Thursday, 13 September 2012

Dangote recruitment: Lessons for Nigerian (Under)graduates

Just recently, Dangote Group, the company of billionaire business man,
Aliko Dangote advertised for the application of graduates with
second-class upper degrees (2.1) for the position of drivers. The
advert started campaign of mud-slinging, name-calling and a moral
vendetta against Dangote Group's seemingly degrading evaluation of
Nigerian graduates. Others, as the case always is, blamed the
government for crippling the Nigerian economy thus creating an
environment that leaves the Nigerian graduate vulnerable to the antics
of economical predators such as the Dangote Group.
Reactions such as this are guided by blind sentiment, serving no good
purpose, especially for the Nigerian youth. Inherent in this
occurrence are lessons to be learnt by a constructive mind. Firstly,
the pride of a man is in his work. A man does not work to pay the
bills (but sadly, the contrast is the case), rather engaging in labour
brings a certain fulfillment. It is the essence of his survival and
purpose on earth. Take away man's ability to engage in labour and you
have taken away his ego and pride. This is the reason why men take up
jobs far beneath their status, because the man must go out into the
field to till the ground. The notion of graduates taking up jobs as
drivers should not generate uproar if our graduates decide to shelve
the cloak of pride. In a country where there are fewer jobs by the
day, and majority of those employed are being underpaid, taking up a
job as a driver till the next big thing comes is not a bad idea.
Across our shores, Nigerian graduates do more demeaning jobs to
survive. Most juggle between 2-3 odd jobs, working as cleaners, bar
attendants, baby-sitting, washing dead bodies et al. Is it not the
same quest for survival that pushed graduates abroad to take up such
jobs? Why then do we expect something back home? Why do we expect to
be given hand-outs and soft-landing? What is the pride in having only
your certificate to show yet the illiterate is able to fend and
provide for his family? The fact that the graduate is knowledgeable of
government's insensitivity is enough catalyst to push the graduate to
look for ingenious means of creating economic avenues for himself. Yet
we pride ourselves with paper-qualifications.
  Secondly, the scenario also brings to the fore, imperative questions
which the graduate and undergraduate should ask if he is serious about
his future. Am i a job-creator or job-seeker? What skills do I have
aside from my degree? How far am I willing to go to develop this
skill? What skills do I need to acquire to position me in a vantage
spot? Today's existential reality has made it as a matter of urgency,
for the Nigerian (under)graduate to seek to explore inherent talents
and skills which most times are not moulded within the formal walls of
our universities. How is your extra time spent? Chasing girls, binge
drinking or self-development? To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed.
Nigerian (under)graduates are fully cognisant of the fact that our
educational system is dysfunctional. Our professors can't even
propound solutions to the nation's problems and on the average, have
performed worse than the politicians themselves when appointed into
government. Lecturers are out of sync with the current realities of
the contemporary pedagogical methods, while the curriculum is
out-dated. The Nigerian student knows all this. Why then does he still
fall prey to the whims of economic predators? Why does he still
embrace the mind-set of looking for a job-seeker? Why has he not armed
himself since he has had prior knowledge of the labour market's over
saturation? Why are university certificates an end in itself, instead
of a means to an end?    There is a serious need for a paradigm
shift. A value-reorientation. Graduates should debunk the notion that
the world or government owes them something because they graduated.
Education is meant to expose and broaden the mind, not give you a job.
Going to school with the sole purpose of getting a job defeats the
purpose of education. Such a myopic purpose would be better treated
through apprenticeship, worker's guild and technical schools.
Being a graduate does not exempt you from doing menial jobs. But if
as a graduate, you do such menial jobs for a long time, is as a result
of wrongful application of cognition. Until Nigerian youths learn to
be proactive and avoid campus vices and distractions and shed the
cloak of ego-massaging, then they would be so educated that all they
would be left with is their certificates.

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