THERE is no gainsaying that infiltration of foreign cultures, technological advancement, religious beliefs and political economy into Nigeria after its independence in 1960 has become major banes of its social system. The country is experiencing today loss of its cultural values, moral laxity among youths; violence; delinquent behaviour, disruption of traditional political system; decline in political will on the part of government; sex abuses, prostitutions, drug trafficking, kidnapping; advanced fee fraud (419); cyber-crime; militancy; human sacrifices; banditry; armed robbery; examination malpractices, among others which can be minimized through the promotion and sustenance of cultural education in our socio-political economy.
One of the critical problem, confronting Nigeria today is heritage through cultural education.
Against this background, there is a need for cultural education to correct some of the social ills plaguing the country.
Cultural education is all about socialization into norms and heritage values of a given society through folktales, all with intent of making people socially responsible, as well as morally useful to the society.
It is the pattern of learned behavior whose component elements are shared and transmitted by members of a particular society from one generation to the other. It includes customs, traditions, beliefs, arts and philosophy of life.
Every society, no matter how small or large, has its own way of transmitting its cultural heritage. Thus, cultural education helps to develop child character contents and physical skills, respect for elders and those in positions of authority, develop intellectual skills, engender sense of belonging to participate actively in family and community affairs, develop healthy attitude towards honest labor and to promote the cultural heritage of the community (Fafunwa 1974).
Culturally, children under cultural socialisation will see how their parents and elders greet one another at anytime of the day and during any occasion from there, they will learn how to be morally responsible in greeting elders, their parents as well as relations.
Again, the children will observe the ways their parents conduct themselves during wedding, naming as well as burial ceremonies. This will serve as an opportunity or avenue for the children to learn about their culture concerning those ceremonies contrary to what we see today, where children do not have respect for elders.
Many of our youths today have greatly invested in the undesirable spirit of violence which they naturally exhibit at the slightest provocation. A good example is the use weapons, the skill they acquire through foreign films or reading some literature on the use of weapons. The result of this is that many of them have become political thugs, religious bigots and armed robbers. Unfortunately, all these negative values are wreaking a lot of havoc on the nation, posing a serious threat to our national survival. All these can be minimized through vigorous impartation of cultural education like folktales, moor ways, taboos that can morally shape human behavior.
Many of these problems are a result of contact with undesirable foreign culture. For example, many of our youths are prone to moral laxity such as drug abuse, prostitution, theft and Yahoo Yahoo syndrome and advance fee fraud.
Besides, dress code among our youths today is an aberration to our cultural heritage. Dressing among youths is becoming a terrible stigma on our cultural identity. Without any consideration for their cultural background and their geographical environment, many of our youths dress to leave the vital parts of their bodies uncovered, especially among ladies, while their male counterparts take pride in appearing rough, shabby, unkempt jerry-curling their hair like ladies, leaving cloth buttons unfastened and their shoes unlaced. All these social ills can be corrected with the use of cultural socialization that will start from family background.
However, having gone thus so far in identifying effects of lack of cultural education in Nigeria, it is expedient at this point to make certain suggestions on the possible ways of curtailing social ills in our society through cultural education. There is the need to review Nigeria’s educational system to emphasise cultural values, whereby Nigeria’s cultural values will be part of the curriculum. This will involve using native languages for teaching in schools.
There is also the need to review the political system via indigenisation of some of the principles and practices of our political systems so as to groom political leaders on cultural indigenisation governance that are peculiar to our cultural setting. This will heighten the spirit of participation in the minds of politicians.
A ban should be placed on the use of foreign entertainment packages on our media. Instead, cultural socialisation of Nigeria should be promoted on our media.
Cultural socialisation like morality taboos, moor ways, and folktales should be promoted. Finally, parental socialisation needs to be widely embraced by all families, since it is through parents that cultural education can be well impacted.
Adewole, the assistant chief museum education officer at the National Commission for Museums and Monuments sent this piece from Osogbo, Osun state.