Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Meet Nigeria’s Youngest Lecturer --22yrs old.

At 22, Miss Adejoke Ogunlana is probably one of Nigeria’s youngest lecturers. She speaks on her challenges as a young lecturer and what government should do to drive the nation’s education sector.
Call it teaching or lecturing, only a few Nigerian youths are likely to celebrate a teaching or lecturing appointment. The general belief is that teaching is not on the list of lucrative jobs in the country. In fact many see it as a job you opt for when efforts at getting better jobs fail.
But interestingly, this is not the case with 22-year-old Adejoke Ogunlana, who teaches Chemistry at the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.
A 2009 graduate of Chemistry from the same university, Ogunlana settled for teaching while in school. So it was easy for her to accept an automatic teaching employment the university offered her, having bagged a first class.
Since it is not strange to have students over 24 years in universities these days, Ogunlana, born on April 2, 1990, is often mistaken for a student.
That is not all. Some of her male students make love advances at her. “ Yes, some of them do make love advances at me, but I know where to draw the line,” she said.
Ogunlana describes her first day in class as nerve-racking. “I can remember that day vividly. The auditorium was full. There were some 300 and 400 Level students who had to re-sit the course.
I was nervous and shaking. But I had to pull myself together after some minutes and since then I have always been in charge of my class. One thing with the students is that they will listen to you if you are good and lace your lecture with a bit of humour. I do that a lot and it is paying off. They don’t disrespect me,” she says.
But she admits that she may have had some challenges if she had been in other faculties other than sciences. “In most institutions, you will discover that science and engineering students appear to be more serious. They have a lot to do and so have little or no time for frivolities,” she explains.
Initially, she wanted to become a petroleum engineer because of some issues that were rampant in the Niger Delta zone. These included oil spillage, vandalisation of petroleum pipelines, embezzlement and all kinds of atrocities. “I had the passion then to stop it, but I was discouraged by my dad.
He said that there were just too many oil industries in Nigeria, and that to gain employment, one would need human connection which he did not have. He kept mentioning reasons why that profession was not good for me. That was when I had a change of mind and decided to study Medicine,” she says.
However, Ogunlana says gaining admission into a university to study medicine is not a ride in the park.
“I wrote the Universities Matriculation Examination and applied to the University of Lagos, but I wasn’t admitted for Medicine so my dad advised me to apply to TASUED to study Chemistry, and the rest is history.”
Her parents helped and supported her decision to become a lecturer. Yet Ogunlana observes that many graduates are still discouraged from taking teaching as a profession because of the low emoluments.
When asked why she decided to settle for a profession often sidelined and snubbed by her mates, Ogunlana said that unlike other graduates, imparting knowledge was her driving force not money.
“I don’t believe money is everything. Yes, ladies of my age get high paying job but they do not have any say on how their time is spent. That is, their employers dictate their day. Most of these high-paid jobs are with private companies, and as we all know, there is no job security.
“You have time for your family. You are able to monitor the progress of your children. There is enough time for you to rest. This comfort is what most high paid jobs forfeit.More money more responsibilities at work,” she says.
A native of Ibeju in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State, she grew up in Owode Egba, a village located in Ogun State where she attended Victory Model Nursery and Primary School.
She developed interest in chemistry, biology and physics in secondary school, but not to the detriment of other activities — football and music are also important to her.
She has won various prizes in academic competitions.
Ogunlana took after her mother, a retired teacher. Her parents became aware of her talent when she was just three years old. “We discovered her talent early in life. She enjoys talking and we knew she would be a good teacher,’’ her father, a retired health worker, and mother, a retired teacher, said.
A senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at Tai Solarin University of Education, Dr. Adedayo Abijo, describes Ogunlana as a well-brought up lady, who is ready to take risks in life.
“She is a fantastic lecturer, and hardworking. I admire her decision to become a lecturer. This is one profession most graduates ignore. A large number of graduates don’t want to teach, a lot of people want to make quick money. Miss Ogunlana has chosen to stand out. She should be celebrated,” he says.
A student, who simply identified himself as Olumide, describes Ogunlana as a born chemist, who not only knew her subject, but also possessed the gift of teaching.
“She is also somebody who can keep unruly students under control. She has the ability to balance biotech with fun and jokes,” he adds.
Ogunlana says the driving force behind her feat is God. “He always comforts, guides, strengthens, and instructs me. He makes everything to work together for my good. In fact he is the backbone of my success today. The course I studied, my first class degree and my job were all done by Him.
He told me that He would do all these while I was in 200 Level; I’m not surprised he did them. My family, especially my dad, has also been my backbone,” she explains.
Ogunlana’s main focus is to become a professor. “I plan to stay in this profession until I become a professor. Though there are challenges in the education sector, there is Academic Staff Union of Universities strike, which is very discouraging. But we can’t all run away from the teaching profession, who will now lecture?”
Ogunlana is dissatisfied with the attention and support being given to the education sector. “I believe the Federal Government should respond speedily to the demands of lecturers and professors. At least, no amount of money a lecturer earns can be compared to the salary of our leaders. The strike is really affecting the education sector.’’
She adds that if the Federal Government revamped teaching as a profession, more graduates will be interested in lecturing.
“The Federal Government should improve the salary of lecturers; there should be consistency in duration of courses; strikes should be avoided; universities should have up-to-date equipment; laboratories should be well-equipped for students to carry out practical lessons.
“Students should be given scholarships and bursaries, it will boost their performance; there should be automatic employment for students that stand out academically; the Federal Government should create more employment opportunities for graduates, it’s one thing to study hard and it’s another thing to secure a good job; lastly, the government should subsidise the school fees so that both poor and average students can enjoy good education. These are just some of the essential measures that should be put in place. It’s a new year, and there should be a new focus.’’
– Punch Nigeria

1 comment:

  1. That is the reward for hard wise work, discipline and commitment, give to her, she deserves it, i am not surprise.