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CURRICULUM REVIEW AND AGRICULTURE: AN ANTIDOTE TO NIGERIA’S TEEMING PROBLEM: AN ANTIDOTE TO NIGERIA’S TEEMING PROBLEM- FEMI AKINTOYE



Femi is a young Nigerian who sees the future of Nigeria tomorrow in Agriculture.
He has written a prolific analysis on the university curriculum and I bet this will rip off your heart.
Nigeria is a country blessed with enviable natural resources, favorable climate, and invaluable human resources. A country with the potentials of feeding the world, but faced with the incapacitation of feeding itself .

Where we import what we produce. Giant of Africa as acclaimed, as there is nothing to show forth. The most populous in Africa,  and seventh  globally,  with “one hundred and eighty three million, five hundred and thirty two thousand,  four hundred and twenty three inhabitants”, 183,532,423, (worldometers, 2015). Coupled with an area of land of about nine hundred and twenty three thousand, seven hundred and sixty nine square kilometers, 923,769km2 (FOS,  1989). Emphasis needs not to be laid on the mind blogging inherent resources Nigeria has, which has accord it a reputable place amidst other nation, as this seems not to be the bone of contention of this piece. With the synchrony of these innumerable natural endowments, should Nigerians still suffer from abject poverty, food insecurity,  unemployment, insurgencies,  among others?

 A lot of errant solutions have been posed to put an end to some of these problems (food insecurity, unemployment, to mention but a few). However the synergy of these solutions is not sustainable enough to dare these menaces. The government has been playing its role in subsidization of farm machineries and implements, free allocation of fertilizers, updating the farmers through extension agents, creation of two Federal Universities of Agriculture (FUNAAB and University of Agriculture Makurdi), polytechnics and colleges where agriculture is offered as a course. We have a great deal of Professors, innumerable Doctors, and a myriad of graduates in the field of agriculture. However, none of these aforementioned solutions have curbed the rate of importation, unemployment, crime, insurgency, amongst others.
I cringe when I hear government say it would create more Jobs for unemployed graduates. This can be likened to curing fifty patients embattled with chronic malaria with a tablet of anti-malaria drug. Not in this dispensation, where the rate of unemployment is multiplying geometrically and the creation of jobs is increasing arithmetically. According to the World Bank, “job creation in Nigeria has been inadequate to keep pace with the expanding working age population. The official unemployment rate had steadily increased from 12 per cent of the working age population in 2006 to 24 per cent in 2011. Preliminary indications are that this upward trend continued in 2012.”. On account of this, the idea of creating more jobs to curb unemployment is illusory and illogical. No fewer than one million, eight hundred thousand, , 800,000 students graduate annually from all institutions in Nigeria and automatically get admission into the labor market university where all available vacancies (created jobs) have been occupied by their predecessors who will have to spend some decades until downsizing is the in thing to do. What would become of these unemployed graduates? A few of the total faction furthers their education, whilst some decides to be vocationally trained, and vast number of them constitute nuisance to the environs they abide in, involving themselves in activities that , due to restiveness and idleness, would be robbed of their morality and teem up to disturb the peace of the nation. This is in accordance to a saying, “an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”.
“If the foundation is destroyed, what shall the righteous do”, says the holy book. This is a foundational problem and it has to be tackled from the roots. I grew up with the notion that “ I want to be an engineer”. Neither because I had love for engines nor I had full insight about engineering, but engineering was seen as a noble profession. The inscriptions on the walls of my secondary school read, “I want to be an engineer, I want to be a doctor, I want to be a lawyer, etc”, but I have never for once come across one with “I want to be a farmer”. Agriculture has lost its nobility and pride. Students who study agriculture are seen as second class citizens, an object of ridicule,  and one who has no future. Owing to this, these students tend to move to other sectors, despising their profession, due their seemingly unsecured future, lack of in-depth knowledge about what they have learnt, inability of the students to pose solution to threats to agriculture and zero passion for tilling and tending.
Subsequent to the completion of entry examinations (post-utme) conducted by institutions. The institution releases its cut-off mark for each course. Courses like Medicine, engineering, law, etc. upstages agriculture. For instance medicine (70%), engineering (70%), Law (65), Natural sciences (65), while Agricultural-related courses (40%). Aside this,  if it happens that a prospective student who chose engineering did not meet up with the cut-off mark, for each course. Courses like Medicine, engineering, law, etc. upstages agriculture. For instance medicine (70%), engineering (70%), Law (65), Natural sciences (65), while Agricultural-related courses (40%). Aside this,  if it happens that a prospective student who chose engineering did not meet up with the cut-off mark,  he would be offered agriculture. What does this implies? Shall we say that meritorious students are not needed in the field of Agriculture, or better put, Agriculture is meant to be studied by average minds and maladroit? Why won’t  the construction sector and health sector perform than sector of  agriculture. 95% of students who study agriculture never wanted to.  It was their last resort after their dark moments of seeking admission.  How will these people driven by fate and opportunity to study agriculture pose solutions to problems militating against the nation. We have professional bodies for some courses in Nigeria,  like  ICAN, COREN, etc. However,  there is no widely recognized professional body for agriculture.
Restore the lost pride and nobility of “tilling and tending” through proper awareness.  Graduates of agriculture are not meant to be job-seekers but employers of labor. Raise an agricultural student,  and he would in turn employ thousands.
There is no doubt that these  problems  would not cease if the curriculum is not reviewed as regards agriculture. The curriculum has been designed to transit “potential problem solvers” into liability.  I hereby make a clarion call to the government to urgently review the curriculum before we are all doomed on the school’s activity that lead to captivity.

Written By: FEMI AKINTOYE.
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