In the words of Chief Razaq Akanni Okoya, Billionaire industrialist, Chairman of the Eleganza Group and the RAO Property Investment Company: “I have nothing against education. But at times, education gives people false confidence. It makes people relax, trusting in the power of their certificates rather than in working hard.” The views of the business mogul, is unarguably faultless, given his giant stride and accomplishment
“Education still remains the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” as rightly noted by Nelson Mandela, the great anti-apartheid revolutionary. Not just soaring grades, prestigious degrees and a job with hefty salary packages later on in life, education means a lot more than anything else – character building is based on six pillars — trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship and all of these can be instilled in a child only through adequate education.
Therefore, from cracking a job interview with maximum self-confidence to rational decision making in various phases of life to be able to differentiate between white, black and gray, basic school education becomes a must in creating a noble human being. When a child walks into the classroom for the first time and sits on a chair behind the desk, the child gets introduced to the window of knowledge to make his or her life brighter. It is beyond good and bad handwriting or doing home works on time or getting all spellings correct.
It is perhaps in school that a child gets the first taste of success and failure, good manners and bad habits, friendship and competition, compassion and care, jealousy and arrogance. The child gradually develops a mental manual on what to do and what not to, what to accept and imbibe and what to reject and refuse, how and when to react, and these come as lifelong lessons for him or her.
Interestingly, school education and its goals if we assess our education system, the basic or primary level in school happens to be the most important one due to its vital goals that become the fundamentals of life.
Starting from learning the art to think critically to striving to achieve higher standards to meeting challenges and developing citizenship and basic values to socializing, school education provides it all. A child’s engagement always remains the prime focus of the elementary education as that opens doors to new avenues and chances for every child to shine.
Undoubtedly, school education is a necessity for all children as it ensures the development of their cognitive, social, emotional, cultural and physical skills preparing them for further academic career, carving their character, developing their personality and setting them up for facing the challenges in life. Sound knowledge of language and arithmetic, values and ethics help a child grow from all facets and become successful in every sphere of professional and personal life.
In the light of the recent revelations, particularly, the Chrisland school scandal, we need to be careful about what we attribute the occurrences in Nigeria to. We are also living in a new age/era. Much as I am not a huge fan of many of the reality TV shows, the reality is that; Big Brother is an entrepreneurial endeavour which is a component of the entertainment business in well-organised societies.
Unfortunately, and like everything else we import, the consumers are “ill-educated” and “ill-prepared” psychologically for proper discernment of the nuances associated with such imported activities. It is same with our political system, business ethics (e.g principles and ethical aspects of privatisation of public properties which is very strong and uncompromising in Western societies)!
If we think, for example, that business, either in form of shows or otherwise, should not air, then we would have moved into the realm of sanction and censorship. In fact, we would not allow free access to phones, the Internet and associated facilities like Facebook, Instagram, etc. by the youths of this country, or require a competence test before they are allowed to use or own the facilities. It is not a show or facility that is wrong, instead it is the mentality in the society that needs fine tuning and it starts with education – i.e. mental, physical and spiritual education. We have destroyed the system that was designed to do this, unfortunately so.
In conclusion, this is the time for sober reflection, solemnity and appraisal for our activities, leading to the big question:-
Do parents understand the cultural evolution that has taken place and influencing the mental, physical and spiritual states of their children relative to today’s world – not their world when they were their Children’s ages?
Can a sixty years old today compare a ten years old’s world today to his or her own when ten years old (i.e. fifty years ago)?
Until we strife to understand that the world has changed, and that raising children in the digital and STEM-driven age requires different tactics and new learning, we would never know how to deal with our children going into the future. Our parents also struggled with our own world and found a solution that suited the time! Work needs to be done!
Flowing from the above, it’s amazing that we have lost our values and morals which have led us to where we are today. Our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and to some extent, some 21st century parents watch Big Brother Naija with reckless abandon. So, why are we crying wolf where there’s none?
ARISE ‘O COMPATRIOTS.
Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.