This piece is the first in a series of writings titled “Lessons from within”. They are a collection of vital lessons I learnt from my parents, friends and associates. I will share them bi-weekly on this portal.
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I was a boarding house student during my secondary school days at Federal Government College Ugwolawo in Kogi State, Nigeria. At the end of every holiday; a night before resumption, dad always called me to his room for a chat. “What is your purpose of going to school?” was a constant question during each chat session. My answer remained, “I am going to college to study”.
Whenever resumption is near I always prayed for a postponement of the resumption date. This is not unconnected with my emotional attachment to my mother and the hostile attitude of many senior students to the junior students. I always told mum how much I will miss her; in return i could tell how much she would miss me her last baby – who she nicknamed babaiyere ( in Owe langauge, Kabba) which means the father of his mother. Dad never showed any signs of missing me he would say it’s for my good to leave for school.
As I progressed through school; the room chat continued “What is your purpose of going to school?” it was an easy question to answer as a junior secondary school student. During my Senior secondary school days, I found the question irritating and unnecessary but I never showed it in my countenance. In my thoughts I wondered why dad kept asking the same question? I was not comfortable with the question anymore; does it mean that dad feels I do not know the value of education?
Several years after graduation from college, I understood the intent behind dads query. I have met a number of polytechnic and university students who do not have correct answers to the simple question, “what’s your purpose of studying for a degree“. If you are a student, make out time to answer the question.
If dad asks me the same question now, my response would be “to know”, to help solve problems in the real world, to create value and add value to society. The primary essence of studying is to know, learn, acquire knowledge. Therefore it is not healthy to make good grades while you lack an understanding of your subjects. Employers of labour often complain that many graduates do not have the requisite skills for the positions they seek employment for; a disconnect from the excellent grade reflected on their certificates.
Have you noticed how education seem not to work in our society? how it seem not to solve our basic problems? The problem is in the application; you do not know what you claim to know until you put it to work.
There is little or no relationship between our citadels of higher learning and the society. Yet they exist to add value and solve societal problems. I think there is need to remind our educational administrators and the academic community their role in the society.
As the 2015 election draws near, it is important to ask all candidates jostling for political offices the chat room question – What is your purpose of vying for the position. After the elections, for elected candidates, the questions would be What was your purpose of vying for this position (I pray the response remains the same)….. Vote wisely.
Final words, Dear Parents and Guardians, If you are not in the habit of having a tete-a-tete with your wards begin to do so; it is an obligation you owe them.
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