A few years ago, in one of the high schools where I worked as a teacher, my students blatantly told me that education does not pay in Nigeria. They went on to prove this giving some real life instances, and I quote them: “How can someone fight tooth and nail, burn the midnight candle, work so hard to pass the WASSCE, the JAMB and the post UTME, study a course in the university for many years and under much pressure, graduate, serve his fatherland, and finally end up working for someone and earning peanuts, while his counterpart who had gone into business or had learnt a skill eventually becomes more financially stable.” They went ahead to prove another point for not believing in education, and I quote them again: In Nigeria, when a student participates and wins an academic competition, he is given a token, but when adults go for BBnaija, the winner goes home with a fortune and becomes a celebrity; big companies sign him for good jobs, just for eating free food and taking part in jamborees”. And then my response was: “You all are right, absolutely, I cannot deny the fact that our system gives little or no value to education, but, does that make knowlege less powerful?”.
Today, I have chosen to dwell on these words: “Knowledge is Power”. Knowledge is the beginning of any course of action. To not know is to remain in darknes; in the womb; unborn. Knowledge will hardly perish but anything material, will eventually perish because knowledge can be passed on, from one generation to another. Imagine that all the inventors in the world believed that “knowledge is worthless”. How could we have gotten to know about and use their inventions? They paid the price; they sat patiently and learnt painstakingly. When they were in the laboratories learning, experimenting, trying, testing, failing and succeeding, they may not have known that those efforts would make impacts on the world.
Finally, I believe in the saying “what goes round, comes around”. Knowledge may seem not to pay anymore, but “what seems is not always what is”. You that are reading this now, do not be discouraged from acquiring knowledge, because those who once told you it does not pay, will eventually come to you seeking knowledge and then, you will determine their fate. And the reason is this, when they were very busy picking fairy diamonds, you were picking precious stones for your castle. Whoever tells you education is not rewarding, wants you to remain in the same level of ignorance with him; abject ignorance. Choose education; choose knowledge; choose creativity; choose invention.