Challenges of graduation

  • Thursday, July 20, 2006 - Wale Ajao
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THIS is the season of graduation ceremonies. Secondary schools, public and private, are sending forth their students who have completed six years of continuous academic training. Among the schools that held their graduation ceremonies recently are Oyeleke Memorial College Offa, Kwara State, Westminster College Idimu Lagos, Jextoban Secondary School, Ketu, Lagos. Others to hold their graduation ceremony soon are Ronik Comprehensive College, Ejigbo, Lagos and Whitesands School, Lekki, Lagos. And several other colleges that will follow suit before the end of the current academic session.

The delight of the teachers as they take part in these ceremonies is that the little children that entered junior secondary school six years ago are now taller and lankier boys and girls ready made for tertiary education. The joy of the parents is the fact that success has been their lot as the boys and girls move on to the next stage of life. Of course, for the schools owners, these are days that the Lord has made. The joy and excitement of another blissful year cannot be overemphasised.

Celebrating those of the children who have won various awards and rejoicing with the others who have not won a single prize is all part of the mood of this season. In the midst of the pomp and pageantry, it is necessary to draw attention of the children to the tasks ahead. Graduating from secondary school is only the beginning of a new end. As the schools remind the children about their legacies and traditions, the children should also be told what they are likely to meet at the higher stages of their educational pursuits. As Professor Babatope Kolawole, former Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure, said at the graduation ceremony of Jextoban Secondary School Ketu Lagos, the first major challenge the children will face is how to balance freedom with responsibility. In all the six years of secondary education, the children had been put under strict rules and regulations. They have been told what to do, how to do it, when and where to do whatever they needed to do. At the tertiary level, all that will change. The students will find that they are free to absent themselves from any lecture. They are free to attend any party or social gathering. They are now far away from home. The new atmosphere of freedom has misled so many young persons. They easily threw away all they had learnt at the secondary school level.

The new found freedom, designed to allow them exercise their intellect, has been a source of sadness for many youths. Some were lured into cultism and other various nefarious activities. To avoid this, college authorities should prepare the children for the new situation at the tertiary level. Other challenges like financing tertiary education, responding to social realities as they manifest also deserve attention. For example, when students gather together at tertiary level, they get and exercise the freedom to comment on government policies. They become critical of the society and university and polytechnic authorities.

Things which they dare not complain about at the secondary level, they take it up at the tertiary level. Things like inadequate water supply, increase in prices of fuel, retrenchment of civil servants which they read about and could not react to while in secondary school, becomes causes of student demonstration at the tertiary level. Some students, over the years, have lost their lives in such protests. Authorities of secondary schools would need to guide their graduands on how to cope with these challenges. The nation will only get the best from the college graduands if they can cope with these challenges.

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