In a few days my daughter will be going back to her school for the second year in secondary school. Every activity in her school seem like a message to the incompetent managers of education in Nigeria. On arrival from Nigeria, I sat down to order the booklist Uncle Demi had forwarded to me while in Nigeria. This booklist is for literature only and it is exclusive of her reading list for Summer. She had a list of books to read for Summer, from which she must pick at least two. Test based on the books will be administered within the first week of school. I went through, I saw a book on Chinua Achebe and another on Poetry by Femi Osofisan. I was stupefied! Someone actually sits down every year to create an international reading list for every grade in the school! An American child will know more about Achebe and Osofisan, our own very best, more than a Nigerian child? Ha! While we demonize intellect here, others are celebrating and owning our best minds! Why won’t they have a broad mind? What will be the fate of a child of the same age studying in Nigeria, in the global knowledge economy?
How can we make them see that we have not even started? How can we convince them that peace of mind for the privileged can only be, with enlightened self-interest? That, every child should have equal access to quality education. What obtains now is a travesty! I don’t want to rant but I’m pained! Here are the books:
Mankiller: A Chief and Her People by Wilma Mankiller
Night by Elie Wiesel
Something Rotten by Gratz
Achebe Teacher of Light by Sallah
Little Red Guard by Huang Wenguang
Persepolis: Story of A Childhood by Satrapi
To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
Women of Owu by Femi Osofisan
Animal Farm by George Orwell
I consider myself a bibliophile but I have read only two of the books listed here. Actually, I have never heard of these books. Last year was worse, I have not read a single one of the books in her list. At this rate, one can only imagine the quality of mind a child who go through these books will have. She will be in Algebra 1 and 2 class for Mathematics. I expect the science curriculum will blow my mind as it did last year. I will be reading her books for last year to enlighten myself and will wait until the session ends to read these. May we wake up from our slumber soon!
P.S If you have the means and you have a child in secondary school, order these books for your child on Amazon. A reading mind is a learning mind.