Blackbox Nigeria

Opinion

The Place of GNS in University Education

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By Simbo Olorunfemi

Back in the University, GNS was not quite taken seriously. It was the ‘Dugbe’ course, as we tagged it, bringing everyone, irrespective of his course, under the same roof. Inevitably, with the way it was administered, it was sheer chaos. Where provision was made, there was just was no way the public address system could effectively cater for those fortunate to be in the hall, not to talk of those hanging outside.

Many did not take the course seriously, even though it was a compulsory one, and some got into trouble on account of that. Many students did not see the relevance of learning what they considered to be outside of the scope of their study. What did we really know then?

I wonder what the thought of those who introduced General Studies (GNS) was. I somehow found my thought straying in the direction of GNS this morning. Perhaps something to do with the quality of thought and debate around current affairs. As whatever problem I identify, I must proceed in the direction of solution, I, somehow, found myself looking in the direction of a reengineered GNS as a means of elevating the minds of those who are privileged to pass through the University system.

GNS, as I remember it, for us, covered ‘Use of English’, ‘Logic’, ‘Basic Science’, Rudimentary Computing. I believe that, in spite, of the chaotic arrangement, some lessons learnt from the class on logic still remains with me. There is a retention of some basic information about outdated programming languages- COBOL, FORTRAN. I remember learning about Nuclear Fusion as different from Nuclear fission.

So I imagine a university system in which the first year is wholly devoted to the immersion of students in General Studies (GNS), before they move on to their courses at 200 level. I imagine GNS being expanded and deepened to include Logic, History, Science, Civics, Man and his environment, Law, Social Skills, Writing and Analysis, Basic Computing, Coding, Literature, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, etc.

I wonder what the quality of thought of the University Graduate might be with some level of exposure to these courses over a period of one year, before moving on to his/her area of study.

Only thinking aloud though. Perhaps this is too farfetched to even contemplate.

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