By AYENI Otito-Jesu J
The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that, when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong, it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair. At this point it is expedient to note that education is of inevitability due to its necessity for growth and development.
Falowo, the Chief Executive Officer of Greenwich Trust Limited in 2013 said, ‘it is only the full understanding of the root causes of the problem we face today as a nation that will afford us the chances of discerning what solutions are possible, which can work and which cannot’. With this, we can classify the problems of Nigeria into two, bad governance and corruption. All other problems are just like the stems, branches or leaves of a tree that trace their existence to the root of bad governance and corruption. Distinguished readers, it will interest you to know that section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 constitution provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. But it is obvious that this provision is just like a statue that has no other action than to be seen by the citizens without any effect.
Education, the masterpiece of knowledge, is a crucial key to unlock that golden door of our national freedom. But then, the question is this: how can education solve these problems?
In 1952, the radical and quintessential Nigerian Nationalist and politician, Adegoke Adelabu of Ibadan avowed that: “Education is the foundation of freedom. Ignorance is the basis of slavery. If you would free a people, first and foremost educate them…” This statement is a pointer to the fact that a free mind is an educated mind, and also a free nation is an educated nation. in addition, the 35th American president, John F. Kennedy, stated in 1961 that “we should think of education as a means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us, there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation”. It can therefore be said that the power of education is mighty to the point of making wrong things get right.
Currently, let’s take a look at two countries, Campodia and South Korea. These countries are examples of countries that through the power of education fought corruption and turned their nations around.
In the early 1960s, Korea’s Military President, General Park took measures to halt the mass migration of Korean youths to the United States of America. The first step taken was to inaugurate a radical education reform scheme. He reasoned that since Korea had no mineral resources to exploit to generate wealth, the best weapon to propel the country to modernity was to educate every Korean to University level and by so doing, implant in their brains, the knowledge and confidence to be able to exploit mineral wealth of other nations to develop the Korean economy. Through a mass movement, General Park’s Government created slogans and popular songs that ridiculed families lagging behind in the race for University education. This policy worked effectively, and by the late 1970s, South-Korea had one of the highest percentages of University studentship in the world. And now, in terms of the greatest economies of the world, South Korea is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, according to banboneirubek.com, South Korea is the best country with the best education in the world. Campodia also followed this trend by prioritizing education. No wonder Nelson Mandela said that Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
However, statistics have revealed that lack of education is indirectly proportional to bad governance of which Nigeria is suffering from. And according to Transparency International in 2017, the top ten least corrupt countries in the world are among the best countries in terms of education. This means, save education, and you get good governance and a less corrupt state. But then, Nigeria’s case is a pitiful one as the educational system dances in a dirty pool of neglect and disregard. The problems we face as a nation keeps multiplying day by day with the high rate of insurgency and even the distrust and mistrust in our various sectors. For education to be the solution, there is absolute need for concrete change in our educational system, starting from the way it runs to the way our libraries are empowered to feed the nation with knowledge and proper education.
In conclusion, remember what this article is titled: “education as a cause or solution to the myriad of problems in Nigeria”. Therefore, it is paramount to note that education is a cause because of its growing lack in our dear nation. But it can be a solution if we are ready to muster sufficient resolve to establish functional educational system that will help improve the education quality, make education of prime importance in the lives of everyone, the youths especially and considering the fact that they are future leaders. Therefore I make bold to say that if we embrace comprehensive educational policies, we will be able to provide every Nigerian access to good and quality education and by so doing, we will invariably be moving towards sustainable national development.