June 18, 2018

The Tragedy of Nigerian Education by Joy Isi Bewaji

The Tragedy of Nigerian Education by Joy Isi Bewaji

Election 3

What first appears to be the teaching and edification of the Nigerian in the four-walls of our educational system, turns out to be a cerebral and logical tragedy.

In 2015, our children are still being taught- from schools dressed like new generation banks to those fortified by state corruption- that the primary role of the woman is to stay at home and take care of domestic needs: sweep, clean, pamper, cook, wash and wipe.

In 2015!

It is in your child’s social studies textbook, go and read it.


But that is not the only problem. A lot of the calamity is traceable to neglect- the Nigerian syllabi have not been revised in decades. Even though we do not live in huts or have leaves around our waists, or sustained by subsistent farming and encouraged to have big families that we cannot afford to take care of anymore, we are still taught in the ways of Neanderthals- in the one institution that should allow for mind and character advancement.

As much as we delight in the idea of an education and a piece of paper to justify years of tuition, I am not sure we are getting any kind of education that is useful to the world we live in.

Our higher educational institutions are dingy halls with rusty ideas recycled every term for every new class in the last 100 years. It’s worse than having a toy repeat the same sentence every day until the batteries die, or you run mad- whichever comes first.

How much of academic outdated prognosis have you applied to your life lately? Do you wake up thinking about how Logarithms is going to see you through another day at the office? What about Algebra, has it solved the tart relationship you have with your finances? Calculus maybe, is that were the solution to life’s problems reside?

I know these mathematical studies have their importance, but does it answer 90% of the questions and troubles of real life? If you spend half of your life cramming and grinding on something that will not affect 90% of your life, then that is the definition of misery.

Nigerian education sets you up for failure. It is impractical, archaic and downright annoying. It needs urgent attention from the people in power; if only they can stop sniffing petrol for just one minute to observe the rot we are churning out every day from these institutions.

In certain developed societies, they take a moment away from figures and statistics to teach on true-to-life experiences… on the analysis of Cristian Ronaldo’s career success for instance, to Beyonce’s hustle, Rihanna’s growth, to Steve Jobs philosophies and Zuckerberg’s enterprise. These are courses in prestigious insititutions. They even have a Tupac 101.

Call them ridiculous, but their societies produce technology and everything you brag about on Instagram. Your education leaves you a humble consumer; well…maybe not too humble- but a consumer nonetheless- braggadocious and empty.

With the realities of today’s world, I’d rather have my children studying subjects on – The Success secrets of AY’s “30 Days in Atlanta”. It was declared the “Highest Grossing Movie in Nigerian Cinema”, right?

I think it is a crappy movie, but my opinions mean nothing compared to the staggering figures on display. There are definitely principles we can scoop from there.

Let’s teach our children about Mo Abudu’s success, Dangote’s enterprise, Otedola’s drive. What about Genevieve Nnaji’s mega career, Banky W’s consistent pull at endorsements- the principles of success that we can apply to any sector of life.

Let’s talk about Queen Amina- she wasn’t sitting at home scrubbing floors- which used to be under History, but some smart fellas in government thought it necessary to scrap that subject out of an already deprived curricula.

So what do we have left? Figures and subjects that taste like chaff; narratives that have no place in our daily lives. Nobody got on well with life because they were taught Quantitative Reasoning. Those ‘Find X’ solutions are cool academic issues, but unfortunately life would demand more than an ‘X’ to be found.


Find purpose. Find drive. Find passion. Find success. Find consistency. Find fulfilment. Find your own voice.

So yes, I’d rather our children be told the story of Abacha- lessons that can be learned from desperate leadership. What about young individuals like Chude Jideonwo, Jason Njoku and Toyosi Akerele? The story of Keke and D1 at the beginning of Nigeria’s entertainment evolution; and the remarkable Dora Akunyuli… priceless instructions waiting to be harvested.

I am sure in whatever sector you are in, there’s a story and an individual who has lived that life- made the mistakes, conquered the demons and embraced victory. These stories are a large part of education missing in our lives.

In the wake of a new era, we cannot continue to allow education try to turn a fish into a bird.

There are too many people with certificates with no idea what to do with life and the situations they are entangled in.

Everyone, and their “bae”, is blowing grammar on different issues; how many people have been taught how to translate all that talk to resolutions and results? There might be very little hope for this social media generation, but the next generation can get it right.

It starts by first reviewing a syllabus that tells you a big fat lie about women sitting at home waiting to be spoon-fed.

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  1. Adams Bakura

    This piece is one of the most brilliant nonsense I have read since the inception of Sabinews in May, 2014. It is a most disingenious contribution to the anti-intellectual atmosphere of our clime. If Joy really understands the functions and goals of education she wouldn’t pen such a dishonest statement as ”Do you wake up thinking about how Logarithms is going to see you through another day at the office? What about Algebra, has it solved the tart relationship you have with your finances? Calculus maybe, is that were the solution to life’s problems reside?” It is clear she had a bad time with Mathematics in school and she is trying to disparage the subject based on her personal failures at it.
    The role of education is for the child to discover himself and this discovery cannot be limited to the utilitarian values of eduction. The child discovers himself by developing a number of intellectual skills including abstract thinking and analytical skills. These important skills are developed through subjects like Physics, Further Maths and Algebra, which Joy Isi Bewaji detests. The other important intellectual skills are verbal and information gathering skills, which subjects like Literature, Language and History impart on the student. Now all these skills are necessary for anyone who calls himself educated. This is why the Nigerian education syllabus is not as antiquated as Joy would like it to look.
    Now concerning success, I ask, ‘Does Joy consider herself a successful person?’ For crying out loud, I consider her a successful writer because she has a large readership. But following the characters whose lives she has mentioned as worth studying, you may be tempted to think that Joy is a failure because her bank account may not be as fat as, say, AY’s. What I am trying to say is that success is distributary. Joy may have developed her verbal skills to the neglect of other intellectual skills and since writing doesn’t pay much… On the other hand, AY has harnessed all his intellectual skills, which include knowing that he is not good in Algebra and spatial reasoning but at the same time knowing how to get someone who has the skills to do the job (information gathering skills).
    It takes a really educated man, who has developed all his intellectual skills, to develop a syllabus to ”teach our children about Mo Abudu’s success, Dangote’s enterprise, Otedola’s drive.”
    Finally, I would like Joy to know that the syllabus has been undergoing constant revision over the past two decades. Joy may not be aware of this because she is stuck in the past of her woes with Algebra.

    Nigeria’s problem is not the education curricula. It is our world view. A world view of everyone for himself and God for all. This lack of virtues can only be taught in families and not in the school. So Joy would do well to spread the message that we can only develop when we imbibe the world view that we should subject our personal interest to the common good.

  2. Joy

    Chai! You are pained. LOL!
    Ok…let me see. I am not sure there’s anywhere I stated Logarithms should be scrapped to make way for Atilogwu lessons.
    But discernment happens to all in varied portions.
    Thanks for the comment though. Love the passion!

  3. Ifeoma

    @Adams Bakura….you just said my mind and I could not have said it better! Joy seems to be stuck on pop culture with no understanding of the analytical sciences. Take Mathematics for example, the understanding of spatial relationships, which she tried to bash by illustrating the pythagorean theorem in the above graphic, has application in different fields including Engineering and Architecture. How in the world do you think that your house, the third mainland bridge was constructed? Does it not solve some problems in your life or would you rather watch AY’s 30 days in Atlanta in a hole in the ground? I do agree though that more needs to be done to elevate complex analytical from the classroom or bench to the field so that its practical aspects can be better appreciated. However, everything is not about endorsements or millions in a bank account. Success is relative and it is unfortunate that you have bought into the current culture that elevates money above everything else.

  4. Evans Ufeli

    I think Joy acknowledged the importance of mathematics and the likes of it in this article.What she is simply saying is that our educational curriculum should address relevant issues of life.The Nigerian child should not be taught that women are only meant for domestic activities like cleaning and washing in the 21st century when we know that time and trend have changed.We should develop the strategies for charismatic embellishment and get eviscerated from the banalities of antiquities. The Dangotes and Otedolas mentioned in her review were examples to drive her points home. A deep read of the article leaves you with awe as regards her grasp of the educational downturn in Nigeria.We must get to the cryptic nounces of her message.Nigerians have become nusiance all over the globe for the common reason that our foundation is weak. Even our sex life is repugnant, It is usually same half-mark erection thrusting helplessly on a lifeless Nubia. Joy,thinks we should upgrade our status.This cerebral masturbation will lead us no where. In my view,this tranchent articulatory rendition of Joy’s is the true ficet where the conversation for change begins.Joy’s capacity for intellectualism is unassailable and her logic on the above issue is unmistakable.

  5. Nubian


    Somehow, I ever so often find my thoughts being expressed in your words! I love this article.
    Meanwhile, I love your response to the comment above. I think this pained comment-er must be a shunned toaster or a ball-less secret admirer from back in the days! Well, needless to say, the first two sentences of his last paragraph highlights his myopia! SMH!!!


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