Ikenna Chinagorom Ezenwa
One of the greatest problems of our time is that many are schooled but few are educated. ~ Thomas More
“Education is defined as the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values which make one a useful and functional member of society”~Ganiu Bamgbose. According to Damilare Adeleye, a freelance journalist, “education is the bedrock of growth of any society. Education in the context is not restricted to formal academic schooling. It generally involves any ideological learning and venture that can impact the life of the learner and the entire society.” It is evident that for one to be said to be educated, there must be changes in the behaviour of the person and how they relate to the society. The term “social change” on the other hand is used to indicate the changes that take place in human interactions and interrelations. Society is a web of social relationships, hence social change means change in the system of social relationship” (Bhat, 2016). Education remains a powerful tool for social change. Through education, individuals gain requisite tenacity to help them contribute to the development of their society. Education, also, fosters unity, promotes citizenship and contributes to societal development. This piece will highlight key areas students are inspired to make a difference for positive social change.
Debunking of false ideology on Education
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”~George Bernard Shaw. Most of the students of various levels of education have falsely believed the ideology that ‘education is just going to school to get a certificate’. No, it is not just about certificates. There is more to the role of education other than just getting certificates. Quality education must impact the students all-round. This is because the “essence of education is to produce a behavioural change” in the life of the educated (Ganiu Bamgbose). If one’s level of education is to be measured by just acquiring degrees, Gabriel Mugabe, the former President of Zimbabwe, would have done well. There is no President in the world, whether past or present, that has more degrees as Gabriel Mugabe. He had seven degrees from seven universities. But under his watch as president for 30 years, Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate was the highest in Africa at 97%. Zimbabwe became the only country in Africa where her currency is useless. Zimbabwe became the only country in Africa that did not have a Central Bank. Zimbabwe became the only country in Africa that agreed with China to build their presidential and legislative houses and Chinese flags should be on it (David B. Moore, theconversation.com post published September 6, 2019). This is to pinpoint that there is more to education to just paper qualification. So, students are inspired to pursue human capital development, potential building and the nitty-gritty of a truly educated person. Note: the hallmark of education is to bring a change in one’s lifestyles thereby engendering societal development.
Education as a tool for development
“The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth”~Desiderius Erasmus. Students should understand that education remains a powerful tool for our nation’s development. In many developed countries of the world, education is one of the major tools which contribute to their development. This is because, through education, the mind, heart and hands are exposed to perform critical functions. According to Hon. Tony Nwachukwu, the President of Sound Education Ambassadors, a non governmental organisation fostering sound education in Enugu and beyond:
“Education does three things to any one who is educated. One, through the mind, education helps you to think critically, be problem solving and solutions oriented. As an educated person, you must think critically, checking the problems facing your society and mustering courage to solve them. Two, through the heart, education brings sanity. That you have the knowledge of cyberspace and technology, maybe as a trained expert, should not be the reason you start defrauding people. Education teaches you that those potentials you have learned are to be used for the betterment of the society. Lastly, through the hands, education makes one to be creative and productive. As an educated person, you must think critically and when you speak, you speak convincingly and persuasively “.
There is no doubt that if our nation’s education system is geared towards achieving these three things, development won’t remain a mirage to our country.
I will conclude this piece by saying that, undoubtedly, education has the potential to transform individuals for social progress. Therefore, first, as a nation, we must promote quality education in a conducive environment. Second, students are inspired to make a difference in their view of education and their approach towards it. Education is not just about reading to pass exams in order to gain certificates but building human capacity and potential. Lastly, in order to effectively inspire students to make a difference, education must go outside the bounds of just traditional academia and foster a sense of social responsibility. “Education is the most powerful tool which we can use to change the world”~Nelson Mandela; thus students must strive to make a difference.
IKENNA CHINAGOROM EZENWA is a 400 level student of the Department of English and Literary Studies,