Thursday, July 20, 2017



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: "Kayode J. Fakinlede" <>
Date: 20/07/2017 16:02 (GMT+00:00)
To: USA Africa Dialogue Series <>

Please, let us take a moment off politics and talk about a very important and vexing issue.

The mind, a famous American said, is a terrible thing to waste. Please do not ask me what the name of this famous person is. However, he must have had a perception that a mind can be wasted. I guess, that by waste, he meant the lack of nourishment to the mind and its consequent development to its absolute potential; its ability to be creative; to discern what is good from what is bad; what is real from absolute fantasy; what is practicable from nonsense; to imagine the exent of the universe and the possibilities that that universe has presented to him.

Let me make a small change to this famous American's statement and say 'A Nigerian child's mind is a terrile thing to pollute.'

Now the difference between wasting something and polluting it is vast. A thing wasted may mean that whatever is left after the wastage is still good, but is not enough to do what it is meant to do. However, polluting something is a different ballgame. This means that no matter how much is there, the mind, having been polluted, is not useful for anything. Its ability to perform the aforementioned tasks is forever compromised. The mind will not be capable of being developed once it is polluted. It confuses good with bad, and its universe is of a distorted and hazy kind. And it man never regain the ability to function properly. That is pollution for you!!

I hereby contend that what we are feeding or not feeding our children's mind is capable of polluting it.

As I have said for many years, we teachers of science, educators in general, and parents in particular are derelict in our responsibilities of giving our wards, a sound science and technology education. Our universities simply do not put this area of research on the front burner. Yes, many of these do tremendous research in the area of education of the child, just for them to get promotion and become professors. However, the impact of their academic endeavour is not much felt by the outside world. There are no significant children's programs developed in our universities and colleges of education targeted towards science and technology education for our children; and no children's books and eduation materials targetet to make the children enjoy science. Whatever happened to research in propagating science and technology in our own languages to our own children? Are we saying this area of knowledge is not worth pursuing? Cannot you become a professor if you should make the science education of the Nigerian child your research interest? Cannot you become a successful academician if you should present science education in Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Edo, Ibibio etc. to our own children on Saturday mornings? Is there no possibility of a university – just one – to direct its academic endeavours into translating science into the indigenous languages? If not, why not? How come the Americans, Europeans,  Chinese are doing these things and we are not able to do them? Aren't we, by our own laziness, omission and admission telling our children that we are indeed inferior to others whose languages we are using to propagate knowledge? Won't this idea stay with the child for ever?

By the time a child is ready to attend primary scool, he has probably watched hundreds of Africa Magic television movies where he is taught – emphasis on taught – that a person can go to a native doctor who can use some parts of a human female to conjur money for him. Of course this idea is etched into the child's consciousness, thereby polluting it. Of course, a child who may have been pummeled with this idea this early in his life may grow to an adult who may want to practise it. He may also have seen on television, hundreds of programs from many G.O's who have predicted into his life that he will be the head and not the tail - miraculously. The project of miaculous enrichment is our number one industry in Nigeria. Of course, at that age, he may never have seen a science oriented show on television that he can comprehend and in his own language that can explain the universe to him. Of course, he may never have had the oppotunity to 'build' toy cars, automobiles, buildings etc. The objective facts of science and many laws that guide the universe are alien to him and may be that way for ever. How then does he begin to differentiate between fact and fiction if he is not afforded a different perspective of life from a scientific standpoint?

Our universities and colleges of education have to begin to make science and technology education of the child, from the kindegarten their primary responsibility.

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