I got a big shock!

Yesterday my child gave me a big shock, actually I have heard and read this a lot and said it too, on numerous ocasions.

Nothing prepared me for this though.

When your child is the one innocently telling you to your face that school is all about passing exams and not about learning… I think the alarm bells need to go off quick and fast and those who can need to do something about it.

Now I would really like to state that my son is a product of both the UK and Nigerian educational system. This is important because I do not want us to brush his views aside as its a Nigerian problem, because its not, it is rather a global problem, bar a few smart countries that have done away with the industrial belt education system a long time ago.

So what happened?

Well he came home after school yesterday and I asked him as usual about what he did in school.

His answer was something like “It was all good, we were working on some activities about an area near the school. Same old same old.”

In trying to find out specifics and discussing futher I mentioned some facts about the area, these I had picked up by engaging with people.

That was when he said to me:

‘Mum, that’s not important. No one is ever going to ask me about that in school.’


So I then asked

‘Tell me please mr man why do we go to school?’

Answer: ‘To learn the answers to help me pass my exams!… That’s the solid truth.’

Ha! Egba mi!

(Meaning “Help me” in Yoruba, a Nigerian language)


From the mouth of our children…

They have figured it out… all education is about is simply passing exams and obtaining certificates!

We wonder why our1 graduates cannot function properly in the workplace, well this is our answer.

No true instinsic learning

No motivation to learn

Just the need to pass exams

We really need to stop and think..

Homework, tests, exams, forcing 2 year olds to write numbers 1 to 40 and letters a to z!


Now the the children are conditioning their minds to figuring out what is test/examination material. Anything else is not worth knowing.

Yes I know that there are a few that will learn for learning sake but if the majority take this route how on earth are we going to recover from this bottomless pit of an education system we operate.

And please, for those of us that keep going on about the British or American curriculum as the best, please smell the coffee.

I really wonder why schools are not adopting the Finnish curriculum?

Instead I still get asked: “Why does your school only work with Montessori and The Nigerian curriculm? Wont it be better packaging if you added British or American?”

Children in Finland start school at 7 years, homework and exams are not a regular feature in their lives yet they top world standards yearly.

From what I can gather they align nicely with Montessori ideals… and they are doing exceptionally well, and so are the children from Addlo Montessori

Yes. I now need to figure out how to redirect my sons way of thinking….

But I see the bigger picture, it is more than just the issue about the views of my son.

It is the shock of what the global educational system in general is doing to the children we claim we are educating… and specifically Nigeria, because we know that our schools both public and private are not truely engaging in helping our children learn to learn and love to learn.

Going to school is more about learning how to learn, than it is about passing exams.


2 thoughts on “I got a big shock!

  1. This is a wake up call to private and public schools, governments and all stakeholders. We need to change, we really need the change.
    The believe system is ruining parents, children and youths. Youth, adults and as the article clearly put it, even children.
    Former United States President, Barack Obama once said in a speech,”We are poised to give practical knowledge to our future leaders”
    Lets work together.


  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I honestly believe this is a story you should keep sharing to reawaken our systems. I have never ever spoken about any specific curriculum but one I call relevant curriculum for social reconstructionism. Curriculum is life and living. We must see it so especially as a work-in-progress designed to equip students for functional living.

    Thank you for taking the scales of popularly named curriculum. Thank you for keeping it real. Am I saying that Nigerian curriculum is better than those named in this article? No, far from the truth. I am saying that no curriculum is fit for Nigeria except one that’s reconceptualized to solve Nigeria’s existing problems by equipping citizens with sustainable and future ready skills.


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