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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Nigerians on top of the league table!

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Good news coming out of Nigeria seems a scarce commodity these days especially with the daily onslaught of the Boko Haram insurgency and the usual corruption scandals that make daily headlines. However, reading an online article about a recent survey that confirms that Nigerians in the US rank topsin terms of higher educational attainment gave me something to cheer about. My analysis of the data shows that 54% of Nigerians in the US holds a Bachelors degree or higher. What the data didn’t mention was the areas of study where these degrees were obtained and more importantly the working experience the holders of these degrees have.

I'll be interested to see what the results would look like, if a similar research is conducted in the UK, where I also suspect Nigerians will not be far off when it comes to higher educational achievements. In many respects, the results don’t surprise me especially with our love affair with educational achievements. I remember growing as a child and education was the only thing we were encouraged or should I say pushed to aspire to achieve.

Whilst this achievement needs to be applauded and credit given where it’s due, we also need to put this in context. In the pursuit for educational excellence, are we actually seeking knowledge that we can apply in the real world or a mere collection of accolades to massage our egos? I guess we might need another research to convincingly answer this question.

The other thing I find quite interesting about the research results is that less Americans are seeking higher educational pursuit. That can only suggest to me that quite a large proportion of the rest of the indigenous population are perhaps taking up other vocations that don’t necessarily involve getting a degree. Sadly from my experience growing up in Nigeria, there seems to be an apathy towards those whose educational achievements fall short of a university degree.

Regardless of what lies beneath the surface of these supposed achievements, the reality is that Nigeria is blessed with highly qualified professionals both home and abroad. Any nation that is serious in developing, needs to tap into the resourcefulness of its citizens. This is the catalyst that will bring about growth and development and not necessarily oil or any other natural resources for that matter.