Interviews The First Class Diary

First Class Diary: The victory is not the degree, but what you achieve with it- OD

The victory is not the degree, but what you achieve with it- OD

It’s a beautiful Monday morning. Today is another opportunity to showcase excellence like we do weekly. Every episode on the series brings you exciting stories.

Meet our guest for the week, Olajumoke Dada, from Lagos State University. Let me save the rest of the story.

In her words,

The recognition of grades rather than true understanding of lectures is another bone of contention. Many students cheat and do all sort of unethical practices all in the name of getting good grades. How then do you expect these ‘half-baked’ graduates to perform?

Abigael Ibikunle of Edugist: Please share with Edugist, a little about your background.

Olajumoke Dada: My name is Olajumoke Dada, I am a native of Osun state. I graduated from Lagos state university (2018/2019) set with a First class degree in Banking and Finance.

AI: Was there any motivating factor(s) that influenced your choice of discipline and institution?

OD: I would not say there was. Initially, during my secondary school days, I loved Accounting and I had hoped to study it in the university as a discipline.

That year, I selected Accounting and Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) as my preferred course and institution respectively. However, fate had its way.

I wasn’t shortlisted because my aggregate did not meet up with the cut off mark for accounting in FUNAAB for that year. So, I purchased Post UTME form for Lagos state university (still that year).

Accounting was not accredited then in LASU. I discovered this at the café shop where I registered. Never, did I plan or foresee myself studying banking and finance in college. But, I chose banking and Finance and I was admitted that year. That was how the journey started.

 

AI: There are two major skills that every student must possess: COMPETENCE and PERFORMANCE. While competence revolves around skill acquisition, performance is much more concerned about skills application. It is believed that most graduates are competent because their academic performance testifies to this, but they are performance-challenged. This poor performance ipso facto hinders them from getting lucrative jobs in the labour market. What can you say about this assertion?

OD: Yes, I totally agree that many graduates in Nigeria are competent (as their certificates testifies) but lack the requisite skill and knowledge for a good on-the-job performance.

 

AI: What do you think is responsible for competence without performance? Please suggest ways of improving the performance level of university students and graduates

OD: What I have fathomed to be the major causes of the poor performance by competent graduates (as their certificates attest) is the current curriculum adopted by Nigerian tertiary institutions. It is obsolete and incongruent to the exponentially growing technological trends.

The curriculum is filled with all sorts of theory and history. Students are not taken through on the actual reality that waits them in their various job fields.

Hence, they end up under-performing because the system taught them concepts without practical. Also, students need not understand lectures; all that is required is to pass your assessments however you go about it.

The recognition of grades rather than true understanding of lectures is another bone of contention. Many students cheat and do all sort of unethical practices all in the name of getting good grades. How then do you expect these ‘half-baked’ graduates to perform?

Well, I suggest a comprehensive curriculum reform for the entire Nigerian education system. This reform should cover not only the tertiary institutions but also the primary and secondary.

 

AI: Achievement in life transcends one’s personal efforts. There were people who, during your programme, rendered some assistance that made your dreams a reality. Who are specific persons whose contribution you can’t forget in your first-class feat?

OD: First and most importantly, I give all glory to God. Then, I acknowledge my parents. There isn’t a “ME” without them. They are super awesome, and I couldn’t have gotten this far without their financial, moral, emotional, and spiritual support.

Also noteworthy are these great people. I had a lecturer then (Mr Soyebo) who was the first and only first class graduate from the department since inception in 1998.

He belonged to 2009 set I think. He’d tell us that if he could acquire a first class degree, amidst various surrounding challenging circumstances, we could too.

There was another in ‘accounting department’; Mr Jamiu Tijani, also a first class graduate and academic juggernaut. He’d walk me through his experience in school and life generally. He provided all the support there was for me to stay focused and resilient.

These two were the greatest motivation I had. They were figures worth looking up to, and I am forever grateful to them. In summary, the only motivation I had in the choice of my discipline was God.

I just knew God would create a path where there seemed to be no way, Whether FUNAAB or LASU. However, the aforementioned names motivated me all through my journey in LASU.

 

AI: As a first-class graduate, are you currently gainfully employed?

OD: Well, I work somewhere at the moment. I wouldn’t call it my dream job though, but, we thank God. I’m learning. I’m growing. That’s the most important thing.

 

AI: Do you think your grades have or is giving you any major advantage over other graduates with lesser grades?

OD: It’s not always about the grades for me. There are many intellectually sound people who by luck or chance did not get to graduate with a First class. In fact, some Second class lower (2.2) degree holders have so much experience and knowledge on the field that you just have to look forward to them.

At times, it is wrong to judge people by their grades. Anyone can impact in you as long as you’re open for it.

Being a First class degree holder just gives me the motivation to keep striving like I did at school.

The victory is not the degree, but what you achieve with it.

 

AI: For students who aspire to graduate with outstanding grade like yours, what would you advise them?

OD: You can be just what you want to be. Set the goal, work towards it, and pray.

 

AI: What would you advise the government to do to improve the standard of our education system?

OD: Like I earlier stated, a reform of the Nigerian education system will be a great idea. Review of the curriculum, the curriculum should capture practical classes, workshops, and anything to help graduates soar in their various fields on the job.

 

AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

OD: Thank you for this opportunity.

 

That’s it for this week’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Do you know any first class graduate that can be featured?

Would you like to sponsor any of our scholars you find their stories inspiring?

To contact any of them for engagements, please reach out to me

I am Abigael Ibikunle and celebrating excellence is a top priority for me.

iTeach, iSpeak, iTrain, iFacilitate, iWrite, iInterview and iLoveYou all. Smile! See you next week!

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About the author

Abigael Ibikunle

Associate Correspondent at Edugist, Abigael Ibikunle is a Mathematics Education graduate. A professional Journalist and a passionate writer. She can be reached via: abigail@edugist.org/+2347035835612

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