Dearth of Humanities Scholarship in Nigeria: A Farce

We know that in Nigeria, there is really only one profession. Medicine. If you are not a Medical Doctor you are inferior. The only other question is how much more inferior than a doctor do you want to be. Slightly inferior =Engineer; or You are not in the same species inferior = Music. So for the uninitiated let me explain how career choice works.  Secondary school is separated into Junior and senior secondary, in junior secondary school you all do the same subjects. At the start of senior secondary, that is the last three years of school, that’s when you decide whether you’re going to do a combination of science subjects that will make you a doctor or engineer or something less worthy. You do an exam at the end of junior secondary school, if you pass you are put in the science class, and if you barely pass you are put in the arts class and if you do just okay you are put in the middle (commercial). Everyone (and their parents) wants to get into the sciences classes. So we start out from this stage by ensuring that the smartest people are only scientists. How does this make sense? We do not even think about what people are best suited to study. The university admissions system further makes a mockery of the whole thing. I have made a short list of areas in which we need the best and brightest, but which we seem to think does not require mental exertion.

Economics: a social science concerned with the factors that determine the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. A country is basically a big company which must make a profit to survive. But no! We must have only doctors. Tell me how will these doctors work when the hospitals are poorly equipped?

History: the study of the past. I have written previously on how the failure to study history is an act of national self-destruction. How do we steer a ship of state if we do not the ship’s history? The state could crumble but we must have only doctors o!

Linguistics: The scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of grammar, syntax, and phonetics. Specific branches of linguistics include sociolinguistics, dialectology, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, comparative linguistics, and structural linguistics. Nigeria is reputed to have 521 languages. I have met very few Nigerian linguistics. Linguistics has an increasingly important impact on other fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, education, language teaching, sociology, anthropology, computer science, and artificial intelligence. We have no understanding of how the use of language in schools either impedes or helps the acquisition of knowledge. If we had more linguists they may help us to get better trained doctors.

Sociology: the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. Nigerians tend to make up facts about our society. Since we have no one to contradict those facts, or theories, we argue about them incessantly. But at least we have doctors. Not realising of course that some medical problems can be prevented by societal changes – crime, gendered violence, group violence etc

Psychology: is the study of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. It is an academic discipline and a social science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases. I believe that you can never truly understand the world until you have understood yourself. We have no response to rape culture, domestic abuse, hive mind, game theory. But we have doctors. So we are all grand right?

Philosophythe rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct. I believe everyone who goes to school should study some philosophy. Nigerian social media sometimes make me fear that rational thought departed from Nigerian shores along with brain-drain and a sense of human consideration.  Philosophy teaches the ability to think and write clearly, the ability to bring to light unnoticed presuppositions, to explain complex ideas clearly, to tease out connections and implications, to see things in a broader context, to challenge orthodoxy. I give thanks to Professor Fasina for making this subject fascinating. But we don’t need logic as long as we have doctors. Shebi?

Others: Music, Creative Writing, Languages, Fine Art, Performance Art, Anthropology, Religion, Political Science, Accounting, International Studies… (caveat: this is not a closed list and I have not listed the subjects here or the ones above in order of importance)

The truth is, Nigeria needs more medical doctors, but we also need more of every profession. Most importantly we need the best of the best doing the best of their best. That is what makes a viable state.

african-parents

 

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4 thoughts on “Dearth of Humanities Scholarship in Nigeria: A Farce

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  1. Funny but true. I agree with you. It also baffle me how science student are taking up jobs in the banks and medias. I asked myself, if a biochemist works in bank and a computer scientist work as radio program director, what will the economist, biz admin and the mass comm graduate trained do. that is just the few out of the numerous examples.

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  2. Hahaha I guess am number 4 eh. Its not a funny situation but a sad one. I just discovered your blog via @LaoluNYC on twitter and am glad I did. I was speaking to a friend recently on this issue and how we are still churning out the same category of students, how do we expect these kids to survive, when is the school curricula going to change? Private schools are so expensive, even at that, not all of them have a solid curricula, most still do the same old thing only in a fancier way. Just yesterday I asked my niece to fetch my flash drive and she had no idea what it was, I was like don’t you do computer science in school? What are they teaching you? Do you know how to shut down a PC, the answer was No. I’m worried honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is really sad. When I did my undergraduate degree most of the Computer Science students did not have access to a computer and were learning theory that their teacher’s learnt 20 years before then. Most of them will end up in the bank. Thank you for reading and liking my writing. I appreciate it. I am really passionate about changing the face of education in Nigeria and Africa, even the world. Hopefully, good things will happen soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, thanks for sharing. Yes i believe good things will happen, basically we just need awareness and people with like minds to make it happen. And you are quite right, the trend must not be allowed to continue, also people at the university today need to leverage ICT for their self empowerment and not wait for the government to do it, otherwise they would keep choking on ignorance. Thanks to ICT, ignorance is no longer an excuse to be left behind, if only efficient ICT use will be all over too already.

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