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HomeEditorialAKWUKWO NA-ATO UTO’ THE BEAUTY OF FORMAL EDUCATION: IS IT ONLY FOR THE RICH? By Dr Ikechi Kelechi Agbugba

AKWUKWO NA-ATO UTO’ THE BEAUTY OF FORMAL EDUCATION: IS IT ONLY FOR THE RICH? By Dr Ikechi Kelechi Agbugba

AKWUKWO NA-ATO UTO’ THE BEAUTY OF FORMAL EDUCATION: IS IT ONLY FOR THE RICH? By Dr Ikechi Kelechi Agbugba

Akwukwo na-ato uto;
O na-ara ahu na mmuta;
Onye nwere ntasi obi; o ga amuta akwukwo,
Ma o buru na nne gi na nna gi nwee ego,
Ma o buru na nne gi na nna gi nwee ego.

Interpretation
“Venturing into formal education is a sweet, good and beautiful thing.
Though difficult to understand, but the patient learner would receive/acquire the knowledge and skill therein. However, this could be made possible if the learner’s or child’s father and mother have the financial strength.”

The relevance of education in a tribe, community, nation and people cannot be over emphasized. As a matter of fact, the education sector is prominent in championing the course of Africa’s economic transformation. Africa is at crossroads; it can either embrace this bulge as a dividend which could spur businesses, or it continues the same trajectory and create a major humanitarian, political, economic, and security crisis for the world within the next two decades. Some persons perceive and have expressed beliefs that the development of Africa is connected to the Jews of Africa, the Igbos. Indeed, the Igbo extraction of Nigeria uses folktales to communicate or explain aspects of people’s lives or culture, which are also important. Over time, it is believed that the Igbos are more industrious, economically-inclined and business-oriented compared to the other tribes of Nigeria, which has also been proved by the Igbo-Apprenticeship Entrepreneurial system which is an important component of the Informal sector contributing significantly to the GDP of Nigeria’s economy

• Dr Ikechi Agbugba and a cross-section of his students at Rivers State University, Nigeria

Education, which is believed as the champion of all disciplines touches on and translates to the various aspects of the culture of individuals, persons and humans. Interestingly, people spend so much money in search of knowledge and skill from within Africa and other developed countries. Knowledge they say, is power and without information, one will be deformed. In the past, the Igbos were not inclined to formal education like they were in traditional business schools of apprenticeship. At some point, while the male children were sent to school, the females were forbidden to attend. More so, the aspects of Igbo culture such as construction of houses, African Traditional Religion began to change following colonialism.

Dr Ikechi @University of Wolverhampton, UK

However, in the late 1900s, there was massive awakening for parents and communities to sponsor their children to schools and enroll in formalized education system and that has received increased attention till date, that has received increased attention, irrespective of the seemingly high tuition fees. Truly, some fortunate few persons receive scholarship and funding (secondary or tertiary education) from philanthropic bodies to pay their tuition fees or even migrate to other nations to gain experience and exposure in Arts, Science and Technology.

At this juncture, let me pause to pose this question: “Can the children of the poor get the basic educational requirement which the children of the rich are already enlisted in?”

However, in the late 1900s, there was massive awakening for parents and communities to sponsor their children to schools and enroll in formalized education system and that has received increased attention till date, that has received increased attention, irrespective of the seemingly high tuition fees. Truly, some fortunate few persons receive scholarship and funding (secondary or tertiary education) from philanthropic bodies to pay their tuition fees or even migrate to other nations to gain experience and exposure in Arts, Science and Technology.

At this juncture, let me pause to pose this question: “Can the children of the poor get the basic educational requirement which the children of the rich are already enlisted in?”

Truly, money is an incentive which the rich uses in enhancing their children. Since education is not free in the Nigerian society, the Igbos inculcate in the minds of their children through the folklore, folktale and philosophy of it that education is for the rich. Hence, the belief and industrious attitude of the common Igbo man who is ardent in investing resources and engaging in diverse productive businesses in saving more money for the education of his children.

Truly, money is an incentive which the rich uses in enhancing their children. Since education is not free in the Nigerian society, the Igbos inculcate in the minds of their children through the folklore, folktale and philosophy of it that education is for the rich. Hence, the belief and industrious attitude of the common Igbo man who is ardent in investing resources and engaging in diverse productive businesses in saving more money for the education of his children.

Dr Ikechi Agbugba together with the former VC of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Prof Aini Ideris. Prof (Mrs.) Ideris is one the most educated women in the Islamic world and in the whole of Asian

continent. Prof Aini’s research developed vaccines that could cure cancer patients and a good number of sufferers benefitted from that.

On the other hand, parents who lack the wherewithal in making money and generating profits, as well as saving money cannot send their children to the same school where the children of rich parents attend. Most times, children from poor families face all manners of humiliation in the school environment due to the debts owed to the school by their parents. Such a child will be withdrawn from school and will not be able to socialize with the other children. This will gradually and definitely deprive the child of early relationship with other children from homes. So how can this disparity or inequity be solved? What role does the government have to play? Truly and logically, children from poor families struggle to attend ‘good’ schools and sometimes, they end up as petty traders, roadside hawkers, street boys and girls practicing all manners of social vices jeopardizing their future. Such children ended up formally uneducated, since their parents cannot afford to provide money for school fees, the little money they have, the spend on basic life priority needs which are food, clothing and shelter. Hence, there is a need to strengthen, equip as well as develop the skills, knowledge-base and human capacity of families, which are the building blocks of the society as that would go a long way in championing the education of their members and also, fortifying them in functioning better especially in building-up the micro, small and medium-scale enterprises which are significant, efficient and effective contributors to the overall economy wide growth of a nation, especially that of Nigeria, Africa and the global village.

REFERENCE
Agbugba, I.K. (2021). Akwukwo na-ato uto – An Igbo perspective on education in Nigeria, Foodlog, Netherlands. Available at:https://www.foodlog.nl/afn/article/how-education-is-perceived-by=the-igbos-in-nigeria/

Ekesiobi, C. & Dimnwobi, S. (2020). Economic Assessment of the Igbo Entrepreneurship Model for entrepreneurial development in Nigeria. Econstor, [online] WP/20/085. Availablehttp://www.econstor.euAccessed 03 May, 2021

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Ikechi Agbugba specialized in Agribusiness Management and Agricultural Marketing in his MSc and PhD degrees, as well as Postdoc Fellowship from the University of Nigeria and Fort Hare University (South Africa), respectively. Since 2003, he has been carrying-out researches on agribusiness and agricultural economics especially in marketing of food and agricultural commodities, as well as in developing frameworks for effective and efficient procedures for agribusiness marketing and branding activities in selected sub-Saharan African communities. He is the recipient of the excellence award ‘Agro-Economist of the year’ in the 2017 Pan African Agricultural Journalists (PAAJ) Conference. Aside his roles in the academic and research domains, he serves as youth mentor and also consults and play roles as Advisory Board Member, and Director for a good number of international volunteer organisations such as African Council for Trade, Tourism and Investment (AfCOTTI), Commonwealth Farmer Group, Assoc. of African Future Leaders (AAFL), Africa Agriculture Agenda (AAA), African Youth Diaspora Organisation (AYDO), AgriEn (an initiative for Zambia’s agriculture sector), Dandelion Technologies (A Rwanda-based IT Company promoting AgriTechs in Africa), among other agencies. He has featured and still features as an invited reviewer of papers journal and publishing enterprises. He also, consults as Professor and Partner with Green Leben Initiative, GLI (a German-based Company) involved in building capacities of smallholder farmers in Africa in driving transformation. He is a regular speaker or guest speaker in professional and international conferences, seminars, webinars and meetings. He has also moderated sessions, as well as spoken in conferences held in Nigeria, Malaysia, India, South Africa, USA and Mauritius. He is a selected academia/researcher stakeholder in the Feed-the-Future initiative of the USAID Global Food Security Strategy Whole-System Workshop. His professional and career vision is geared towards contributing to the on-going transformation and developmental initiatives in rural communities and agro systems, enhancing decision-making processes and improvement of teaching and management support tools, as well as identifying and strengthening entrepreneurial capacities and potentials of communities through extension programmes in line with food and agribusiness activities, which will, to a reasonable extent halve poverty thereby ensuring food security.

Some Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ikechi-agbugba-phd-29812813/

https://africaagricultureagenda.com/dr-ikechi-agbugba/

https://www.foodlog.nl/ifama/article/africa-needs-to-develop-both-its-agriculture-and-food-processing-industry/

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Emeka Gbandi is the Chief International Editor of African Heritage magazine. He is an investment enthusiast , a copywriter with the Mildest touch who has created a niche in investment and ICT. Skilled and certified in social change and has a flair to creatively chronicle people,places and events portraying Africa and its rich culture and heritage.

emekagbandi@gmail.com

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