By Anote Ajeluorou
A new book sets it so neatly, almost with a doomsday verdict: Nigerian youths are not 21st century-compliant! And this is serious indictment of a nation’s youth force. Simply put: Nigerian youths are not at par with their counterparts from some other parts of the world. The reasons are as obvious as they are ominous
In his new book The 360 Degrees Youths: 21st Century Approach to Total Youths’ Development, Joshua Olabisi Falade explores the amazing world of the Nigerian youth and its place within the global context. But what he finds is a nation’s youth in disadvantage in the global scheme of things. As a youth leader within the Christian fold, Falade is worried. And he thinks every other Nigerian should be worried as well, especially parents who he says are saddled with the task of raising assets not just children.
It is this distinction between raising children and making them assets that has set the Nigerian youth at an uncertain the cross-road. Falade argues in his book that there is a need to raise well-rounded youths that can compete at all levels and in all sectors of human life to fit the global economic vision. He maintains that youths need to go beyond being educated but also being able to fit the demands of the century founded on solid Information Technology and Communications (ITC).
“Youths should be compliant with the features of the 21st century, especially in the area of competition, which is global,” Falade states, “Youths must be used to all the tools used in dealing with the century. I advise parents to have small family that they can manage as it has become increasingly expensive to raise a family so the children can become assets rather than a liability. On their part, youths should adapt to the old moral order so as not to be too materialistic.”
Falade lists various factors that have made the Nigerian youth less competitive with his mates in the global arena. These factors include a poor, starry-eyed educational curriculum that ill-equips him for usefulness in society, government’s failure to take into account youths’ potential as productive sector of the economy; a poor technological appreciation, physical inadequacy, mental lapse and poor financial base.
These factors, according to Falade, need to be addressed urgently so as to better reposition the nation’s youth force and turn it into an asset and advantage for purpose of national development. He says, “Educationally, the Nigerian youth is so backward. Education should not be abstract but one that teaches skills, especially entrepreneurial skills– so graduates would be better prepared for life after school. A large number of youths are not where they should be in terms of readiness for work.
“In other words, they are globally unprepared, socially disconnected, financially uninformed, physically un-agile, anti-fitness; in fact, they are not there yet in these areas. Reason is that education hasn’t prepare them. The curriculum is inadequate; it can’t prepared youths to be 21st century-compliant.
“In terms of technology, Nigerian youths are just hooked onto the social media network. They are not really into technology yet whereas the global economy is tech-driven. Also in terms of mental ability, Nigerian youths lag behind; the reasoning of youths today is very low; their debate is shallow. All Nigerian youths know is soccer and such trivial affairs and not the issues that drive the world like politics. Financially, Nigerian youths are not there yet; only in negative terms like yahoo or 419”.
To redress the situation, Falade maintains that there is a need for parents to bequeath to children needed skills that will make youths fit to play a part in a globalised economy otherwise raising them becomes a disservice and incalculable harm to society. He also tasks religious institutions to step up their roles and act as great socialising agents and elevate the love for mankind, morality and de-emphasise the love for materialism. Religious institutions, he states, should go back to the moral basics that will replace the corrupt order.
He insists government must redefine the basis of education to remove all abstractions for the reality staring the world in the face. Falade says things that are relevant and practical in education should be in the curriculum for a better society, saying the old concept of the town and gown should be well-aligned.
The 360 Degrees Youths: 21st Century Approach to Total Youths’ Development is scheduled for launch later this month.