Updated 5th October, 2020

.. Do not allow your academics interfere with your education.

I’d rather begin with a question.

Why do we go to school?

I and a couple of classmates had often asked ourselves these questions when we were in school. In fact, we had to throw the question to other students but we kept getting the same unfortunate answers. Also, in an online forum, I asked some students in a mature programme the same question and the answers were the same…

‘I just need the certificate to get a job or to be promoted in my workplace!

It’s rather so unfortunate that in Nigeria, the certificate is valued far far more than the desire to acquire the requisite knowledge. Students no longer let the school system pass through them. Nobody wants education to penetrate and pass through them and this is the more reason we have millions of incompetent graduates roaming the streets of Nigeria in search of jobs.

Honestly, I don’t blame anybody who holds such views because the system has been designed to achieve just that. We have a system that places more value on a paper than the actual content on the inside of the possessor of such a certificate.

There is one saying by John Kennedy that I have kept very dear to my heart. JFK said that the future of a nation lies in the PROPER education of its youths. No nation ever became great without paying adequate attention to the proper education of its youths. The youths are the future. They are the tomorrow. If they're given a haphazard level of education, the future of that nation shall be haphazard, disorderly, primitive and grossly underdeveloped.

Its high time we understood that education goes way beyond academics and acquisition of the certificate. Education is the total transformation of the mental as well as other faculties of the man. Our education merely addresses the academic needs of the students. They're only taught theorems and formulas that are geared towards the achievement of that certificate. Much of what's needed to survive and succeed in the real life are not taught in the university.

Experience has shown that a certificate conscious education only produces paper graduates. It discourages students imbibing the culture of reading before or after their exams. As soon as the exams are over, many students never go back to that material again. Why should they go back? They've written the exams. Mission accomplished. Many stop reading once they securethat dream job. Why should they continue? They've secured a job. Mission accomplished. Students read because they want to pass an exam, not because they want to reduce their ignorance or become better persons.

A certificate - conscious education damages the psyche of students. I've seen students write exams in the dirtiest of environments- a grim deviation from the purpose of education. They don't mind writing exams even in the slum as far as it's a step towards getting that certificate. I've seen students write exams on bare floors. It meant nothing to them. It's all about the degree. It's all about the certificates. It's all about the paper. Their sense of morality and decency is so destroyed and damaged. They have no limits to what they can bear as far as it brings that degree closer. Students are ready to prostitute in order to get the certificate. Others are willing to pay any amount to some money conscious lecturers just to get the certificate. Its even worse now because some lecturers have made it mandatory that students pay in order to pass.

Our school system has graduated to producing dummies. It produces certificated dummies. How could a graduate not express themselves in simple terms? Imagine a graduate not being able to express himself in simple English. This is the product from a certificate-conscious system. We have many educated dummies in the society, roaming the streets with their papers.

Being conscious of certificates limit your chances of success. This system creates an entitlement mentality in us. We think by becoming graduates the society owes us a job. How wrong! Your degree, without other personal developmental skills, guarantees more failure than it does success. Your IQ is responsible for only a tiny portion of your success; it's your EQ that guarantees the greater part. Society doesn't owe you a job. You fight and get one for yourself.

Being conscious of certificates produces dummy leaders. We have them around in the nation from the national assembly to the governors and to the state assemblies to the LGAs. We have certificated thugs and rogues making laws for us. They fly round the world with their titles such as Honourables, Senators, Governors, Your Excellencies, etc.

You and I didn't go that school to get a degree. You didn't go because others are there. You went there because you saw a need for personal enlightenment and education. Are you narrowed to your degree and course? Are you allowing the system to limit you? Are you a slave of the system? You can change all that. Is your academics interfering with your education? Are you properly educated? Look beyond this degree; it doesn't guarantee food. It doesn't guarantee anything. Develop other skills. Read because you want to develop, not because you want to acquire a paper.

Now let me ask you. How many of your past courses do you still remember it's contents? Very few, I guess. That's because you threw away the materials after writing the exams because you saw no need for them anymore. You have failed to understand that the main education begins after schooling.

On the other hand, In the world today, paper qualification - formal proofs of education will always be an integral part in the grand scheme of things. The proof signifies that you have acquired the requisite skill, knowledge and understanding in a particular field of endeavour. It signifies that you have the capability and depending on the 'grade', it shows the level of intelligence you exhibit in that field. But unfortunately, we cannot entirely depend on such grades because students in collaboration with lecturers can so comfortably manufacture results and the biggest dummy in the school comes out in flying colours! So, in this case, can we now conclude that the certificate is an exact representation of the possessor?

However, the manner, style and condition in which education is taught is the crucial. We have a problem with how we are taught in schools. We do not have quality education in most of our schools. We lack good tutors, good administrators, good infrastructure, good and well revised and updated curricular, funding. These things add up to the rots we have today. And that is why we say the certificates are worthless and at the same time, downplaying the importance of education and most especially certificates.

Now the problem as you can see is not just from the students. The school system and the Government have immensely contributed to this imbroglio. Until we retrace our steps, until our youths understand the importance of letting education pass through them, Nigeria will always produce certificate conscious graduates roaming and lurking around the streets like carnivores looking for whom to devour.

View this response on Nairaland

"Education is nothing but a tool.

What one does with such tool is entirely up to the individual which is why education does not guarantee success.

There will always be poor people in the world both educated and illiterates. What I noticed is that a lot of Nigerians have moved from seeing education as a tool to seeing it as title. Instead of getting a degree in Engineering, some would rather have a Ph.D in Botany just to add the title "Dr" to their names for massaging their egos. And when passionate botanists gather, the Nigerian cannot find his "bearing". It is a common malaise"

Feel free to share this beautiful piece with your friends, colleagues and loved ones so that they understand that in as much as the certificate is important, personal development beats it. They ability to deliver at any given task within your discipline. 

Like I said earlier, do not allow your academics interfere with your education.