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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

boys

July 6, 2020 Leave a comment

📸: The Mail & Guardian

Some time ago, I called a friend to check on her. She’s been in between jobs for some time, even before the lockdown, so I wanted to know how her job search was going. Thankfully, she has some promising leads, but also exploring ventures playing to her strengths. However, what I’d like to discuss came after.

From career to business to family, and then, her love life. Last time we spoke, she had three men talking to her, and I’d given her some advice, so this was more of a follow up. Mr A is a Muslim, and being a Christian, she’s put him in the friend zone. She dodged a bullet with Mr B, a serial womanizer. Mr C, who I had been secretly rooting for, really disappointed me.

I’ll give you a bit of a background. He’s good-looking, intelligent, polite, sociable, well-spoken, and has a high six-figures job. The problem is his personal hygiene; it’s very poor. I won’t divulge the extensive list, but he constantly has BO, bad breath, and days-old used pans and plates in his kitchen sink, just to name a few. The sad part is she’s tried to advise and correct him subtly and lovingly, but he gets upset and defensive. He’s not teachable.

Here’s where I’m going. She talked to an older married woman about it, and her advice was “It doesn’t matter now; boys are always dirty.” Unbelievable, right?
Did I mention, she video-called Mr A twice, and in the background were shirts and pants scattered all over his room?
Her question to me, now, was “What kind of men are being raised these days?”

I think a lot of Nigerian, dare I say, African, parents have dropped the ball here. Their sole focus is to train decent daughters to the detriment of their sons. A lot of these sons have grown up with an indolent attitude towards chores, which eventually affects personal hygiene. In high school, know guys that used a pair of boxers for a whole week. They’d play/work, sweat and sleep in the same pair the entire week. Even in college, a roommate’s friend once bragged that he once used his for an entire month!

Yes, boys don’t like doing chores, but I don’t think girls do either, but they’re made to understand from an early age that it’s non-negotiable. It shouldn’t be any different for boys. Washing dishes and clothes, ironing, sweeping, mopping, even cooking, were non-negotiable for me. As a young boy, my mom made me wash my dishes (as well as my younger sister’s) immediately after every meal, and to wash my underwear before bedtime. As a teenager, it was she taught me how to shave my armpit hair and use deodorant daily. I didn’t enjoy the chores, especially on Saturday morning, but they instilled in me cleanliness, discipline and responsibility. I’m the better for it today.

Please teach your boys to: brush their teeth and bathe twice daily; wash their dishes immediately after their meals; use their underwear and socks once; wash, sun-dry, iron, and fold/hang their clothes; polish their shoes; cook; and so on. Please do, so they can grow to become good “husband material”, not just money-earning liabilities to their dutiful, responsible wives. Let’s raise real men.

While we’re on this subject, I like to address the prevalence of rape in Nigeria. I think this is an issue that has gone unchecked for years, and now, has gone completely out of hand. However, it has, hopefully, at the unfortunate expense of the late Uwaila Omozuwa, finally gotten the [local and international] attention it needs. We need to start by stopping the trend of “blaming the victim” in Nigeria. Rape is only the fault of the rapist(s). It doesn’t matter how old she is, what she wears, where she goes, what she does, how she earns a living, her religion [or faith], or her relationship status. The victim is never to blame. A lady being naked or scantly dressed is not permission to rape. A lady walking alone at night or in a night club is not seeking to be raped. A lady working as a hooker/prostitute or secretary is not permission to rape. As a man, a woman being your bestie, girlfriend, fiancĂ©e, even wife, is not grounds for rape. No girl or woman should be forced into sex against her will. There is no room for coaxing or coercion. She’s allowed to change her mind or say “no”, irrespective of previous arrangements or obligations. No consent, no sex.

I like to add that we should be aware that consent goes both ways. Boys/men are also raped. I think the current statistics, according to UNICEF, is “1 in 4 girls and 10% of boys”. Men aren’t “always down”, so there should be no harassment. They can refuse/turn down sexual advances too. I’m glad to know the Nigerian Senate is looking to revise the criminal code on rape to recognize that both genders can be raped. The code currently only defines rape as an offense against women.

So, please, as we teach our girls to be careful, mindful of their surroundings, and even, self-defense, the boys shouldn’t be excluded. Additionally, both should be educated on “consent” and taught that “no means no”. Most importantly, please teach your boys (who will become men) to always respect girls/women and their choices. Real men respect women and vice versa.

lockdown education

May 5, 2020 Leave a comment
A major concern for me, over the past week, has been how to educate/stimulate pupils and students in Nigerian public schools during this extensive lockdown period. It’s my understanding that the children receiving any formal education right now are those in private schools. The private [primary and secondary] schools are about the only ones that can afford to implement e-learning protocols. However, the vast majority of Nigerian pupils and students attend public schools, so for the time being, most aren’t learning anything academic.

As a passionate advocate for continuous personal growth and development, my fear is a lot of them will lose a whole term, or worse, a whole year of school, and fall far behind (than they already are/were) their peers in private schools. So, in a bid to provide, in my small way, a solution, I considered some sort of YouTube channel, in partnership with teachers of basic subjects (like English Language and Math). However, there are 2 challenges.

First, there would either have to be enough content for classes by level, i.e Primary/Form 1-6, JS1-3 and SS1-3; or (the better option) classes by [broad] age groups, i.e ages 2-5, ages 7-10, and ages 11-15/16, for example. Secondly, there is the possibility that, because of their meager means, most of their guardians or parents may not have laptops/tabs and WiFi modems or smart phones (with enough data) to stream the content for long periods of time, talk less of several times a week. I concluded, since the target audience may find it challenging accessing online content, YouTube may not work.

Next, I considered working with a radio station, as this may be more practical for their parents/guardians. However, off the bat, the first issue is children have short attention spans, so without constant supervision, audio might not be too effective; especially for a subject like Math. This led to my final consideration.

Instead of subjects, the focus could be on puzzles and/or problems with quantitative and verbal elements [according to age groups]. They might not learn anything new, but those could help keep them sharp and mentally-stimulated. So maybe the best option for the masses would be to broadcast verbal and quantitative problems catered to various age groups on a regular basis – possibly, a different group at a specific time every weekday?

While seeking a partner for this initiative, I learned that 9Mobile Nigeria had begun providing free data to access certain e-learning portals to support the Federal Government’s e-learning program for students during this lockdown. Some of those portals include, MobileClassroom and Schoolgate. Kudos to 9Mobile for taking the initiative; wonder if and when the other national carriers (MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and Globacom Nigeria) would make similar arrangements.

This initiative will, in no doubt, help those with access to smartphones, but those without access to those devices would still at a disadvantage, so back to square one. I wonder if there are those equally concerned and willing to partner with me or support the radio programing angle (#RadioSchoolNigeria), as a palliative/temporary measure, of course? Classrooms are still the best method teaching children and teens.

Please note that it might not be profitable, monetarily, but I do believe it would go a long way in leveling the academic playing field and enriching the lives of our younger ones.