Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One desire that is universal,is the hope for a better tomorrow. Even where we may not be conscious of it,it is what motivates us,it is the reason why we work.

Today's activities,are the seeds of tomorrow. I have recently asked a young woman living with our family to go back to the village. I got tired of her antics. She was beginning to treat my wife like a junior wife,and that is where I draw the line. For want of a name,we will call her Alice.

Alice came to us after she had completed six years of secondary school.And she had the testimonial to prove it. And I was deeply troubled by this. I became worried when she tried to read the Bible one day in church,I had to force myself to close my mouth. I could hear the words,but they did not sound like English. They were like English words on square wheels,they just did not move.

Another thing that baffled me about this secondary school leaver,was that she could not write her name,or amounts in word,and figures! In addition,when she packed food in the deep freezer,she wrote in a language no other person could read. If she wrote stew,or you suspected that it was stew,you had to actually open the container to inspect it,before leaving it out to thaw. If not,you might be shocked in the evening,that it was the wayward beans you had been looking for that had thawed.

I kept asking myself the question,how did this girl pass English,and Mathematics in her final examinations?

I was informed,by those who knew better,that in village schools for instance,teachers actually wrote the answers to the questions on the chalk board,I was also told that this did not guarantee one hundred percent pass rate! Some students still failed despite the answers being laid on the plate,for them!

The same thing happened in many "special centres", another euphemism for cheating centres!

In precolonial,and early post-colonial Nigeria,the fact that a person had completed primary school,was enough for them to read properly,and write English! Many individuals went into the civil service from the secondary school!

Nothing could be more alien from the truth today. In fact,some people who allegedly possess first degrees,and even post graduate degrees, are intellectual disasters. Their command of English,is disgraceful.When they write,they rewrite all the rules of grammar,lexis,and structure. They actually make their own as they go along. 

When you come across someone who is a science major,he is usually worse.Science students,in error,believe that they do not need English to solve quadratic equations! They forget that English is the language of science.

I have also noticed,that men are worse offenders, of the two sexes. Women seem to be more careful. If you are not careful when these people speak,you might loose your head from the linguistic ballistic missiles they toss around!

The problem is further compounded by our penchant for speaking pidgin English. I have even seen some schools where the mother tongue was the language of instruction.

With each passing year,the rot and "miseducation" continues. There are two levels of education going on today;there is the expensive private school version,and the devil-may-care public schools.

We have not been devoting the minimum ratio of our national budget to education. Most of what we devote to education,goes into the pockets of contractors.

In twenty years time,when the current crop of those in primary school would be entering the labour market,we would be shocked at the secret rot. Then it would be too late to do anything.

People who went to excellent public,and sometimes, free mission schools, are the ones destroying education today. They are busy making money from the system,with very little care for the impact of their actions. Their children school in ivy league institutions abroad,so they have little impetus to improve the system.

Our children are our future,we need to fight to give them a better head start in life. 


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