When Education Kills

By Jude Atupulazi

Too much of anything, they say, is bad; even when such a thing is supposed to have a lot of positives. We are in a period in academic circles known as Long Vacation. It is a period meant for students to take a break from academic work, to relax their minds and prepare mentally and physically for the next academic session.

However, many students today do not enjoy such a luxury. They have become victims of what I will call academic overload. This starts from their time in school. They are forced to read, read and read, to the extent that their brains can no longer assimilate much. Thus, what ordinarily should have been beneficial becomes harmful.

Imagine this scenario. A student goes to school by 7 O’clock in the morning. He stays till the official close of normal classes between 1:30 and 2 PM. Rather than go home, they are made to stay back for lessons that may drag on till 5PM. They get home, eat, do house chores and are made by their parents to read again before going to bed. Now, is this helping the students or destroying them? In all of this, the students do not get enough time to rest and allow what they have been taught to seep in.

As if that’s not enough, during the holidays, their parents enlist them for extramural lessons, meaning that such students disappear in the morning hours only to re-appear in the late afternoon. Now, I ask; what is the result of all this? Are we producing better students than we ought to? Can the products of the modern Nigerian school system compare favourably with the products of the school system of yore? Of course not!

Mind you, many parents judge their wards’ academic performance largely by their ability to speak the English Language like Ndi Ocha. But that is neither here nor there. Most of such students are hardly able to spell what they speak; but that is a matter for another day.

The fact is that the colonial masters who designed education for us factored in the importance of resting. They knew that a well-rested mind performs better than one that is over stressed. This is why abroad, employers never allow their employees to skip their vacation. They insist on such because they believe that taking vacations increases and improves performance. So why are we going against nature here?

I’m inclined to believe that there is more of pecuniary interest by school proprietors in making students to take extra lessons than the genuine interest in the welfare and general good of their students; after all, none of these lessons is for free.

As we step into the season of the Long Vacation, therefore, I enjoin parents to allow their children enough time to really rest. Akwukwo adi agba oso. Let’s give them a chance to rest, play and relax; so that when they return to school, they do so more refreshed instead of returning as mentally and physically drained students. Enough of this scam called extramural lessons during the holidays and even during normal time.

We should still be reminded by this time tested cliché that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It is as true as this season being a season of Long Vacation. Our mumu don do.