By Alkasim Harisu Alkasim
Often, the people that idolise going to school are arguably the ones who, in the long run, turn out to be stinking poor. This is to paraphrase a friend that ardently considers schooling a total waste of time. This assertion is controversial. But, is my friend spot-on or not? It is, to some extent. Still, I have my buts.
This argument has often generated a heated debate amongst us. Whenever it comes to my mind, it reminds me of Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The writer dissects factors that hinder the learned from earning big bucks. Kiyosaki argues that going to school is the biggest hurdle that denies one the chance to make a bank. He opines that a person spends twenty to thirty years worshipping books, yet, over that period, he scarcely becomes a big gun. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, one ends up jobless after this long journey.
Debunking formal education, Kiyosaki argues that a person is not taught a single subject on how to make money from primary school to university education. The conventional subjects such as chemistry, physics, literature, etc., are what one seriously enrols in. In his opinion, students should be taught topics such as financial education. Education indeed discourages one from accepting jobs that are not money-spinning. For instance, somebody with a Master’s degree or PhD will feel ashamed to sew for a living, not to talk of driving the commercial tricycle (aka A Daidaita Sahu).
Are the graduates the only ones to blame? This is a question we should all ponder. The government is blameworthy too. Like it or not, the government cannot give everybody a job. True. But it can establish a conducive environment to doing other jobs. I have never hunted for gainful employment, thanks to my passion for academia. I know this job in Nigeria does not make you a money bag. Yet, I have for long picked interest in it.
In the developed and even some developing economies, the private sector employs a great score of people. The government creates an environment that will aid it to carry out its businesses for the sector. Private sectors pay handsomely in such countries, especially in the western world. I wondered if you know that employment is scarce even in the UK. Even the rampant lack of jobs causes deviance and other criminal acts there. (See Haralambos and Holborn’s book on Sociology).
Of course, we walk tall. We don’t want to do what society looks down on. However, some of us make an exception here. I know of a person with a First Class honours degree in engineering who humbled himself and took up a job many of us can’t do. He ekes out his livelihood from selling coals, taking pride in it. He sees the world of the little he earns from what he sells. Life goes on. Nothing reduces his charm.
I was once in India for a higher degree. There, I saw a lot of wonders. We had a cook in our university who is a master in political science. It is said that people with first degrees in India outnumber the whole population of France. Remember, India is the second-most populous country in the world. Imagine somebody in Nigeria cooking for a living. I don’t say we can’t find one. But rarely can you find more than two in your quarters. Of course, people with degrees, or even diplomas in Nigeria, feel too big to do lowly jobs. I, nevertheless, think our arrogance is reducing because you can now see graduates doing menial jobs. Why not? There is a score of jobless First Class students roaming the streets.
I submit that people with higher educational qualifications always end up jobless or not raking it. People with lower qualifications or no qualifications are the ones that are the business moguls. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Aliko Dangote are textbook examples. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, and he is now stinking rich.
Indeed, formal education discourages and slows down creativity. It also dampens one’s enthusiasm. Honestly, the way an avid reader confines himself in his study speeds his entrepreneurial death. This is nothing but creative imprisonment. Whenever in his study, the reader seems to imprison his creative faculty in books. He brims with wishful thinking, ideals and all what-have-yous owing to his fervent reading of all sorts of books.
Having read a lot, he begins to idealise the world. He pictures and pores over how the world should be. But this is just his wildest dream. In his attempt to make the ancient Greece an ideal state, Socrates lost his life. He was sentenced to death for being a corrupt influence. In his book The Republic, Plato also romanticised how Greece should be, how rulers should lead, the type of people to obtain in a state, and those exiled. After all, he died not having his dreams fulfilled.
Not very long ago, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels conceptualised and advocated a classless society in their works. For instance, they co-authored a book titled Communist Manifesto. In the book, they discussed how the masses could emancipate themselves from the domination of the bourgeoisie. In his three-volume book Das Kapital, Marx critically studied the architecture of the economies of European societies. Unfortunately, most of the ideations and philosophies of these great thinkers flopped. For instance, Marx’s classless society idealised where all and sundry would live equally has yet to happen. Marx, who died an atheist, lacked the knowledge that such a classless state is a paradise. So said Dr. Saidu Ahmad Dukawa.
May Allah awaken and help us embrace the realities of today’s world. May we not feel too big to do the most menial jobs we can find around. The journey is long. You can start unimportant and end up important, and vice versa. Remember that Margaret Thatcher was from a lower-class family. She went through rigours to make it to the upper class.
Wonderfully, Thatcher became the first female UK Prime Minister. She was even taught how to speak, walk, and act in an upper-class-like way when voted into office. Like the UK and other democratically capitalistic countries, Nigeria also allows social mobility. Thus, try to move up the economic ladder. Just give it your best shot. You can. I, rest assured, know you can.
Alkasim Harisu Alkasim wrote from Kano via firstname.lastname@example.org.