Education, education, education over and over again everywhere you turn the advocacy for education is strong especially in developing nations like ours. Different global institutions and humanitarian movements have prioritised education as one of the primary and compulsory requirement for Africans as a pre requisite to seeing the expected and much anticipated development of the continent – Africa; the next frontier.
In Nigeria, education is daily rated as a primary and essential need for every young citizen; so rife and popular is this advocacy to the end that the word illiterate; which is a term used to describe a non-educated person, is considered an insult. Education is considered the key to success in Nigeria.
Lately I have been paying attention to the implication of what we popularly call education and I discovered many Nigerians are literate but not educated.
Over the years, there has been a mix up between being literate and being educated. Education is not just the ability to read and write, that is literacy.
Many literate people consider themselves educated and pride themselves as such. Unfortunately, majority accept literate people as educated. To be literate is not the same as being educated. Many young people leave home for school today to become literate and in the process ignore education; they graduate as literates (or for a more apt description, erudite in a particular field) but not well educated.
Primarily in Nigeria, people go to school to learn a skill so as to secure an employment, they spend four, five, six or even nine years in school acquiring the competence and practice ability of a profession but ignore education because from the onset, they did not know what it means to be educated in today’s world.
Unfortunately, we have in surplus uneducated doctors, uneducated lawyers, uneducated engineers, uneducated accountants, uneducated politicians, administrators and managers. They all went to school and were certified competent in their various fields but all missed education. Education is not just skill acquisition or learning a profession!
In time past, education could be defined as knowledge and skill acquisition for a profession, a degree or kind of schooling but dear friends, not anymore.
Dictionary.com today defines education as the act or process of impacting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. .
Education in today’s world according to this definition is about general knowledge. Knowing something about everything that matters. A truly educated fellow will know much about his profession and will as well not be completely ignorant about other fields. If everything you know is your profession I am afraid in today’s world, you just have a certain ability, you are not really educated.
Education today is about developing the powers of reasoning and judgement. Your ability to reason through matters must be superior to that of the man on the street. Your judgement must be sound, balanced and productive. It’s about superior intellectual power. You can’t be educated and throw thrash from your car on the streets, you can’t be educated and empty your garbage in the drainage; you can’t be educated and run the red light in traffic when traffic officials are not around, you can’t be educated and drive against traffic or form two three lanes in a traffic hold up, you can’t be educated and use swear words or be vulgar in conversations and on social media, you can’t be educated by adding 30 to 40 naira value in your place of work every month and you are expecting 150 to 200 thousand as your salary. you can’t be educated yet with your Degree,HND,OND, you can not add value at your work place and you think going for master’s and PHD will break heaven for you. values and results are what matter these days and not titles we receive after graduation. if you have no value and result to show, employers of labour will keep recycling you.
– Austine Okonkwo