Western education in Nigeria has always been geared towards a purpose. Missionary education produced catechists and ultimately Bishop Ajayi Crowther. Early colonial education produced middle level manpower for the budding civil service and ultimately Simeon Adebo.

Independence demanded more professionals – doctors, engineers, so universities were set up to produce them. Later we wanted technical schools and polytechnics came up.

There has been constant reviews of curricula. We have seen the 6-3-3-4, now 9-3-4. Despite these reviews the golden era of Nigerian education seem to be behind us. A time was when the Nigerian doctor could work anywhere in the world with his Nigerian degree. Now a Nigerian doctor might be unable to put surgical blade to its holder.
The greatest calamity to befall Nigerian education is best captured by Prof. Joel B. Babalola, a professor of education, who said Nigerian universities produces TANKERS rather THINKERS. He also said “…Nigerian graduates cannot interpret life situations in light of the knowledge they acquire. Once they are challenged with problems outside their comfort zones, they are lost, as if they never attended university”.
Passing a child through Nigerian public and private schools would have a child’s God’s gift of creativity, enquiry, sprite, imagination, wrung out of him or her. He or she is left an adult waiting to be spoonfed information, unable to add value to his job or to society without further intervention. Others have put it in other ways like, “….Nigeria graduates are untrainable, …’standards have gone to the dogs”
Nigerian educationist, that is the professional teacher,don’t offer any solution. They are just out to impress the parent rather than enable and ennoble their students. Pupils in elementary schools are loaded with topics we parents studied in secondary schools. The likes of the anatomy of heart, isosceles triangle being taught in junior primary.  These are ages that can’t comprehend the subject matters.
In universities, its all about buildings and structures. Multimillion naira gates to flashy buildings with no substance inside of them. In other words we have been addressing the shell or form leaving behind the substance or essence of education. How student are taught, what they are taught and ultimately who teaches them have not received the attention they deserve. 
Only discerning parents would recognize the short coming of the education they pay millions of naira for in both privates and public institutions.
It is time to nurture students who think rather then upload and download-Regurgitators. We have to stop producing automatons who can’t do original, not to talk of thinking outside the box or lateral thinking etc. It is time to nurture, imagination and imagery, curiosity and discovery. 
Do we know there are more professors in Nigeria then in Finland the home of Nokia and the country with the best education system. Is there any correlate between Ph.Ds in science and registered patents ? How many Nigerian Ph.Ds/ professors are cited by their peers in journals of international Repute.

The world has moved on from bronze age to industrial age, from jet age to knowledge/information age. Underpinning these transformations is the thinking man. The thinking man has produced by the thinking society has seen in America, England and now Asia. Any Wonder that our traditional broom hasn’t been improved.
I grew up with bulky phones in our home, only police officers used phones in their vehicles. This was in the 60’s. Now I am thinking of video conferencing in my car. This is the progression you get from societies that nurture their youth to think.
Our educational system cannot, would never improve our traditional broom or anything at that. It is time to stop chasing shadows of curricular reviews, citadel beautification, expensive gates houses and attend to  core and substance of education or tutelage.
We must recognize that every child is born a thinker and creative. Every child is born to explore and discover, to enquire and be curious. It is society through superstition, false beliefs, heavy-handedness and mal-education that truncates and stunts this thinking spirit. Other progressive societies start from this God given base and nurtures encourage, lubricates, imagination, innovation enquiry and inquiry leading to creativity and solutions to societal problem. In United States Of America teaching or lecturing at tertiary level is two directional. The students probe the lecturer while the lecturers mine the students mind for new insights. God help the lecturer who is not on top of the subject.
Here, if you throw or blow rubbish at the students they suck and sock it up and regurgitate for you at exams. If a student faults his lecturer’s rubbish, he or she is failed. Write appropriate information not in your lecturers notes and you are scored zero.
We have to hone the imaginative spirit our children are born with and to do this we must bring creative teaching back to school. In Finland, children are not rushed. Children must attain the age of six before formal reading is introduced. Children are allowed to learn by play and discovery. student are made to love learning not just pass exams. 
Talking to young teachers while writing this article I discovered that they are hemmed in by lesson notes prepared for inspectors who monitor them. Any new thing outside this lesson notes prepared creatively to assist student is frowned on.
Our brightest and best must be encouraged to the teaching profession, Yes medicine, engineering, law must take a back seat to teaching or teachers in nursery,primary and secondary education. Teachers must be assessed by their students performances. No free rides,your students excel and you are rewarded.

More than half our student population think in their mother-tongue or pidgin English so if we want a thinking nation. We must go back to instruction in mother-tongue. What we lost by debasing vernacular is enormous and is up for discussion for another day. Suffice to say that instructing science in vernacular CULTURRISES science and makes it much our own. Now it is called western education. Teach Biology, Physics in Hausa, Efik, even standardized Pidgin english and see the effect it would have. Along the way, the mastery of English is also encouraged. So a two language policy is run. Teach in vernacular and continue mastery of English from nursery to post degree.
A student should be able to translate any science information to his mother tongue or language of the region. That is mastery not just parroting or cramming in a tongue you are unfamiliar with. After all Nigerians going to study in non English universities are given six to nine months to master Russian or Spanish and I hope Yoruba or Hausa or Igbo in future.

The Bible has been translated into various Nigerian or African Languages, do the same for Biology, Chemistry, Physics etc. Babs Fafunwa I say your time has come.
Furthermore, any institution wanting to bring creative thinking back into their curriculum can visit these sites for help.I also recommend seeing a Bollywood film ‘THE THREE IDOTS’that brings home the points raised.
1. edwdedebonofoundation.com
2. www.blueskyskills.co.uk
or contact Edward De Bono, a thinking guru, at edwdebono@msn.com
Written By A. Jaiyesimi

By floramichaels

Hi, I am Flora Ngo-Martins. I love writing and I am passionate about fashion, stories, news and food. Sometimes I get a little bit serious but that's alright, I can also be mischievous. I also like to analyse stuffs people do and sometimes judge.*wink* Most of all, I love to influence the lives of people positively and tell people's stories from a totally different perspective. Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions or....

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