I have spent six years in the American educational system as a math teacher in grade school, student success staff at a technical college, as a college instructor of Business, and I have clearly understood the actual role of education towards building the Nigerian industrial economy. The educational system of an industrialized country such as the United States must be very different from that of a developing country like Nigeria. While the former is already established industrially and is looking for a cheap labor force to generate wealth, the former should have an educational systems geared towards mobilizing its citizens to become established industrially.
The educational system I went through in Nigeria is more of an educational system meant for the industrialized nation, so we produce graduates without industries for them to go work or emigrants who run to industrialized countries to become their cheap laborers and illegal immigrants. The actual purpose of education was NEVER to produce graduate with paper degrees, but rather, graduates who have the ability to create jobs, generate businesses, circulate money amongst the citizens, and ultimately dictate the nation’s leadership. The colonized educational system of Nigeria ultimately does nothing but benefit the Western nations at the expense of Nigeria. Based on what I have learned in the American educational system, this is what Nigeria needs to do to make Nigeria an industrialized county within a decade:
First, in Kindergarten, aside from teaching our children to read, spell, write, know their colors, and sings songs, it is the perfect opportunity to instill national pride, love for Africa, and respect for being black through our folktales. It is always good to teach children morals at an earlier age, but instead of using the Bible and Koran, we should have a Nigerian book of folktales that uses actual historical figures, such as Kings, Queens, or citizens, to show the benefits of good and pain of bad. Nigerian adults tend to love and respect Europeans and Arabs more than themselves, while American children before grade school are already being taught that America is next to God. This is what the economic might of industrialized nations is built upon at an early age. Those who want to read the Bible and Koran can do so at places of worship.
Second, in Primary School, aside from taking normal primary school courses, it is the opportunity to instill in our children accurately recorded Nigerian history, government and civil classes, and the love of Nigerian languages. This purpose of this is not just to build upon our Kindergarten education, but rather, to engrave knowledge of whom we are, love for great leadership, and the necessity to preserve our heritage within the first 10 years of their lives. In America, grade school children are not only encouraged to take Latin or Greek to increase their understanding of English root words, but also have a clearer understanding of America’s 233 years of history from laws, to wars, and key national characters through time. By Primary 6, the average Nigerian child should be able to talk intelligently about major Nigerian Kings and Queens, their economic and scientific accomplishments, how they specifically sustained the economy and politics of their kingdoms, their legal and justice systems, and also how they cultivated their main item of trade. Nigerian Children must also love government, want to be a part of it, and most importantly, passes, read, and write one major Nigeria language and a minor Nigerian language to finish primary school.
Third, in Secondary School, it is the time to specialize in the field that you want to spend your life in towards developing Nigeria and building a career. At this stage, both parents and teachers should have a clear understanding where the NATURAL strengths and interests of the child lie, instead of the father dictating what the child should read. This is where we break them early into Science, Arts, Business, Social Science, Engineering and Architecture etc. At this stage, they only focus on Math, English, specific secondary school courses related only to their field, African History, a second major Nigerian language, and a second Nigerian minor language. By paying Nigerians to teach their languages, you do not only create jobs and bring the cultures of Nigeria closer to each other, but you also increase the relevance and preservation of our heritage in the eyes of the world. Before going to University, the average Nigerian student should be able to understand 4 Nigerian languages, understand African historical relevance for future trade, and have a very clear understanding about what his or her future purpose is for Nigeria.
Fourth, in the University level, it is where the rubber meets the road. This is the stage were we separate the leaders from the followers, the employers from the employees, and the entrepreneurs from income earners. There is no loser at this stage because everyone has a role to play. We do not want the current Nigerian situation were we have those who should have been the followers as our leaders. The first two years of University is not the time to start taking regular classes, but rather, to teach the students how to register their businesses, write private and governmental proposals, how to make business plans, how to apply for business loans, how to build relationships with banks and global organizations in their field, how to write contracts, how to write partnerships and employee agreements, how to balance assets and liabilities, and most importantly, how to market their good and services, and acquire customers. In the last two years of University, all students should be required to form a company with a group of 5 students in the same field of study and be given $50,000 by the government as capital instead of hiding it in Swiss Bank. The goal is to turn that $50,000 into $100,000 within 2 years before they are allowed to graduate with Bachelors. After graduation, $50,000 is returned to the government and the other $50,000 is to be used to recreate the success of the previous year. At this point, they now have capital, a customer base, and a brand name for their product or service. Here, graduation is not for the individual who studied, but rather, for the networking and collaborations of family, friends, and social organizations that generated the revenue.
The Pharmacist major can go into the villages and use part of the money to live with and learn from old herbalists on how to make African medications to cure specific local diseases. They can learn to mass produce them and sell to the sick at affordable prices. The Sociologists can get radio and TV time for about an hour each day and invite local experts in politics, business, health, and education to discuss social habits and forecasts while having local businesses pay for advertising. Engineers can advocate for certain roads, bridges, schools, or business centers to be renovated in their locality and compete for contracts from government and private owners. The Artists can have contracts with homes and businesses to beautify their venue with various art works on a monthly basis for a small fee or be stationed at a tourist center for tourist to purchase their art relating to that venue. The Zoologists can partner with hunters to create their own mini zoo where school children pay to take pictures with exotic and unique animals or partner with computer programmers to create various games on DVDs, which provides information about their animals, which children can buy to play with on their computers. The Home Economists may focus on family and friends events in terms of clothing, food catering, and hall decorations. The Web Designers should focus on hosting and designing the websites of their colleagues business, use that to get other established businesses, and try to get relating business to advertise on each site. Doctors can receive appointment from their friends and family network to tend to their sick at a reasonable fee and can also prescribe medications of their pharmacist colleagues. Photographers should utilize their network to get venues at events and occasions to do their trade. Physicists must create something for simple daily use and sell them even if it is a flash light, lens toy magnifying various images, or a solar battery for refrigerator.
Fifth, those who are interested in getting a Masters degree in two years, should hire another graduating company in the same field or a failed company who could not double their income the previous year, and utilize their social networks and collaborations to turn their new $50,000 into $200,000. Keep in mind, that there are now two companies working as one, with 10 people, double capital, double customer base, reduced cost of production, and more profits. One group gets a Masters, the other Bachelors, while they both have an increased confidence in their abilities to succeed in their field. Graduation in a developing nation should not be a piece of paper on a wall, but rather, the confidence to generate industrial money, the comfort to hire others, and ability to circulate money between various circles of trade.
Last, those who care about getting a PhD will have to publish a book and give a public presentation on how their company succeeded in their field, how they hired others and helped them get their Bachelors, how they were able to increase their customers base and profits, and most importantly, explain how his or her company can acquire more customers and create job opportunities in a particular location in another African country with 4 years of starting the PhD program. This will involve traveling to that country to understand the people, their culture, and their needs based on the African History classes he learned in secondary school. Every successful nation depends on other countries to import their goods, services, and expertise. This is what the colonizers have done to Africa through conquest, but Nigeria must see Africa and the Caribbean as its market and take it from the colonizers through intelligence, production, and reduced competitive prices. These books can then be used as textbooks in the first two years of University to prepare and motivate the students for the last two years towards graduation (trash all those old books that only prepare us to work for others).
This is how we can turn Nigeria into an enlightened nation that does not rely on its government to feed it. We will have citizens who know how to duplicate money and produce good and services from a very young age. Bad leadership only thrives where there is high illiteracy. Enlightened people who create, produce, and circulate money do not like people lying to them or stealing from them. They are problem solvers and solution providers. If they do not lead the country themselves, they will elect others that will make and enforce laws to keep money, production, and employment circulating.