No matter how expensive basic education is, its purpose would be defeated if the recipient refuses or is unable to apply it to the situations existing in their immediate environment.
Sometimes, I am amazed at what I see educated people do in urban centres. By using the phrase “educated people”, I refer to those who were tutored in government-approved schools or properly homeschooled.
Ordinarily, I believe that a person who is privileged to receive quality education in Nigeria must have learnt moral instructions, social studies and health education at primary level. At secondary level, such person ought to have received applicable knowledge in physical and health education, integrated science and advanced social studies. These practicable ideals form a fundamental knowledge base which prospective and current university students are expected to have. Therefore, it is quite unfortunate, though inevitable, that people who have good education still manage to constitute negative vices in urban communities.
Here is an instance. A middle-aged man who owns an expensive car and lives within the Lekki Peninsula in Nigeria is sometimes seen buying a canned drink and sausage while driving homewards in a heavy traffic. After buying the items, he auto-winds the glass pane of the door next to him upwards and consumes the edibles. Then after eating, he automatically winds down the glass pane again and throws an empty can and a snack’s nylon on the road. His car is too neat to accommodate waste but the road and drainage should suffer for it. Now, that is an educated man. What should we say about an illiterate?
Acts of this kind are heartbreaking, especially when educated persons are the perpetrators. Yet, they are unavoidable because in every majority, there is always a minority that will deviate from the norm; even when it clearly negates the overall good. That is why laws are created to enforce order, deliver justice and promote sanity in all societies. Some don’t even do such things intentionally but they do them unconsciously. So, if some educated persons are likely to act like illiterates in the society, what then should education do to its recipient?
#1) Education should empower its recipients
Even in its raw form, education has the power to improve the thinking ability of any man who is human enough to listen, practise and understand what he or she is taught. For instance, it is possible to learn Algebra in Yoruba language because its focus is on reasoning skills and not on language.
#2) Education should inform the recipient
Since it is not everything that a student learns in school that is applicable to his career, it is permissible to state that education also informs the recipient. When I was having my undergraduate studies, I observed that the university curriculum was structured such that all the students took courses in Fine Arts, General Studies, Computer Programming and Use of Library in addition to subjects in general science. So, whether a student belonged to the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Pure and Applied Sciences, Health and Medical Sciences or Agricultural Sciences, the course offerings were almost the same in the first year. This implies that though a student was not going to be awarded a degree in more than one field (since joint degrees were unavailable), he would only be informed about other courses and is expected to see how he can relate them to his career.
#3) Education should liberate the recipient
The expected end result of education is that, having instilled and tested the knowledge and reasoning skills of its recipient, the individual combines both aspects mentally, imbibes them behaviourally and becomes useful to the society. Therefore, the recipient should be able to understand, question and refine the interdependencies between norms, values and culture as they relate to the betterment of humanity. Consequently, an educated person is expected to be free from the slavery of illiteracy.
Now, I think that the first worth of education is how much value it is capable of adding to its recipient. That is, the extent to which education empowers and informs and liberates the recipient. However, once education has been received, another worth emerges and this is the secondary worth of education. The secondary worth of a person’s education is the effect it has on the lives of people who are surrounded by the recipient. This has an equally powerful effect on the society.
So, next time you are about to do something that would affect your immediate environment, please ask yourself, “What is the worth of my education?” and prove to us that it has a secondary value.