(159) Arewa and needless debates on the English language and degree certificates

By Muhsin Ibrahim

Following the publication of Skills Rather Than Just Degrees by Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), a debate raged on obtaining a degree certificate or acquiring skills in northern Nigerian cyberspace. To my knowledge, Prof. Abdelghaffar Amoka Abdelmalik of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, offered the best response that put the final nail in the coffin of the debate.

For the past few days, we have been busy (again) arguing whether or not English proficiency can be a measure of one's intelligence. But, unfortunately, these controversies in sections of northern Nigerian cyberspace aren't only unneeded but also detrimental to the region.

A few other concerned friends and I have said enough about the two topics. However, some things are worth repeating.
Here are two points.

First, school is not a scam. Even Islam, the religion most of us practice, is totally pro-education. So, obtain that degree certificate and learn that skill. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Forget about the unnecessary debate on which is more important. Say and believe: both are essential and pursue them.

Second, English is a prized language. Thus, you can get several jobs and prospects if you master it. Don't listen to anyone denigrating it. It doesn't matter if they agree you are intelligent or not. What matters is how you use the language to learn, earn and go places. I assure you (and not in President Buhari's voice) that learning it is crucial and more important than the other way round.

The examples of people whose degree certificates have taken to higher positions are ubiquitous. Likewise, English has fetched fortunes and opportunities for many others. But, would they achieve these if they had listened to those dispiriting campaigners?


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