By Nwogboji Emmanuel
Most times, I chew over the very core value and fundamental essence of education. In all my hazy and episodic retrospection, I was highly curious and always wanted to know the rationale justifying my six (6) years in primary school, six (6) years in secondary school and four (4) years in the university. Was it to acquire certificates and eventually get myself a meaningful job in this highly certificate oriented nation? Or was it just to acquire knowledge and assume to be more relevant and acceptable in the society?
The conference of churches meeting at Oxford in 1937 defined education as “the process by which a society opens its life to its young so that they can play their parts in it”. From the above definition, it could be argued that the value of education does not end in acquisition of certificates, getting oneself a white collar job and also presenting oneself as being more relevant and acceptable in the society; either due to one’s ability to speak polished English or whatever.
The fundamental value of education extends beyond individuals; it is also for the good of the nation. Thus, if anyone thinks he/she is educated, the cardinal question should be, “in what way can you contribute to the development of your country?” Education is far beyond the mere acquisition of knowledge and certificates. Any knowledge without a moral and ethical backups is absolutely irrelevant. An educated person is a passionate scholar who has acquired the necessary and relevant skills with the rational mindset to better his/her society. According to Nelson Mandela, “education is a the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Personally, I see certificates( NCE, ND, HND, B. Sc, M. Sc, P.hd…) as the tickets to change the world. If you are issued any of this tickets but can’t use it to better your society, you are not educated!!!
Education is to a nation what the mind is to the human body. A man with a sound mindset will strategically attain high level of success. Similarly, it takes the efforts of the educated citizens to provide adequate and competent man power for national development, create an enlightened society, promote social and group relationships, increase democratic participation, promote the culture of productivity, improve human values and engage constructive criticisms.
Be that as it may, it is obvious that the role of education in national development can never be overemphasized. Education strongly and significantly correlates with nation-building. That is to say, a nation cannot be built without quality education. Through education, professionals ( Accountants, Lawyers, Doctors, etc.) are properly groomed to contribute positively towards the growth of their nation. Show me a devoloped nation, I will describe a nation where the accountants prepare a clean financial reports that boost the morale of the local and foreign investors as well as ensure adequate accountability of government funds; a nation where legal literates provide equal justice to both have and the have not; a nation where there are medical experts to handle all health challenges in such a way that the citizens will never see reasons to seek medical attentions in foreign c3a nation where its regulations expunge substandard goods and services. Whatever knowledge gained in schools or other places of learning should be used for the betterment of the society, else, the certificate is nothing but a white elephant.
To achieve the key value of education in Nigeria, there is need to retrofit and revamp our education system. The difference between the developed and the developing nations is that the developed nations invested in education of their because they believed that the attitude, behavior and reasoning of their citizens depend on how they are being trained. In Nigeria, we need leaders who know the fundamental value of education, leaders that will implement and maintain realistic policies that will breathe new life into our dying education system.
I hereby implore the leaders and the leads to do the needful so that our schools will produce competent and seasoned intellectuals who will always give their best for the betterment of our dear nation, Nigeria.
Nwogboji Emmanuel is a Public Affairs Analyst.