Uchendu Chidalu Onuba
The year was 1997 and the decision had already been made; the moment registration began after my second birthday, I would be enrolled in a nearby school. And just like that, my journey to being the academic pride and joy of my parents, who believed education went before passion, began – yippee!
JULY 2006 – I had just graduated with one of the highest grades in primary school while simultaneously obtaining a certification in Microsoft office package and CorelDraw programming at just 11 years old. You can only imagine the pride beaming on my parent’s faces and knowing this achievement was the reason behind their smiles made me happy. This happiness also beheld a secret that would later be unfolded; a passion no one was willing to take seriously.
Doodling took a lot of my free time (whenever I got any) back in the day. I remember my poems and articles receiving so much adulation from my peers and teachers but that was about it. Despite my efforts, all I got in return was the now over exaggerated rhetoric of how writing could never be a satisfactory choice economically for a career but should be kept in the sheath to be drawn out occasionally as a hobby. The tears flowed but so did the motivation and my passion grew in scale.
I took my knowledge of the internet and used it to my advantage and with time, my mum realized this was more than just a hobby and told me to remain focused if this truly was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. My dad on the other hand, was a tough nut that I still have not had any luck cracking; hence my degrees in economics and marketing.
The Nigerian mentality has really always been the same amongst the older generation; go to school, get a degree, get a good job, don’t aspire beyond the boundary of the standard of mediocrity already in motion. How many of these individuals currently work with their degrees? How many employers care about what you studied in school? How many schools care about imbibing updated knowledge into the minds of young geniuses? Must we all go to school?
Through my 4 years in the university, I had my mind set on what I really wanted to do with my life. Poetry ruled my playlist and authors left little to no space for my econometrics textbooks – this was the only training I ever really got.
The topic of education and school are two vast subjects that we as humans have all so lazily merged into one just to feed our egos. Education by far outweighs all other human necessities after food, water, air and shelter obviously. The education received drives us a very long way but I believe it ought to be streamlined to focus on individual dreams and aspirations; I believe this was the main reason behind having Counselors in schools.
The first ten (10) years of human life has been documented to be the most formative and should be used in honing skills, talents and identifying life-defining desires. Spoon-feeding nearly outdated knowledge has led to a major waste of critical resourceful minds who end up struggling with dogma and theorems that may or may not be of any value to their lives.
I have always wondered if there is even remotely a space for someone who did not acquire formal education. Does it even matter if I did not sit in a classroom and just listen to some teachers do what they know best to do? What if I wanted to be a dancer or a furniture maker? What if I wanted to be a fashion designer? Is there a space to just go right into it without laboring through the school system spending all that time doing what I’d rather not do and spending money while at it?
Society has conditioned our minds into believing that acquiring a formal education is the prerequisite for success and something that helps you fit in. There’s this pride and self-actualization that comes with saying “Oh hi I’m jack and I’m a graduate of Economics from Covenant University”. And when someone meets you, the second to the first thing they’re most likely going to ask is if you’re a graduate and what course you studied.
Our job system for instance isn’t making it any easier. Nobody wants to hire someone without a degree. From the job requirements, there is always a phrase “Must have a degree in this or that”. Experience as a requirement without a degree is almost impossible. We’ve allowed society to constrain us to shut our minds and narrow it down to a small piece of paper as a way of being part of something, a way of being considered serious or fit to work, or fit to belong.
There have been instances where people don’t get to even work or have a means of living through whatever it is they studied so the certificate is almost as a decoration, like one of the things we acquire and don’t ever get to use. I have heard many young people say things like “I’m getting this certificate for Nigeria’s sake I’m never using it. I already have something I want to do in mind”
It is strange how this is already not a problem. We are supposed to be free-spirited, open-minded, and doing whatever is right and best for us, and giving society all that power to control us isn’t free-spirited at all.
In my opinion, we must not all go to school to fit in, we must not go to school to prove a point or to satisfy society’s demands because the rat race never ends. Everyone deserves the right to do what they want to do, be where they need to be irrespective of having some certificate. Industries should be set up and relevant experience should be the only domineering requirement for any job.
So many countries of the world, developed countries dare I say, have been able to outgrow and overcome this societal constraint. We must follow suit because if we do, that is when we grow into a place where we can be ourselves and do what we love without having a paper to validate it.
The debate on the essence of schooling has been one of the biggest controversies raised in modern times. It has been held that education is not only the method to decide a person’s life; this has been the view of those against formal education. Proponents of the school of thought that schooling is essential hold the view that education plays a crucial role in the development of a person and the society at large. The view is mainly popular for the reason that education or schooling defines the development of any society. It is what equips people with the necessary tools to know the course of action to take.
While schooling would be considered formal education, it is as well as important to draw the line between formal and informal education which both involve learning. Formal education entails the four walls of a classroom while informal education ranges from morals taught by parents to kids, apprenticeship and the likes. It is of crucial importance to understand that in modern times schooling within the four walls of a classroom has proven effective. It has enabled people discover their person and as well as the career or professional path that suits them, a throbbing question that is at the front burner and demanding a clear answer is; is it a necessity for everyone to go to school?
First, education is the bedrock of development of any society, and premium attention should be given to such. One of the reasons for mass illiteracy in undeveloped countries is as a result of the greater population of such nations not being able to attain formal education, and thus leaving them at dress of development. Secondly, the pace at which the world is fast moving, demands some level of formal education as the dynamics in the world is unpredictable. Lastly, schooling has proven to cover major grounds of informal education as well; and their schooling should be fostered.
In conclusion, school has proven to be effective in global development and it is well desirable to enable one cope with the changing times. Education is a veritable tool that has and will continuously prove itself to be effective in saving lives and society. The principal thing is being able to effect a positive change.
This is a question that indeed leaves more questions and divides opinion if someone attempts to answer this. To answer this question, one can give a yes or no depending on the situation and circumstances before the question is answered. It is imperative to know what school itself is. This will guide and point to an acceptable answer.
School by definition has to do with the act of learning. For most people, school entails going to the four-walled classroom at a specific time, date and following a repetitive pattern of learning. For many others school has to do with having the opportunity to learn either in a classroom, a non-formal setting, remote learning, online study as well as self-study.
Going by the second opinion on what school is; a tentative and emphatic yes is the answer. We must all go to school. It is generally said that learning only stops when a life is lost or no more breathing. Truth be told whether you acquire knowledge in a formal or informal setting, learning and impartation has taken place and ultimately, schooling is indeed in effect.
Schooling and education has gone beyond the four walls of the classroom. One will not go through the regular or normal 6-3-3-4 system of education before knowledge is acquired. Today, there are specialized training centers, vocational centers where people learn trade and skills under a mentor, in a shop, workplace and not necessarily a classroom. Learning and impartation takes place effectively so there is every right to say schooling has occurred for such people.
Remote work, remote learning, social media and technology are the current trend. Now, people sit at the comfort of their homes to work, communicate, participate in virtual tourism, learn via online schools, make financial transactions without going into an office building, bank, telephone booth or call center, the list is endless. This points to the fact and only supports the notion that education indeed can be done remotely. The covid19 pandemic only affirmed and shows that almost everything can be done virtually or at least a great done of what was previously done in person is now obtainable virtually. Schooling inclusive.
The summary of the matter is that there is need for everyone to go to school as long as you are learning, you have someone that you look up to as a guide, a mentor, tutor, you can easily learn. There are teaching bots around, online tutors, online classes, trade and vocational centers so the concept of schooling is not restricted to a formal setting. Of course education is the key to progress, growth and development. Without education, you are bereft of knowledge and knowledge they say, is power. It will be grave injustice to deny anyone education by insisting on going through a formal setting when there are informal viable alternatives. So yes, we must all go to school.
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