Opinion: Timaya is right, education is not meant for everyone | By: Kehinde Ajose
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein
At the recently held third leg of Star Music Trek, held in Uyo the dancehall sensation Timaya made a statement that got me thinking. This statement has somehow gotten a life of its own as it has practically gone viral and various young Nigerians have been reacting to it calling him a dullard. Timaya puts it this way: “Education is not for me, it is important, yes, but not for me. I scored 17 in JAMB, that’s when I gave up. I don’t have the brain for education but for those of you who do, please do it, its good.” he said.
Despite not being a university graduate, he has been able to discover what he is wired to do and inspiring other young Nigerians to do so. One of the greatest discoveries you can ever decipher in life is to know what God has created you for and walk the path. According to Ken Robinson: ‘Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not — because the thing they were good at school wasn’t valued, was actually stigmatized.’ Many parents have ‘Talked’ their children out of pursuing their true talents because they believe it’s not a normal thing to do (they prefer them running the rat race) .
Once upon a time, there lived a very poor couple who had a son. When the boy was born, a relative sent some expensive and elegant clothing as a present. The mother made a beautiful robe from the cloth and said, “When my son is a man, I will send him into the world with this beautiful robe.” The boy grew up and one day a rich merchant invited all the townspeople to a feast. The son came in his usual tattered clothing and no one made room for him at the table. Brokenhearted at the rejection, he went home and told his mother what had happened. To console him, she gave him the beautiful robe stored away all these years that she had made from the elegant cloth. The son returned to the feast dressed in his new finery. The rich man saw him, rushed over and bowed, and asked him to sit beside him. The son took off his elegant rob, held it over the food, and said “Eat robe, eat all you want.”
“Why are you talking to your coat?” asked the rich man. “Because when I was here before in poor clothing,” the boy replied, “no one paid attention to me. But now I come in a fancy robe and you treat me royally. It is clearly not me you invited to eat beside you, but my robe.”
The lesson of this story is clear: If you love me for my robe, you rob me of my true self. Our education system is structured in such a way that it is alien to one’s true self .How can you discover your true self while our education system is plagued with several irregularities like prolonged strike actions, lecturers who are not born to lecture but only do it to put body and soul together, an education system that cannot create opportunities for the unemployed.
Joy Bewaji puts it this way in her Facebook post: “If there’s anything I have to share with students of higher learning in this sad country, it would be- Self Development. Run your own government. Build your own institution. Schools with no laboratories, no studios, no air, no dreams. They don’t care about you.”
Imagine if Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie didn’t pursue her true talent – Writing
Imagine if Donjazzy ignored his knack to produce good music, and instead decides to be a school teacher?
– Imagine if Tara Durotoye didn’t stay true to her ability to beautify people… what would have happened to the thousands of young women who have been inspired by her giant strides, and have dared to pursue their dreams as a result of the inspiration and mentorship they draw from her ?
The education that doesn’t make you lead a productive life and create wealth for not just you, but for others should be questioned. According to Kiyosaki (1993), “the current education system is fraught with many problems. First, educators undermine the development of creative and independent thinking in students with their emphasis on the right answer. Essentially, students are discouraged from exploring complex issues when their journey for knowledge is abruptly terminated with their discovery of the one right answer.”
Consequently, the students who thrive in the school system are typically skilled in rote memorization. However, they are ill-equipped to deal with the dynamic and complex realities of our society. Instead of preparing our young people to apply their thinking to changing situations, the education system has essentially produced graduates who are dependent on their superiors and limited by their lack of creativity.
Now let’s come back to Timaya… if his music aptitude has been nurtured right from his childhood, let’s say his parents enrolled him in a music school instead of making him ‘Battle’ with JAMB, he will probably be one of the greatest musicians of our time….(not just an artiste). The crux of the matter is that it’s imperative to find your true gifting , get an education that is in harmony with it, and make a difference in your world through it.
‘Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be. — ‘Henry David Thoreau