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FunTimes Magazine


Jun 06, 2023 02:00PM ● By Okechukwu Nzeribe

Photo by uncoveredlens Eze Joshua from Pexels

While growing up a comment which was common place among our parents in the past was the notion that to succeed in life one only need to go to school, get good grades, graduate and get a good job, marry and live happily ever after. Well life did not really pan out the way neither we nor our parents had envisaged, well at least not in Nigeria.

We did go to good schools, we did work hard to make good grades, we ensured we graduated, but shockingly the jobs were not available, the ladies were unwilling to marry us (a conversation for another day) and we are yet to start living happily ever after.

This shocking realization has created new saying amongst the younger generation who now posit in the usual Nigerian Pidgin English “School na scam”. With such revulsion growing amongst this generation, quite a number are beginning to have a disdain for education which restricts them to the four walls of the educational system and have rather resigned themselves to slugging it out on the streets by hustling.

While our parents cannot be blamed for putting out advices based on the information readily available to them, we cannot disregard the importance of getting a sound education especially as required for the formative years. Also, while we can point to individuals who made it on the street hustling through grit and sweat, we cannot ignore those who never made it beyond the limitations of their educational exposure.

Which then is better? Quite frankly, for one who has experienced both worlds, I am of the opinion that formal education as gotten in the classroom is as important as education gotten on the streets. There is a lot formal education prepares you for which the street cannot offer and that is Character and Learning. 

Formal education chisels out the rough edges through character and moulids the mind through learning. But, whatever is learnt in the classroom is quite a different experience in the streets. Not only is the curriculum chaotic, it is only applicable to the circumstance and individual in question. It is not transferable and confers upon the recipient a certain street smartness.

So then the biggest challenge is how to balance both formal education as well as street education to produce a thoroughbred individual.

To achieve this one who must be willing to break down the mind that is cocooned and sees the world through the four walls of the educational system while embracing the openness the streets present.

For a country like Nigeria where one’s options are limited, it is suicidal to not have both experiences working in one’s favor. Money, though vital in accomplishing things for those who have been able to breakthrough in both worlds, it does not make up for the deficiencies which is seen in the inferiority complex experienced by those who do not have a formal education especially when they are in a gathering of educated persons, and the possibility of being exploited by those with street education against those without.

So in the end having both is far more important than having just either one.

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 Okechukwu Nzeribe works with the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, in Anambra State, Nigeria, and loves unveiling the richness of African cultures.
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