With recent development in this great Country, Nigeria, I have been compelled to brush up my knowledge on the issue of social mobility. I want a change for my beloved country and continent. We have been young and most of the nations across Africa are passing the kindergarten age. Some have gained independence for about forty years except for countries like Southern Sudan among others
The issue of social mobility is therefore something we cannot ignore at this stage. From my research and readings, I discovered Social mobility is the ability of any citizen to elevate him/herself through creativity, hard work and integrity. Another online dictionary also wrote “Social mobility is the ability of individuals or groups to move within a social hierarchy with changes in income, education, occupation”. From the above, an individual or group who remain static is in danger.
A better understanding of this position is also revealed in the following paragraph. “Social mobility refers to the movement of individuals or groups in social position over time. Most commonly, social mobility refers to the change in wealth and social status of individuals or families. However, it may also refer to changes in health status, literacy rate, education, or other variables among groups such as classes, ethnic groups, or countries”
What is clear also when we look at different society is that while some provide opportunities for social mobility of its citizens, many progressively work hard on denying the citizens the opportunities. Rather what obtains is allowing the individuals to work out the details of their own lives. It is also clear that provision of opportunities or absence of these by different societies is dependent on the value systems of such societies.
To buttress the point about social mobility, one clear factor that is supported by many policy oriented organizations like Hamilton Project is the pivotal role education plays in citizens’ social mobility. In a conclusion drawn by a policy group, absolute social mobility is when a region’s economic development, Nations in this instance, provides education to a social group that previously did not have access to education, thus raising the groups’ literacy level and socioeconomic status.
A subtle point we need to note in the above is that any form of education which does not improve or help increase literacy level and socioeconomic status is a wasted one.
If this last statement is considered to be true, can we then conclude among others that; while individual must work hard and take personal responsibility for their own successes, government and leaders cannot afford to abdicate its role in providing quality and right kind of education which can achieve the above aim. It is this kind of education, which is leveler, a wing on which individuals can fly. It is this kind of education that can serve as catalyst. Right and quality education also helps in enhancing self worth, proper personal perception which will guide against low self worth.
Social mobility can either be upward or downward. But great society focused energy on upward movement of its citizens, families or group income or wealth status. It has also been discovered that why many governments had failed in this exercise, high income earning families have not stopped in ensuring their own kids enjoy this basic foundation.
It is clear from the above, while the advanced world is making consistent effort in this regard (social nobility), they are not perfect though, Nigeria and African leaders may be apathetic to citizen social mobility. With this attitude, it easier to keep them in perpetual bondage and over dependent on government occasional carrots which satisfy no real hunger and cannot reduce poverty level.
Our opinion here then is that in social mobility attainment, there is a huge role for the individual to play. Individuals must embrace hard work, creativity and a high level of integrity despite the negative and dis-empowering societal norms and value systems. Civil society can also help in strengthening this approach pending the time Nigeria, Africa governments and leaders will pick up the baton and run with it. until this is guaranteed, we may continue to witness the same result.