Education Beyond The Classroom: A Message To Nigerian Students

By Elizabeth Adeola Omomomi
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Elizabeth Adeola Omomomi

Nowadays, young minds have began to see the need to be educated at the early stages of their lives that they do not dare to miss the slightest opportunity they get to be called an educated person. This is basically as a result of the importance placed on education across the world.

In Nigeria today, gone are the days where a child at age ten undoubtedly has to be given a corporal punishment. (Cambridge Learner's Dictionary defines corporal punishment as a physical punishment, especially of children, usually by hitting with the hand or a stick) at home and in school just to force him/her to appear in the four walls of a class-room. You may also want to know that a trial to ask a low-class citizen of Nigeria what it means to be educated will convince you that the 'strings' attached to education has only helped to trigger the 'unnatural zeal' to be educated. In the same view, education is seen as a criteria to make something meaningful out of life; whenever, wherever. So, it is simply adopted as a life-changing opportunity which every 'smart' person should wish to gain. This fact is not to be disputed but then, do we understand that education is beyond being in the four walls of a classroom? This is one of the questions we may want to ask ourselves as I proceed.

First off, what is Education?
According to a British educationalist, Thomas Percy Nunn, education is defined as "the complete development of the individuality of the child so that he can make an ORIGINAL (emphasis is mine) contribution to human life according to the best of his capacity. This definition therefore, emphasizes otherwise the innate and desirable changes that should reflect in a child after education must have taken place. But today, the reverse is the case as students just go to school due to the societal value placed on it.

Now, reflecting back on Tp Nunn's definition of education, how will a student unveil his/her ORIGINAL CAPABILITY when goals and objectives are not even defined? Definitely, what should be expected from such student is what I refer to as FABRICATED SUCCESS. It is either he/she strives to pass exams through exam malpractice, cramming, paying teachers to get good grades or even by engaging in sexual activities with teachers. Such student might even decide to make no efforts to pass at all. To avoid the aforementioned unpleasant acts, the young generation should know first that education is not just restricted to classroom performance but it is the sum of the positive result that those class-room activities would yield in the nearest future. This expected result can also be negative, if not, there would be no cases of students who have successfully made a credit in English language in their senior waec (west African Examination Council) exams not being able to state the parts of speech in English language, let alone giving their correct definitions. Is that not absurd?

Painfully, most students do not even know where their interests are. This is so alarming. I can remember vividly that I loved Economics as a subject when I was in senior secondary school as an art student which made me pass its exam effortlessly all through my years in senior secondary school. Though, this is because the subject teacher was amazingly exceptional. However, performing excellently well in the subject, economics did not make me an Economist today. Why? This is simply because Economics was not my field of interest and I was never passionate about it. Contrary to this today, we see instances of students who find themselves in that path which is not in their BEST interest.

My dear Nigerian students, do not be deceived. No miracle would make you perform excellently well in the area which is not in your best interest. Therefore, just like a mentor would always say to me and his other mentees, "always choose that which is in your best interest". To buttress my ideology, I would like to state few of the possible 'ifs' that you may think of as I round off this piece: If you find schooling interesting, then go to school. If vocational training is in your best interest, go for it. If your parents want you to be a medical doctor or any other profession which is not in your best interest, you should object politely and opt for what you are passionate about. If you need to take UTME form twice in order to gain an admission into the university to study your desired course, do so. This is because in the end, it is not going to be about how FAR you have gone but how WELL you can perform.

Adeola Omomomi writes from Ikorodu, Lagos.