14-06-24 ictadmin 0 comment


Humans can traverse the globe at high speeds, communicate with other people who are continents away, harvest acres of land with the flick of a few switches and we can buy out stores while we lay in bed. A few centuries ago, some thought these feats, which to us are common place, were impossible. It would be erroneous to say we have not achieved great things over the years. Everything or rather, almost everything has advanced and human beings of the 19th century would feel like aliens if they could stand in our modern world.

Amidst these notable developments, however, some things have stood stationery. A thousand years ago, people had gone to schools or variations quite similar to it; they learned to read, write and perform basic Mathematical calculations. In our modern times, little has changed, people still go to school, sit in classroom for hours and learn things they may never end up using. We school for about sixteen years and end up applying five years’ worth of it. Students cram laws that were stated years before and are a Google search away, just to pour it out in an examination that determines the job you would work. Ironically, they don’t end up using the laws in the many years they work the job.

But why is our education system so backward when compared to other social concepts?

Yes, learning to read and write is essential, but what should come after that? Why would a student have to know and state hundreds of laws when they can so easily be acquired?

In my opinion, we Africans have a complex; we believe nothing good ever comes easy, that immense suffering is the only path to success. If the education systems of countries beyond the African borders are walking in their development rate, then those within are limping – near sessile even. Some schools use laptops and have smartboards, but what more have done than rebranding old wine? In West Africa, students are taught in anticipation of their WASSCE, the exam they would write to complete their secondary education. In this exam, one can’t use calculators that can solve polynomials, plot graphs or simplify functions. Why is it so? As an adult, one with sixteen complete years of schooling, I won’t sit and plot graphs on papers when I could easily punch it into a calculator and see its results in seconds. Many of our parents don’t make use of the formula’s, laws or even the bits of the knowledge they were forced to absorb. So why do we follow in that path? Why do we not move with the currents of development?

Our backward education systems also strangle and draw out the creativity in each of us. We are groomed and reared to end up working in a certain industry; the question often asked, “Doctor, Engineer or Lawyer? Which would you be?” shows the small scope of the system. Artists are hardly favoured in their development: the hyper active ones who could grow to be dancers are forced to be calm; the ones that doodle on every surface are told to focus on important stuff; the ones that hum while they read and sing whenever they can, are silenced. Schools have become filters that only let students pass through when they have the knowledge to work ‘real’ jobs, while creativity and innovation are left behind.

In addition, humans have normalized the use of examinations and tests to determine one’s knowledge. Being intelligent means to be able to read for and to pass a test while smart people apply their brains in what they’re doing. It is an intelligent person who would begin stating the formula for the area of a circle when trying to change a flat tyre while a smart person thinks outside the classroom, gets their hands dirty and changes the tyre. Funny enough, it is the smart ones, who are often ranked lower, that, in the long-run, end up on top, while more often than not the intelligent ones become the employees.

Some have argued that schools teach us the wrong things; they believe we should be learning how to survive in the real world. I agree. Learning how to save money or how to haggle in a market is much more applicable than learning how far the sun is from the moon.

Well, our education system is without doubt, flawed and most people don’t even know it. Even the certificates acquired from its completion have lost value as so many equally qualified persons enter the employable work force each year. Things really have to change and our education systems need to be modernized, lest the future generations suffer same fate.


Chibuikem Nnanyere AMUNEKE

Class of 2025

AMUNEKE, Chibuikem


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