Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern but impossible to enslave. -Lord Chancellor Baron Henry Peter
In the first and second parts of this series, I looked at how who gets what in the political and economic realms is determined by education. I also discussed the sacrosanct honour given to education by the religions of the world including Islam, Christianity etc., as well as national and international human rights instruments. In this last part, I hope to examine the role of education in guaranteeing liberty and aiding self liberation.
The educated man is free to guard against infringements on his God-given rights. The constitution of every nation and the UDHR guarantee some minimum levels of human rights which are inalienable and which must be enjoyed by all and sundry irrespective of age, s*x, religion, tribe or colour. These include the rights to freedom of movement, of conscience and religion, of association, among others. However, these rights cannot enforce themselves except that those who posses them vigilantly guard against their violations. Education would help a man know his minimum rights, how to protect them and how to seek redress when such are infringed upon. An illiterate is oblivion of his rights and their protection. If I possess a cake, but am unaware that I am the owner, will I protest if another person arrogates it? Even if I am aware of my ownership rights over the cake without knowing how to repossess it from the trespasser, will I enjoy the ownership rights?
Education equally guarantees liberty for man from the fetters of obscurantism. The modern society is replete with misinformation and stereotypes about many things. The media – rightly tagged the fourth arm of the realm – controls the thinking and worldview of the masses. Only the learned beings would be capable of sifting information to extract facts from myths and misconception. Only he would be capable of independent and clear reasoning, deep research and critical analysis and be liberated from intellectual servitude. If a teacher constantly tells his primary 2 pupil that lizards grow to become snakes, would the student not absolutely believe and fanatically proclaim, albeit without any proof, the “fact” anywhere in the world? The uneducated by the same logic are slaves of misinformation. But such a concocted lie cannot be popular with a college student whose intellect is not dwarfed.
Education is the mother of freedom. It procreates, nurtures and safeguards it. If Homo sapiens seriously craves development, desires justice and loves peace, I prescribe for him, the remedy called ‘education’.
The responsibility of promoting education is a shared one. No single entity – government, literacy organizations or individuals can successfully shoulder it. All hands must be on deck and all stakeholders must play meaningful complementary roles. Government should embark on better legislation, improved funding and transparent implementation of the relevant policies. Literacy groups and other NGOs should increase their activism, mobilization and outreach. Private individuals too should continuously improve the self, donate and volunteer to assist others and regard knowledge acquisition and skills honing as a life-long process.
Lest we forget, the road is still far, the terrain rough, the time short and the resources scarce. But the goals are quite lofty; they’re well worth the colossal sacrifice.
By: Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin*
*Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin is a professional freelance writer and the CEO of Naija Writers’ Coach. He posts essay contest announcements and teaches how to write winning essays at www.NaijaWritersCoach.com. You may follow him on Twitter @Oxygenmat