EDUCATION: A Fundamental Tool For Man’s Dream

Dr. Bola Benson Writes

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind and an open one”

—– Malcolm And Forbec

For a start, the ‘man’ I used here like in the Bible is a reflection of both man and woman. Both male and female. A description of the masculine and feminine gender. So, do not think this write-up is focused on the men folk alone.

The cliché that if anyone says education is expensive, he/she should try ignorance’, holds water till today. This is on the grounds that the educated lives miles away from the uneducated in different spheres of life. I don’t mean that they cannot relate in life. No, but like ‘seven-up advert’, the difference is always clear between them. Though, many by providence have made it without education, especially in terms of possessing the money. They are the wealthy individuals who never saw the four walls of a classroom.

But bet me, with their money, there are some areas in our socio-economic and political environment they cannot easily access like the educated. Their movements are limited for certain obvious reasons, except they commission the educated to execute whatever business they have to carry out or in other words, appear by proxy. This we know would encounter some encumbrances. But when education opens the door, other things, as they, will fall in place. An adage says, ‘ learn not and know not’.

It was Leo Rosten who postulated that: ‘The purpose of life is to matter – to count, to stand for something, to have it make some difference that we lived at all’. This is why you have names that ring a bell in our social, economic, political, religious, cultural and other areas of human endeavour in the society. They abound at the local, state, national and international levels. Being educated is responsible for whatever position those who have made names found themselves today, and many are not done yet as they pass sleepless nights to belong.

In the words of Booker T. Washington, ‘success is to be measured not by the position that one has reached in life, but as by the obstacles which he has overcome. Therefore, the level of education that has made us to attain where we are in life might not have come so easily, without some ups and downs. Though, there are those who were born with the proverbial ‘silver spoon in their mouths’. But without education, the ‘silver spoon’ might have faced some challenges as they progressed in life.

No wonder, Brian Brown, admonished that,’ the first battle you must run is the one with your toughest adversary: yourself’. Could it be against this background that Martin Luther King jnr., said, ‘ in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream?” And a proverb has it, ‘ knowledge has bitter roots, but sweet fruits’.

As I stated earlier, being educated has positive impact in diverse ramifications of our lives. Hence, being educated has a significant impact on individuals and society.. Here are some of the key reasons and advantages that may inform man’s quest for education:

Personal Growth: Education expands knowledge and skills, allowing individuals to develop their potential and reach their goals. It promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making
abilities, which are essential for personal development.

Economic Opportunities: Education is a pathway to economic prosperity. It equips individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to secure better job opportunities and higher incomes. Educated individuals are more likely to be employed and have access to stable and well-paying jobs.

Social Mobility: Education plays a crucial role in promoting social mobility. It allows individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome barriers and improve their social and economic status. Education provides equal opportunities for people to succeed irrespective of their socio-economic background.

Health and Well-being: Education is strongly linked to improved health outcomes. Educated individuals are more likely to adopt healthy
lifestyles, make informed decisions about their health, and have better access to healthcare services. Studies have shown that higher levels of education are associated with reduced mortality rates and better overall health.

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Empowerment and Empathy: Education empowers individuals by providing them with knowledge, skills, and confidence to participate actively in society. It promotes critical thinking and encourages individuals to challenge societal norms and contribute to positive social change.

Education also fosters empathy and understanding by exposing individuals to diverse perspectives and cultures.

Reduced Poverty and Inequality: Education is a powerful tool for reducing poverty and inequality. It enables individuals to escape the cycle of poverty by equipping them with skills for employment and entrepreneurship. Education also promotes social cohesion and reduces inequalities by providing equal opportunities for all.

Civic Engagement: Education plays a vital role in shaping responsible and active citizens. It instills democratic values, promotes civic engagement, and encourages individuals to participate in the political process. Educated individuals are more likely to be informed, engaged, and contribute to the development of their communities and societies.

Overall, being educated has a transformative impact on individuals and society. It leads to personal growth, economic opportunities, social mobility, improved health, empowerment, reduced poverty, and enhanced civic engagement. Education is a fundamental right that should be
accessible to all, as it is a key driver of progress and development.

Aside the aforementioned advantages of being educated, the non-educated, call him/her the illiterate or sub-literate is also beset by some disadvantages especially in this era of economic downturn that is not only being experienced in Nigeria but across the globe. These pose several risks both at the individual and society levels:

– Limited Job Opportunities: Without education, individuals have limited access to job opportunities. Many industries and professions
require a certain level of education or specific skills and qualifications. Lack of education can lead to unemployment or being stuck in low – paying and unstable jobs with limited prospects for advancement.

– Lower Income and Poverty: Education is closely linked to higher income levels and economic well-being. Without education, individuals are more likely to earn lower wages and face higher poverty rates. Limited income can make it difficult to meet basic needs, access healthcare, and secure a stable living environment.

– Social Exclusion: Lack of education can lead to social exclusion and marginalization. Without education, individuals may struggle to participate fully in social, cultural, and civic activities. They may face barriers in accessing social services, participating in community decision-making, and building social networks.

– Limited Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills: Education fosters critical thinking, analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities. Without education, individuals may struggle to analyze information critically, make informed decisions, and solve problems effectively. This can hinder personal growth, decision-making, and adaptability in an ever-changing world.

– Vulnerability to Exploitation: Lack of education can make individuals more vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination and abuse. Without
knowledge of their rights and the skills to advocate for themselves, individuals may be at a higher risk of being taken advantage of in various aspects of life, such as employment, relationships and legal
matters.

– Reduced Access to Healthcare and Essential Services: Education plays a crucial role in promoting health literacy and enabling individuals to access healthcare services. Without education, individuals may face challenges in understanding health information, making informed health choices and accessing essential services. This can lead to poorer health outcomes and reduced quality of life.

– Limited Personal Development and Empowerment: Education is not only about acquiring knowledge but also about personal development and empowerment. It provides individuals with the tools to express
themselves, pursue their interests and passions, and contribute to their communities. Without education, individuals may lack the confidence, skills, and opportunities for personal growth and self -empowerment.

In summary, not being educated can result in limited job opportunities, lower income, social exclusion, limited critical thinking skills,
vulnerability to exploitation, reduced access to healthcare, and limited personal development and empowerment. It is crucial to prioritize education to mitigate these risks and ensure a more equitable and prosperous society.

Some scholars posit that, education also polishes good nature and corrects bad ones.

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