Proper Education is a Great Tool for Social Change.
Last week I happened to be travelling to Nairobi at the afternoon hours and I could see enthusiastic school kids on their way home from school. The most interesting thing with my observation was the fact that I was seeing this on a nomadic land. The Maasai for that matter.
If is for fact that at some point I saw children walking by the roadside over a kilometer and half and I had not yet set my eyes on this school they were coming from. It could be that the school was quite another handful yards into the plains beyond my eyes.
As I continued with my journey, my mind suddenly wondered into the horizons as I contemplated the fate of these kids. Were they getting value for those long treks to and from school? Were they getting a good education that could mean a secure future for them? Were they proud of their learning and education?
Let me begin by first defining education before we can see what good or proper education means. Wikipedia defines education as an act or experience that is informative on one’s mind, character and physical ability. Loosely it is the process of transmitting accumulated societal knowledge, skills, and values across generations. Educational is a generational component.
In the whole definition, it is void of the aspects of health, happiness, creativity, tolerance and the likes primarily as important aspects of education. We can arguably say that the whole process develops those values and that perhaps instinctively the individuals will discover it. We could be very wrong at this.
Ever wondered why there is increasing intolerance all around us? What of violence? And corruption? I loudly think it could be a very deep problem that we may be addressing superficially and thinking that it is about generations and their time. The moral, character and mind development must have missed some details in the process of transmission for us to see all these ever increasing miseries all around us.
And this now brings us to the aspect of proper education. What is it? Does is have any advantages to society? Proper education should be the one that increases creativity by enabling students to ask questions. Thinking is creation and this comes out where there is interest and interest is developed when one asks questions so that they can search for answers even as they ask many more questions.
A proper educations is one that creates a yearning, a desire, and an appetite to unravel mysteries that exist in the mind as one thinks and the origin of education could help explain this. Historically, education is derived from two Latin words namely; Educare, and educatum.
“Educare” means to train or mold which extends to mean bring up, lead out or draw out from inward to outward. “Educatum” on the other hand means teaching. To me, it means that education needs a teacher to spark the curiosity inside a learner and this is to be achieved through asking thought provoking questions.
Aristotle remarked that education is the creation of sound mind. It develops man’s faculty especially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty. Plato on the other hand said that education should develop in the body and soul of a pupil all the beauty and all the perfection he is capable of.
For these two philosophers, education is inside out as opposed to outside inside so to say. In other words, we are used to knowing that education is imparted on a student(s). Yet in both quotes, there is the use of the word development which simply means directed growth.
It could mean that their idea of education was to identify the capacity of each pupil and then give them a directed growth in line with their intra-capabilities. The teacher is there to identify the ability of the student and help develop it to a level of self-sustenance.
Now that we are used to imparting of knowledge, we could be missing the point because it’s not different from imposing the character and values of the teacher to the students, some of which are very wrong. The process ought to be the other way round only that the character of the student is not transferred to the teacher, rather it is maximally developed by the teacher.
It is my hope that the creativity of these Maasai children I saw on this afternoon coming from school could get a proper education and question their deepest thoughts to be the best they can to their communities and the society at large.
It is my hope that that a little boy and girl in Kirinyaga, Maua, Kasipul, Lamu, Kaptum, Katonzweni, Vihiga, Mandera, Minyingwa to the remotest corners of this country can get a proper education and be a blessing to their communities and the country at large. That they can be very creative yet happy, clever yet humble, smart yet resilient to a level this country becomes one to reckon.
Whatever our role can be to make this happen, let’s not shy away from playing that role because it means the difference between a secure future and an uncertain future.
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