Why Law And Medicine Get Highest Subscribers In Nigerian Universities By Jimoh Ibrahim
Over the years, the statistics of the candidates who preferably choose some courses labelled as professional ones, outnumbered those that are not, in Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). In 2020, the statistics of clinical sciences related courses were 452,196 where the available quota is 30,111 equivalents to 6.7%.
Law related programmes had 103,478 with the available quota of 8,656 approximated to 8.37%. Educational courses with 97, 264 quota equivalents to 102% but unfortunately had 95, 317 subscribers across the country. Nonetheless, kudos to our universities which maintains a balance by filling those spaces through changing of the previously selected courses to those neglected by the candidates.
And this imbalance is tantamount to preference of university by candidates to either oolytechnic or college of education, which directly renders the existence of the latter useless. Between 2016 and 2018, the total percentages of the candidates who chose university in 2016 was 97.78%, college of education: 1.11%, polytechnic: 1.10. and in 2018 university had 73.8%, college of education: 13.17%, while polytechnic had 12.95%.
The percentage above unveils the level of such disequilibrium.However, the identified problem solely sprang up from the government, parents, and society at large. It is quite unfortunate that we can still carry an ageing mentality into our faculty in this 21st century. Even if we are black in colour, it does not mean our thinking should be black. In the olden days even up till now, our only popular African prayer for our children is “you will become a doctor”, “you will become a lawyer “.
This is because parents themselves know that studying these courses are tickets to acquire stupendous wealth and also earn a reverence from the society. Nobody is disputing the fact that we need these professionals in our society, but in a situation where everybody becomes a doctor or lawyer who will be our clients? We tag only those that read medicine, law, accountancy, engineering as professionals perhaps because of the years they spent in school, but not giving regard to other courses.
Those that read Christian religious studies, Islamic religious studies or comparative religious studies are professionals because many years were devoted to read them. Nobody ever prays that his child should becomes a teacher or farmer because most of them are wretched yet, they are the backbone of our society. When we critically explore this ugly situation, we would find that it is the parent that cajoles or forces their children to choose those competitive courses. Even if their children are not qualified all they want is that name that people will tag on them. This violates educational upbringing in the developed countries. For instance, in Singapore, there is the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) after primary school leaving examination (PSLE). That programme was set up by the ministry of education in 1984 to cater for intellectually gifted students.
The programme aims to develop gifted children to their potential and it places a special higher-order emphasis on thinking and creative thought.
In Japan, there is Monbukagakushou 1999, an educational guideline stating that the basic ideal of kindergarten education is to understand the nature of children. Section 2 states that, children learn through play. Such play is their voluntary activity and that such activity creates the foundation for a balance between mind and body. It is during early childhood children develop their foundation for life upon which all else will be built. Since there is nothing like these guidelines in our education curriculum what we do is to place our children under unnecessary duress rather than observe them to see where they fit in. The government also has a large share of the mess, because it does not make tertiary education entirely attractive.
In the recent teacher’s day celebration, the ministry of education promised undergraduates studying education courses in university and college of education N75,000.00 and N50,000.00 stipend per semester in order to attract and encourage the incoming Jambites to study education courses so that we would have more teachers.
Even the concerned undergraduates knew that the promise was dead on arrival. For making such move it means government itself is conscious of the age-long problem. It is now left to the stakeholders to change the ugly narrative.
Jimoh Abdullahi, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara state