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BN Hot Topic: To What “degree” Are You Educated?

Atoke

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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”?

Let’s discuss!

Photo Creditmylot.com

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

37 Comments

  1. pynk

    July 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Nigerians generally do not discern between literacy and educated. Educated implies an ability to make sound and informed decisions, literacy is an ability to read and write – whether grammatically correct or not. In Nigeria we are more literate than we are educated – to a certain extent the lack of “education” is what holds us back collectively. A lot of these so called graduates are unable to conceptualise or even creatively make informed decisions in work places.

  2. QueenofEverything

    July 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    oh dear… being “educated” gives a lot of people the wrong impression, In my line of work, I am constantly baffled by the lack of “common sense” a lot of “educated” people exhibit.
    You find people who are experts in their field but are at a complete loss when it comes to anything else. Basically, being literate and educated is not enough, the school of hard knocks of life make one’s life more “well-rounded”.

  3. X factor

    July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    true talk

  4. Chattyzee

    July 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    The value in “education” and “university degrees” is not just about going through the system and coming out with a 2nd class upper or 1st class, what is actually important is allowing the system to go through you. The experiences you get, the people you meet and world that you see; all these work together to create a package that is (at least should be) valuable to the society.
    I think education is a great legacy because it shapes your perspective of the world and how you approach and handle whatever situation you find yourself. Analytic and problem solving skills are developed in part through one’s knowledge base and capacity. Education is not just about the B.SCs, JDs and PHDs; it’s a lot more than that.
    Take for instance, Funke Akindele (aka Jenifa) and FEMI Adebayo (Yoruba Actor). These two unique individuals studied Law but neither of them is practicing, but still, we see the handy work of “education” quietly revealing itself in their productions. Joke Silver, Olu Jacobs, Bimbo Akintola, Stella Damasus, Banky W, Naeto C etc. These are all people whose “education” reflects in their chosen fields. There’s just that “touch” and silent “aura” around them that shows you that they are not in the same class as every other performer.
    In conclusion, I still believe that education is the best legacy anyone can be gifted it. My parents provided me with the opportunity to be well rounded and educated, and I’ll be forever grateful. I employ us all to not just be educated in terms of books and degrees, but also in the world we live in and how it revolves.
    http://dprodigalchild.wordpress.com/

  5. Blackknight

    July 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Much as no one knows the direction at which life will take him/her, chances of making it in life with an Education >without an education. And when I talk about education, I mean not the accumulation degrees ( which of course is an indication that you can learn) but in being grounded in the affairs of life.

  6. eesha

    July 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL (BE EDUCATED) FOR YOU TO KNOW THE WAY OF THE WORLD OR FOR YOU TO BE SOUND, THERE ARE MANY EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE IN OUR SOCIETY I COULD GIVE , WHO ARE FAR MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN THOSE WHO ACTUALLY WENT TO COLLEGE, I BELIEVE EDUCATION IS NOT ONLY ABOUT WHAT U LEARN IN SCHOOL, BUT FROM THE EXPOSURE YOU GET , WHO YOU INTERACT WITH AND HOW YOU SCHOOL AND ENHANCE YOURSELF. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WITHOUT CERTIFICATE OR FORMAL TRAINING WHO KNOW MORE THAN THE SO CALLED PROFESSIONALS AND SPECIALISTS, FOR EXAMPLE GENEVIEVE NNAJI WASN’T EXACTLY A UNIVERSITY GRADUATE (DON’T KNOW IF SHE HAS FURTHERED HER STUDIES) WHEN SHE STARTED ACTING AND MAKING SENSE IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY AND I BET YOU SHE KNEW HOW TO PORTRAY HERSELF EXCELLENTLY BOTH ON AND OFF THE SCREEN. THE COSCHARIS CHAIRMAN WASN’T FORMALLY EDUCATED BEFORE HE STARTED MAKING HIS MONEY AND INTERACTING WITH FOREIGN INVESTORS AND ALL. SO THEREFORE SOME UNEDUCATED PEOPLE R MORE SOUND THAN SO CALLED GRADUATES AND PROFESSIONALS. #NUFFSAID
    http://www.eeshalicious.wordpress.com

    • person pikin

      July 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      And why are you shouting?

    • piecesly.co.nr

      July 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      rolling on my damn carpet laffin my ass off…exactly oh!!!!

    • onut

      July 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

      Cap locks writing…. classic demonstration of the need for some more education, *sigh*

  7. chinco

    July 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    It is very sad that many graduates who studied in Nigeria are very uneducated and unrefined (cus university education is meant to polish u as well). I am proud of my alma mater though(University of Ibadan) although there is room 4 advancement, I believe we still produce the best graduates in Nigeria. Imagine a graduate( of wherever…)sending her CV to my sister via email with the heading ‘PLS FINE ATTASH MY CV’ smh.

    • Media Scholar

      July 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      The contributions sound intelligebly, untill u came on with your shortened “4” in place of “for”. I see no difference between you and the object of analogy you are mocking.

    • AUDREY

      July 20, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Dear Media Scholar,your contribution sounded INTELLIGIBLE until you spelt wrongly ; intelligEbly. over sabi is not good oh.

  8. Princess of Zion

    July 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Certified qualifications can open doors to you up to a certain point but having well rounded experience will take you further! Like you said, many are graduates but don’t know much; not even in their subject area! Having a degree is great, don’t get me wrong but can you really back it up?

    www. princessofzion.wordpress.com/

  9. chinco

    July 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    @ eesha, making money doesn’t equate being successful (contrary to what the world believes). A drug dealer makes money, is he/she also successful. Being successful means making a positive impact ard u. Which may or maynot include being wealthy.

  10. Ms. Bello

    July 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    @ person pikin. LOL.

  11. Le Dynamique Professeur

    July 19, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I live in NZ and I must confess, there is little concern for your degrees when looking for a job. You’ll hardly see them talk about your qualifications. What is important is your relevant experience to the job you’re applying for. You will see someone with 5years experience and only a certificate degree being preferred to a MSc holder with probably just a year experience. Experience is key in this part of the world and it makes me question the rush to bag degrees atimes.

  12. Okechukwu Ofili

    July 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    What grades determine:
    Your ability to memorize mostly useless things
    Your ability to regurgitate information in the way others want you to
    Your ability to understand what adults want from you and give it to them
    Your tolerance for working on tasks you don’t find useful because others want you to do them or believe them to be helpful/socially acceptable

    What grades do NOT determine:
    Your intelligence
    Your creativity
    Your emotional capabilities
    Your likeliness to succeed
    Whether you’re a good person

    • Anne

      July 20, 2012 at 9:45 am

      I respectfully disagree. Creativity and intelligence for example are tightly tied to one’s ability to memorize things, and to determine what is ‘useless’ and what isn’t. Many of the not-smart people in my classes for example tried to read, learn or memorize everything. They kept asking me ‘are you ready for the exam?’ When I’d say I thought so, they would ask, ‘so you have read everything?’ –blank stare– But the creative and intelligent (I won’t go into likeliness to ‘succeed’ because we are all still on a journey, and because many people actually gain deepened knowledge in other fields like business later in life) people had good grades and this affects where they are in life now, whether or not they got merit-based scholarships for higher education or have massive loans to pay off, and so on. Younger ones reading, please get good grades. They are important and determine a lot for your life, including the quality of your spouse and spousal relationships. If good grades were not important, more parents would leave the topic alone.

    • Ib

      August 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      I agree with you Anne

  13. Truth be told

    July 20, 2012 at 1:46 am

    You’re right. It should start from the secondary schools actually. That is why in the advanced economies, people can work and advance with just secondary school certificates. Going to college or university after that is an option. If only those tables can be turned.
    But don’t get me wrong too. University education is good. But the foundation, which is secondary school education should be strong.

  14. Lovinit

    July 20, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Eesha, those people u mentioned went to secondary schools mind you. Being educated is not tantamount to earning a college degree.

  15. Chymdii

    July 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I realise that formal education, especially what we have here in Nigeria, is not at the optimum. I’m a final year student in a Nigerian university, and I can assure you the educational system is not all that, as you all know. But that’s no excuse not to make some lemonade with these lemons. Even with what we have: a sorry excuse for education, some of our students are plain lazy, or like someone mentioned earlier, they shuttle between Abuja, Lagos and London. If we’d at least make the conscious effort to make the best out of what we have, the distinction between literate and educated would be crystal clear. Like earlier mentioned, a lot of us have already done that, and it’s showing in our work. Formal education, when well received, provides us with richer and more productive experiences.

  16. Phoenix

    July 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Ofili,
    A perfect summary. Thank you.

  17. Personal Shopper

    July 20, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Interesting comments 🙂
    http://personalstuvs.blogspot.com

  18. Tobechidaniel

    July 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Emotional intelligence vs traditional education are two different things. Personally, I find that I like a person who, while versed in both has a stronger leaning towards Emotional Intelligence. A books smart can be a bit of bore sometimes. People don’t always care how much you know, they care more about how you make them feel.
    http://tobechidaniel.blogspot.com/

  19. damojo

    July 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Education ko, El-Kanemi hall. I remember when i finished with a 2:1 in pharmacy and my dad gave me almost 2M for MPH in Oxford Brookes. I left home (after Internship and NYSC) added my own ‘street-earned’ funds to it and opened two outlets; one a community pharmacy & the other a fashion house and then i entered banking (out of greed tho’). I never regretted my actions!

    • pretty

      July 20, 2012 at 10:15 am

      lol @ Elkanemi Hall. Some people are funny sha. Wetin concern Elkanemi Hall with wetin we dey talk.

  20. Amazeballs!

    July 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Once a so called “educated” man/woman regardless of what level attained can hurl a bag of groundnut shells outside their window on Third Mainland Bridge to the detriment of other motorists as well as to the detriment of the poor lady sweeping it up, then i shall refer to you as “uneducated”! and unfortunately such actions as well as other related ones are exhibited by some of the finest graduates of today!

  21. NK

    July 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Education is power . There’s a whole ot of difference between an educated and non educated person. if u dont think so try ignorance.

  22. ayior

    July 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

    i remember the saying that “i never let schooling interfere with my education” education is a whole lot different from schooling(formal education) …..

  23. N.s

    July 20, 2012 at 11:23 am

    ROTFLMAO….. some comments though, especially “Why are You shouting?” I think most students/”graduates” these days are just plain LAZY. Lazy to think, write an application themselves as well as embark on personal self development. And about the pains and stress at The Nigerian Law School…. I feel your pain!

  24. Kay

    July 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I had the privilege to invigilate an exam recently and I was appalled by what I saw, students in their penultimate year in the university couldn’t find words to fill their pages. True the system is not the best and the lectures are stale if not irrelevant but that doesn’t excuse a student from thirsting after a specific knowledge and picking up a related book or visit a website.

    Some might say education is overrated and that some folks make it without it; that is because there’s a great yearning within them and they get educated in that line however informally. If one has chosen a less risky path of formal education (in the most uninspiring environment), do not stop working for that which you truly want to be.

  25. Nne Somebody

    July 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I’m laughing too hard over the comments to make any meaningful contribution. I’d rather ask a question – is the quality of your education or intelligence determined solely by how good your command of the English language is? I am put off by bad written or spoken English but then, stop to wonder if we’re not being unfair. The English language isn’t even properly spoken by the average English man, yet, we will castigate the poor man who speaks it as a second language. Just musing…

  26. Rashida

    July 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    In summary just get d ‘PAPER’ den use ur ‘BRAIN’ d whole reason 4 ‘SCHOOLING’ is 4 u to get d ‘EXPERIENCE’ nd open ur eyes in so u can make use of it.it lack of dis experience dat make our ‘graduate’ roam d street wit deir cv

  27. yewie

    July 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    @rashida Word!!! get the education, apply what you garnered both in and out of the classroom and use your brain.

  28. Unik Kryx

    August 14, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I must admit that i’ve been richly blessed with the plethora of perspectives on this particular issue by the various comments (even the funny reproaches and bashings have added a comic relief to the discourse). Just to add a little by way of contribution. In so far as,one enrolls in an academic institution,he thus seeks education. This education,in my own view, should encompass intellectual,social and moral aspects of knowledge,which if properly complimented by experiences within and outside one’s environment should reflect both on paper and in practice. Thus, only a combination of both justifies education as a means of seeking knowledge. Just hope am on point. In addition, a foreign language is no measure of education in my view,its just a means to an end-communication and effective information dissemination especially in multi-lingual societies like ours.

  29. Amym

    August 3, 2013 at 11:18 am

    On point Unik.

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