The Person You Will Be In The Future Is Based On Everything You Do Today.

The Nigerian Story

Front of a Nigerian university
The Chinese philosopher Confucius once said "Where words lose their meaning, people lose their lives". For Confucius, when words are not used meaningfully
they lose their original meaning and when they wear off their original meaning, they contribute to the ills off the society.

Thus, one way to heal the ills of the society according to Confucius is by going back to the original meaning to human words and applying them appropriately such that they operate meaningfully in the society for its users.

One word that has been wrongly used in our society today is "Education". From it's etymology, the word Education comes from the Latin "Educo, Educare, Educere" which means a leading out, to train, to mold etc. Translating and applying it further, it means leading out an individual from ignorance into knowledge, drawing out potentials from an individual and molding the individual into a better personality. It is this etymological basis of leading out, training and molding that the Ancient Greek considered education very important to her citizens. Also on this etymological basis, the Ancient Greeks saw education as performing two goals; the good of the individual and the good of the state. Following this notion, they believed that when the citizens are good, the State will be good or simply put this way, the good of the individual is also the good of the state.

Thus, to achieve this "goodness", citizens, especially the youths must be empowered with the basic skills both in science and arts so that they may stand a better chance of making viable contributions for the good of the City State and the best way to empower citizens to become productive in the Greek City State is through education.

They know and believe that education is the greatest way to preserve the treasure of the Greek City State and so they made education compulsory and unconditional so that every Greek youth must go to school to acquire knowledge in arts, music, ethnics, rhetoric, literature, science, mathematics and politics. For this reason, education became for them the necessary means of empowering youths, the future leaders and the source by which future leaders are produced for the good of the State.
No wonder some ancient Greek Philosophers like Aristotle and Plato who were involved in educating Greek youths in their school considered education very important for the good of the individual and the good of the State such that they believed that education helped in stratifying the state so that elites could emerge as leaders. For them, it is through education that the best leaders of the society are produced and the society will never know peace unless these elites become Kings. 

So, the best way to produce these elites is by empowering Greek citizens and leading them out from ignorance into enlightenment or knowledge through rigorous pedagogical approaches. Most importantly, the ancient Greeks saw education as the heart of youth empowerment, the preservation and passing down of knowledge and shaping of the youths, preparing a new generation for the challenges that are to come, and readying them to create solutions to their problems yet unknown with workable principles.

Following these, one could say that the ancient Greeks interpreted education from it's etymology and original meaning as leading out citizens from ignorance into knowledge for the good of the individual and the good of the State.

In Nigeria, (and most countries in the world), education is recognized as one of the fundamental human rights and so it is enriched in the constitution of Nigeria. 

However, the story of education in Nigeria is such a pathetic one that could be traced to the inability of our leaders to rise to their responsibilities. This set back in Nigeria Educational sector is caused by poor funding thus poor education infrastructure; inadequate classrooms and teaching aids (projectors, computers, libraries, laboratories etc); paucity of quality teachers/poor or polluted learning environment. As a result of this misplacement of values attention of stake holders to issues of quality education for our people and country, our school system is further plagued with numerous social vices like examination malpractice; cultism; and infant-hooliganism (as we are told that violent cult groups exists today in junior Secondary schools and Primary schools). 

In Nigeria schools today, admission in universities, colleges, polytechnics, monotechnics, secondary and primary schools have been politicized and students are admitted not by academic performance and merit but by other flimsy political reasons and man-know-man. Parents today use their political offices or influences for the education of their children. 

The private institutions have almost taken over from the government in terms off providing adequate facilities of learning for the students. Even these private institutions are avenues of business for those who can afford the high cost of its demands. 

The sad truth is that our political leaders are not touched by the poor standard of education in Nigeria simply because their children are not studying in the country but abroad.

More worrisome is the incessant strike action which has almost become customary in government owned schools and has made it occasional for students to stay longer than the expected period of graduation. What about the poor remuneration of teachers and lecturers which has diverted the attention of most of them to other extra time business just to meet up with the demands of the family? All these hinder the quality of persons produced from Nigerian educational sectors.

Those in leadership authority in Nigeria know that set-backs and instead of committing their intelligence and knowledge to duty, they prefer playing Ostrich by sending out their children overseas to study. Worst still our best brains both in academics and competence prefer migrating to countries outside Nigeria where they will be rewarded justly.

Comparatively speaking, Nigeria's education system is rather quantitative than qualitative oriented the quality of persons is not a major concern of the system but those who are able to survive and fulfill the manipulating standard. Hence, one could trace this to a misinterpretation of the goal of education from the good of the individual and the state to the good of the individual and his or her parents and sponsors.

Thus, between the ancient Greek City System of education and Nigeria Education System, we can establish a missing link from the point of view of their goals. While the ancient Greek State saw education as performing a special task of empowering the youths by preserving and transmitting knowledge unconditionally for the good of the state, the Nigeria Education system reinterpreted the goal of education to serve the good of parents and sponsors who can afford it's high cost.

Succinctly, as this post defends that education stands to be one of the greatest empowerment the State can give to itss citizens especially the youths, it argues that the success cannot be recorded in Nigeria unless Nigeria goes back to the etymological goal of education and understand that education is to help the individual become productive and make his own contribution for the good of the State. 

If the government cannot make education to be free, they can least subsidize its cost for the students and provide adequate funds for the maintenance of the schools in Nigeria (both infrastructural and commensurate teacher's and lecturers' remuneration) . Admission into higher institutions should be on merit and academic performance so as to help Nigeria discover her best brains who can manage the economy without much difficulty. If this is done, then the intention of this post has been achieved. 

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