Education is the bane and bedrock of growth of any society. A country that dearly desires developmental progress and peaceful existence will always give appropriate priority to the educational orientation of its citizenry. Education in this context is not restricted to formal academic schooling. It generally involves any ideological learning and venture that can impact the life of the learners and the entire society.
Reputable educationist, a don and an academic scholar, Ganiu Bamgbose, in one of his articles, defines education as the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitude and values which make one a useful and functional member of the society. On foregoing standpoint, education goes beyond schooling or attainment of higher institution degrees or certificates. It is all about concrete learning of skill which is economically empowering. Certainly, for any society to be viable on the path of development, education will remain an undisputed asset to invest in.
First, education undoubtedly fosters the peaceful existence of the people in the society. According to an author of a paper in a notable South African Sociology Journal, Charles Dube, illiteracy is tantamount to insecurity. This implies that a nation without adequate policies on education would bear the brunt by leaving its societal peace in jeopardy and the entire nation in the state of anarchy.
When proper and efficient education is not afforded to the people of the society, disobedience to constituted authorities, contempt to the rule of law, jungle justice, financial crimes, among other anti-social vices, would enjoy prevalence even at the high rate. This is because the citizens will lack the moral know-how on the modest ways to behave in a governed society. For instance, a country such as Niger Republic which topped the list of countries with worst education system in the world according to the 2022 ranking of the Educational Development Index, has consistently be battling with different insurgent groups including the members of the dreaded Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Despite the country’s military efforts, these terrorist groups have remained undaunted in their horrific and terror war against the state. Even, in most parts of northern Nigeria, banditry groups who are allegedly members of defunct Boko Haram insurgency, have always remained major security threat in the country. According to many media reportages, majority of the so-called bandits have little or no educational background. They were said to have resorted to crimes and criminalities due to government negligence on good education. Peace exists and resides in an educated society. Therefore, along with military operations, African countries with insecurity issue, Nigeria in particular, should propagate and offer free access to quality education to the guerrilla fighters and other members of the society in order to curb the bewildering insecurity menace.
Moving on, education brings innovation and technological advancement to the society. Many European countries and the United States are powerful nations due to their investment in education sector. These countries have continued to dominate and remain at the frontline in terms of advanced technology, academic scholarship, just to mention a few. As a developing country, the Nigerian government can also leverage education as a tool to get rid of the country’s myriad of socio-economic problems.
For instance, deployment of technological gadgets to monitor government’s internal and external financial accounts would help to reduce and eliminate the cankerworm of corruption in the country. Similarly, drones, CCTV cameras, body cameras among others can readily help security operatives to combat the insecurity across the country. Meanwhile, it would require learned persons and professionals to properly develop, operate and maintain these technological weapons. And that is what quality education will give!
On the same token, human development is a critical socio-economic factor towards achieving national development. At its core, education will help to equip citizens to become independent and functional members of the society. It provides an avenue to refine naturally endowed any talented individuals who will help to build a sane and sustainable society through their manpower and sophisticated skills.
Even as Nigeria’s case is relatable, many countries with high unemployment rate are mainly benefiting from their low investment on effective education. The unemployment rate can be reasonably reduced should the citizenry be well-equipped with sound education along with government’s diligence to create a thriving business environment.
To round off, this piece does not only aim to highlight the effects of quality educational learning, it primarily seeks to help those in authority at different levels see the need to give the deserving priority to education in order to have a better society through national development.
Damilare Adeleye, a freelance journalist, writes from Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos State.