BY Modupe Fadipe
I think one of the priceless moments I enjoy is when a child keeps asking you countless questions and oh my… you dare not be unable to provide the most appropriate answers. And the amazing thing is how hard it is for that child to forget what you have just said. It’s like this new generation of children have an incredible level of intelligence. You can have a beautiful conversation without even realising that you are speaking with a five (5) year old.
So I begin to wonder is it because they now teach Ah, Be, Ce, De in place of the A for apple, B for Ball that we were familiar with. Or maybe it’s the technology age that is making these children extraordinarily intelligent and fun to chat with. I mean a four (4) year old child can operate your iPad or laptop with amazing dexterity, and in little or no time at that.
Why then do we make such big deal out of this education thing? Why must a child who used to be so excited to learn grow into having low self esteem after realizing that he/she can never be in the first ten (10) positions in his class? Is education all about teaching the ABCDs and the 123s? Is it about Science class being better than Art class? Oh, maybe it is the fact that the best and most brilliant attend Federal Government Colleges while the over pampered ones attend the Private Schools, and the less privileged ones end up in the Public Schools.
Education can’t really be all about how many As you get in your SSCE result or the efforts one has to put to get a 3.5 CGPA at the end of your 1st degree (2nd Class Upper) only to finish with a 3.45 (2nd Class Lower) and the labour market becomes a place where the once bright child starts to drag his feet searching for a job.
I mean after all those long queues in the sun during registration, the endless search for a signature on course forms. Let’s not even mention those final year students who fill your thoughts with how eager failure is waiting for you and how you can never pass some particular courses. Oh, the terror in the voices of those lecturers. And the “I too know”s (ITKs) who do a good job of making everyone look stupid. Those long nights of dozing off in night class, wishing the exam cross would just pass you by.
Is school just a discriminating agent of categorization? I mean it’s not just about getting a paper that says she is better than you because she made a first class or He is very intelligent because he studied Medicine or they are so learned because they have a Bachelor’s degree in Law. I am sure the word education weighs a lot more than all this.
I believe that education is an eternal process where we grasp for happiness after every few stops. How do I mean? Education is what you give that child when he asks. “Hey aunty, grandma is my mummy’s mum, why?” It is what we tell that 13 year old teenage girl when she starts to wonder when to have a boyfriend because she has such uncontrollable rush of passion. It is how to teach that teenage boy why it’s not time to have sex and it’s not just because it is the Christian thing to do. It could be how you teach your aged mother how to put a comment on Facebook and she brightens up. It should be in how you can tell a stranger that her button is loose or his trouser zip is open.
Education is what it takes to impact lives, putting smiles on people’s faces every single day by that one thing they heard or read that would stay with them forever. Not that we have all the answers but that we can at least help and share what we know that other people do not. That should be the robe of graduation we wear .
It’s that one moment of happiness you enjoy when someone says, “Thank you, I would not have known that if not for you”. That is the certificate we should carry around.
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