By: Roland Bayode, Deborah Omoare and Rachael Daramola
Few weeks ago, the Federal Ministry of Education closed down tertiary, secondary and primary schools nationwide due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria. This action was taken as a measure to curtail the spread of the virus.
It is also worthy of note that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite strike in the wake of the pandemic which collapsed the educational structure in the meantime. There has been optimism on the part of the students as regards the feasibility of their resumption. This hope was however dashed when two weeks was added to the compulsory lockdown of the major affected states in the country.
In the course of compiling this report, it was discovered that majority of the students find it difficult to utilize their time at home and in the name of boredom they engage in different unimportant and non-beneficial activities.
Some perceive this period as a good time to rest from all the stress they have been through in their various institutions while some people seize the opportunity to see movies and playing games to get rid of boredom at their various abodes. On the other hand, another set of students spend time surfing the internet.
An idle man is often said to be the devil’s instrument, no doubt, some have been indulging in crazy, naughty and vicious acts. During this period of idleness, some bad acts such as robbery, kidnapping and cybercrime could become a norm if proper preventive measures are not taken to curb it.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation News, The Central Bank of Nigeria discovered that cybercriminals are already utilizing the opportunity of this COVID-19 pandemic to carry out fraudulent activities on Nigerians. Also, Aljazeera reported that the Police Force was already reinforcing its men in Lagos and Ogun State after almost 200 suspects were arrested amid fear of a spike in crime the lockdown.
On 23rd January 2019, a report was published by DailyTrust indicating a statement made by African Students Education Support Initiative (ASESI), saying that “Some Nigerian students now engage in criminality as a result of the unending strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)”. This was reported during an ongoing ASUU strike which commenced on 4th of November 2018 and eventually lasted for three months. This corroborates the fact that most students do not engage in meaningful activities during a strike or in a situation whereby they are forced to stay out of school.
Doesn’t this bring out attention to the saddening perspectives of most students which is that education begins and end within the four walls of their institutions?
They have come to neglect self-development and depend wholly on whatever they get from their lecturers. Another sad aspect, even though it is not the bone of contention for this discourse, it is still worthy of note. That is the fact that students do not read to understand but for the main purpose of passing examinations.
As for some ladies who have no other thing to think of than their boyfriends and how much they are missing him. It is not bad, it is just that there is a need for them to realise that when a lady’s brain is empty, her private part will take the punishment.
However, life would be a better place for us all if students who are the leaders of tomorrow learn to get things right at this stage of their lives. This does not insinuate that students should not have fun. No, it is their time… They can have but they should not forget to be intentional about whatever it is they do.
Without much ado, students should make use of this break to learning new things. There is an adage that state that “The day you stop learning is the day you start dying”.
There is a need for them to be diverse. They should acquire knowledge about things outside their fields of study and by so doing, it will benefit them and also the society at large.
One of the ways to achieve this is by taking online courses. This will not only increase their morale but also help them to get better jobs and earn more money and possibly serve as an added advantage to them in the nearest future.
Meanwhile, no one is an island of knowledge, so we can’t know it all. In the field of journalism, it is believed that journalists must know little about something and something about little. Therefore being diverse will not only add to one’s wealth of knowledge, but it will also enhance your understanding and give you a wider perspective regarding relevant issues.
Everything in life is not all about education, the student can get themselves occupied by learning entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneur skill is another advantage of an individual’s knowledge. There are lots of entrepreneurial skills they can learn or improved online via youtube such as Fashion Designing, Hairdressing, and beads making… This will make them independent and more resourceful.
Also, there is the option of learning or developing some life skills such as graphics designing, communication skill (this includes writing and public speaking), and further training.
Moreover, youths could use this opportunity to discover themselves and what they stand for. Self-discovery is not just a foundational skill but also an invaluable skill which should not be taken lightly.
To cap it all, Marianne Williamson said and I quote “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously permit other people to do the same.”
Therefore students should not use this period as an excuse to become mediocre. There is a need for them to understand that this pandemic will phase over with time and they will be left with how much value they’ve added to themselves by how well they have utilized the break.