The end of education – By Mahfouz A. Adedimeji, PhD

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*Photo: Prof Adedimeji *

That education is life and life is education is a maxim that resonates with millions of people because of the potential that education holds for making life more meaningful and abundant. Education is the difference between life and death because an uneducated person is a walking corpse while a dead person still lives in his works that benefit humanity. Where education is luminous light, ignorance is pitch darkness.

Meanwhile, the end of education describes the absence of values in the supposedly educated. There is an end of education, regardless of degrees, diplomas and certificates obtained, wherever character is lacking, compassion is missing, justice is absent and humanity is zero. There is an end of education in the increasing number of the corrupt, the wicked, the narcissistic, the bigoted, the callous, the unjust and the unfeeling though they may be politicians, professionals and technocrats. Education is a function of the mind and how others are treated.  

There is no underestimating the significance of education any day as a person without education is like a building without a foundation or a phone without a sim card. Education is so important that development cannot happen without it. Through education, the children and the youth are functionally engaged, awareness is spread, productivity is enhanced, critical thinking is developed, discipline is attained, equality is promoted, poverty is eliminated or reduced, economic growth is achieved, healthy lifestyle is enhanced, employment opportunities are widened, careers are advanced,  women are empowered, society is preserved, crime is reduced and dreams are achieved.

In spite of all the benefits of education, it appears that just as Francis Fukuyama wrote of “The End of History and the Last Man” in 1992, we have effectively come to the end of education era. This is because formal or modern education in recent times has failed woefully in instilling the values that would facilitate the attainment of the benefits. It is for this reason that the impressionistic youth are misled to now say that education is a scam. They are disillusioned because education no longer automatically guarantees functionality, awareness, productivity, critical thinking, growth, advancement, empowerment and eradication of poverty and crime among the majority. 

Rather than construe education as a holistic process of developing the head, the heart and the hands with attention paid to all, education in this clime has been effectively reduced to the acquisition of certificates and boosting of ego. Character is subordinated to learning while the qualitative is sacrificed for the quantitative. Educating the head without educating the heart is no education at all but this is the prevalent scenario. There is certainly no education at all in anyone whose education only serves to destroy others and the society.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this more recently than the success of Nigeria in halting the enforcement of the $11 billion arbitration award in favour of a British Virgin Island company, Process and industrial Development Ltd (P&ID).  Judge Robin Knowles who delivered his well acclaimed judgement noted that the greed of Nigerian officials would have cost Nigeria a sum of $11 billion. He revealed that the whole project agreement was “procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria.” He regretted that “this case has, sadly, brought together a combination of examples of what some individuals will do for money.” Those involved in the treachery are educated and highly placed Nigerians.

For context, Nigeria has been in a legal tussle with P&ID which accused the country of botching a business deal of a 2010 contract to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River state. A judgement debt of $6.6 billion was imposed on Nigeria by the arbitration panel to which Nigeria referred the case. Those that are supposedly educated betrayed Nigeria and worked in cahoots with a foreign company after collecting bribes to make Nigeria lose as much as $11 billion. It is like an evil son conniving with strangers to kidnap his own father and fleece him of his life earnings.

At the international scene, those with a sense of humanity have been watching with horror how a supposedly educated people have been annihilating a vast population of people in Gaza. As part of the end of education, some people here and elsewhere would not find anything horrific in the relentless bombing campaigns and merciless slaughter of children, women and citizens. While those with education would be humane and work towards the cessation of inflicting collective punishment on others, those in whom education had ended would blame the victims and canvass no mercy.

Without humanity, all education is a nullity.

*Prof. Adedimeji is the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of Ahman Pategi University, Patigi, Kwara state.

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