Misunderstanding of Education, The Basis of Continued Poverty in Africa – Akinbinu Olusola.

My reason for taking this topic is to appreciate it that we have an understanding of education in Africa, unfortunately what we mostly understood of education is an error, it can be well described as “MIS-education” or “Misunderstanding of Education”. When purpose is wrongly conceived then the process and results can never be adequate.

What is Education? Education is the process of conscious mental development, moral development and development of aesthetic values through information.

At what point did we leave this responsibility to “whatever schools can provide” alone? What role does the family and society at large play in regards to the definition education above?

We have allowed school to define the character and life focus of our children because we fail in our definition of education. The school actually carries fewer burdens compared to the family and the society which the children will return to after school years. School in Nigeria has found a short cut to justification’ by simply packaging the students to pass promotional and external examinations as an adequate’ return for the fees paid by the parents. The initial question come; are the student thereafter educated or just branded as PASSED?.

Just by passing WAEC or graduating from a University, a youth feels on top of the world and unable/unwilling to learn new things.

Education actually has no clear gradation as we try represent by academic qualification but it is the expansion of the capacity of the human mind to accommodate, process and produce viable results congruent with contemporary civilization or advance it further. It is the detailed understanding of how humanity has started from pre-civilization, age by age until now and how they have lived and catered for their needs. Is there anything actually new? Man has always provided himself food, shelter, clothing and information. The only thing that could be “new” is the evolution of technology which in effect boosts human efficiency at the provision of same food, shelter, clothing and information as earlier stated.

Education exactly is the continuous contemplation on the processes of production, analyzing the effects of each of the factors of production; Man, Machines and Natural Resources, the different mix possibilities and results. But it’s unfortunate that we have surprisingly limited our so called education to Careerism. Parents and Teachers ask a child to choose a career and start mentoring the Child towards that as an end in itself. The children follow that diligently and become Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers etc. but after school they can barely function beyond programmed or indoctrinated professions. They are blank in almost every other thing; they are not critical enough to even research new ideas in their own fields!

What can be worse? University graduates do not even understand the need to cover sensitive parts of the body, just because non-schooled showbiz models wear lousy jewelries, open up their body for advertisement companies, dress improperly to attract attention. The unschooled gangster rappers have suddenly become the models also for those who have spent 4 years in the University. What other proof do you need to explain that such candidates have gone to school but have refused to be educated?

We have graduates today who lack communication skills, not just their popular inability to speak and write in clear English, but that they don’t even have the adequate morality of relating both with elderly people in the society, they are often very rude, also when it comes to relating to younger ones they are also very proud. In essence, apart from having a University degree, there is nothing enviable about their way of life or their intellectual judgments, if they have.

Most of the times they require the society to provide them a job than having the ability to create a living for themselves independently. You ask a question, how come those who didn’t go to university but learnt Tailoring, Bricklaying, Auto-Mechanics etc stand independent in their vocations and make headways without complaining of unemployment? They must actually be more educated than our STATUSSED UNIVERSITY AND POLYTECHNIC GRADUATES who are often intellectually stranded after school.

Every human being is a potential force in economics but the viability of the force is dependent on the capacity infused in him/her which can only be through education, but not essentially through school alone. Tales by moonlight and folklores were avenues used in teaching uprightness and morality to children in Africa. When a child looses morality and uprightness, rarely can he/she get anything right in life because negative attitude repels among diligent and conscientious people. Families had ways of incorporating children in domestic chores so that when they grow with learning responsibility, it will be part of them when they become of ages and are independent. Domestic corrections (even forceful at times with heady/violent children) are effective ways of culturing the attitude of children. Many of the times when they take discipline in school for granted, School Principals defer to parents in order to make discipline effective. These are ways to make a complete rational man out the children for them to produce new answers for our society, advance commerce and industry, plan government and take Africa out of the present states hopelessness.

Poverty is defined as the state in which one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possession.

The main argument about poverty among us in Africa has suddenly and wrongly been reduced to “non-earning” of enough salary that can guarantee a socially acceptable amount of money or material possession as quoted above. That perspective is too simplistic and mis-directive. In actual fact, not all societies in human history and existence had been organized along wages and salaries, yet people had lived there-in above poverty.

The actual philosophy of poverty is the inability of any person or group of persons to be able to use time and nature around them to produce useful values that are adequate to guarantee a socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. The philosophy applies either in large corporate environment, SMEs or rural communities. So the guilt before every individual and Africa in general is that we are not training or children to solve problems, (our youth are not determined to be trained), taking advantage of the yet available resources; human, material, technological and infrastructural to the most optimum. They are cultured to complain of what they don’t have without being able to utilize what they yet have. Start thinking and creating values locally, start creating values of international competitiveness both for local markets and exports.

In actual truth, the reason anyone will be poor as a youth today will be your inability to use the education you are getting to produce adequate value(s) for society that could guarantee an equitable exchange for a socially acceptable status.

Industry is defined as a systematic labour (exertion of force) especially for some purpose or the creation of something of value.

Regardless of the size of the industry available to you, or the industry you can create; every youth in Africa must grow with an industrial mindset as defined above. They must wash-off the mindset that their goal in life is just to work for someone else to earn salary, which is not always guaranteed. A whole lot of times they are caught in an eventual trap of disappointment and loss of life-purpose.

Just as published in The Guardian newspaper on 2nd and 3rd November 2015, in an article written by Soulz Rhymez a social analyst, poet, songwriter and an undergraduate of the University of Lagos studying Sociology. The article titled: WHEN EDUCATION BECOMES INDOCTRINATION.

He defined Educations as “the development of the mind and the whole being through learning and putting to work what was learnt”… truly educated people are said to be: people that are original, resourceful and creative, who dream dreams and think out the box to attain their dreams and fulfill their passions.

Olusola Akinbinu is a Commercial Writer and an Advocate for the Redefinition of Education in Africa, he is domiciled in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria.


Twitter: @AkinbinuOlusola

Disclaimer: This is the raw opinion of the writer and does not represent the position of Ekimogun Mirror.

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