In ancient Greece, stories are told of men who walked the earth and yet were not men. These legends, passed down from generation to generation spoke of these demigods in hushed whispers. Their names sacred and not to be uttered lightly, Perseus and Heracles (popularly known as Hercules) sons of Zeus, Eryx son of Poseidon, Cycnus son of Ares, Rheseus of Thrace, Minos, Orpheus, Achilles, you name them, all revered especially for their deeds. They would walk into Olympus amidst a fanfare - except for Hades seed I guess - because they had walked the earth as gods, lived and conquered as gods with wit, sheer power or beauty as with Helen of Troy, bringing to fulfilment the prophecies foretold by the soothsayers from the gods.
We read of these men, even watched reenacted accounts of their lives and times as young men and women, and we aspire to lead such lives. To be pristinely gifted, to possess abilities which defy natural order, to spoken of in hushed whispers. Who can blame us, we are after all, influenced by the things we see. However, no one can tell me that the desire to be revered is more innate in him than it is in Lecturers in the Nigerian Universities.
In recent times, there have been more and more reports of young Nigerian men and women graduating with First class from Universities in Europe and the United Kingdom, this to me, has been rather mind boggling. I mean you begin to wonder if the sun that shines in the UK and the breeze that blows, blows sense or shines wisdom and so the students make better grades.
"I have come to realize that lecturers in the Nigerian Universities do not teach the student how - the art of - to think, they teach how to follow and how to obey..." - Sharpman Olumati
23 year old Odera Ogbodo is one of such successful graduates and this is what he had to say when asked to compare both systems
"I had the opportunity to witness what the Nigerian education system was like. From my observations and research, it was crystal clear that studying abroad delivered better learning conditions with respect to the educational infrastructures and tutoring methodologies... In addition, the tutoring methodologies and mentalities if I may add, are way different to what we have in Nigeria. I believe this is very important because the attitude of tutors have direct impact on the learning of students. I have experienced lecturers in our Nigerian universities who do not take well to being asked questions. The attitude of lecturers is very different in the UK and I believe that may be one of the reasons the student satisfaction rate is high in most UK universities."
Thought provoking isn't it? There is first a challenge of infrastructure around Universities in Nigeria, libraries are not properly stacked and books are not readily available to students and yet, the Nigerian lecturer stands, the lecture podium his Olympus and the students the mere mortals whose fear and worship he feeds on. I have heard lecturers openly boast that students don't pass his course, this is a yearly speech they make to every new student they tutor, "people don't make first class in this department. The last first class was made in 1880"... Seriously? What then is your job? As a teacher you should inspire the love for knowledge, create a hunger and a zeal in the students to learn, a passion to devour books, a voracious appetite to read and to know. The approach instead is one to inspire fear and a defeatist mentality. Sometimes I wonder if they ever ask themselves this question " who will teach my children? ".
There's a problem with the Nigerian system and it shines through to all other endeavours of life in the Nigerian community, it all begins with education. I have come to realize that lecturers in the Nigerian Universities do not teach the student how - the art of - to think, they teach how to follow and how to obey, they do not inspire love for knowledge, they provoke a fear of failure. We need better to move forward, we can have better.
Feel free to express opinion in the comments section. I'm open to debate and suggestions. Until next time, I remain Sharpman Olumati.
This piece is written In honor of Dr. Inyambiri the greatest lecturer to ever live. You inspire me Sir!