Nigerian Students, Certificates And Real Skills By Irebami Taiwo
These days, there is an alarming rate at which the young citizens of this country, Nigeria hustle for myriad kind certificates. This makes me very worried. They want to be a chartered this, qualified that, had-attended-this conference, had-been-to-that seminar, workshop or something. They have certificates to show for all these as it results to little or no output. All this generation claims to have is the theoretical knowledge and this alone is not what the twenty-first century needs. Attending seminars and workshops is good but putting that into your Curriculum Vitae (CV) can be quite disturbing. In a country where you will get a certificate for graduating from kindergarten to nursery class and another one while leaving the nursery to primary, and so on, the paper trail can be quite huge.
I wanted to attend a pre-NYSC training camp, I thought it would provide the perfect time to have a recess from all the stress and madness of the university. I didn’t make it to the camp, but it was shocking to hear later that those that made it to the camp got certificates for attendance. I was further shocked when I was told that I could get the certificate that the others got. However, I will be attending a breakfast meeting later this week, but when I got the invite, I was told that I had to submit the name I would like to appear on the certificate to be presented to me at the end of the meeting. I couldn’t help but exclaim, “For what! Coming to listen to a speaker with some packaged nice meal?” It was really alarming.
This is a new age, an age where most of those that control the world economy are drop-outs and here we are and still hustling for the paper. Our parents were born into a generation where those who had a Grade II certificate were regarded as well educated in the society, and those who had the coveted baccalaureate had the future ahead of them. It is not a happy story that what they get to teach us is that the game of today can be played with the knowledge of yesteryears. They thus, push us to all get those papers we all run after to obtain as the golden key to unlock a prosperous future, but I say NO, they are wrong.
It is evident in this new age that it is what you can prove to the world that you can do with your hands and brain that matters. When you leave the University, nobody would ask you to state some abstract theorems, then it will be what you can and have to offer at their daily table. Some years after leaving the ivory tower, it will be a question of what have you have to offer and what you have swallowed. One cannot know a good programmer by the number of certificates he claims to have in coding – Show us stuffs you have done. It was Fela Durotoye who said, “You can’t know a good gardener by the way he rolls and turns his scissors. The only way to know a good gardener is to get to his garden.”
This is the era of CHANGE and it must first start with our mentality. We must as youths get our heads and hands together, think outside the box that we were brought up in and change the face of what had been since yore, so that when the unwanted visitor comes we would silently tell that we have done our best and lived our part for our family, immediate community and country, Nigeria.
Irebami Taiwo writes from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta via email@example.com