You should see the look on people’s faces when I tell them I want to study fossils for a living. Palaeo…what? Why would you want to do that? You don’t want to make money? Fair thoughts, given the scarcity of science jobs in Nigeria not to mention something as obscure as palaeontology.
As a Nigerian aspiring scientist, I feel like an endangered species. Do all senior secondary students have to dream of being the same thing: businessperson, lawyer or doctor (so not scientists)? I am not saying everyone should become a palaeontologist – unless of course you are determined to join the world’s geekiest club. However, there is a very obvious need for scientists at work in this developing country. With these grand Eko Atlantic City plans, for example, we see the need for civil engineers, oceanographers, marine biologists, ornithologists etc. But none of them materialise in job adverts.
Every week I see new job alerts asking for investment bankers, financial consultants and accountants. What about the rest of us? The few science graduates I know have either given up on their dreams and gone into banking or decided to lock themselves up in universities as severely underpaid lecturers. Some work in the oil industry but what about those of us who want to put our knowledge and skills into practice without polluting this world any further?
These are genuine questions. I really would like answers. Where are all the science jobs? Or are they all handed over to expats?
Image| Source: Leo Reynolds, Flickr (edited)