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THE ESSENCE OF EDUCATION

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In the wake of recent happenings – the collapsed school building in Lagos and the video of a little girl sent out of school for school fee default, some thoughts crossed my mind.

Why the need for school? What do we aim to achieve by being educated? Is education really a scam? Can we learn without going to school? Is knowledge only acquired within those four walls?

According to Malcolm Forbes, “the purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one”. Considering the current Nigerian situation, can the actual purpose of education or going to school be achieved? Is it possible to have a schooling system which caters for interests of students instead of strictly adhering to a curriculum?

We are told, “go to school, study, pass, graduate, get a job and your life has begun” but this progression is unrealistic. Only a privileged few get jobs right out of college. Connections play a key role in getting a decent job in this part of the world. That is, who you know or who knows you (or your parents). Your results or certificates are insignificant.

However, I realised a while back that going to school and learning are two very different things. Most of us went to school to “learn” how to draw and label slipper-shaped paramecium, look for “x” all day and cram the almighty formula. We never really get engaged in practical sessions where the real learning lies. We hardly get asked personal questions or get treated or attended to individually – well, unless your parent is super-rich, you are one pain in the neck or exceptionally gifted.

To be fair, one practical I vividly remember us engaging in had to do with onions. We were all asked to come to school with onions for biology practical. Some brought two, while others brought four or five. Guess what we did that day. We checked out under a microscope (holding it was the only exciting part) one of the layers in an onion (meanwhile, my teachers went home with lots of onions because the entire class just used one.). Thinking back, what did we really learn that day? We learned how to look into a microscope I think.

A school has become a place you go to cram useless facts and unnecessary knowledge which are mostly inapplicable in real life. It is a place where you are tested and assessed based on how well you can memorise. This should not be the case.

All a student wants is to study (cram), pass, graduate (with good grades if possible) and get a job. This is what has been unconsciously imparted in the average Nigerian student, so he just wants to just graduate by all means. The main purpose (which is learning) is overlooked and replaced with the Yoruba slang “eni to mo ‘way’ lo mo iwe” Which means “those who know the “way” are the smartest.” It also means you do not necessarily have to study but if you know what to do (cram, cheat or bribe), you could pass.

That’s why most of the graduates our institutions produce these days are half baked.

Sadly, our lecturers are not helping matters. Most of them are all about working thirty days and getting paid. Only very few passionate ones are interested in actually imparting knowledge.

I once had a white lecturer taking us Inferential Statistics (Prof. Bruni) who resigned and went back to his country simply because he was frustrated. From the way he bitterly expressed himself during his last class, one could sense the passion he had for imparting knowledge. He told us during that class why he came to Nigeria. He said, “I came to this country to teach, to impart knowledge but other lecturers make it impossible. How can students fail a subject and the lecturer is happy? Why should I get queried because my students pass my course? This, I do not understand. It is unnatural and makes no sense.”

In essence, why do we really go to school?

I believe we do so to prepare us for the real world. The process itself, the stress we are exposed to – waking up early, time management, sense of responsibility (the prefects) and meeting with deadlines (homework before play/other activities), etc., helps build a structure/pattern of living and how things should be done. Also, we get to unconsciously network. We learn certain social skills and form a few meaningful and lasting relationships. In addition, we go to school so we know and protect our rights. Another purpose of education is: to get empowered and as such, no one can disrespect us.

All these apart, I really do not know why we go to school.

Why do we go to school?

Please share your views in the comment section. 

 

Source: Daily Advent

Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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