It is not just the economy or the poverty situation that is changing in Nigeria. The subtle changes are all around and if care is not taken, Nigerians will wake up one day to discover that they are strangers in their own country. The issue here is the educational preferences of young citizens and the various levels of pressure they face in their career options.
This reporter was invited to give a career talk on journalism at a young professionals’ day at his children’s school recently and he learnt some sobering lessons at the event. All the school-children, from reception to Basic 6, were asked to dress to reflect their career choices. And most of them promptly showed up in laboratory coats for doctors, with a smattering of lawyers’ wigs and gowns, check shirts for engineers, and camouflage for soldiers. No one dressed like a farmer or a trader.
After the different career talks by professional parents including a lawyer, an engineer, an Immigration officer, a nurse, a journalist, a banker and a doctor, the children were asked what they wanted to be. More than 60 per cent wanted to be doctors and no one wanted to be a journalist or an immigration officer. The parent-doctor made a cogent observation in his talk: he said children should be allowed to choose their own career paths and not forced by parents.
This reporter couldn’t agree more with him. If all the children want to become doctors or lawyers, where will the future farmers, social workers, journalists, pilots and traders come from? Parents must help their children develop to their own strengths, rather than impose careers on them. That is not too much to ask for……is it?
– Abimbola Akosile