Why government should learn value-oriented, consistent systems from Western countries
Mark Anthony Nze, a senior lecturer and professor in the faculty of Management Sciences, Apsley Business School in London, is passionate about the academic development of Nigerian youths. A Nigerian based in the United States, Nze believes that Nigerian youths can receive quality training in a variety of professions. Speaking in an interview with NGOZI OKPALAKUNNE, Anthony, who is also the academic director of the New York Learning Hub, USA, expressed his desire to contribute his quota towards the advancement of education among Nigerian youths through the learning hub. He talked about the challenges facing education system and the way out. Excerpts:
Why are you interested in the advancement of education among Nigerian youths and how do you hope to achieve that?
It is my desire to aid humanity and to see the numerous Nigerian youths achieve success in their academic pursuits and l am doing that by granting them scholarships. The New York Learning Hub is entirely my idea. I am the pioneer of unconventional methods of teaching in business schools in the world, having first experimented successfully with my students at the New York Learning Hub.
However, when one has a global vision, there is a high propensity for it to overshadow one, and this is currently the case at the college. Consequently, I have a formidable team at the senior management level that is passionately involved in taking the college to the next level. It is no longer only myself.
My personal funds are being used to fund the scholarship programme. We do not currently have a sponsor, but we intend to reach out to several state governments and well-meaning individuals in Nigeria who may help so many restless Nigerian youths to chart a good route in their lives through my scholarship.
If the government or financially capable Nigerians or even corporate groups get involved in supporting the youths, it will undoubtedly assist.
Corporate organisations can use the sponsorship to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility to the youths in the communities or states where they do business.
Most of these firms are busy generating so much money in Nigeria, evading taxes, and giving very little back to the country, and we wonder why there are so many vices in the country when so many of our youths are unemployed and poorly educated.
There is a dearth of ‘white collar’ jobs, with many graduates finding it difficult to get paid jobs. What is the way out?
Well, the simplest solution is to introduce entrepreneurial skills that are outside the norm in universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. Conventional learning approaches are good, but focusing excessively on them without integrating other unconventional strategies to support the required paradigm shift is also inappropriate.
So, at the New York Learning Hub, we introduced unconventional methods of learning to make it more pragmatic and result-oriented as well as teaching skills at universities and tertiary institutions that are aligned with the needs of the present society, which go beyond the ordinary theoretical courses that are incapable of assisting our youths in conceiving their own ideas and pursuing their life goals.
So, my organisation’s mission is to inspire its members to develop their full potential and make a positive impact through the use of their skill and knowledge.
Experts in a variety of professions work together to make the programme accessible and simple to grasp for those who attend. We have relied so heavily and exclusively on conventions, and it is high time we tried some things unconventionally and allowed our students to apply these principles in their daily activities to see what the results would be. And based on what I have been seeing about our students, I am willing to wager that the results have been phenomenal.
There is influx of private universities in Nigeria. What do you think is the implication of this to the standard of education?
The deregulatory policy of General Ibrahim Babangida as a military leader of Nigeria, led to the establishment of private universities in the country, and that, in all honesty, is not or should not be a problem if the government, at any given time, does its part, especially ensuring that educational sector is well taken care of.
But sadly, the standard is nothing to write home about in Nigeria and private universities coming on board are more like coming to clean up the mess the government’s laxity in this sector caused, so most people now hardly focus on quality but, just a mere paper qualification to get a job.
It has been observed that most parents do not allow their children to attend technical collages as they consider those who attend such schools as children who are not brilliant. What is your take on that?
The observation is correct, but the belief is wrong. Some people are hands-on naturally, while others are not. Technical colleges are for those who are hands-on.
It is about passion, and you can’t fail at what you are passionate about. Most Nigerian students in universities would have fared better in technical colleges; they would have graduated with better grades and been doing extremely well, but because of the misconceptions out there, they tend to pursue areas in universities that they don’t have passion or interest for, and this usually makes them become frustrated later when they can’t find a job or something meaningful after their studies.
What lesson can the Nigerian government learn from the education system of the western world?
The Nigerian government needs to learn value-oriented and consistent systems from those western countries.
How many times have we heard that universities or colleges in the United States and United Kingdom are on strike because their academic members of staff are being owed?
You hardly hear such because they are well taken care of, and their remuneration is certainly guaranteed, which makes them in return to give their best in their profession.
Nigeria has sufficient resources both human and material to be able to deliver a quality system of education just like in those developed countries, but with a woefully failed government over the years, it becomes almost impossible to realise those objectives, and that explains vividly the reason Nigeria is heavily suffering from brain drain in most recent times.
Nigeria has among the best brains all over the world who are genuinely and enormously contributing to the further growth and development of other countries while Nigeria is sliding into a ruinous state virtually on daily basis because its polity is being administered by not only charlatans but a ‘Gang of Looters’ as the title of my novel emphasises, who for decades have been looting the material or financial resources of the country almost to bankruptcy.
What factors can parents consider before choosing school for their wards?
Basically, parents should look at their children’s passion and interest, and with that in mind they would be able to determine which school is most suitable for them.
In developed countries, most major universities are known for their various strengths in diverse backgrounds either in the arts, humanities and sciences.
Also, it makes no sense persuading a child who has no interest in the sciences to study medicine or the one has no interest in law or humanities to study such.
It is important to allow one’s child to pursue his or her passion and interest however guidance should be adequately provided so they can avoid choosing a wrong path out of peer pressure or deception.