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Saturday, 19 November 2011

If Only...

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I was at Microsoft's UK headquarters with some of my students on a school trip last week. The event is part of Microsoft's way of providing useful career advise to encourage female students to consider opportunities in the IT industry. Speakers from the various departments gave speeches on various roles in IT and Microsoft in particular.

Whilst at times it came across as an exercise in self adulation but nonetheless it was intended to inspire the young audience to aspire. I have to say I was inspired and I couldn't help but thinking if only I had the same opportunity when I was in school to be given career advice by top experts in one if the biggest companies in the world. Not that a good career advice guarantees anything but it surely helps to make informed choices.

As I sat in the conference hall, at various times my thoughts often wandered about, buried in the thought if only such opportunities are possible for Nigerian children. Probably not, unless you're ofcourse the child of a 'big man'.

My experience so far working in education has further opened my eyes to the huge difference and impact early exposure and opportunities can make in young people's lives. Opportunities that are virtually non-existent to ordinary Nigeria children. Where a dysfunctional educational system continues to let them down.

The murky waters and cut-throat world of politics seems to be the only real attraction. No surprises there as we're all too aware our politicians (if you call them politicians) are more skilled in emptying the public purse than filling a pothole on their doorsteps.

I know things can be better or should indeed be better but if only...

I rest my case for now.



12 comments:

  1. For real ... If only! It is hard to discuss education and not get into political discussions too. They are inextricably linked. The children of "Big Men" frankly don't even need these opportunities, but they get them anyhow. I guess there are some things money CAN buy. Early exposure is good, but in the meantime, all they're getting is 'No exposure.'

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  2. Sometimes when I see these kids, I feel like the person that could discover the cure for cancer for example is one of those roaming around the streets hawking, with absolutely no idea of what the four walls of a laboratory looks like.
    We lose a lot when there's no equal chance(or at least a good one)for every child to explore their potentials.
    God help us

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  3. @Myne, I sigh with you.

    @Relentless builder, I agree education and politics linked. Good politics is what enables good policies that facilates good education. Unfortunately bad politics reigns supreme in our country and the consequences are there for all to see.

    @MsJB, You make a lot of sense. There's no such thing as equal opportunity in Nigeria. Sadly millions of Nigerian kids are paying the price for no opportunities at all.

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  4. Everything in this country is political. Sad

    Adiya
    http://museorigins.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Adiya, it is indeed. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. But you know there is a two tier educational system in the UK too. If a child goes to private or grammar schools, ie. a privileged middle class background; they are more likely to be successful in their career choices.

    The main difference b/w Nigeria and the UK is that high achieving children in the UK would get the opportunity to develop their potential.

    Average students are not so better off in the current UK system IMHO. Only difference is that the state would ensure they don't starve if they can't get a job.

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  8. The UK system is becoming more about who you know and who you are. Anecdotal evidence on radio chat shows etc suggest even White Brits would attest to this.

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  9. @Adura, you made some valid points. Whilst I agree that the UK has a two-tier educational system, we need to put things in perspectives. Grammar schools are not the exclusive preserve of middle class families. There are many children from working class backgrounds that still make it to Grammar schools as long as you're good enough to pass the entrance test. You can argue they're in the minority but at least the opportunity stii exist for them.

    The point you make about UK society becoming about who you know is nothing new. This is more down to their deeply rooted class system. I believe things have even got better now than compared to the 80s and previously.

    The UK educational system has its issues, I know this for a fact as I work in the system. However, if Nigeria is serious of moving our educational system forward then we've got to look at countries where things are better and the UK certainly falls in that category. There aren't any perfect system of doing things but there are certainly better ones. As a nation, we need to start embracing what works as we are often very defensive of our shortcomings.

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    ReplyDelete

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