It is widely accepted that most of Africa’s education and training programs suffer from low-quality teaching and learning, as well as imbalances and exclusion at all levels, starting from the nursery to tertiary education.
In an interview with Mirabelle Morah, we will get some insight into the Nigerian(African) educational system from her journey to becoming a graduate of a Nigerian university and founder of Blankpapperz media.
Talking about what made her start her Blankpapperz she said, “I have always enjoyed storytelling, so I founded BlankPaperz Media at 17 going on 18. It
was meant to be just an online platform to put up stories and poems from my colleagues in school but over the years l we’ve grown to include physical workshops and training on storytelling for social change, communication classes, etc. I and 4 other amazing young women l from India and Nigeria also created Z’axis Magazine to remind young social entrepreneurs that they aren’t alone in their change-making journey. We have had nearly 1,000 downloads, and 602 entries for a short piece contest related to the magazine, and in 2021, gave over 1 million in grants and partnerships for creative and education-based initiatives. I have mostly been within the communication space, within social entrepreneurship and creating opportunities to amplify the amazing work other young Africans are creatively doing, through media
What can you say has brought you this far in life?
God, a good support system, consistency, and the ability to always want to see possibilities where others see impossibilities.
What inspires you daily, especially when it comes to Blankpaperz?
People do great work and more people need to hear about what they do. I like to tell others about what others are doing.
What are your core values?
Integrity and discipline
What is the importance of quality education in shaping the future leaders of our generation?
It goes beyond formal education. It is important to stretch your mind, learn from others, understand why people do what they do, and learn from history
You have schooled in Nigeria and the UK; What is the difference in the schooling system for you?
I would like to correct this. I studied Social Entrepreneurship under the Study of the US Institute for Student Leaders scholarship from the US government, not the UK. I was the British Council Nigeria’s Study UK Ambassador in 2018, it had its purposes, and an educational tour and visit added to it, not studying. For the US and Nigeria, the systems are different.
What I liked a lot was that I could ask my professors questions in the US, it was okay to raise my hands and ask questions, and it was okay to state my opinion whilst they responded. I was allowed to think for myself and not do rote memorization to spit out things. Some assignments also required us to be on the field and experience things first-hand.
I studied at Unical as well and many of the class desks were broken. During one of my first months studying in Nigeria, someone raised her hand to tell the lecturer to express that she was confused and what he was teaching was quite different from what she previously assumed. I too was confused, and I wanted more explanation so I sided with the young lady. I expected the lecturer to explain further his course but he insulted her so badly that I felt it in my soul.
It was so awful I swore that day never to ask another question in any class. It
repeated itself severally through my first to a final year studying in Nigeria.
Lecturers would abuse students or tease and “yab” students who ask questions or are too confused to know a certain answer. It’s too discouraging, I wonder what we are in school to do if we already know it all. People ask questions because they don’t know the answers and they hope they can get answers in school.
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