What we have here is not the usual serious articles on this blog. We will be discussing the history of Rag day in Nigeria, the purpose, benefits, and whether it is still being widely practiced in the various tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Origin of Rag Day
The concept ofRag day took its stem from the word ‘rag’ which according to the Oxford dictionary is “an act of ragging, especially, an extensive display of noisy disorderly conduct carried on in defiance of authority or discipline.
In Nigerian Higher Institutions, monetary donations are part of rag day activity. In fact, this seems to be the major driving force. A typical Nigerian student on a rag day will follow passers-by and displays all manner of ragging skills until they “drop something” as they usually say it.
Rag day activities did not start in Nigerian Higher Institutions. This activity is also carried out in the United Kingdom but with little difference. The motive of the ragging here and over there differs.
In the United Kingdom, Rag Day activity is carried out by student-run charity organizations and is widespread in Britain. According to record, most Universities in the UK and Ireland, observe Rag Day.
There, they observe it for charity purposes. That is to say that they do it to raise funds in order to donate to the needy. But in Nigerian Higher Institutions, students observe Rag Day for personal needs. They are out to enrich their pockets.
Rag Day activity was introduced first in South Africa in 1925 by the University of Pretoria. When it was introduced it was called “The Procession”. It is still being practiced to date and bears the same name.
Also, Read; Why you should own a blog as a student
The Motive of Rag Day in Nigerian Higher Institutions
The original motives of Rag Day activities in different countries as mentioned earlier are for Charity Campaigns, Charity Appeals, or Committees but in Nigeria, it is not so.
It still remains fundraising or donation activity but the money raised is not submitted to the school authorities. It goes into the student’s wallet for personal use.
Students in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions participate in Rag Day activity with no charity in mind. The driving force for the rag day has always been for personal interest. The purpose is purely to enrich their pockets. The school managements are aware of this and it is sort of a permitted action.
Benefits of Rag Day
Many students don’t actually participate during the rag day. To some, it is a waste of time and sheer foolishness. To others too, especially the religious groups, they see it as spiritual pollution.
But the question now is, why do schools choose a day in student Union’s week and name it rag day? Why do schools allow students to dress in odd ways, bearing the Institutions ID cards, and go out into the streets for funny display? Are there any benefits of rag day activity in Nigeria?
Rag Day activity in Nigerian Higher Institutions may have its own disadvantages. It may pose dangers to the lives of the students especially the risk of being knocked down on the roads by reckless drivers. They are being exposed to fall prey to the hands of unscrupulous fellows in the streets.
But in all these, Rag Day activity has its own Benefits. They are:
- It is a period to check off the dullness from Jack:
All works and no play they say makes Jack a dull boy. The Rag Day activity is a kind of playing for the students. The students have time to move around and jiggle with their friends. It is a moment of liveliness on the campus.
- Fund Raising
I remember back in school, then when we had our first Rag Day activity. During the Chapel service on Sunday, our Chaplain was announcing tithes and seeds of faith that people gave as he used to do. He said; “three thousand two hundred and seventy-five Naira, my tithe from Rag Day”.
We screamed, forgetting we were in the chapel. Someone just gave tithe which equaled the total amount two people made from Rag Day. If he could give such amount as 10% tithe, what it means is that he made Thrity two thousand seven-hundred and fifty Naira.
Mehn, that amount was our school fees in the Federal polytechnic for 2 semesters and there will still be a balance remaining.
This is actually one of the benefits of Rag Day activity. The students who come from poor homes are able to raise money that will pay one of their bills. Some have realized money big enough to pay for handouts for a semester.
Another benefit of Rag Day activity is for the fun of it. Many students who participate in Rag Day activities do not go out to beg for money. They retire to their hostel once they are done on the school’s campus.
They derive joy from the fun they have with their fellow students and friends.
Is Rag Day Still Being Practiced in Nigeria?
Even if you may not hear much about rag day in many Nigerian Universities, but it is still a norm for many Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and even some State Universities.
The summary is that it is still being widely practiced and recognized by school authorities as normal.
Finally, Now that you finally understand the real meaning behind rag day, do not go about judging people who take part in it. They are only looking for ways to better their welfare in school.