Disabling environment, a disincentive to teaching, learning
There is the compelling need for the Federal Government to ensure that teaching and learning are carried out in comfortable environments in view of the influence doing so has on practical learning, so says researcher and lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University College Cork, Ireland, Niyi Kolawole.
For Nigerian graduates to be globally competitive, learning must be holistic and capable of translating knowledge into practical experience.
Kolawole, who is also founder of Solid-Link Consulting, an overseas education consultancy firm, frowned at the narratives surrounding the quality of Nigerian graduates, noting that “they were neither less intelligent nor lack the ability to learn, but that the environment in which they were trained is disabling.”
In a chat with newsmen during a recent visit to country, he urged government to rethink its investment in the sector and ensure students were exposed to 21st-century learning.
He said, “The dwindling quality of education in the country especially in higher institutions, is indeed worrisome. Most Nigerian graduates cannot compete favourably globally despite the fact that some came out with first class degrees. Not because they are not intelligent, or that they don’t have the ability, the only problem is that the environment where they train is inhibiting. It is disabling.
“The experience that comes with education is very important. Education should not be about diploma, it should be holistic and imbue graduates with the ability to practically translate their knowledge to the needs of the society. It must benefit man and society. We have to begin to breed people that would see Nigeria’s problem as a collective problem and be earnest in finding lasting solutions to it.”
Speaking on the activities of his consulting firm, he said, “We work with prospective students through the process of application and eventual placement in their chosen schools in Ireland and we assist them until they settle into their new environment. We also facilitate the linkage of local tertiary institutions with reputable academic institutions in Ireland.”
Kolawole continued, “Every student that comes to us we coach and direct them about life. My organisation is interested in helping these children achieve holistic education that would make them independent and critical thinkers, so that when they come back to Nigeria, they would contribute positively to the society.
On the choice of Ireland, he said, “Ireland remains the hub of many multinational corporations like Google, Twitter, Facebook, which offer unlimited opportunities for students. Ireland has a friendly visa regime and students’ friendly programmes that allows foreign students one-year stay after their graduation to look for jobs, unlike the 28 days of grace offered in the United Kingdom (UK).
“The difference between Ireland and other countries in Europe is that it is legal for students to work 20 hours a week. During holidays, they can work like 50, 60 or 70 hours. It depends on how much strength they have and also if they can get the job. That makes life easier for those that are willing to work. That is entirely a different system from the UK.”