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Born on March 28, 1991, Iyinoluwa Samuel Aboyeji, more popularly known as “E”, is really just another overtly optimistic 19 year old itchy for a gale of change in Nigeria. He has served in various leadership roles within several local and international organizations, including the World Youth Alliance, Imprint Publications, Harambe Africa and Empowerment Squared. Recently, he has co-founded Bookneto, an online initiative which promises to be the world’s best study tool. In this insightful interview with BN Editorial Assistant, Gbenga Awomodu, “E” talks passionately about education, Nigeria, and Bookneto, his latest project.

Could you tell us about yourself?

I am a young Nigerian – 19 years old – studying Legal Studies and Economics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. I was born and raised in Nigeria and graduated from the Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, Class of ’07. I am very passionate about development economics, publishing, international advocacy, Nigerian politics and technology, amongst a lot of different things. Presently, I am working on a project called Bookneto that is sure to change the face of education.

Why did you choose to have your university education in Canada and for how long have you been there?

I have been in Canada for all of 3 years now. I chose Canada because it still has a very young educational system with much more academic freedom and experimentation. One particularly interesting thing that drew me to the University of Waterloo in Canada is the co-operative education system, which allows you to go to school for one semester and work the next semester, as part of the degree requirements. It enables you to apply what you have learnt in class in the real world, while building a formidable resume and earning some money in the process. Schooling here is also slightly cheaper than in the States or elsewhere, without a huge deficit in quality of the programs.

What has your experience been like studying in Canada?

It has been just fine. One thing I love here is their emphasis on real world experience. Just going to school in some sort of gated communities (like how they do in Nigeria with schools like Covenant, etc) is a death sentence here because all your employers expect you to have a beefed-up resume before you finish your first degree. The schools realize that and do everything they can to find you experience. Industrial Training is every other term, meaning: five IT’s before you graduate. How will Nigerian graduates, who hardly have more than two, compete with graduates like these in the local economy? In almost every school, there is a career action centre that helps with resume writing and finding jobs while you go to school. Also, there is a very close relationship between schools and business. Right next to our Campus at Waterloo is that of Research in Motion, the company that produces the BlackBerry Smartphone (whose messenger application I know Nigerians are crazy about). Many Waterloo students work there on their co-op terms and gain lots of useful experience they can put on their resumes. The companies here maintain an ecosystem that gives them access to some of the best Research and Development in the world from the Universities. It’s a system Nigerian businesses might want to adopt to do wonders in talent acquisition and retention, and reduce high cost of R&D. Finally, there is an emphasis on ‘doing’ here. In Nigeria, we talk too much and we depend on government for everything. Here, if you haven’t done anything, no one will listen to you. The worth of your words is directly correlated with how much you have done in your life.

Continue reading the Interview here!

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