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Opinions of Monday, 26 October 2015

Columnist: Ntenhene Felix

Why do you want to get a degree?

Opinion Opinion

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela and Herbert Spancer also added that the greatest aim of education is not knowledge but impact and action, and so, I want to ask you this simple question, "Why do you want to get a degree?"

Is it because your parents said you should go to the University? Is it because after SHS all your friends bought university forms so you also decided to buy one? Or it is because you told yourself you have to become a lawyer, Nurse, Politician or engineer etc? Or because one day you want to get married, build a house for your family and buy a flashy car? If NO, then why do you want to get a degree and why are you in the university?

After several personal observations of the actions of some university students of which I am a part, I think there is a need we review our mind set on why we are in the university. Some of us have the mindset that once we fail in life, we have failed ourselves alone, and even when we succeed, we do so for ourselves. This is the mind set of many university students and it's wrong.

My brothers and sisters, the truth is that WE HAVE A DUTY not to ourselves only but also to our nation, continent and the world. We the university students have a duty to that ‘Trotro’ mate, the young girl selling water on the streets, and the ‘waakye’ seller who did not get the chance to come to the university with us but are paying taxes to subsidize our school fees.

We have a duty to those young children in South Sudan and Burundi who feed on water lilies just to survive. We have a duty to the ‘Kayayie’ girls at Kejetia, Makola etc. markets who carry loads that are above their strength just to make a living but still live a miserable life. These people look up to us as future leaders who can change their destinies. WE HAVE A DUTY.

We African students have great responsibilities to our nations. We must think our actions through. It is not a matter of 'big English.' It is a matter of where our interest lies. Why do we take up students’ leadership positions? Is it to enrich our CVs or to make us qualify for lucrative jobs after school? Are you aware that there is a community around you that looks up to you? Are you aware that as a university student, your actions have a direct and unmeasurable repercussions on all the people around you? Reasons as these reaffirm that WE HAVE A DUTY.

Why do we spend most of our time watching love movies when we do not love one another? Why do we spend so much time on our dressing than our studies? Just to look sexy? Do we take the time to think and reflect on what we are taught in the classroom and how we can apply it in our country? We complain when we are given academic work; ironically that is the main reason we are here. Our priorities are wrong. Our students’ leaders spend much of our dues on entertainment; what next after the entertainment? Are our problems solved? And we go and discuss it on our whatsapp pages with insults and ridicule. We must engage our brains not our mouths in ridicule and insults. WE HAVE A DUTY.

We may complain about the system but let’s also be inquisitive by asking ourselves what we personally do wrong. I sometimes do things wrong and my duty as a young African who has the privilege to university education is to review my actions, question my motives and ask, "am I paying back what the society is giving me?" Why should I study hard? If it is merely to get a good job, then it isn’t worth it. I must have a sense of responsibility to my society, nation, continent and the world at large. WE HAVE A DUTY.

“We are not children of a lesser god” God bless you.

Ntenhene Felix