BOOK: THE PERFECT SCHOLAR
AUTHOR: JIMOH BRAIMOH (JR)
PUBLISHER: WESTBOW PRESS, 2014, xv + 117 pp.
REVIEWER: GABRIEL ARISHE, LL.M; Ph.D; B.L; DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW, UNIVERSITY OF BENIN, BENIN CITY, NIGERIA
Complains about poor performance in school by students in Nigerian educational institutoin is now commonplace. The reasons for the endemic failure in examinations and the poor capacity of graduates from our tertiary institutions have ranged from incessant strikes by teachers, poorly motivated teaching staff, obsolete teaching aids and facilities, and a host of other reasons. While the hues and cries of poor academic performance in Nigeria is not necessarily over-hyped, poor performance in schools is not peculiar neither is it limited to Nigeria. Indeed, school drop-out due to drugs, gangsterism, peer pressures, etc are common place in North America and in Europe. Poor academic performance is not unheard of in those continents. The prevalence of poor academic performance globally, though failure rates might differ across the continents, points to the fact that majority of students are far from being the perfect model of studentship. While a lot of studies have been conducted on how to reverse this trend, and in fact, books on making students better in their studies have been written, the desired change appears elusive. There are academics devoted to the specialised study of educational psychology and other related disciplines to enable students cope with academic pressures and study. In spite of research findings and implementations from the works published in such areas, every day experience points to a diminishing return in terms of students’ performance in key subject areas and at school generally.
The Perfect Scholar perhaps is a bold attempt to fill the gap in the quest for an enduring solution to poor academic performance globally. While previous efforts at redressing poor results in school focused more on personal efforts alone, Jimoh Braimoh (Jr) brings into focus the centrality of God, the Almighty Creator of man, in the quest for success. Without Him academic success and indeed every other success is vain. The foundation to the author’s whole concept of success in academics and in life, therefore is to become first a Christian, put God in one’s study, and work hard in line with divine principles because God is not lazy either. I cannot disagree with this insightful perspective because the author having earned a First Class Honours in his first degree capped with a Master degree from Europe is perhaps letting us into the path he trod to his academic accomplishments. The specific principles on how to become highly successful in academic pursuit and how to apply them are the compelling information you would find in The Perfect Scholar.
The title of the book is highly suggestive of its thematic preoccupation: it is about a student; but not just the average student; it is about the student that earns high grades. The author was one, now in a highly scintillating prose he tells us how to achieve this.
APPRAISAL OF CONTENT
Apart from the preliminary pages, this book is structured into six chapters. Chapter one reveals God’s positive agenda for everyone’s academic pursuit and further dispels the notion that failure could be an act of spiritual consciousness towards God or His work. As a follow-up to this latter contestation, chapter two takes the reader through the practical ways to achieve academic excellence. Contextually, divine support could have formed part of chapter two but given its centrality and significance, the reader is made to see in a separate chapter: three, the inevitability of the God factor in the quest for academic excellence.
Chapter four will be the delight of any inquisitive reader. It is entitled: ‘Why some Students Fail.’ The reasons adduced by the author are Fear, Overconfidence, Bad Omen, Anxiety, Lack of Composure, and Lack of Concentration. The reader who has not followed chapters one to three might be disappointed that failure to attend classes and study hard are vital omissions from the list. They are not. Prompt attendance to classes and a diligent study life have already been discussed in chapter two as pathways to achieving academic excellence and they form part of the discussion in chapter six.
Chapter five gives invaluable tips on time management, while chapter six explains how to prepare adequately for examinations.
Each chapter ends with study questions while the entire book ends with prayer points on academic success. Aside the known fact that prayer is indispensable to one’s success in life, the allusion to spiritual attack on academic pursuit, including the author’s narration of his personal experience during one of his examinations in his undergraduate days makes the prayer point in the book a necessity.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The strength of this book lies in its down-to-earth approach. It conceals no facts and does not beg the question in any areas. I have found it to be a book so well written in easily comprehensible prose and style. In addition, it is in very clear prints and well bound to international standards. I am not surprised at this given the status of the publishers and printers who are reputed for high quality academic publishing. My genuine impression is that this book is an invaluable source of knowledge and information that can propel any success-thirsty individual into higher productivity. I will therefore recommend this book to everyone, including students, parents, academics, researchers, businessmen, etc.
This book is worth having on the shelf, for it is worth more than the cover price.