“It’s highly impossible to be schooled and be uneducated!” my friend James retorted. James has three degree qualifications to his name. First, it was a B.Sc. in Fisheries followed by a Master’s degree in Business Management and finally, a Diploma in Project Management. I asked what he had succeeded in gaining after investing almost twenty five years of his life into schooling.
“Do you mean to deride the efforts of those of us who go to school?” was his response.
“Oh! No! How dare I when I went through the same system? My only concern James is that a number of us go to school without being educated in the process”
“Can you explain this weird phenomenon of schooling and education you speak of?” James posed.
I knew that I was in for a good time because James is not one known to suffer fools gladly; neither does he hold prisoners in debates. My points have to be clear, concise and explicit or else, I would lose my intelligent friend to the wind – maybe forever. “Okay James”, I started. “I believe that education is a system whereby we acquire knowledge so that we can question life around us in the bid to proffer solutions. It should be a process whereby we expand the capacities of our minds, challenge our thinking and in turn, translate the end-results into solutions to the problems that we face. Does that make sense?”
“Hmm, I am thinking. And what does schooling mean Ola?” “Schooling is the process whereby we enroll into the formal educational system for the purpose of gathering information and bagging qualifications. It is usually the first step in achieving education but not necessarily” I answered.
“Someone I respect has this to say about real education. He was a Brazilian educationist by the name of Paolo Freire who established that education must be an on-going process for the liberation of the students. His argument was that for education to be effective, the learners must be empowered to critically assess the problems that they face so that they can provide the solutions instead of a tutor giving them the answers to the problems that they face. Education must be about making life easier by means not otherwise explored or imagined.” “Oh, I see where you are coming from. You are talking of applying knowledge Ola”.
“This goes beyond applying knowledge. Before you can apply knowledge, you must gather the right one that is meant for the problem you intend solving, right?” “I agree. For example, it’s not very sensible for someone who intends to become a beautician to acquire knowledge only in Zoology or Soil science. Is that what you mean?” James asked. He is one inquisitive friend of mine whose curiosity never ceases to amuse and amaze me. James could be historical and hysterical at the same time. That’s why I treasure his friendship and company.
“Listen James, what I am saying is that we should not get knowledge from the western countries and expect it to work verbatim for us in Nigeria without adapting it to our own situation. If the challenge they have is on generating hydro-electric power, ours could extend to generating power solely from solar energy. Do you get my drift?” “I am with you gal. You sound as interesting as ever.” He mused with a coy smile. A smile that made me imagine what was racing through his curious mind.
“Education that I speak of must change an individual’s mind set such that he/she comes out a better person after passing through the schooling system. You know how I changed my diet after getting enlightenment on the benefits of having five portions of fruit and vegetables a day?”
“Yes, yes, I remember your obsession with fresh fruits as supposed to processed foods. How you refused to eat burgers and fast food all in the name of being healthy” James chuckled.
“James, it was because I gained knowledge and questioned things which in turn translated into a healthier lifestyle. Nonetheless, I hope your degrees will bring about questioning the status quo and how you organise your business world.”
“Sure, I got it! I did not get schooled for over two decades for nothing. I am going to be truly educated by observing my world and effecting change; for the better of course” James concluded.