-Helen Keller upon enrolling in a tertiary institution and after spending some time there as a student commented that she was so overwhelmed with school work that she didn’t have time to engage in solid thinking-
If you are in school, college or in a University and you think in your mind that the reason you are there is so that after you graduate your life will make meaning, or you will become successful due to the degree or the certificate that you will earn there; then absolutely you are mistaken.
I have come to define University and most especially a West African University as ‘An Institution which enslaves youth for about 4 to 6 years and during that period they are made to believe that they cannot do nor achieve anything until they are released from this prison of the mind’’. What makes a man goes beyond the certificate that he gets from a College or a University no matter how prestigeous that college or University is. It is now clear to me that Informal education is one of the significant ways that makes a man. Education is all around us and most importantly WITHIN us. It is not to be sought out in any man made institution. I know of great achievers whose works or achievements were not attributed to the University or the Institution they attended.
Now am sure some of you may start misquoting me and reading the ‘’thinking-within-the-box mind set’’ to what have just said. Yes you are to obtain your college degrees and university certificates, but this is just for you to avoid societal prejudice hence to have a good platform before the society wherein you can display your enormous gifts and contribution to the human race. Never for once think that you are in school to make a living. If you get carried away by this thinking you might actually be trying to make a living in life rather than to make a life.
Education is all around us and it is simply exposure and knowledge as the old saying says that ‘knowledge is power’’. Let us imbibe the right mind set and start thinking outside the box. We should be a nation of thinkers and not followers of thinkers as a friend of mine use to say. We are nurturing youths who are now merely followers rather than innovators and concept starters. When was the last time that you as a person sat down all alone to think deeply and to come out with ideas and concepts on how a particular thing around you should be done better, instead we are just wallowed in that prison of timidity and complacency allowing other people to come up with ideas for us. I think the problem is in people not wanting to sacrifice the time, energy and passion to engage in solid thinking. Martin Luther King Jnr once said; that one thing that people find it hard and difficult to do is to engage in serious and solid thinking. People don’t just want to sacrifice to do this
I truly and honestly don’t believe in formal and standardized education, and I will stand and defend this belief anywhere. The only time that I can begin to believe in Nigerian educational institution will be when a proper institution will be built and created to allow the imaginative thinking of students, an institute which will allow students to dream big, one which will culture inventors and innovators rather than old world and old regime followers, an institution that allows students to experiment with ideas and imaginative thoughts rather than following what the old and present generation has laid down and an institution which is built with a proper Research & Development unit.
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