Here's one sad thing I learned dealing with Nigerian students

This problem resonates in every sphere of the mass Nigerian society.

So I've been trying to interact as much as possible with the student community, considering I get to write about them, and the things that affect them, a lot.

Last year alone, over 1.5 million Nigerians applied to get into tertiary institutions all over the country by applying for JAMB.

This estimate can put the Nigerian tertiary student community strength at north of five million. And this is a pretty modest estimate.

There's a very strong tendency for students to wait for instructions, instead of taking the initiative, asking the right questions, and taking actions.

So you hear things like, "Oh, you didn't tell us anything." "Oh, we didn't know we were supposed to do anything".

But why is this so?

It is because the average Nigerian has been raised to fear asking questions. We worry that when we ask questions, we come off as dumb, or not smart. Or we fear consequence for taking initiative. But this has to change. The greatest innovations we've seen in the world began because people could ask questions.

I remember my time as a teacher in a Primary School during my NYSC. The first thing I noticed was the fear to ask questions. Some feared they'd get flogged for asking the wrong questions. Others feared they'd be laughed at by their classmates.

So I made sure the only punishable offence in the class was mocking people who answered questions wrongly. It only took a short while before I started to see results. People were more interested in solving problems on the board. What that meant is that they shared their problems, and we solved them together.

Guess who was happy in the end? All of us. I wrote about this teaching experience here.

If we must advance as a people, we need young people to make bolder moves that will bring monumental change.


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