Last week, we argued that students who are not able to read and write, do not have a reading culture and do not appreciate the importance of education at the primary and secondary levels would be lost in the university. Well, this is a feedback of sorts and I will keep everything anonymous.
A colleague of mine in another university gave his final year students an assignment on motivation as it relates to knowledge workers. These assignments were presented and discussed in class and during the examination, they were asked to explain the features of knowledge work, what Nigerian knowledge workers want and how to manage/motivate knowledge workers. This is what one of them wrote (verbatim!)
‘Intelligent and information and knowledge worker are manual manager by the work field of the company and the make sure it is necessary for them to organis their business. The knowledge worker bring understanding to one so as to make the situation legal and concept. They all lead the organization by example by including motivation and coffesive. They may increase the body of managerial work plan so as to get the right activities… they are lead by example giving to them by the organization. They make knowledge easy to the motivational system…. They are lead and correspondent by the motivational work… In the act they want the Nigeria to do them more favour so that the country can move forward, not backward. The Nigerian worker want the country to enlighten more information and standard information to their activity… will manage and motivate by the understanding of the people and making act of the organization more effect in knowledge workers so as the performance appraisal. In case the final resource is limited, the knowledge worker manage the organization well so it will not fall in act’ There is nothing to add to this superlative performance!
Parents, in addition to compromising the system and facilitating examination, have also abdicated their responsibilities to these children. Because of economic realities, women lib tendencies and acute materialism syndrome, parents have failed to partner with educational institutions to build the character and learning of their children. In a place like Lagos, parents are ‘out of stock’ from 6am to 6pm while for some, it is ‘5 to 10’. Even petty traders and office messengers leave the house by 5am so as to beat the Lagos traffic monster! So when, where and how can they look into whether or even what their children are studying? At times, these children are left at the mercy of merciless and illiterate house-helps who are bitter with their madams and with the society at large, and who know nothing and have nothing and thus can offer nothing!. After all, nemo dat quod non habet! (you cannot give what you do not have!)
My house is an academy of sorts because everybody is a student-father, mother, sister, brother. There are books, reading tables, libraries and my wife and I are always ‘at work,’ reading or writing. But despite this apparently favourable environment, we still have to persuade, cajole and at times force these ‘little Muos’ to read (or at least, read what, when and how we want). So, imagine what it looks like when parents do not have the ‘modelling effect,’ do not provide a reading environment and are not even around all day.
Another tangential problem which has now become a core issue right from the primary school is sports-mania. No; it is soccer-mania! The other day, I went to the OOU newspaper stand to buy my usual (BusinessDay, Guardian, or ThisDay), but there was no newspaper. What I saw was a host of unknown and unknowable sports papers – Complete Sports, Sports Star, Sports Day, Sports Light, Soccer Star. These supplement all the sports programmes on TV and radio and online. What are the headlines? Mikel earns $5m per week, sold for $250m; Chelsea drowns Mancity; Old Trafford after Wenger! (It was there that someone explained to me that there is Man U and Mancity). These were the type of papers the vendors had because that was what the students wanted! But they would not buy BusinessDay at the students price of N50 (market price, N200).
How does this sports madness add value to our students? Are they playing? No! Are they intending to play? No! So why have they given their body and soul to the god of soccer?
Everybody cannot be Segun Odegbami, Larry Izemodje, Paul Bassy or Big Boss Keshi. All cannot be sports commentators, writers, analysts-even when they are reading analytical chemistry! It is not as if they have-or are developing-the ability for reading, writing and speaking which can be channelled to sports-craft. So, what are the dividends of this madness? The best we have are students who predict with precision the players Alex Ferguson will field against Wenger’s team or who the next coach of Real Madrid would be. Right from elementary school, they know who plays which wing for which Club anywhere in the world. But they do not know the name of their headmaster or the address of their school! We are indeed finished! We have lost those between the ages of 25-40 partially to soccer; those between15-24 are almost totally lost while those below 15 are irretrievably lost. And you cannot see any of them in the sports field; they are all verbal sports field marshals and at the expense of their books. The Ministry of Youths which launched Rhythm & Play to encourage sports should also launch another programme to reverse the trend of destructive sports distraction.
Another major source of distraction is techno-addiction. While the poor are hypnotised by TVs and videos, those from the ‘affluent society’ are entangled with, BB, games, pinging, ponging, twitting, blogging, yokusing et al, using, misusing and abusing the social media- while crossing the highway, inside the church and inside the classroom. It is bipods, e-pods, iPods, iPods and all the I’s where they play games, watch sports, films and porn; nothing or little academic. Yet, technology is expected to open all doors to research and academic excellence!
When parents do not bother about whether or what their children are studying; when the students invest their whole time and mental energy on sports and the negative sides of technology, then, even if all the lecturers are committed saints (which they are not) and even if all the universities are world-class academic institutions (which they are not), we shall continue to be in deep trouble!
Meanwhile, I congratulate Governor Fashola on his 2200 days in office but I have a simple request for him. Let him drive through Ago Palace Way from the Amuwo Odofin and exit through Cele around 7am on a working day. He should come unannounced and leave his sirens et al at home, and drive in a normal car, not these glorified lorries called jeeps (SUVs). If he survives the ordeal and gets to his office before 12 noon, I will donate my 1 month’s salary to charity. After that experience, he should do what is right! He surely knows what is right!
Muo is a lecturer and management consultant in the department of business administration, Olabisi Onabanjo
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