Africa's Education News Source

Why do we go to School?

Is the ‘E’ truly for Education or Employment?
Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox.

A video went viral on social media showing a man burning his University and National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) certificates. His frustration, having graduated in 2010 without any good-paying or white-collar job, is enough to go wild. However, this got me thinking: is education still all about getting a job in 2023, or is there more to it?

While this is not the first of its kind, the incidences beg to revisit the old questions of what education is in real essence to man. This is not an African thing; it’s a global issue. I have lived in two continents and noticed a trend: everyone seems to be collecting degrees and certificates like they’re Pokémon cards, hoping it’ll make them super employable. But amid all this certificate hunting, are we losing sight of what education is really about or focusing on the greener pasture only?

Let’s go back a bit. In Nigeria, parents, including mine, often tell their kids stories about the ‘good old days’ when having a degree or even the Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) ​meant landing a cushy “white-collar” job and living an enviable life. Things were different then, and graduates had it good. “If we had the opportunity to further our studies beyond grade 12 like our peers during the 60s, 70s, 80s, we would have lived a better life like our peers,” many parents do proclaim.

Fast forward to today, and the job scene has changed. Those once-guaranteed “white-collar” jobs are not as easy to come by. Success isn’t just about having a degree anymore; it’s about more than that. In a country like Nigeria with lots of young people, we need to think beyond just getting a degree. Yes, school is important, but it’s not the only route to success. We should also focus on things like creativity, thinking for ourselves, and being able to adapt—skills that go beyond what you learn in a classroom.

We have known many past and living great innovators and entrepreneurs dropping out of leading universities in US, Europe and elsewhere and treading their paths to becoming a household name, yet with no degrees. I am not saying here that you should become an entrepreneur. I bet the path to becoming one is more challenging but worth it. The point here is that considering your degree as a must-have thing to become successful or have a good job is erroneous.

Instead of just seeing education as a way to get a job, let us see it as a tool that gives us power. The world is changing fast, and we need to keep up. We do not just want to solve today’s problems; we want to be ready for whatever comes next.

So, should we burn our certificates in frustration? Probably not. But we should rethink what education means. And what job or source of livelihood means. We need a change in mindset that sees trade jobs as lowly for graduates. Hundreds of graduates think their certificate has placed them high to do “low” jobs that society, particularly in developing countries, perceives to be for the illiterates or people with no degrees. The same low jobs are what many parents use to sponsor their kids from elementary school to even getting a master’s degree. Yet, you are still looking for collar jobs and the woman selling groceries with no degree is sponsoring you.

There is a need for a rethink, no doubt. In the end, that video of burning certificates makes us ask big questions about the training institutions passed down to their students. While having a job is essential, education is more than collecting certificates. It’s a powerful tool that can free us to choose our paths and make ourselves, our community and our country a better, more exciting place.



Be a Voice for Education: Join our Education Voices Network to contribute to the conversation by publishing your opinion. SIGN UP here.

Share this article

All right reserved. You may not reproduce or republish Edugist content in whole or part without express written permission. Only use the share buttons.

Support Edugist’s goal of giving education a voice

Even a small donation will make a difference.

Related Content

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
???? Hi, how can I help?
Scroll to Top

Fill the form below to download the WASSCE 2024 Timetable

Be the First to Know When we Publish new Contents

“Stay ahead of the educational curve! Subscribe to Edugist’s newsletter for the latest insights, trends, and updates in the world of education. Join our community today and never miss out on valuable content. Sign up now!”