By Dr. Karo Ogbinaka
A common saying among most young people in Nigeria today is“school na scam!” If you care to demand the logic that supports this claim, they will be quick to roll out a few for you.
These range from the fact that the most respected persons in our society are not those with high level of education.
The respected are the financially wealthy people.
The youth have on their catalogue wealthy and successful sportspersons, politicians and their collaborators with questionable wealth in the public service sector.
They believe that even our religious organisations do not accord respect to anyone based on the number of university degrees they have acquired. Not even your family does.
Consequently, “school na scam!” Nobody would go into any argument with one who strongly believes that education is worthless. In today’s Nigeria, this is a hard sell thing to do.
This is OPINION May 9-10, 2022 www.thetrumpet.ng 13 also compounded by the fact that educational institutions and parents collude with candidates to cheat the system, and often find success into making‘good certificate grades’ at all levels of our learning system.
The disdain melted on the university system by government in Nigeria, and the fact that politicians could establish new universities and other tertiary institutions much easier than even political parties give credence to how education is disdained by our people.In spite of this attitude, education will in no way be the ultimate victim or loser. We shall all pay dearly since our development and progress as a people is a function of our education.
It is becoming obvious each passing day that those at the helms of affairs of our nation are merely lipstick patriots whose sole desire is to plunder and bring the Nigerian state to her knees.
There are many who believe, as Chinua Achebe cunningly put it, ‘there was a country.’ The fact that many well-placed Nigerians send their wards to good universities abroad indicates that education is useful for this class of people. This ruling class see Nigeria and every institution of the state as a source for their personal income.
There is a little and big Abacha in those who rule us. They have their souls outside the shores of Nigeria. They leave their bodies here to steal this country dry for the sustenance of their souls in Europe and the USA.
They have to use foreign hospitals and health facilities if they must not die earlier than their time. They have three homes. The first one is outside Africa where they have the core members of their family.
The second one is in their villages. This is the bastion of their political battles; and the third home is in their state capital city or Abuja. This is their looting base.They need these three home to sustain their souls abroad. The current ASUU strike and the attitude of the elite to education is quite shocking.
The most painful part of it is the labour movement in Nigeria as a body. The Nigeria Labour Congress’ leadership would always stake the blood of her members whenever increments are contemplated by government on the pump price of fuel. Sadly, this body is less serious on matters of education.
The foursquare basic necessities that should concern any labour movement is education, health, food and shelter. There is no better way to enslave and pauperise a people than using education as a weapon.
That the public feels government must not be held to give us the best of these four cardinals of the common good of human existence only means that we have gotten used to our chains as a people. Karl Heinrich Marx was born on 5 May 1818. He was a German eclectic philosopher of Jewish descent.
Today, Karl Marx is famous as a critic of political economy, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. His 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital (1867–1883) are his best known works. The huge influence of Marx on political and philosophical thought cannot be ignored in contemporary social and political history of our time.
Our interest in Marx’s here is in the Communist Manifesto where Marx and Engels “argue (in a mock address to the ruling class) that education is: determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention, direct or indirect, of society by means of schools, etc.
They added; Communists “have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling.”
Without being a Marxist, one can easily discern that what is happening in Nigeria is not far from the conclusion of Marx. The view that education is meant to promote class interest should not be promoted by our elite. This book was written by Marx on the request of Workers/ Labour.
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May 01 is Labour Day! May 05 is Karl Marx’s birthday!! At the close of the week, news filtered in that government would soon commence discussion with ASUU on the current crisis in the sector.
This should be carried out with the good of the system in mind; and not just as a way of securing the suspension of the current strike action. It is shameful that academics are some of the least paid and ill-treated workers in Nigeria. Unless we have a rethink as a people then our children and wards will always hold that “education is a scam!” And nobody should blame them. We are all part of the Boko Haram (book is haram) generation.
This group did not blossom overnight. It may have started in the current way of our youth. We have a collective moral responsibility to reverse their perception of what education is by re-imaging education in Nigeria. They have to be convinced that “school is not a scam!”