The term “education means different things to different individuals.
One individual will define it as a training process that comes about through study and instruction; another person will say it is a series of experiences that enables a person to better understand new experiences; and to others it means growth and adjustment.
Furthermore, some people are of the opinion that education implies knowledge or the filling of the mind with facts. This belief, very popular during the Middle Ages, is still prevalent in some quarters. To a large degree, this definition is a carry-over from the scholasticism of the medieval period. Some school and College administrators and even teachers still feel that the essential responsibility of the school and College is to, open the minds of youths jam them full of facts, close them, and send them out into the world where they will be ready to solve any and all problems with which they will be confronted. Fortunately not all educators agree with this scholastic view:
For instance, Nathaniel Sheppard. Jr. — a Chicago correspondent for the New York Times wrote “The undergirding philosophy at the University of Wisconsin — Green Bay (UWGB) is that students should be taught to apply knowledge rather than simple to amass it…” “… in the university’s curriculum, practice follows rhetoric.” Here in Nigeria; our curriculum is often criticized forgiving pupil and students nibbles of several things and no bites of anything. In other words, our curriculum is known for imparting sizable chunks of learning but leaving no real feeling for the fundamental branches of knowledge that could make one self employed. John Dewey, an educator who, has most profoundly influenced present-day education, defines ‘education’ as the reconstruction of events that compose the lives of individuals so that new happening and new events become, more purposeful and more meaningful. His is a ‘doing” phenomenon.
Education has the opportunity of informing the young in respect to both the vocational aspects of living and the consumer aspects. Both aspects are important and are necessary for a happy and successful life. Most people select and follow various vocations in the matter of earning a living, placing them in the role of a producer. At the same time they buy goods and services, which places them in the role of a consumer. Schools and Colleges should train youths to be both good producers and good consumers.
Nigeria has entered the Age of Education. Education will now become the dominant co-ordinating force for society, occupying the same position that religion has in the past. Because it is a process for human and societal renewal, education will attain an increasingly higher priority as the needs, a post-industrial society are more fully expressed. Quality education is becoming a basic necessity, the absence of which is measured in survival terms. The ability of any .person, group, or society to grow, develops, and prosper — and, conversely, to stagnate and decline — will depend largely on the quality of education available and on its means of delivery.
Why Schools Exist:-
For us to go further in this topic, it is important that we should under stand the purposes of education — why schools, teachers and the curricula exist. All subjects, be it home economics, physical education, business education, integrated science, educational technology, mathematics, Nigerian and foreign languages, the pure sciences or art — all are part of the educational programme. Each field of specialization needs to keep its sight on the purposes of general education if it is to justify its rightful place in the schools. If each area of specialization in secondary education established I its own objectives irrespective of the overall goals of education, chaos would result, and programmes of education would probably conflict and be- come distorted, depriving the students or pupils of a well-balanced educational experience. There is the need for educationists and teachers to under-; stand that each area of learning must realize that it is a part of the whole trying’ to achieve the objectives of general education and that this desired whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I shall state in brief the purposes of general education as self-realization, 1 human relationship, economic efficiency and civic responsibility. For purposes of this discussion, our concentration will be on economic efficiency, which has to do with employment. The problem is how to manipulate these purposes as to have practical value in the lives of individuals as they live from day to day.
School Services:-
The services that schools are expected to render to children, youths and adults are an important consideration for young people who are preparing for a professional career, and also for those individuals who are al ready on the job in communities throughout the country. However, services cannot be considered in a meaningful manner by themselves. They must be considered in relation to the settings where they are taught.
The preparation an individual has had in respect to general education, and such courses as psychology, methodology, skills, and other aspects of training programmes will play a part in the selection of a setting. For example, a person who has prepared for elementary school teaching will obviously be interested in teaching at that level just as the person who has prepared for junior or senior secondary school teaching wants to be posted in an institution of higher learning. Such preparation has oriented the individual to a particular setting and provided knowledge; understanding and skill to do an effective job in the location. In the same token, if schools rear-up individuals with the notion that government must employ or find job for them, then the individual’s setting will be that he or she must be employed by the government.
It is important to match personal abilities with the job and setting. At an early age Einsten showed an uncanny aptitude with figures, and Henry Ford showed superior ability working with machines and gadgets. These Seat leaders had abilities that helped them to be successful in their work. Some people have greater ability than others in the area of research which might better qualify them for College or University work. Others may demonstrate ability in working with children which might better qualify them for elementary school work. Each person would match his or her own abilities against several settings as a means of arriving at the right decision for a successful career. Strong preference should be given to those settings where there is tangible evidence that out-standing ability exists. The schools should be able to identify the abilities.
Other things being equal, the setting where there is greatest interest should offer a better chance for success because the person will be doing what he or she wants to do. However, if other factors such as abilities are not taken into consideration, it may mean the job will not be done well. Since interests may change, it is also important to carefully evaluate them in other to cement realistic desires and rule out passing fancies.
Professional preparation, abilities, and interest are important, but at the same time there is practical consideration-job availability. After a person y ends sixteen years -6-3-3-4 preparing for a career, he or she naturally wants o a job in his field. Work is an essential for all individuals. Children and youths should have job opportunities. The happiness and success of an individual is dependent to a great extent upon his selecting the right position or field of work. There are thousands of positions to which one may turn for work. It may be that the chances of obtaining employment in one setting may be brighter than in another. The individual is just anxious to select the one that is best suited to his personal ability, skills and make up. Availability of job is a consideration that can not be overlooked.
The process of selecting can prove very disheartening without some type of professional Schools should assume part of the responsibility of seeing that their students are guided into those positions where they will be the happiest and where they will be able to serve society best.
The student studying home economics might think that the only place he can get job is in the class room. He may not know that there are job opportunities in other areas as: Flight stewardess, interior decorator, cloth maker, waitress, technical writer, advertising analyst, appliance sales, dietary consultant, social service worker, cook, cosmetologist, cloth designer, occupational therapist, extention service specialist, vocational teacher, food sales, funeral bed decorator, research fellow.
Education is the preparation for the “good life” Education can help direct a person’s life toward worthwhile goals, provide training for a job, develop skill to achieve and a person to utilize his abilities to the fullest. The goal therefore is to help people develop their potentialities and guide them in such a way that they can live a healthy, satisfying, and useful life. It is the business of education to impart knowledge, skills, under standings, techniques, culture, and any other necessities that prepare a person to live a type of life that will be satisfying not only ‘from this stand- point but also from the view point of society.
The schools have the potentialities for playing an important role in helping people to live a meaningful and purposeful life by securing a job. It would seem, however, that the schools have failed us in rendering the contributions of which they are capable. Perhaps by the end of this educational forum, you will discover for yourself that the controversy as regards education and employment opportunities is tar from being over. The ‘pot is only being stirred, but it is unclear how it will jell.