A Nigerian man had to go to his daughter’s school to set things straight. The girl had been given an assignment. When asked who cooks for the home, her answer was, “Daddy.” The teacher marked her wrong. In 2018. As far as that teacher was concerned, cooking was a woman’s job.
My mother runs a creche and early learning school.
Her children love her. It’s cute to see them eagerly run into her office to say good morning every day; some even demand to be carried. It warms my heart to see them say goodbye and see you tomorrow. One time, one of those 2-year-old imps even added, “You will miss me o!” 😂
In a recent conversation with Mama, we talked about her school, homeschooling and its necessity, in view of the adversarial educational system we have in Nigeria.
We talked about how their generation had been raised on the colonial educational system, one that was meant to produce clerks, engineers, doctors, interpreters, architects, etc., for the white man’s government and companies.
We talked about my generation that has been raised in that same school system, only worse. Because though the rest of the world had and is moving ahead, we were and are stuck in the past.
We were taught using books, systems, and structures that guaranteed that we view ourselves as employees and never as employers. Who remembers those favourite and often-told stories of our parents, about how they had cars and employment letters waiting for them immediately after their graduations?
We were raised to be users and never inventors; consumers and never manufacturers.
Does it surprise you that thriving manufacturers and places of industry in this country were started and mostly run by people who didn’t have the white man’s formal education? Check out Aba, those who make Aso oke in the West.
Does it surprise you, that in a generation that met no slavery or colonialism, we are enamoured with all things white? Our parents passed it down.
And it continues to this day. We still worship knowledge without understanding.
We are now parents who beam with pride that their two-year-old baby can recite the names of the 36 states and their capitals, but aren’t perturbed that they do not understand what they’re reciting. Parents are in competition over whose child knows more.
Where A for Apple is a string of words, and X for xylophone will forever remain a foreign concept to be crammed for exams and never understood.
We are parents who will never be patient and let children between the ages of 0 to 5 learn through play, drawing and social interaction.
We still have schools in 2018 where children are learning in social studies class that “Father goes to work, children go to school and mother cooks and cleans the home.”
We don’t want to improve the system or even tailor it to fit our needs. We’re lazy like that. Our schools boast of British and American curricula for Nigerian children, half of who don’t understand many of the foreign concepts being taught. A for akara is laughed at, for it is considered “local”…A for Apple is lauded….it is white enough.
How can we be surprised that we feel inferior to any random white person, no matter our level of education?
My mother and I talked about one failing that was common to or parents: how they did not prepare us to be financially responsible and accountable.
We were raised:
- On the concept of being dashed money, rather than earning it. Holiday jobs were unheard of. Odd jobs to raise pocket money was unheard of among the children of the middle class and the rich.
- To distrust and be unaccountable. For how can you teach a child to be accountable, when you take the money they’ve been given by uncles and aunties. and then berate them when they ask for their monies?
- Have you ever given your parents money for safekeeping, asked them for it and they said something like, “All the food you’ve been eating in this house, have I asked you for the money?’
Yet we wonder why government work “no be my papa work,” why taxpayers’ monies are the “national cake” for which our politicians shouldn’t be accountable, and public officers and service providers are viewed and treated as Ogas, rather than people who should serve in the true sense of the word.
We can do better. We must do better. For our children. For the next generation.
Yes, the hustle is real. However, our children deserve better. Don’t just throw them in school and leave it at that. Make sure what they’re learning is age-appropriate. Ensure they understand. Teach them all to be entrepreneurs, both in public and private businesses.
Only in that way, will we go forward in this nation. Only in that way, will we stop travelling to other countries to have our talents, contributions and productivity recognised. Only in this way will we be accountable.
So long a letter. Let me end it here. 😁
Over and out.