Education in Nigeria has always been a priority at all levels. Parents, guardians, leaders and even children themselves sing their own versions of the “Send the kids the school” anthem. Now, there are school dropouts who have made it in business, but that doesn’t downplay the fact that education is key in all areas.
Even though some entrepreneurs have raked millions without elementary, secondary and tertiary qualifications, that can yet not be a motivation for young Nigerians to ditch school and go all in for business when they have the opportunity to sit in classrooms and learn. The likes of Cosmos Maduka, Orji Uzor Kalu and other Africans such as Ashish Thakkar and Justin Stanford quit school for really cogent reasons, not because they simply could glue their butts to a classroom chair.
That said, even with all the quantum physics and interstellar studies, it has been discovered that a disturbing number of Nigerians youths don’t do well in the entrepreneurship sector; as a result lack in foundational training. It doesn’t matter where you are from; in Nigeria, all we do is business. I can safely say that there is no Nigerian who hasn’t for once in his or her life done a transaction that yielded money. It is the core of success in the part of the world, and we are in the habit of even doing more it when all odds say no. But a certain question is arising – should entrepreneurship be included in school curricula? Well, yes, right? But let’s hear from Ernest Azudialu Obiejesi.
“The state of education in Nigeria, the role of the private sector in education, entrepreneurship as a catalyst for growth and even the content of our educational curriculum.” This formed the thesis for an acceptance speech made by the aforementioned personnel, the chairman of the Obijackson Group, when he was being conferred an honorary doctorate by the Chukwuemeka Odumegu-Ojukwu University in Anambra State, Nigeria.
According to the academic, the giant strides in places such as the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, France, and many others have not gone unnoticed, as great entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Jack Ma, George Schaeffer, Richard Branson and Nobutada Sajiwho transforming their respective countries through business, job creation and poverty reduction.
In Ernest’s opinion, the persisting question as regards entrepreneurship education in Nigeria is a good one. In his belief, rather than churning out graduates for those who are caught in the trap of flying abroad or becoming a menace to the society given the shrinking nature of white and blue-collar jobs in the country today, entrepreneurship should become part and parcel of the Nigerian school curriculum – part of parcel of every student’s academic upbringing. “Nigeria needs scientists, builders, doctors, builders, engineers, artists, but above all, the country needs more entrepreneurs.
Ernest cited that in developed countries, the walls between learning citadels and that of business are absent, as universities serve as research labs and as hubs for innovations which build national wealth and create jobs. He called on the private sector to play its role in following suit, and on the government to subsidize the cost of education at all levels. When this is done, even the indigenous son of a farmer, the daughter of a rural artisan or the brilliant orphan will have the opportunity to share the stage of greatness with others such as him, enabling them to develop and grow to full potential.
The honorary degree awardee also encouraged stakeholders to place priority on Science, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM), as it is one of the fuels for Nigeria’s and indeed Africa’s quest for technological revolution.