July 17, 2018

Who needs a Master’s degree? Not me – Jite Efemuaye

Who needs a Master’s degree? Not me – Jite Efemuaye

I hear it every day. The Bachelor’s degree has become redundant. It is now as common as the secondary school certificate, everybody has it.

To be anything in the Nigerian workforce you need a Master’s degree or two: one in Business or Project Management and another in your field of study. If you can do it abroad, better.

When I was younger, my parents wanted me to be a doctor. I didn’t want to be a doctor. So I promised myself that I would get a PhD just so I’ll have the Dr attached to my name and make my parents proud. If only life was so straightforward.

I find that as I approach my thirtieth birthday, I am the only one of my friends who doesn’t have, and is not interested in getting another degree. The reason is simple. I do not like school. Nursery, primary and secondary school were fine. We were actually being taught stuff (not all of it useful but a great foundation). Still, I am a product of our ‘cram and pass’ system; I made it through university mainly on short term memory. Added to the fact that I studied a course I had no business studying and was taught with a curriculum from fifty years ago, university was just ‘make e no be like say we no go’ at the end of the day. The lessons that guide me now I learnt in my extra (6th) year and it was not even from school.


So, why should I go back for a Master’s degree?

My boss was teasing me a while back that it is mouth I used to say I studied engineering, there’s no proof. True. I haven’t collected my certificate, more than six years on; I’ve never needed it. The jobs I’ve held have been tied to my skill set and not my book knowledge (not like I remember any of it). So why should I go back to school? What do I need to prove? What do I need another degree to say? That I know book?

If I believed that I would actually learn something from going back to school, I would. Most of the people I know that went on to do their Master’s cried almost all through, from one wahala to another: a programme that should take 18months will run for 3/4 years and you’re paying school fees all the while. Yet they stuck to it. I don’t have that kind of longsufferingness.

I’m the first to tell my younger friends in University who want to drop out of school not to. More and more of them are finding that what they’re being taught in school is not equipping them for anything. They’re using the internet to educate themselves and realising that most of their lecturers haven’t picked up a book published in the last 25 years. As bad as it is, I still believe the Bachelor’s degree is the basic currency. The experience and networks gotten in 4/5 years in school will come in handy later in life. After that you’re on your own.

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I have paid to attend trainings where I didn’t get any certificate. I am an information junkie. I love to learn. I’m a very DIY, hands-on person. I enjoy workshops. There are a few executive courses that I would enjoy taking but they’re ‘executive’. I haven’t gotten to the stage where I can shell out N2m for a 4 week course.

The Nigerian educational system sucks. And it’s progressively getting worse. I really hope this not-so-new-anymore government turns its lenses in that direction.

In the meantime though, let me keep doing osusu for executive programme.

Read Onyeka Nwelue’s related piece here

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  1. Lucky

    I feel you my sister. I’ve always felt that our educational system does not really equip one for an independent existence. No wonder people keep complaining of the absence of jobs in the job market instead of been job creators themselves. Just to reemphasise. If you are not going into academia, all you need is a first degree.

  2. Mute

    Splendid. I relate with this. I love learning but I dislike schooling. My highest qualification is HND but you will be making a big mistake to rate me based on that.

    This is one piece that all Nigerians should read. Not just because of the quality of education our schools offer. But also because people should be allowed to become who they want to be.

    Creative people, especially, dislike formal learning and we need to come to terms with that. Yes, the basic is necessary, HND or BSc. (BSc. preferably). But after that, people should choose their own path.

  3. Tiencepay

    I always tell people, school is not for everybody. And I do not say this out of the laidback illusion that “afterall, Bill Gates was a drop out” . Some things that are good for the Geese are not good for the Gander. But then, education is not the most ultimate. Some of our parent did not attempt secondary school, yet they came out wiser in certain aspects. I love academics, but this love does not go beyond the humanities. I wouldn’t mind 5 M.A degrees in Literature or in Performing Arts, because I love to and the day I feel the need to pursue it, I simply will. Some people pack all these titles and it is their destruction- because they spend a lot of time and thoughts living up to the standards of their titles. Truth is, I wish the stains of our lives could ever be as calculated as polka dots… but, you see: Nigeria is the country where, today you sit with Garuba prioritizing if buying roasted corn makes more sense than investing the 100 naira in Naira Bet – tomorrow, you receive news that “Garuba don hammer” Some people, with or without a university degree, nothing will ever transform in them. Having understood this, why do ye worry?
    Iya Calabar and Iya Deola sells foodstuff in grains and frozen food. Iya Calabar never went beyond primary school, meanwhile Iya Deola, was devoted to her daily contribution to be able to send Deola to school. Deola studied Business Administration, she served 6 years ago, but Iya Calabar still makes more money daily than Deola’s mother. Sadly, Deola has been the sales girl in her mums shop since she got back from NYSC. So… basically, knowledge and application in the right proportion is all the difference. Jite, so you studied engineering? hahahahaha

  4. pauloranky

    Comment…In fact;I must confess,u hit it real ryt..my day was totally grt cos i spent my tym on internet revealing,surfing and getting to knw some hiden treasures about education system in Nig:I most commend jite and my frnd Nonso for revealing some hiden codes abt education in nig,alots of conspiracy had bin cracked.kudos,guyz..Schooling-school iss nt a do or die bt we dnt need not to be blame as well becos there focus is gettin a job(if dere is any) afta spending yrs in d university and this cert is the first thing dey wud ask frm dem…in fact,we need a mental revive to skale tru the journey of the life.(..jos a short wrds frm me)


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