Since the kids will be #BackToSchool soon, Happenings Magazine decided to ask Nigerians parents how they are preparing to send them back, considering the present economic situation. We had a chat with Mr Kunle, a Sound Engineer, who though does not have kids yet, had a lot to say concerning the state of education in the country. He highlighted some really important points including his submission that private schools are the worst things to ever happen in Nigeria. It was fun speaking with him. Correspondence by Kikelomo Onigbanjo and Odunayo Adeneye:
Happenings Magazine: Personal Details
Kunle: My name is Kunle. I am a professional Sound Engineer, a record label owner and I have an equipment rental company. I trained as a journalist. I went to Nigerian Institute of Journalism and I studied Insurance in The Polytechnic Ibadan.
Happenings Magazine: Why Sound Engineering?
Kunle: I did not attend any formal training; I taught myself everything about my job. I am self-trained and I can boldly say that I am one of the best sound engineers around. This is because of my background. I did not go to a university, I went to a polytechnic. But over the years I have been working tooth and nail to be someone in life. I am into a lot of things because I want to do anything to make money; put food on my table, clothes on my back and survive.
Happenings Magazine: We are in the period when kids will be returning to school, how does it feel?
Kunle: Well I don’t have kids; I am not even married (general laughter) but I have a lot to say about that because I have a lot of nieces and nephews whom I love so much. The educational system has so gone down that children don’t have anything to look forward to. These private schools are the worst things to ever happen to this country. In those days, public schools had prestige; they had class. I am talking about schools like Olivet Baptist High school, Kings College, Queens College, St. Gregory’s College and the rest. They have been around for a long time and they brought out professionals and influential people in the society. But these schools are already fading away. All we have these days are mushroom private schools that cannot stand the test of time. This is because our ‘stupid’ leaders and their family members are opening private schools here and there, so they are killing the public schools so that their own schools can thrive. I really pity my friends who have kids. This is because they are spending way too much on education. It’s sad, I’m telling you. Like this September now, I know some people that are having a mini heart attack just thinking about paying school fees.
Happenings Magazine: So in a nutshell, you believe in the public school system?
Kunle: Of course, I believe so much in public schools, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I left Secondary school in 1982, and there was nothing like private school in our time. It was a federal university, state university or polytechnic. And back then, our graduates were recognised abroad more than even their own graduates, but now, they cannot even employ them as a cleaner abroad. This is because what they are teaching now is nonsense, even for graduates. For example, let us get a university graduate of sound engineering and me to have a discussion in my field, let’s see who will do better. I cannot even have an intelligent conversation with graduates of nowadays. All they talk about is foreign fashion, things that won’t add value to their lives. Back then the teachers were respected even more than the parents. If they beat you in school and you dare report, my father for one person will follow me back to school and make sure I got double the beating I received initially (general laughter). But now, if you try beating up a child, they may sack the teacher.
Happenings Magazine: But you should know it’s not entirely he youths’ fault
Kunle: Nobody is blaming the youths; what I am saying is that the value has dropped. Now they have removed History from the curriculum. What I want you to realise is that the balance of power is shifting little by little. What we met was that after basic school (first school leaving certificate); you could hold your own in life. If you did it well, you will attend a technical school. These days, everybody is running to universities. Even if you want to be an artisan in developed countries there are schools for that; not everybody is supposed to go to the university. These days, training as an artisan requires you to just look at what your boss is doing. That is why we have even half-baked artisans that do not really know what they are doing.
Happenings Magazine: So when you have kids, you will take them to public schools?
Kunle: Of course I will. I even like what is happening in the country now because you will see that little by little, the public institutions will come back, because when people can’t afford private schools anymore; when private schools start charging about #2 million per child then they will think of refurbishing the public institutions as an alternative. In our days when the private schools were just coming up, there was competition because the public schools were dishing out the best.
Happenings Magazine: Family Background
Kunle: Well I’m not married, and like I said before I don’t have kids. I am over 50 and I am not married because I am still looking for something. People say I’m picky. I cannot marry from my generation because I want to have kids. I tried marrying from my generation once. She was about 30 years, close to my generation, but she was more concerned about going to parties, travelling abroad and enjoying herself. And she was also wasteful. One day I called her and told her this lifestyle was not the best. She broke up with me because of that. Now I think she has realised her mistake because she keeps talking about God these days. That’s what they always do (general laughter).
Happenings Magazine: Plans for the future
Kunle: I want to go into farming. Even this sound engineering business is not moving well. They are doing the shows but there is no money. Nobody wants to pay. Everybody wants you to work for them free. Some people will slash your pay in half, and our equipment cannot be seen in Nigeria. Foreign currency is crazy. It just keeps getting worse.
Happenings Magazine: How do you unwind?
Kunle: Sometimes I go out; I go to the cinema with friends, other times with a girlfriend that requests for a trip to the movies, but I sleep through the movie (general laughter). I can watch National Geographic for the whole day though; I like documentaries, history channel and news. I drink a bit, I don’t smoke.
Happenings Magazine: Thank you for your time
Kunle: You are welcome