of education which is supposed to be subsidized so as to provide us with conducive, cheaper and more affordable, yet laudable education is gradually turning into a snatched dream fading into the horizon for the common man, the infesting number of unqualified teachers bombarding our primary and secondary schools which are supposed to be given more emphasis because they are the foundation from whence our educational journey starts is ever alarming. The growing strikephobia growing in the psych of our varsity students, not to mention those at the polytechnics/monotechnics who have been at home for the larger part of a year is very discouraging, the consistent recorded cases of sexual and financial harassment experienced by students from other oppressing students, hoodlums, or worse the lecturers who make it a prerequisite to passing their courses conjure tears in the eyes of those who take education to heart; yet the worst of it all is we the students, and other involved individuals are beginning to come to terms with the atrocities and incompetence of those at the helm of its affairs, which puts us on the path of accepting the modern illiterate, or if you may, Adam Philosophy.
Need we ask where the problems lies? In a disoriented class which has lost their reservations in front a teacher, you are bound to see the class rep take the initial blame even when he has put in reasonable effort to bring the class to order say less when he is a key part of the deviants. Our arguments will ever remain that government has failed its responsibilities to the educational sector, that it has spear headed the psych of discouraging the interest in learning by being the very institution not to care about it, that it has put personal sentiments before its will to see that it brings forth an educated nation. Someday, I hope all this will change and all this notions and distrust will be set straight, which shall usher us all into the era of proffering more solutions than identifying problems. Yes! You have tendered many solutions before to which the government had turned deaf ears to, but someone once said ‘Tell them a lie, make it big, eventually they will believe it”. Why then can’t we do the same and more for the truth? Let us tell government the truth, keep telling them until eventually they begin to do something about it.
The bottom line is, we should try as much as possible to prevent our great country from piling up with modern illiterates (What’s left of the learning populace), for not half of them will be as lucky as Adam. Whose responsibility is it then to ensure that this never happens? Are we to say it’s solely the responsibility of government or is it a national service which is everyone’s collective responsibility? Let me answer that by giving you an instance; say you embark on a journey boarding a commercial bus while trying to meet a deadline and half way you have a flat tire, the driver and conductor are taking too much time trying to decide whether to attempt changing the tire or seek the services of a mechanic who is miles away from your location and it so happens that you can change a tire or you can at least give directions to how a tire could be changed. Would you let them drown in their indecision simply because it’s their responsibility or would you offer to change the tire yourself or give directions so that someone else can? Say you give those directions and the one changing the tire keeps doing the wrong thing, will you damn your deadline and be quiet about it or would you keep telling it until finally he gets it right? The government without doubt is charged with the responsibility to better our educational standards by putting in place the necessary infrastructure and man power to set platforms for enhancing academic productivity for the posterity of our younger generations, but when they fail such duties, it is our responsibility to do what we can to help no matter how small it counts even if it’s just what am doing right now; writing about it.
It is therefore a principal collective responsibility to limit our streets from being infested by modern illiterates by giving them reasons to rekindle their lost passion for education against defying odds (Insurgencies). Let us put it at the back of our minds that not all drop outs will be like Adam, and even those who achieve as much as he has done, not all will resort to legal means such as starting up a legitimate business to justify the end.
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