Changing youths mindset on get-rich approach to life
By Ibukun Emiola
Incontrovertibly, preference for material gains (wealth) to the pursuit of education among the youth is trending by which some of the youth consider learning as a “waste of time’’.
In recent times, there has been a continuous campaign on social media platforms by some youths who believe going to school to get western education as a “waste of time’’ because of their erroneous belief that formal education does not have any correlation with wealth.
Concerned citizens, therefore, express concern about the development with an observation that if the society does not change the younger generation’s tendency for getting rich without regard for proper education or vocations, contemporary youths and future generations will continue to see education as a rip-off scheme.
They cite the recent development in a reality show — Big Brother Naija – in which a youth, Olamilekan Agbeleshe (Laycon) won the Season 5 of the show to get the biggest prize ever, value at N85 million, including the grand prize of N30 million.
In show of love for his feat in the show, the youth walked across major streets and markets in the Abeokuta, Ogun, giving free recharge cards to passers-by for voting in support of Laycon.
Analysts observe further that in competitions involving subjects in education, winners are rewarded less than their expectations.
Prof. Oyesoji Aremu, the immediate former Director Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan, observes that the youth are of the notion that school is a “rip-off’’ because their expectations are not met by what school gives.
Similarly, Dr Promise Adiele, Department of English, Mountain Top University, notes that it is worrisome to see the educated youth scorned while “illiterates and semi-literates’’ present themselves in the corridors of power.
Observing that not less than 90 per cent of young graduates are without jobs, he notes that many of them have taken to menial duties to survive.
“All the lectures, assignments, projects, fieldwork and thesis they wrote amount to nothing, since they eventually revert to menial jobs, suffocating the space for those who never went to school,’’ he observes further.
Irrespective of the opinions of the youth on the relevance of education to wealth acquisition and development, stakeholders in education insist that education develops a country’s economy and society; therefore, it is the milestone of a nation’s development.
They note that education is the foundation of society that brings economic wealth, social prosperity and political stability and that economic and social status depend on education obtained by individual since education contributes to individual capability in managing quality of life.
They, therefore, solicit holistic approach to education and a good reward system that will change the erroneous belief among the youth that attending school to acquire education is a “waste of time’’.
But Prof. Yemi Akinrinmade, a lecturer and National President Methodist High School Ibadan Old Students’ Association, says whoever thinks education is a waste of time should try being ignorant and check the outcome of ignorance.
He enjoined parents to motivate their wards towards their studies to be able to harness the opportunities that education brings.
Mrs Edem Ossai, a public affairs analyst and a legal expert, believes that the social media campaign in support of the belief of the youth in that regard is growing because “new images of success have been created.
“One of the trends we are witnessing, especially through entertainment, is that new images of success are being put forward in the minds of young people.
“New icon of success largely because Nigeria has become a place where efforts do not necessarily yield results.
“There are evidence of people who went through formal education and came out into the society and could not clinch a simple job; signalling to young people that education is not the route to success’’, she notes.
Ossai says to change the narrative and make education attractive the nation’s reward system must be functioning and sustainable.
“There is a need to build complete trust in the nation’s institutions and provide sustainable ways to tackle cybercrime and other vices.
“If you want people to pursue a path, you must show them a reward at the end of such a path, government must work hard to expand the sectors of our economy so that we can create jobs for young people.
“Otherwise, we are signalling to young people that going to university is not an effective way to pursue life’s outcome,’’ she observes.
According to her, there is a need to work with the entertainment industry to put forward positive models and messages to the youth that hard work, honesty and integrity pay.
The public affairs analyst also wants creativity and innovation to be emphasised and also that youths should deploy technology for positive and rewarding business opportunities.
Also, Mr David Afolayan, Chief Executive Officer, GIS Konsult, says qualitative education should be the focus so that youths can fit into industries after schooling.
He advocates total overhaul of the education sector, stating that students are being taught to memorise things instead of critical thinking that can help to solve challenges in the industry.
Afolayan notes that school curriculum should be upgraded and updated to international standards so that students can have global competitiveness.
According to him, until education in Nigeria is revamped, youths will continue to lose interest, as well as those in the industry as many Nigerian graduates, are unemployable.
“To even fit into entrepreneur, critical thinking and problem-solving acumen are needed aside from other skills.
“The Nigerian syllabus has been the same, teachers lack motivation and they keep reading from ancient notes they made over decades ago.
“All these have to stop to put an end to the trendy social media notion on education; there are jobs in Nigeria contrary to what people say that there are no jobs; but are there people competent to take on these jobs, do we have the expertise required?
“Government must invest in education and also collaborate with the private sector to make a turnaround in the decay that is obvious in the sector,’’ Afolayan observes.
But Prof. Olugbenga Ehinola, Head of Department, Geology University of Ibadan, observes that the length of time spent from primary school level to tertiary institutions in acquiring education may have contributed to the notion.
“If someone spends more than 20-year acquiring education and another person spends at most five years learning a trade or being an artisan, whereas the latter became successful in terms of money.
“The other person who went to school will feel disappointed since he graduated he has no job and had to learn a trade or become an entrepreneur to make a livelihood,’’ he notes.
Ehinola believes that what education does to the mind is to enlighten it and expose people to thrive wherever they find themselves.
He states that how people who have education go about whatever they do justify the need for education even now that white-collar jobs are scarce.
“Education exposes you to knowledge which can be applied anywhere and that is a game changer.
“Government should support entrepreneurship through favourable policies to make life easy for young people,” Ehinola advises.
All in all, he advises that there should be de-emphasised on the get-rich syndrome in the society and politics should be made less attractive because youths take a wrong clue from the affluence displayed by politicians.
- Emiola is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)