Education in Nigeria is a funny thing, you do well in school and the first thing people say is that you must be an Engineer or a Medical doctor.
But the irony is that the people that really run the world, are not Engineers or Medical Doctor’s, they tend to be the politicians and business men, the ones that nobody paid attention to in school, sometimes the drop outs, they end up in charge of everyone and everything. There is really nothing wrong with that, but what if we stopped pigeon-holing the intelligent? What if we stopped forcing intelligent people to be Doctors? What if parents felt as proud of a son with a Political Science degree as one with an Engineering degree?
You see you shouldn’t have to be an engineer, doctor or architect to be considered intelligent in school. You don’t need to understand further mathematics either. Sometimes you could just be intelligent in Economics and Political Science and that is okay, but that is rarely the case.
Imagine what would happen if we could do that … diversify our intelligent students across various subjects. Maybe we might have smarter politicians, smarter writers … Remember Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Adichie, they both were once pushed into medicine, imagine if they never rebelled and moved into literature, then we might have missed out on their real intelligence. They might have been stuck in a hospital and never have had time to write their classics … sadly there are many intelligent people stuck inside the walls of the hospital living a dream created for them by others … a dream limited by the myopic definition of intelligence. We need to redefine and diversify intelligence. I leave you with an awesome quote I saw yesterday on a black berry broadcast message:
The smartest students pass with 1st Class and get admissions to medical and engineering schools. The 2nd Class students get MBAs and LLBs to manage the First Class students. The 3rd Class students enter politics, and rule both 1st and 2nd Class students. The Failures join underworld and control politicians and businesses. And best of all, those who did not attend any school, become prophets, and everybody follows them.
Okechukwu Ofili is an author, speaker, and blogger and a The Trent Elite Voice. Follow him on twitter, Facebook or subscribe to his blog for more honest talk and as @ofilispeaks on instagram for more sketches! To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. His third book How Intelligence Kills was published in December 2013, order it at http://bit.ly/intelligencekills.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.