P.T.A. REVISITED.

The recent startling revelation coming from all corners that, “Nigerian graduates are unemployable!” is a fact which ought not to be customarily overlooked nor treated with kids gloves. Apart from having the stinking underpinnings of a worrisome situation, the appalling signals clearly spell danger and doom if nothing is urgently done to remedy the situation. It behoves me to write on this issue, because, as an undergraduate currently, I will eventually join the multitudinous batch currently in the labour market, swelling each day like the sands on seashores.

Let’s call a spade a spade. The fact remains-and remains as such-that, the educational certificate we come out with will be and will remain a piece of paper. Our education will therefore, unquestionably be the residue we acquired while studying. That said, I recently encountered a first-class electrical engineering graduate who cannot do a simple electrical wiring! To my utmost surprise and dumbfoundness, he had confessed to me that he has never handled screwdrivers while in school. According to him, there was no need for practicals in their school because volumes of textbooks abound that sufficiently and efficiently taught what they were to learn. Unsurprisingly though, it is a well-known fact that we have a lot of graduates who can barely pen down their names. Roadside mechanics have proven to be more knowledgeable in mechanical machines than our first-class mechanical engineering students. Our science students are only acquainted with laboratory apparatus in textbooks. Law students barely appreciate the gimmicks and rituals of the courtroom until they get to law school, which then makes it hard for them to grasp. The reason for this anomaly is obviously not far-fetched. Students’ lackadaisical attitudes towards learning has known to be the frontburner why education is on a decline in the country. However, apart from this major factor, I have identified what I believe to be three other factors which add their own grease to the wheels that smother our employability. And these three factors, I wholelabelled: P.T.A. Yes, P for Parents; T for Teachers; and A for Administrators. These three factors individually and collectively contribute their quota towards graduate unemployability.

Well-to-do parents have been known to largely influence their childrens’ choice of life careers. The poor ones more or less don’t care what their children become because they being illiterates-schooling-wise, will mostly not appreciate what their children do in school. Over glasses of champagne, childrens’ fate as to what they will become and how they will become what, will be sealed. The children will never grow up to ever think of becoming something else. Renowned doctors, lawyers and engineers will be the only examplars and models they are acquainted with. Any other ‘unprofessional’ course is forbidden to be spoken of. God forbid the child says s/he wants to become a musician or a footballer! Such professions are undignified! However, it is not hidden that people in such fields are making good money and repute. The children will then grudgingly have to read what is not their passion and interest. Another attitude of rich parents is padding the way for their children in almost everything that the child is as good as useless when s/he comes out of school. They will bribe their way to have their children be in either of medicine or law, for they believe those courses to be the most lucrative. And when the child has barely managed to scale through the university, s/he will have nothing to offer.

What is the need of sending me on a never-ending journey to find “x” in a quadratic equation, where the value of x is not equal or less than the square root of its mean, taking “y” to be a constant? Of what use is it asking me the cube root of the simultaneous equation which has tan&cos as intergers of the matrix of sine? Such was the impatience of my primary school teachers with anybody who had no head for maths. In fact, they had unhiddenly made it known to us that if you don’t know maths, you are doomed for life! Just like the eternal damnation of sinners in hell fire. Not that they were wrong by any means, for maths is very much important in our lives as we need oxygen, but where I’ve come to class one chilly morning debating in my mind, struggling with my conscience whether to accept Achebe’s killing of his hero in ‘Things Fall Apart’ or not, after an enjoyous reading the previous night and then failing to calculate the circumference of the radius of a circle which has ‘x’ as its diameter, only for me to receive strokes of the cane says much about our teachers insensitivity towards our welfare. Till date, I am still having nightmares of my maths teachers in primary and secondary school. The females with their ugly, coarse and intelligent faces, while the males with their bloodshot, crinkled and heavily-moustached faces. My teachers will never tolerate you if, should you be unmaths or unscience oriented. Arts, they believed, was meant for lazy students. But students, like me, abound that all our lives we like reading. In fact, I had been such a voracious reader, that I was picking sheets of papers from the ground to read. One day of reading a page of a written word was like one week of straight partying to me. One incident that nearly had me stopped school remains fresh in my memory. I was sitting down on my own one hot afternoon reminiscencing about the novel which I just finished reading, whether to give it a pass mark of 3 out of ten or 1 over 10, when I suddenly felt my neighbour nudging me and pointing to Uncle P, our maths teacher. Unknown to me, Uncle P had asked us to give him examples of whole numbers, and everybody else had given, until it got to me and Uncle P was the type that never repeated questions. I had turn my eyes to the guy behind me, hoping he meant him, but Uncle P would have none of that nonsense. I stood up and muttered, “3 over 10.” I said it because I knew that since it was a maths class, the question would be one that concerns numbers. I don’t know where the inspiration fell from, even till today. Uncle P’s eyes, I noticed, started emitting little sparks of fire when he called me out to receive my due reward. Whoosh! Whish! was the only sound heard as his koboko went all over my body. My eyes, ears, nose, mouth and my head were all double their sizes by the time I got home. It had to take a week of constant hot-water pressing by my mother before they returned to slightly their normal sizes. I had refused to go back to that school until threats from my father to do more of what Uncle P did took me back.

Ah! Our leaders(Administrators), those ones are as guilty as sin itself. Their barefaced disdain for education in the country is something even the blind can clearly see. Polytechnics are currently on strike, but our leaders, in their usual Hobson choice attitude, don’t give a hoot. After all, their kids are in choice schools abroad. Such a brazen display of idiocy like Hitler’s, that our leaders are earnestly trying to uphold. For Hitler was reported to have said that, his teachers, apart from a select few, were the worst people in his life, or maybe it is their own hearty conviction which begs for a credible explanation. We were witnesses to the inglorious six-month ASUU strike of the recent past, which untenably halted educational activities in the country. In short, I hold our leaders to be the major culprits in making Nigerian graduates unemployable.

The remedy of the situation is invariably the opposite of the problems herein outlined. Parents should allow their children choose what they intend to become in life, though with a little guidance. “Beyonce” is a course now offered in an American university. If you should enter any bank and say you are the nephew to the cousin of Cristiano Ronaldo’s uncle, let me see the bank manager that will refuse to do business with you. There’s no such thing as undignified or unprofessional courses. The passion to read a course should be the determining factor here.

Again, our teachers, especially the ones at our formative level, should help guide us, rather than destroy us. Until now, many of my secondary school classmates who joined sciences because they were persuaded by our teachers to do so, are still seeking admission to higher institutions. And this time around, they will be glad to accept admission from just any institution. Perhaps, its because our teachers were meant to teach us academics side by side morals, that they are unable to draw a line between both. They have to impose their ideals on us.

As for the government, theirs is like a malignant tumour. Growing worse each day. Paying only lip-service to education in the country. When a major issue, such as the one under consideration, receives little or no attention from the powers that be, then there is a great chance of impending doom.

On the whole therefore, there is an urgent need to revisit the P.T.A. That I believe would ameliorate the stark inadequacies of graduates to a large extent.

Please if you have a different view, feel free to share with us, as different opinions will be entertained.

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5 thoughts on “P.T.A. REVISITED.

  1. I have no opposing view whatsoever… I'm in total support of everything you've said…

    This made me flash back to a period in JSS 3… My guidance counsellor then told us students that we should detest from reading novels or any form of literature… If its not Integrated science, maths or another core subject, don't read it… Problem is I was already writing pretty good fiction then… I heeded her advice then and didn't write or read till my 200l in the Uni..

    I regret every bit of it….
    Thank you for this… Parents, teachers and administrators need to see this…

    Like

  2. 'Nigerian graduates are unemployable!' Some Nigerians who say that sometimes act startled, outraged, like it's entirely the Nigerian graduate's fault. I mean, like, 'how dare you graduate and not be employable. There's a root-cause effect to every situation.

    Like

  3. I couldn't agree more with everything you pointed out, but I feel the need to also mention an aspect I think should be considered when talking of the causes of mass graduate unemployability. Beyond all the PTA factors put together, I believe we as children, students and graduates have a role to play in our own marketability. Not all of us are in fields we hold no passion for. A number of graduates chose their paths themselves yet they are no better than those ones whose fates were forced upon them. I see no reason why as a student you should limit yourself to the confines of what the school brings your way when in the end if you're considered good quality, the praise and benefits go to you first before your parents, or even your school.

    Truth be told, the system is warped. Too many wrong things going on and I guess it's all because of the changing times! Our parents, professors and ageing lecturers tell us tales of how during their time, things were bliss. They were well taught, immersed themselves in research works, no google, no ask.com, and somehow everything they learnt stuck better; such that to date, they can impart so much knowledge in us without stuttering! And then, the best part? Even before they completed their first degree programmes, they had tons of jobs awaiting them! What happened? Time? Or people? I don't know! Things seem to be the exact opposite these days! The schools are a-teeming but contents are lacking, the curriculum is changing but the teachers are confused! Our parents are selfish, and we the children? We are not even willing to work or fight or be. Without the energy, and determination on our own paths, then there's no point posing blames! There are several people whose parents intended to force fates on them, but they fought out of the spell and worked hard at what they wanted, now their parents are the quickest to say 'oh! That's my child! He's a billionaire now. He is our son!'.. What's my point? It is all in our hands!

    While it's very pretty to have parents that cherish the essence of quality education, appreciate the pride that comes with working for what you'll eventually earn (your degree), and understand the blissful success that comes with letting their children tow paths they hold passion for (for passion fuels determination); you can always fight against imposition! People have done it before and they are fine now. Back then in Jss3, I remember although I was good in both fields, my teachers wanted me to be in the sciences. They were sure I was science material and funny enough, my childhood dream was to be a doctor, so it seemed to all fit perfectly! But thankfully, as if as a miracle, a little miscomputations in chemical composition found me in the commercial class. The teachers don't quite understand their role these days, true! It's why we maybe need understanding parents to keep us from going the wrong path, yes! But really, it's still in our hands!

    In all, the problem is an unending loop of complications- graduate unemployability, but basically, beyond our PTA, we can, should and must improve ourselves, and strive in all ways possible to stand out amidst the crowd of teeming graduates. Every graduate to himself. And nothing makes you any better than the other graduates safe for how well you can define what you stand for, and defend what you've earned so far. We would have to forget about what disbelief employers may have in the educational system these days; every rule has an exception, and in this case, you and I can make the exception!

    Nice piece. 🙂

    Like

  4. It's good to know that people still reason this way. You've said it all. There should be an urgent need to visit the P.T.A. concept.

    Like

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