My teacher is late.

It is the first day — well, technically, the second — of school and my teacher is late. Not late like a few minutes, late like 2 hours. It is a 3-hour class and he is absent for 2 of them.

If it were a student who missed 2 hours of a 3 hour class, they would have lost a whole lot. There would be soo much the student would have to cover, and sometimes, they wouldn’t even be able to get all they lost.

I guess it’s because my teacher doesn’t have that much to lose, that’s why he is missing so much time. That’s probably why if he eventually comes, he will walk in like he owns the world, like nothing happened, with no apology at all.

He would say something about how rowdy the class is and why we are so troublesome. He wouldn’t consider the fact that we have been sitting here since 10 a.m. and it is now 3 p.m. He wouldn’t say anything at all to make us understand him coming late; he would just continue with his lecture, then penalise the unfortunate students that got tired of waiting for him and left.

My teacher, as I have now explained, has no value for my education. He has studied and he has his job and his family. Me gaining knowledge from him has no value to him. My loss this afternoon is of no consequence to him. He will wake up tomorrow and set exams from the 2 hours he missed, and he will smile when we pass and be annoyed when some fail.

This is the culture in most public universities in Nigeria: lecturers not seeing anything wrong in not being in class. Frankly, me neither.

It’s my fault for thinking someone else will value my education. It is my fault that I don’t know the syllabus because my teacher missed 2 hours. It is my fault that I don’t know which textbooks to use. It is also my fault that I had faith in a system that was supposedly built in my interest. It will be my fault when I graduate in the next God-knows-how-many years and can’t even match minds with my mates abroad. Nobody will remember that my teacher missed 2 hours of a 3-hour class.

The first article I ever wrote, and also the one I am most proud of is about the flaws of the education system. In that article, I was analytical: I listed all the problems I knew of; it was merely meant to inform people.

Amidst all the jarring facts was a glimmer of hope, an assurance that things would change, maybe not then or immediately, but that it would. 3 years later and I’m defeated, more down than ever because I really can’t see a light at the end of this tunnel. With hundreds of children being abducted from schools at a time, and people being afraid to send their children to school, the level of insecurity in the land and the deplorable health systems. I really can’t see a light at the end of this tunnel. I know I can’t be alone.

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