Institutions of higher learning the world over are highly respected for their role in the socio-economic and political transformation of any society. Apart from being centres of excellence in the acquisition of relevant skills, they champion the course of the oppressed and are equally instrumental in introducing socio-political reforms anytime, anywhere.
But a close look at students’ activities in our campuses these days launches a completely negative picture. The major events in our institutions nowadays are beauty contests, fashion parades, musical carnivals, semi-nude extravaganzas, disco-championships, cult activities and campus politics. Hardly a week passes by without jingles and writes ups heralding yet another mister and misses any campus show.
Admittedly, students should create time for socialization and recreation in an academic environment. After all, all work and no play they say make Jack a dull boy. But the rate, at which it is being proliferated in our campuses, nowadays, has become a matter of serious concern for some well-meaning Nigerians. Why do undergraduates indulge in destructive attitudes? Is the lure of semi-nude girls flaunting their femininity amorously; the parade of absurd costumes in the name of obscure designer’s collection; the weird haircuts and hair-dos; initiation and consummation of affairs; smoking and drinking competition, or the destructive activities of cultists?
In other societies, one hears of read of higher schools and universities organizing talent hunt exhibitions, technical aid schemes, research foundations, rural education programmes and projects, launching endowment funds to enhance their progress and the development of their communities. How many times for example, have we heard university students launching appeal funds to aid the underprivileged in the society; or for the treatment of many disabled Nigerians crying for help and attention in magazines, newspapers and radio every day?
With the negative and unproductive preoccupation of most Nigerian students, it is not declining in the spite of government’s commitment and huge investment in education, especially at the tertiary level.
Our institutions of higher learning have transformed from centres of academic excellence to centres of fashion parades, secret cults, high level of immorality and other social vices. It is not wonder that some of our graduates turn out to be mockeries of their professions as they seem to have virtually nothing to show for their years of exposures in citadels of learning across the nation.
More often in the evenings, young female undergraduates are seen standing along the streets and within the vicinity of club houses located near their schools hawking sex. As they stream along the street, the untrained eyes see only the self conscious walk, the giggling speech and the preposterous clothing. And through the shaded faces, the low necked and sleeveless chiffon blouses and the slit skirts, the announce to the business world that they are here and that they possess commercial value.
In turn, the sugar daddies and men of low morality readily exploit the vulnerability of these hot headed girls for whom loose pleasures have become a way of life, as they exchange the deadly AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Predictably, there is scantly students’ audience whenever seminars, conferences and workshops are being organized in campuses. The subject matter in such discourse is of an academic nature; hence students find them boring and cumbersome. A stroll around the venue of seminars in our campuses shows students gorgeously attired, clutching very expensive handbags of exquisite designs bulging with books that are hardly ever read. The same student would argue convincingly that the effect of economic condition on him is so harsh that he cannot afford five hundred Naira for a book relevant to his academic pursuit.
This explains why semester examinations across our campuses are today characterized by all forms of malpractices, this is also why students are seen harassing and following lecturers about, offering gratifications in cash and kind for pass grades, and at the end of the day, every one of them would pass for a graduate. Who actually is fooling who?
Form the foregoing; it is obvious that something is seriously wrong with our priorities and orientation. It is therefore time for our leaders of tomorrow to do some serious thinking and promote only activities that would enhance their progress and well being, as well as make Nigeria a better place to live in. Tomorrow is not too far, the journey must start today.
An excerpt from a complete course in English (Revised Edition) written by Dr. Benjamin F.C Nwokedi