It is been three months since I wrote anything creative. It isn’t a good thing for a creative writer, but I couldn’t help. I had other things that took preference over writing and they took a chunk of time, especially in my final semester of my B.Tech program. I must say my writing has gone really rusty, I just wrote this to get back to my form. I hope you enjoy reading it as I enjoyed writing it.
Writing this was similar to when I finished my NECO exams and my father told me to write an article titled, “After WAEC and NECO, what’s next.” I spent the whole day writing it, and I did about five rewrites. Apart from telling him I hoped to be a Nigerian graduate someday, I also wrote that he should release my PS 2 game console he had seized prior to the commencement of the NECO exams. He laughed when he was reading it, and I was delighted when he told me to pick up my game console.
Getting into the university was by the mercy of God. I wrote all the necessary exams, and I got admitted at my first try. I joined the multitude of medicine sulkers stuffed in P/A Chemistry department. It would take so many lectures and seminars to prevent so many of us from crossing out of the department. We were told the relevance of chemistry and its diversity in the economy. Many of us were happy at the prospect of working at Chervon or NDLEA someday, so we were calm, but few remained adamant and they crossed out, to Medicine, and today, they are in no level! I don’t think they’ve written their MBBS exams. They might spend ten years before they get their first degree. We too had our own chunk of this educational mess when ASUU embarked on a strike in 2009. Then the strike was like forever. I listened to radio till I tired out. News weren’t left out, I watched several news and press briefings on TV; read several gossips and editorials about the strike on the internet. That is one of the things a prospecting Nigerian graduate will face, except those that go to an advanced secondary school (Private University).
The strike finally ended after three months that looked like three years. The universities resumed and normal school activities resumed. And so the first year went.
My second year was a year of athletics. I had to constantly run round the school looking for empty lecture halls or theatre where we could receive lectures. We would cover as much as 2000m per day. It was really stressful.
The third year was crazily adventurous. We had a tyrant for a Governor then, and he almost bastardized the school’s educational system that we spent seven months for a single semester! It was that year he sent Mopols as an act of reprisal when his petrol station, then under construction, was partly destroyed by protesting students. So many students, many innocently were arrested. Some were even picked inside their hostels. They had to spend the night with hardened criminals at the cells of Iyaganku prison, Ibadan.
It was also that semester I had to do five exams in five days. You might not really understand my plight except you are in Chemistry. A three unit course on a normal day will be taught by five lecturers! I once did a course, a four unit course, and I was taught by two internal professors, one visiting professor, and a PhD lecturer.
The fourth year was strike free, and the fifth year looked strike free too, but it wasn’t. It was when a six months strike took place, it was really sad and hard to describe, let me just leave it.
So here I am, and Nigerian Graduate.I look at myself, and I laugh. I look at my mates, and I laugh even more. We are graduates, but what do we really know in chemistry? Now I’m not being sentimental here, all chemistry students in southwest Nigeria universities can’t stand an average LAUTECH chemistry graduate when it comes to what he knows! I have been to couple of these universities, and I know what I’m arguing about.
Simple chemical reaction and processes like autoclaving, refluxing, fractional column distillation, adsorption, ashing and so many other processes are things we had to conjure in our minds. We hardly/never saw them. I can’t remember the last time the fume cupboard in new chemistry laboratory was used. The chemicals on the work bench had probably being there since OSUTECH changed to LAUTECH!
In a nutshell, a Nigerian graduate is basically a photocopier. The university essentially turns you into one. We are thought not to be creative or read beyond the scope of what is taught in class. We are taught to memorise pages even though we are not eidetic.
I partly blame our lecturers for this. The thing is that to the best of my knowledge, giving lectures to students doesn’t help the lecturers when it comes to promotion. What helps is writing reports in journal. So to some of them, lecturing isn’t on their plan. They won’t come to class except two weeks to exam. Even when they come, it will be a photocopied note they have being handling out for the past ten years.
I don’t really blame the universities, I blame the Nigerian government. The educational sector is funded with a diminutive amount of the budget. Our leaders know this, which is why they send their children to the UK or any of any of the Ivy League schools in the US.
Now, I join the almost 7000 graduates from my school, and 1.8 million around the country who are being poured into the supersaturated labour market. What is really in stock for us? It is a million naira question which I don’t think even our president, Bros J, can answer.
I wrote this article immediately I finished writing my last exam for my B.Tech degree. May 2014