By Sadiq Usman Omotizi

School just like every other social institution plays a vital role in society, however, in recent times there has been a misconception amongst Nigerian students on the significance of education in Nigeria which has led to the popular social media slang - “school na scam”. This common phrase stemmed as a result of the fecund rate of unemployment among Nigeria youths who felt that their certificates can no longer provide jobs for them and therefore termed education as 'unimportant'. But does this justify the claim or discard the fact that the assertion has been avowed more often than not? Certainly not.

It is disheartening to note that this same school system which has produced a lot of bright-minds and invariably benefited many in a lot of ways has been denounced as ‘deceit’. Yes, I agree that there exists a plethora of inadequacies in the Nigerian educational system, but I also believe that the the problem of unemployment has more to do with the general economy rather than just a sector of it because great countries of the world were made by their strong formal educational system. 

A popular scholar, Aristotle once posits that “an educated person is a righteous person”. This implies that once a person is educated, it is believed that his or her level of understanding has been broadened beyond that of an uneducated person.
 But can I confidently say that for our youths and those who have dubbed school to be a ‘scam’, have naively shared a mutual value or rather tend the same mindest with that of the deadly terrorist group – Boko Haram. Or do I need to remind you that the word ‘Boko Haram’ is translated as ‘Western education is forbidden’?

It is quite hilarious that in a bid to express our feelings of discontentment, we shoot ourselves in the foot by giving dangerous leverage to people we should not. People who wish to see the country dwell in turmoil than peace.

This context has been flying over, making a wave in social media while people react to it positively or otherwise. But either way, we have failed to realize that the intensity of the impact of this irrational but yet inflamed mindset is more than just the eyes meet. It has eaten deep-rootedly into the minds of our much younger generation; the teens and which is certainly a cause for alarm. 

During my NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) service year, I was assigned to tutor Civil Education to a large group of Senior Secondary School Students. In one of my classes with them, where I taught corruption and its menace to society, I thought it to be interesting if I involved the students in an interactive session. So I threw a question out to them to highlight possible corrupt practices in Nigeria and ways to combat them. While I waited and listened to their bright contributions, I was drawn back when one of them mentioned ‘education’. I was curious and asked him how that is. He blurted out that going to school is a waste of time and money and that parents are been exploited to pay school fees occasionally and at the end of the whole day, we, the student has nothing to show for it.

I preyed further into the matter and I realized he was being influenced and misguided by his elder brothers who are obviously university-dropouts and also into internet scams. The young lad further emphasized that he does not see his elder siblings go to work or have a job but then, they spend more than enough money on themselves. I was dumbfounded, I did not know how to begin to change his mindest of what he thought was right. In fact, I literally lost confidence, but I started anyway and before I could make my third point, I was optimistic that I can succeed in directing his viewpoint to a positive light.

I asked him why he was still in school if he thought education was merely to deceive him, but he could not answer. I asked him again what he wanted to become when he grows up, he replied by saying an Engineer. And I told him to become a good engineer, he needs to gain the knowledge of engineering and that cannot happen by idly rubbishing the same system that can afford you that knowledge. I further explained to him a society without engineers, pilots, lawyers, journalists, geologists, bankers, economist, scientists, agriculturists, biologists, doctors, etc. is not a society because these people are what run every society. And that it is also almost impossible to have any of those professions without going through a structured school system.

I also made him understand that the inability to get a job after studying is never as a result of getting an education but rather due to poor policies enacted in the economy. And this is made obvious, as the reverse is the case in the developed countries. At the end of the day, I succeeded in making him and everybody in the class see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

If school were to be a scam and fraudulent as some would want us to believe, then that concept should be likened to that of the sect – Boko Haram which has no value for education. So if an educated person can publicly utter that school is a scam then, that makes such person no different from a member of that sect. He has no value for education, and so does that supposedly educated person. The way a Boko haram member uses arms and weapons to inflict pains on another human just to drive his point home is the same way an educated person who claims he has no need for education weaponize his words each time he nurtures such mindset and not just that, also feeding others around him with it, adulterate and misrepresent the value of education.

Its high time the youths saw the bigger picture here by purging their minds off menacing context as such, changing our orientation towards it and consequently changing that of generations after us.

it is pertinent to note that radical academic scholars did not term school as a scam but rather challenged the organizational structure of education. Likewise, instead of criticizing a system a part of a system which has done more good than  harm in the society, we can turn this form of enlightenment into productivity, we can leverage the opportunities school had to offer instead of blaming it.

Finally, with the tools, education has afforded me with the core knowledge, which has taken me places I could not think of being to and made me do intellectual things, I can boldly say that contrary to the popular assumptionschool is not a scam and can never be a scam.

If there is any contrary view to this please feel free to drop your comment below.