The Tenets of Education



Ebhonu S.I
NNEC Librarian

I was in a vehicle to Sapele on my way from Benin and I entered into a conversation with the driver. He proudly announced to me that he dropped out of school in primary three (3). According to him, he is not ashamed of his illiteracy status because he has gained more experience than the ‘so called’ literate persons around. He had wined with the Libyans and dined with the Italians. From these experiences, he concluded that education would not have made him know as much as he did. It got me wondering on how myopic many persons’ perception of education really is.

Education in the proper sense of the word is not limited to the four walls of a classroom or any building at that. It is the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning. It also includes the knowledge or abilities gained through being educated. In a broader sense, education entails an informative experience.

The problem with the youths of this generation and the adults of the previous is that they are so preoccupied with the prospect of making money first, with the intention that education can always come later. Attempt to have a conversation with the young man next door on this issue and you will probably hear something like: “I wan hammer,” “Guy na money first o!,” “Even graduates nor get work,” “Wen I make my dough,  I go employ graduates to serve me,” etc. These comments stem from a disillusioned mindset, totally lacking in proper understanding of the concept of education. Without trying to be judgmental, I will attempt a plenary explanation of what education actually entails.

The Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with these words- that the mind at birth is a tabular raza (a clean slate) upon which experiences are etched. Thus a baby at birth is ignorant of a lot of things and the parents, family  as well as society is saddled with the responsibility of inculcating knowledge into that mind. As he grows older, it becomes pertinent for him to learn the basic things and acquire knowledge in different forms. Some are privileged to formal education while others have access to informal ones.

In formal education, the child learns the basic rudiments of language as well as subjects that help in their own little way to steer the child to major disciplines like medicine, astronomy, law, engineering etc. The others who do not have access to such are informally taught things, the most common of which is a trade. Many learn fashion, plumbing, construction, wiring, electrical and electronic repairs etc, depending on where their passion lies.

Problems arise when society treats the ones who were formally taught as superiors. No one is higher than the other. The mechanic is as good as and sometimes even better than the mechanical engineering graduate. The only difference is that the latter was taught in many verbose words with less action. Not everybody is privileged to be formally educated and everyone including the society must respect that.

Whether you were educated in a classroom or a workshop, what matters is the stuff you have in your head. This is what sets you apart and distinguishes you from an ignorant person. Every human must strive to be educated, it is as essential as the clothes they wear and the food they eat. Don’t just relax because there is no money and you assume that the possibility of education for you has dwindled to a vanishing point. Do not leave your brain idle, learn a trade, learn how to drive, learn catering, learn decorations, learn languages, the key thing is to LEARN something and learn it WELL. What makes a man sought after is not  necessarily the excellence of speech at his command BUT because he is good at what he does(no matter what it is). Sometimes we think some things are too debasing to learn, but someone out there does not know it and he will need you someday. No one can blame himself for being born ignorant, however, your brain and indeed the whole world will blame you for remaining so.

My parents were not privileged to finish their schooling due to financial constraints but they are one of the most educated persons I know. To be educated means to be well taught (it does not matter in what). It also means to have the benefit of experience or knowledge. No matter your stature or station in life, be educated because in it you have something that nobody can take away from you. This is what education really is all about.




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