Thursdays come with their own special brand of headache and worry for me because I have to write something for us to discuss, laugh, enjoy and take something positive away from. Today, my thoughts are not completely crystallized so forgive me if I come across as being a little disjointed.
I’ve been thinking of how we rate the importance of university degrees. Earlier on this week, I had a meeting with a man who dropped out of junior secondary school. His use of English grammar was impeccable and his comprehension was acute. We talked about a wide range of subjects, politics, sports, entertainment and even religion. I left the meeting feeling very good as I had a very well-rounded discussion with a very exposed and “educated” business owner. It got me thinking about the issue of the Nigerian educational system. Everybody, and their dog, knows that the state of Nigerian education system is deplorable and we hear things like “Can you imagine a ‘graduate’ cannot write a simple letter of application?” (P.s Am I the only one who thinks the word “graduate” is funny?) Okay, I digress. This issue came up at a gathering and some people argued that the basics of grammar, comprehension and syntax were not learnt at the University level and as such the Universities should not be blamed for the deplorable quality of “graduates”. Other people argued that the standards for qualifying for admissions had been dropped and invariably it was the fault of the Universities since they didn’t sift properly. It makes you wonder where the problem lies exactly because it’s a case of which comes first – the chicken or the egg?
Another angle to this discussion is the question of how much “education” a university degree bestows you with? My friend Ugonna studied Accounting at Nnamdi Azikiwe University and 80% of the time she was either in Lagos, Port Harcourt, or Abuja. When I asked her when she ever got time to study for exams she said “abeg leave that matter! na who know way abeg” and truly, she did “know way”! She graduated with a 2nd class upper. Just the right requirement for organizations and recruiting agencies right?
There were times when I was in Law school when I thought I really wasn’t going to be a lawyer anyway and I didn’t know why I had to study so hard to pass the bar ( If you’ve gone to the Nigerian Law School, you’d know what I’m talking about! Hell on Earth and all that) but I had already started on that path, might as well give it as good as I could. Many times along the way I wondered if it was about getting more degrees or practicing and perfecting my craft. I don’t regret getting my degrees but I wonder if it defines me and if I’d be a different person without them.
How do you rate the importance of university degrees? How important is the acquisition of certificates? Do you think that people who are not “graduates” are not “educated”?
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