Do you know why almost every issue in Nigeria– class system, opportunities, nepotism –boils down to money? That’s because we do not have a functional structure. We can collectively change that.
Let’s take a walk-through a timeline to establish how this may occur.
Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children
About 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria, topping the chart of all countries that are host to children not entrenched in an education system. This occurs largely because the parents/guardians of these children cannot afford the cost of education – uniforms, fees, opportunity cost (loss of income otherwise earned through the child’s labour).
Other reasons include cultural barriers, child flight from abusive home conditions, and orphan care by unwilling persons. This also occurs because although there are laws to ensure that, at the minimum, a child gets primary-level education, the implementation is weak.
The tertiary education pitfall
It is a miracle to get accepted into a higher institution at the first application and finish at the stipulated end of the programme. This is not necessarily because the undergraduates that get accepted before others are more intelligent or hardworking, but because the system is flawed. There is a wide margin between the number of students seeking admission and the slots available. As a result, prospective students stay home year after year waiting in their quest to further their education.
After gaining admission, the number of those who get to study their course of preference is even smaller. The greater proportion that gets admitted is made up of mismatches – candidates who choose to take the opportunity to study anything and get a degree irrespective of not being offered their degree of choice.
Considering that passion plays a critical role in excelling in one’s chosen field, there’s bound to be a lot of mediocre professionals who follow through a career path that stems from the unwanted university degree.
Quality of education
While Nigeria prides itself with some great institutions, most of the tertiary institutions aren’t up to standard. Some graduates get half-baked degrees, as some of the institutions are ill-equipped with outdated laboratories, obsolete machineries, and libraries or a lack of them altogether. Indeed, the practical aspects of some courses are substituted with theories instead.
Transitioning to the workplace
After one eventually gets the degree, the number of entrants into the job market greatly surpasses the job opportunities available. The gap is so wide, explaining why youth unemployment is at an astronomical high. Some employers complain the job seekers are not equipped with the skill sets required in the workplace.
There is a strong difference between survival entrepreneurship and impact entrepreneurship. The former is to keep one’s head above water while the latter has a propensity to scale and compete with global brands. Paucity of entrepreneurship could occur due to lack of access to capital and other resources, and absence of mentoring.
A business stands a better chance of survival with ready capital. Most entrepreneurs raise it from friends and family and start small. If you fall into a group whose network can’t raise it –not because they’re evil or your business plan sucks – but because they simply do not have it, you keep playing small or stay at the survival level or grow at a very slow pace compared to if you had a catalyst – support system & funding.
Did you beat the system? The burden rests on you to change it
This list is not exhaustive. If you come out of this system victorious due to better opportunities, positioning, privileges amidst hard work (you must remember that those that didn’t beat the system aren’t necessarily lazy; the system simply is highly flawed), the burden rests on you to instigate change.
Everyone should have a higher chance at succeeding. The onus of fixing it falls on the shoulders of those who have beat the system, on the shoulders of the populace to demand better systems and on the shoulders of those called to lead to build systems and to do it at a reasonable pace.
Wealth– a by-product of opportunity –is mostly generational. To bridge the wealth gap, we need to build systems and make attempts to level the field. Change begins with you!
For the most part of it, you succeeded because you had a more favourable soil. Let’s get to work to create a better soil for others.
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