To LEAD,nations must TEACH their CITIZENS to LEARN

To LEAD,nations must TEACH their CITIZENS to LEARN

Digital technology, globalization, international trade and ease of availability of information have continued to facilitate rapid economic growth and development across the globe. It has stirred up the imperative for economies that will remain viable to strengthen key institutions and to develop and deploy knowledge workers skilled in science and technology (engineering, biotechnology etc) and professional services.

At no point in recent history has there been a greater need to educate, develop and deploy the populace than now. It has now become the bar of entry for upwardly mobile economies to develop the capacity of its people to generate and export knowledge. This is the iron rule of global competitiveness. And If this is anything to go by, Nigeria as a developing country must strengthen her failing education system.

As Knowledge is critical to wealth creation, and the university is the knowledge production factory, we can begin to see how Nigeria as a country falls short. Also, if the education of people is considered the facilitator of Knowledge creation, no smart nation can expect to achieve their goal of economic and intellectual prowess, necessary for its relevance, without considerable investment in building and sustaining avant-garde academic and research institutions. And the outcome of knowledge creation, especially how it is deployed cannot be addressed until the peculiarity of our system is addressed.

Nigeria is a country where a Computer Science graduate is busy pursuing accounts for a bank and a Biochemist works in Telecommunications. If you wonder why that is,it suffices to explain that hunger and the desire for comfort is the motivation for career choices. A critical mass of human capital potential that can be deployed in strategic areas of the economy to shore up national competitiveness is locked up in banks, telecoms and oil and gas firms. “Poor nations will remain so as long as they continue to export their talents or refuse to mobilize talents to critical areas of development”, especially science and technology. This corroborates a World Bank study which shows that countries remain poor as they allow the export of half of their scientific and engineering talents to advanced economies.

Please pay attention – Nigeria currently provides two-third of the skilled workers in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. The most threatening however, is the ongoing implosion that has driven the migration of those left behind to sectors that promise instant or robust financial remuneration. One major contribution to this phenomenon is government’s low investment in the outmoded Educational sector, a proof of a shallow understanding of what it takes to win in the 21st century. Another is a weak financial system to nurture entrepreneurship.

Already, infrastructural deficiencies and sloppy government policies account for more than 50% of failed start-ups. This has made starting a small business in Nigeria an expedition to the moon. Keep in mind that for every failed start-up, another idea with export potential dies. Imagine if Larry Page, Bill Gates, Jerry Yang were graduates of the University of Lagos. Their inventions would probably never see the light of day and they probably would have ended up in a bank or oil and gas firm when reality bites.

In Africa, especially Nigeria, education is perceived as a ticket to the good life and not a means to Nation building. Material acquisition and not the fulfillment of human potential is the predominant motive for career choices, as we are conditioned to sell to the highest bidder. This mindset undermines our effectiveness in the new world, where human capital (productive minds) and not natural resources is the foundation of vibrant economic empires. Would it be erroneous to assert that unknown to the banks, oil and gas and telecom companies, they are altogether aiding and abetting the death of development?

On a personal basis, ask yourself: Have I traded my talent and uniqueness for comfort and convenience? If your answer is yes, this ought not to be the life!

Posted on November 15, 2013, in Smooth-Life*Clinic* and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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