The World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 6, defines education as the process by which people acquire knowledge, skills, habits, values or attitudes. It is facts, skills and ideas that have been learned, especially through formal instruction.
From the aforementioned definitions, one finds that education is a tool of liberation from ignorance, poverty and disease. If education is made free or easier many people will embrace it, and Nigeria will be free from ignorance, superstition, poverty, diseases and fraudsters.
Education is as old as humanity. Prehistoric people needed education to survive. Children were taught how to hunt wild animals for food. The people also had to learn to cooperate with one another, and to live together peacefully. Education taught them how to act, behave and so helps make society possible. The first man on earth, Prophet Adam (peace unto him) was placed above the angels of God because of the level of his knowledge. This shows that education is divinely recognized and should be treat as such.
With the help of education, Nigeria gained her independent and became more organized society with responsible men and women including youths and children, who have acquired the appropriate mental discipline.
However, looking at how the educational system functioned back then, there is no doubt that an average Nigeria student today cannot withstand his counterpart of yesteryears in this country. The Nigeria government have displayed negative attitude towards educational system with the number of industrial actions received by the system. Teachers are not cater for the way it should be and are regarded as low level profession. Students, especially those in the tertiary institutions attach more importance to their grades rather than the actual knowledge which has led to a situation of inconsideration about what you know but what you can present on that piece of paper as your evidence of a four years program. Employment is based on who you know rather than what you know. These and many others have reduced the significance of educational system in this country.
Meanwhile, to regain fully the glory of education in Nigeria, the government should re-strategize and pay adequate attention to educational system at all levels in a way of paying the educators salaries and arrears. This will help in restraining the frequency of industrial action in the country.
Furthermore, students should be serious with their studies. They should attach more importance to education, let the grades in their results be a reflection of the knowledge acquired. They must become skilled in agriculture, commerce, government, industry, the arts, science etc. and they should be fixed in their respective domain of study to function as this will definitely lift the country to a greater high. Education plays a major role in empowering and developing the sense of responsibility and respect for hard work. If education is given adequate attention by ensuring proper monitoring and financing more people will have the opportunity of acquiring skills and knowledge needed to prepare them for some job or career. For instance, a person must meet certain educational requirements and obtain a certificate to practice law, medicine and other professions. Many fields, such as computer operation, police work ETC. require satisfactory completion of special training courses. There is no doubt that education makes life more fulfilling, interesting and enjoyable. Everybody needs to learn to adjust to change. This has become very important because social changes today take place with increasing speed and affect the lives of many people. It is only education that can help a person understand these changes and provides the skills for adjusting to them. There is no doubt that education provides better reliable control over the production of thoughts and boosts man capacity to store, augment and propagate knowledge.
The world is advancing in technological development. Any nation that does not move with the trend, will definitely remain backward. Thank God Nigeria is moving with the trend which has upgraded the status of some Nigeria youths. Unquestionably, basic education is very necessary at the primary school level for social change in society. At the secondary level, education is needed to provide knowledge in the basic sciences, arts vocational and technical education. At the tertiary level, technological education and research are needed. It becomes unequivocally clear that education in Nigeria should be made easier by the government at all levels so that it will be available and affordable to all and sundry without barrier.
Conclusively, education is all round development of a man mentally, physically, socially, economically and morally. The education, which is given only at the primary level will not give all round development of a society. This can be possible only when there is affordability of education at all level. When people are educated, they would have the potentials to further improve themselves. Without education, man is a mere animal. Education is food for all ages. It is useful and keeps empowering man up till death.
Written by: Yusuf Yusuf Abubakar
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Meet Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, an accomplished educationist hailing from Anyigba, Kogi state, Nigeria. He earned his Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) in English and Islamic studies in 2011. Yusuf continued his academic journey at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, achieving a B.A Ed in English. Beyond his academic pursuits, Yusuf is recognised as a proficient teacher and an aspiring writer.