- By Anayo Ezugwu
GOVERNMENT at all levels in Nigeria have been urged to increase investment in the education sector. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, former vice chancellor, University of Lagos, said low investment in education was one of the reasons why many Nigerian parents prefer to train their children abroad.
At the 12th annual lecture of AELEX Law Firm, on the topic: “Schooling without Learning”, the professor said education budget has not exceeded 20 percent since the advent of democratic governance in Nigeria. This, he said, has resulted to zero productivity on the part of many Nigerian graduates, no creation of new jobs and inability of school graduates to fit into the labour market.
“There are underlying factors especially poverty and its consequences of hunger, illiteracy, unbriddled population growth and epidemics amongst the vast majority of Nigerians. The resultant output is that our leaders and policymakers cannot think science and cannot appreciate the need to boost education,” he said.
According to Ibidapo-Obe, with the quality of graduates coming out from Nigerian universities every year, it is obvious therefore, that someone can go to school without learning. “We need to get fresh ideas that will take us away from here. We have to encourage innovations thereby move away from this static point that we are in.
“Innovation can be incremental, breakthrough or disruptive in nature. For example, the rising of artificial intelligence and machine learning pose a significant disruption to the universities of the future. With this innovation, the question we should ask ourselves is what happens when the professional jobs for the universities prepared for students are taking over by artificial intelligence. The net effect of the above is that our schools are not ready for the future.”
Ibidapo-Obe urged the federal government to increase education funding, teachers’ competence, teachers’ welfare, the facilities and infrastructures in the education sector for the benefits of generations to come. He also advised the government to key into the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs education plan in order to improve the sector.
In her address as chairman of the event, Solanke Folake, SAN, condemned the unethical conduct of some lawyers in the court. She regretted what she termed a calamity of wasted years in formal education by many without learning and linked such waste to the quality of lawyers that we have today.
“Many young lawyers do not know how to address the court neither do they take the patience to be properly tutored by their principals in chamber hence the need for a compulsory two-year apprenticeship programme to entrench learning for new wigs. I am of the opinion that it should be a paid programme so that the new wig does not feel cheated,” she said.
Solanke emphasised that the years spent in university and at the Law school were all theory and no new wig should just dive into practice without first learning the practice of law. “Also there is an increase in misconduct and the use of unprofessional language among lawyers. Every good lawyer will admit that the reading culture must be cultivated for life by lawyer both young and old; it is a lifelong addiction.”
She advised that lawyers should endeavour to continue to read while sharpening their advocacy skills. She commended AELEX for choosing such an apt topic especially in an era of fallen educational standards and thanked them for their efforts in holding these annual lectures as a way of giving back to the community.
In her welcome address, Funke Adekoya, SAN, partner, AELEX Law Firm, suggested that the federal government should offer scholarships to at least 10 percent of the best graduating students from both state and federal institutions and recycle them as teachers with an attractive salary, this way, standards will be maintained.
“The reason AELEX did not focus on legal education is that we realised that if the foundations of primary and secondary school education were weak, legal education at the university and law school levels would not only be weak but the law students would have had a faulty learning foundation which would affect them throughout their career as lawyers. Thus if the educational system is not strengthened where learning is important, we cannot have good lawyers,” she said.
– Nov. 24, 2017 @ 11:41 GMT /