Sunday, 9 September 2012

Something on my mind

Technical drawing (TD) was one of those subjects I thoroughly enjoyed in secondary school. Carrying around my TD board I prided myself as being one of ‘those TD students’. On this very day I was probably very enthustiastic about the 40 minute class we were going to have at our TD lab. We had already started learning how to draw the plans of storey buildings and how to draw staircases in the plan of a building, so I was hoping for more of that. Setting my white paper on the board, putting masking tape at the corners, I waited for the teacher to tell us what to do. Just then she brought out some pipes connected in different ways, the types you see around houses as part of the plumbing.

"Today, we are learning how to draw sections of pipes", she announced.

Huh?. Okay that didn’t sound interesting to me, but I was willing to be patient. In a matter of time we were drawing, but I was befuddled. What was the point of learning how to draw sections of pipes. I totally understood drawing plans of buildings etc and why it was important before building a house (that’s why we have architects, right?) and so I needed more clarification oh this pipe thingy. I called the attention of my teacher.

With a sort of pained look on my face I said, “Excuse me ma, but what’s the importance of this in real life. As in, why are we learning it exactly”

It was only natural that I’d ask. That’s why I was in school learning.

She stared at me like I had just said dodo was sushi, then she frowned her face.

“You are learning it so that you will pass your WAEC very well” and then she walked away, I suppose, angered.

I bent my head back to my work, amazed by what she had just told me and then anger started boiling in me too. I didn’t like the idea of not being able to apply my theoritical knowledge in real life or knowing how it helped in real life.

I lost all respect for that teacher that day, what with the realisation that she didn’t even understand what she was teaching us.

It was from then I started questioning why I was even doing technical drawing or even going along the Engineering path at all. However that did not in anyway inform my decision to switch careers to Pharmacy.. Pharmacy just called

I illustated the above, just so you get a feel of what I’m about to go on about...

Learning to pass exams, as against learning to gain knowledge, apply it in real life and contribute to development in our country.

Right from when a child is born he/she is brainwashed into thinking all knowledge gained is for the sole purpose of passing exams. I remember at the Farafina literary evening I attended, when the question was asked by a member of the audience, “Why do you think Nigerians don’t read literature enough, especially our own up-coming writers”, Binyavanga, the kenyan author answered by saying it’s probably because people see reading as for only academic purposes, like just to pass an exam in literature.People don’t see reading as an opportunity to recreate and most importantly expand ones worldview. He said from when a child is very little if the parent wants to give him a book to read at all, it’s probably because the book will help him to pass some major exams 17 years from  “Take this book. Read it. It will help you to pass your exams”.  I laughed at that and yet it’s so true.

I remember sometime 2 years ago when I was reading Chimamanda’s ‘Thing around your neck’ while waiting for a lecturer to come in, in my class. Someone passes by me, turns the book to one side to better view the cover and says, "Ay, you and all this secondary school literature books you like reading; those days". I don’t know which one angered me more; the fact that she didn’t know who Chimamanda was or the fact that she saw my reading the book as weird, especially as it was from a Nigerian author. She didn’t think I could enjoy a Nigerian novel, just as any foreign novel and that I could read it just for leisure, not necessarily to pass an exam (considering the fact that most literature books we read in primary and secondary school were by Nigerian authors).

I know I’m jumping here and there with this post, but it’s just that many things are paining me at the same time. Why do people always think going to school is about getting good grades as against getting an education. And not just any education, total education that should involve the chosen area of discipline and other areas that help to ensure that one is an educated person.

I'm currently writing my final pharmacy exams and it is during this period I always wonder what’s even the purpose of exams. Because quite frankly what I see all around is people doing a lot of CRAMMING!! They say la cram la pour la pass. But me I say, la cram la pour la pass la not have any knowledge or be able to hold intelligent conversation and be able to make a real impact in the real world.

The one that pains me most is when some of the really good crammers turn out the best in class. If you corner some of these people and try to engage them in intelligent conversation they’ll be blank. These are people that don’t know jack about what they are studying, people that don’t lift a hand to do anything in lab practicals, but at the end of the day they miraculously turn up with results of the experiment from wherever and dub past lab notes  (gotten from people who have most likely graduated) word for word and even beg for references. Now that’s the annoying part, begging for references. How do you cite references you didn’t make use of. I do all the hardwork, research on the topic, make a good lab report and cite my references and there you are begging me to allow you cite my references. But I thought you had a brain; we have the internet, google the topic and download the PDF file, then reference it...Mscheww

Okay now, this is begining to sound like a rant. Well that’s how it’s paining me sha. I just feel in nigeria we celebrate crammers; people who cram their way through school and who graduate in some cases, yeah with First Class Degrees, but really are First Class clueless Homo Sapiens.. Okay oh, I’m not saying all First Class graduates are crammers and  I’m not saying it isn’t good to do well; I want to do extremely well oh, but compare most of our graduates from here and the ones in obodoyibo. I feel our curriculum, especially for science-based courses should include mostly practicals. I’m so in support of oral exams and independently carried out lab experiments and a practice based approach to learning. That way we can fish the really brilliant ones from the robots.

Reminds me of the Indian movie, 3 idiots. I love that movie. Chatur was a crammer ehn and graduated well, but what did he know. Ranchos on the other hand sought knowledge, KNOWLEDGE, and still did very well, in fact the best in the class!! Years later he was a great scientist with so many patents, while Chatur held a white collar job, signed cheques and lived expensively. But at the end he had to run after Ranchos for a simple signature.

That’s why in the movie they said, “Follow excellence and success will chase you pants down” very true. 

In Nigeria, most people are about my certificate, my certificate, trying to do better than others and even along the line breaking a few hearts. But we should be all about the knowledge, that way our country will benefit. I just hate competition. I’m in school to learn and no other. I hust hate when people think you’re trying to compete with them. My own goal is not to be a jegbe jegbe Pharmacist, but to be the type that people will be looking for- as in a 'hot cake', to come and supply well grounded drug knowledge. Not the type that will graduate with ‘the certificate’ finish and go and sell it to Igbo boys (sorry) for them to hang in their shop or the type that a patient will see coming and run away from.

In the future no one will be talking about how well you did in school, but how much impact you’ve made with the KNOWLEDGE gained.

I remember during my externship (IT) last year, a lady pharmacist I worked with who was a major hot cake. As in, people will come into the pharmacy and start asking for her. She was really knowlegeable and loved her job and with that she had helped a lot of people. But you won’t believe this same lady repeated a year in school and graduated with a 3.04 or so CGPA on a 5.0 scale. I’m in no way encouraging the getting of bad grades, because even I know this lady had her regrets about her final result, I’m just trying to show how little results say.

Exams/results are not a true evaluation of intelligence. People go through challenges during the exam period; loss of a loved one or heartbreak, an unfavourable exam time table (two 4 unit courses on the same day!!), sudden blankness in the exam hall, unavoidable time wasters etc.

Like one of my lecturers used to say, “Don’t worry yourself about getting good grades, just listen, learn and absorb, that way you relieve yourself of a lot of pressure and you still do well”

That said I think I have made my point!!!

“Follow excellence and success will chase you pants down!!!”


I think Okechukwu Ofili mentioned something about grades and knowledge in his latest book “How laziness saved my life”.. I saw the book in my house recently. Apparently my brother bought it behind my But I didn’t read the whole book sha, but I saw a scanned a few of the pages. I’ll still read it, but now got exams on my mind..

Feels good to be here again..:)

Phew!! What a long post... I think.


  1. Very long post indeed. Lmao@dodo was sushi. That's one of the problems of our educational system right there

    1. Yes oh.... I was just typing and typing.... It‘s a big problem oh.. Thanks for stopping by...:)

  2. serious long post!!..lool..but i get u ojare
    we know the gist na..wink****thats pharmacy school for you.
    LMAO @ la pour la pass la no have any knowledge
    3 idiots shd be able to teach ppl abt this, still its not bcos of of our educational system as toin mentioned..
    u know naija now, but ppl are now getting sharp ds days want and like it wen u can deliver and i noticed dt most times, its nt even those ppl that hv the first class that can do that sef
    its great to have you back sweerie!!!..success
    i think i will vote u in for the nigerian blog awards for best student blog.

    1. look who is saying someone's post is lonng *yimu* you write the longest post/comments... buh we love you like that

    2. in sugarspring is the mother of long posts and comments!!!.. Don‘t mind us oh, sugarspring ; abi, we love you like that :)

      I know you‘d pharmacy school has done..smh.. but it‘s annoying sha.

      Thanks oh. So far my papers have been great.
      Ermm..*scratches head*. Nigerian blog awards?. Hmmm...let‘s go I feel honoured that you‘d suggest that. Thanks

    3. looool...if i catch you and drama queen ehn...k ooo..i'll try and mellow on my long posts oo.
      ehn na...u hv no choice than to love me like that abi na

  3. thanks fr stopping by dear, am grateful.
    as fr that cramming thing, time will tell and then it will be a sad story
    and as fr d book u were reading and d comment, imagine that. i guess thats what our eductional systems have turned to or rather, nigeria point of view...they expect bks like danielle steel and nora roberts shd be the relaxation bks.
    wud love to see more of u on my blog, tanx once again

    1. You‘re welcome. I should be thanking you too.
      As in seriously, time will tell.

      Will be visiting your blog often.

  4. looooong post ohh!!! Its a sad something o...we all have the experience from school

    1. Thank you for taking time to read my loooong
      Really sad

  5. Ay, you really spoke my mind on this. Really, you did. In my WAEC, I had a C in English but with all humility, I have publications in various newspapers and I have written some opinionated articles that would always rival many out there on the web for a long time. Recently, a friend (girl) read a piece of mine and confessed she couldn't believe I had written that until another friend confirmed it to her. Ay, it is really that bad. I just think the best way to go around this general stupidity is to balance them; if they want the grades, read and get the grades for them, but learn alongside the mundane getting all the same.

    1. Ehn?! A ‘C‘ in English? If it was someone else telling me I‘d have doubted that. With all your big big grammer and well constructed sentences, ‘ko le je be‘.

      Hmm... But well it all boils down to what I stated before “Exams/results are not a true evaluation of intelligence“

      Thanks for sharing your story, but seriously who would have thought.

  6. Well done babes. nice post. Unusually long in comparison lol. me too am on a long ting, but yeah great post and I totally agree.

    Knowledge should be applicable.

    1. Thanks..:) I‘ve missed your presence here oh..
      Hmmm, I tire for myself; the post would have even been I just kept some thoughts to myself.... Thanks.

      Yup, “Knowledge should be applicable“.

  7. I agree with daughter of her king..."Knowledge should be applicable" and that 3idots movie, a master piece at any day.

    1. Yeah, I agree with her too...
      ‘3 idiots‘ is wonderful movie...:). I can watch it over and over again.

      Thanks for stopping by..:)

  8. I used to admire TD students back in secondary school.
    I did it in my JSS then but when I had to move into art class...the TD adventure ceased for me.

    Its sad, the reasons why Nigerians don't read or why they read. Tragic.

    1. Hmmm...I did TD throughout secondary school and I really liked it despite my issue with that particular teacher. There were others who were good.

      I agree with you. Thanks for stopping by...:)

  9. Our TD teacher made a lot of us hate TD and I dropped it in JSS 2, I did not even waste time on it.

    It is not only Nigerians who have this book cram craze culture, I hear it is also like that in India.

    It is crazy when you get to the real career world to realize 80% of what you learnt in the university is useless. the University is certificate level and it is sad.

    1. Yeah, that‘s what was illustrated in the ‘3 idiots‘ movie- the cramming culture in an Indian university. But I don‘t actually think most of what we learn in the University is useless, I just feel the way we are taught back here in Nigeria doesn‘t encourage it‘s application in school and also in real life.

      Your comment is very much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by...:)

  10. I totally agree with you Ay. Exams don't prove a lot about a person's ability. Good luck in your exams!

    1. Yeah, true..
      Thanks so much!!!

  11. First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog.

    "They say la cram la pour la pass. But me I say, la cram la pour la pass la not have any knowledge or be able to hold intelligent conversation and be able to make a real impact in the real world"...#GBAMGBAMGBAM..This is sooo true. I heard from reliable sources that majority of Nigerian university graduates are unemployable, not just because of the unavailability of jobs, but because the education does not meet the applicability of workforce standard. This is a masterpiece.

    1. You're welcome lazioman...

      Yeah, I agree too...that's Nigerian education for you
      Thank you so much


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