By Salisu Uba Kofar-Wambai
Functional education is the key to solving most of the joblessness and unemployment predicament Nigerians face today. Therefore, the philosophy of education matters a lot. Moreover, the kind of philosophy under which a particular curriculum operates determines the quality of graduates a particular system of education breeds.
The idealism philosophy, which Nigeria’s education system subscribes to, contributes grossly to the condition of our graduates. They frequently end up chasing shadows, seeking jobs when in reality, there’s none. This is because the idealism philosophy emphasizes and dwells so much on book knowledge. The students are made to jampack and cram all the knowledge and ideas in their heads, but practising the knowledge is ultimately zero.
In other words, the idealism philosophy thrives in theoretical aspects. And this British model has since been abandoned by many countries of the world, as it has no successful ends and doesn’t suit 21st-century challenges.
However, more innovative countries like China, Germany, and Japan that adopt a pragmatic philosophy of education in their curriculum are getting it right regarding employment issues. Most of their graduates are fully equipped with the specific skills required to handle jobs effectively and efficiently. Moreover, even before graduation, their students are already into temporary employment.
The functional education practised in such countries has made their graduates vibrant job-providers instead of perpetual job-seekers we see here in Nigeria.
It is a mammoth challenge for our education policy formulators to do the needful. They should help us migrate from idealism to pragmatism as a system. Students will then have practical skills or functional education that will enable them to establish their businesses based on their acquired skills, not just memorizing books and blowing grammar all over.
When a mechanical engineering professor could not repair a simple technical fault on his car until he refers it to a local technician, you know there’s a massive challenge with such a system of education.
I think these entrepreneurial studies and industrial training introduced by our institutions of learning are equally astute and sagacious towards achieving the desired goal. But they’re not close to where we’re aiming at. So, we must change the philosophy in its entirety first to have enough roadmap on the ground.
The sooner we migrate, the better for us.
Salisu Kofar-Wambai wrote from Kano. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.