Speed! Speed!! Speed!!! That is how the world is moving now. Things are changing very fast and the life expectancy of humanity is reducing day-by-day. The world is on the cusp of yet another industrial revolution with rules of change and transformation being continuously rewritten. Human genetics can now be altered or twerked using hi-tech devices called the molecular scissors; driver-less cars are proposed to man the roads; robots are created to compete with human intelligence; undetectable drones are launched into space; high-powered rockets and missiles are built to invade space just as our whole essence is closely-tied to these technologies that remain fast evolving. Many jobs are being replaced with machines and the global economy is becoming more and more skewed. And with sanctions now rocking as a weapon used by the superpowers to further oppress their colonies, one would imagine the fate of Africa at large and Nigeria in particular in all these.
The emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised as a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital, biological and neuro-technological spheres. Global economies are moving fast to adjust to the new era with the adoption of modern technological gadgets that would facilitate man’s efforts. The curricula and curriculum of education is being adjusted to meet up with the fourth industrial era with new teaching tools and computer-based learning adopted to facilitate teaching and learning. It is a digital transformation era as well as a digital disruptive one. The question is whether Africa at large and Nigeria in particular is prepared to embrace the new era or would be forced to crash-land into it as it has always done. Unfortunately, Africa seem to always remain on the side-lines of technological development and innovation. Despite her numerous resources, it has remained a consumer continent constantly relying on Western aids for survival. Nigeria’s reliance on western products especially US, China, Dubai and the rest has caused the economy to constantly react to the politics of the west. The radical economic sanctions of the US against any country it does not have complete authority over has sparked the trade war that now seems to affect all of Africa. US and China are competing for who would control the worlds market and who has the best military and defence force in the world. The recent display of the DF 41 MIRV (Multiple Independently Re-entry Vehicle) missile by China on her independence day is capable of reaching Washington DC in 30 minutes and can travel 25 times the speed of sound. The missile can travel undetected carrying six more missile rockets that can independently destroy six different US states at the same time. This revelation alone made America feel more unsafe for China’s rise in nuclear capability, military strength and technological advancement. Russia on the other hand is building theirs just as North Korea, Iran and others. The technological competition among world powers have speedily brought new technologies that have efficiently replaced human ability.
In Nigeria, our educational institutions from top to bottom are still using chalkboard with a few institutions having a touch of more modern facilities. Many teachers or lecturers as the case maybe are still learning how to use the android device or access emails. E-learning is still a cuddling method of teaching in Nigerian institutions of learning. The country is still battling to have a centralised system with records of her citizens. Most of the taxes are still collected manually and basic amenities still form the propaganda of political campaigns. The country is still led by people who have refused to understand global events and how they can use that to prepare her citizens. The western education practised in Nigeria is a sham because it is not producing productive graduates. The institutions are graduating an angry generation who when graduating suddenly realise it was a waste of time. Reality confronts them and they become too little or perhaps incapable of facing the challenges. The result is the crimes, violence, hate and envy that continue to pervade the daily lives of citizens.
The entire educational system of Nigeria needs a complete overhaul. The curricula need to be changed to focus on the reality on ground. Because very soon, some professions and jobs will go into extinction and new types of jobs will emerge that are completely different from what we have today. Most courses will become useless in the global stage because machines would have replaced them. The only people that would survive are those who are able to quickly adjust and learn new skills. That is why vocational education or TVET colleges are needed in Nigeria so that emerging generations can acquire skills, skills that are needed because only what is needed would be useful. Nigeria needs vibrant leaders who will encourage the fantastic talents that her citizens are known for. It is time for Nigerian’s in the diaspora too to begin to think back to offer what they have learnt. The reason why China, India, Russia or any first developed country we have today is because they took what they learnt back to their countries which is why they are at the level they are.
Nigerian citizens must decolonise their religious mind-set, eliminate mediocrity, greed and hate and focus on facing the world that seems to closing-up and her. Nigeria must recognise that the differences that exists among them is an opportunity to locate the strength that will forever hold them together.
Ikyoive writes from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. ±27783166986 (Mobile number)