As a child, we were thought to memorize written textbooks that Mungo Park who was born in 1771 in Scotland discovered the source of River Niger in Africa – What? So you mean our fathers never saw the river or until Park came? For me this was a terrible misappropriation of fact and with an intent at fabrications, to teach a false second class identity; little wonder Fela Kuti sings: “teacher don’t teach me nonsense”.

Kekong Bisong affirms the above position strongly. He writes; “I lost a quiz competition as a child to a semi-literate opponent. When we were asked, ‘who discovered the source of River Niger?” In my response, l said, the fishermen of Tembakounda. The moderator scolded me and insisted I should call the name of the European explorer, Mungo Park. I insisted, that my Grandfather was a fisherman who once travelled to Guinea with his own grandfather on a fishing competition. While in Guinea they visited the source of River Niger at Tembakounda. My great-great grandfather did tell my grandfather that from time immemorial people have been living around the river. Ancient civilizations and first settlements sprang up around rivers due to irrigation and transportation needs.

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When I insisted that those who first fished did their hunting and lived around River Niger were more likely to have seen the source of River Niger before a European teenager called Park, I was scolded. That was considered intellectual disobedience.

Sometimes, there is need to justify intellectual disobeying because no teacher has the right to teach us nonsense. “Education is not just information, it is Culture. Knowledge acquired through information is only an important aspect of education, but is not education. The essence of education is to transform character.”

“Education is not just information, it is Culture. Knowledge acquired through information is only an important aspect of education, but is not education. The essence of education is to transform character.”

Our system of education in Nigeria is antiquated and repressing. Students spend hours, some fainting just to cram and deliver in scripts for paper seeking teachers to grade and think they have done something and moments after the exams, nothing of what was written remains, the minds remains as blank. Our pedagogy still relies on an outdated system that lays emphasis on WHAT TO THINK rather than HOW TO THINK.

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In fact, it is an oppressive educational system. Nigerians are better performers education wise outside Nigeria than they are in Nigeria, why? The reason is simple, Nigeria educational system is flawed and antiquated in style. Education in Nigeria can be characterized with the omen of failure. When you fail, the teachers applaud themselves – they have thought well they imagine in the darkness of the hearts. In Nigeria, we are so used to suffering and imagine that suffering and unnecessary labour is the only way to achieve success. Teachers rejoice at the failure of their students and think they have done something. If students fail your course, you become a failure yourself.

Before Western education, our ancestors learnt by participation and education was for induction into the society and the practice of new skills were invoke. In today’s system however, there is not relationships between industry and institution. A professor of Electrical engineering has no knowledge of a power station – what does he teach then?

Educator, Paulo Friere maintains that this kind of education is a banking system of education, where what is put in is what is expected and nothing more. Herein, the teacher teaches and the students are taught, the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing, the teacher thinks and the students are thought about, the teacher choses and enforces his choice and the students comply, the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher, the teacher choses the contents and the students adapt to it, and the teacher is the subject of learning and the students are the objects. This form of education is driven by restrictions to creativity.

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“Effective education is not simply a matter of pumping information into willing heads, it is equally not a place for secluded scholars, it is a meeting place of peoples and cultures.” It is the gatekeeper of knowledge and those who enter in come out transformed. Consequently, a review of the curricula must be under way and an evaluation of teachers/ re-education to bring them up to speed with developing technologies and a more inclusive and effective way of teaching.

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