Wikipedia, a widely known source of knowledge defines Education as “The process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits”. Education can also be simply defined as how facts, skills and ideas are learnt either formally or informally.
Education can be acquired in different places such as homes, schools, churches, mosques, markets, museums, libraries, farms, recreational centres, tourist centres and every available place you can find. Furthermore, it can be acquired via different means such as people, books, media like magazines, radio, television, internet and so on, natures like sun, moons, plants, animals, stars and so on. I learnt calmness, proper planning and strategy, cooperation and unity from insects.
Education can be divided into three according to when and where it takes place, who educates and who is being educated and how it is being acquired. They are formal, informal and non-formal education. When education is acquired from a trained teacher in a confined place at a specified and regular time, it is called formal education. Hence, formal education is the type of education that takes place in a structured environment with classrooms of multiple students learning together under the influence of certified and professional teachers.
Formal Education was introduced into Nigeria by the European Missionaries in 1840s. The system was readily accepted by the western part of the country but rejected by the Northern part giving way to Islamic Schools that focused primarily on Islamic Education. The two higher education institutions available before we got independence were Yaba College which became University of Ibadan and Yaba College of Technology which is a successor to Yaba College.
An adage says “When the essence of something is unknown, abuse is inevitable”. Hence, the need to probe into the significance of formal education. The ignorance about its essence is what increases the degree of examination malpractices, unserious attitude of students towards academic work, lackadaisical attitude of teachers towards their duty, selfishness of parents and proprietors by imposing their desired career on their children and setting up schools with the aim of making money respectively, uncommitted attitude of government towards the improvement of formal education. This prompted my passion to find out why I have to go to school and consequently take advantage of formal education.
I interviewed elderly people who have gone to school and they gave reasons such as it is quite honouring to be an educated personality in our society today, and that it is the best way to get a job and consequently satisfy one’s needs. If these are why students should go to school, then formal education does not worth the investment from students, teachers, parents, proprietors and government. There are rich and honourable men in the society today who are not academic gurus.
After much curiosity, I found out why I should go to school, which is to be trained to think in order to make Nigeria and the world at large a better place to live in. From the definitions of education, you learn while being educated. What do you learn for? You learn to find solutions to human problems. For example, the cure for many diseases people was discovered with education by studying the causative micro-organism and how it can lose its power.
The means of transportation put in place today was also invented using education, reducing the stress of having to trek from one place to another. Also, the means of communication was invented with education, facilitating effective communication.
However, in finding solutions to human problems, one will need a basic tool called thinking. One will have to think of the causes and possible solutions to the problems. Hence, education is not just the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think. During learning, one needs to think through what one is being taught to understand and capture the mind of the speaker or teacher. As the teacher teaches one, he or she is training one to think.
Furthermore, one needs to go through what one has been taught in order to understand it well. During reading, one needs to think. One cannot understand the subject of a matter without thinking. When one is given assignments or has continuous assessment or examination, it is to this end that one is trained to think. One needs to think to answer a question correctly. When you are engaged in a debate or essay competition, it is all training to think.
Thinking is the starting point to finding solutions to the problems of humanity. This is why I should go to school, not just to learn but to be trained to think to solve problems. Having known the essence of formal education, one can now look into how to take a whole advantage of it. The advantage will be taken if everyone involved in the training takes to his or her responsibility.
As a student, I must be enthusiastic about the training. I must be receptive to the training thereby making me to be attentive during the training. Having listened well, it is my responsibility to think over what I have been taught by my teachers and ensure I understand well. Questions may arise from what I have been taught during reading, I should ask my teachers politely. I can further go to a library, use the internet facilities to get more information about what I have been taught. By doing this, I am training my mind to think, discover and apply solutions to my problems and consequently the problems of the world, thereby making Nigeria and the world at large a better place to live in.
As stakeholders of education, that is the parents, the teachers, the proprietors, the government, all can take full advantage of education by providing the rightful atmosphere learning and reading, the needed information, the needed socio-economic development which inspires a child to receive training to think and make the world a better place to live in- A major goal of formal education
In conclusion, by putting all the necessary things in place to facilitate learning, thinking and practice of all that have been learnt in order to find solutions to problems, formal education has been fully taken advantage of, because the child has been trained to think, discover and apply solutions to his or her problems, problems in Nigeria and the world at large consequently making the child independent, sociable, self-confident, responsible, respected and knowledgeable about the social values and acceptable norms which will serve him or her, Nigeria and the world at large.
Written and submitted by- Adeosun Emmanuel