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Opinion__by Chima Onunwa

Cultism, stealing, alcoholism, smoking, prostitution, examination malpractice, and lobbying are no longer news in our tertiary institutions. The majority of students on campuses have found several vices to keep them occupied rather than their studies. Youthful exuberance and juvenile delinquency are now the order of the day.

With no fewer than one million students seeking admission into tertiary institutions every year and about half of them succeed, I do ask myself, what is the drive behind Nigerian youths wanting to further their education? Is there clarity of purpose or even an atom of ambition that is propelling them to pursue higher education? Were they properly guided?

Now, I know that the majority of parents do counsel their wards before sending them to the various educational institutions scattered all over the country, our colleges, polytechnics, and universities also organize seminars, conferences, and workshops for newly admitted students (freshers) for the aim leading them in the right direction, warning them of the dangers of academic levity, joining bad groups and indulging in anti-social activities.

I feel that the damage has already been done as soon as the gates of our institutions have been opened to them. I believe the major aim of higher education at every level is to prepare the youths to become active and productive members of society and secondly, to meet and match industry demand with a competent and globally competitive workforce. If that's the case, our tertiary institutions are not looking for numbers of students, there is no competition on which school is most populated, there is a common goal which is to; advance Nigeria's economic growth and global competitiveness through the provision of accessible, relevant, high-quality education in our Tertiary Education Institutions. To constantly attract, develop and graduate competent, knowledgeable and talented individuals from our Tertiary Education Institutions.

Then granting admission to thousands of students on the basis of their ability to pass Maths and English (which many even cheat to do so) is not good enough!!.

This is one of the reasons we are having problems in our various schools today and it will end up affecting our nation in the long run. These individuals will, later on, be released into society, most of them unqualified to compete in the job market.

Mind you, I'm not writing off the incentive of parental counsel and Freshers' orientation but most times at that stage, the die had long been cast.

The strategy our educational institutions should employ, first; staffs associated with our educational institutions should stop accepting bribes to grant admissions. Integrity would go a long way to curb this plague ravaging our campuses. Secondly, no individual should be given admission until he or she declares their major purpose in becoming a graduate or state their reasons for choosing to further their education.

This could be done in the form of an essay writing and included in the aptitude tests of all institutions in the country. The write-ups of the individuals should be carefully read and assessed. The ones lacking purpose or conviction should be dropped even when the individual does very well in the Maths and English sections.

This would be a worthy improvement, I don't see anyone cutting corners with this method. If this strategy be properly implemented, it would result in a drastic reduction in the number of hooligans and lawbreakers that the gates of our educational institutions are being opened to every year

I leave you with a quote of Swami Vivekananda, an Indian Monk;
"We want the education by which character is formed, the strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one's own feet".


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