By: Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin*
Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern but impossible to enslave. -Lord Chancellor Baron Henry Peter
In this first part of this series published here, I 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. I also established the nexus between deficiencies in education and servitude. In this part, I hope to examine the role of education on ensuring fair play in politics and determining who gets what in the economic realm.
In politics and governance, education ensures there is sanity and fair play. In the first place, no community would give legitimacy and loyalty to an ignorant, unlearned fellow as its leader. Education guides the leader to know that the loyalty and cooperation of his subject can only be sustained by persuasion, pro-people programmes and value-based welfare schemes.
Such knowledge liberates him to become the leader. Also, if the people are learned, they would be active participants in the governance process which would give them the unfettered freedom to occupy the driver’s seat in determining their political destiny. In advanced nations like Britain and France where scholarship flourishes, elections are seldom rigged, political opponents rarely persecuted, electoral violence infrequently heard and military intervention never seen.
The reason is not far-fetched: the learned people are vigilant and would simply not allow themselves to be toyed with like chess. In educationally deficient states however, the rulers ‘ride’ their docile subjects like donkeys. The purposeless killing in the 2011 post-election crisis in Nigeria is still fresh in mind. A society’s development in politics cannot be quicker than its growth in learning.
Education frees man from the shackles of economic servitude. It teaches him to give value to his money-making endeavour. If an untaught mind produces and sells popcorn, he would not sell beyond his stall and he would most probably not enjoy the patronage of the elite who may not feel comfortable standing by the roadside procuring the snacks.
A learned person however would give worth to the trade. He could brand it by packaging the popcorn in sealed can, plastic or nylon with his trademark printed on the pack. Then he engages vendors who would buy from him in bulk and resell to the common man in his domain and the crème de la crème in their imposing houses and offices.
This would see the educated entrepreneur selling his product and name to all in far and wide places and at a much higher price. He would have equally created employment for the vendors. On the global scene, the USA, according to the Digest of Education Statistics in US 2010, has 10% of her population in the university system in 2009 alone while Nigeria, according to the Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics, has just 0.35% of her population in the university system in the same year.
Hence, the USA has the most vibrant economy in the world while Nigeria remains underdeveloped.
In the present times, education is the sole legitimate criterion which determines who gets what percentage of the national resources and income. Erudite professors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, medical doctors and engineers work in the conducive, air-conditioned milieu of their offices, taking decisions, signing documents, giving expert advices, making prescriptions and proffering pragmatic solutions to the problems of the world. They do what they love doing and earn handsome income, live in gorgeous mansions and are reckoned with in the society.
The life of the uneducated man, by contrast, leaves much to be desired. He toils tooth and nail in the scorching sun and the heavy downpour cleaning the toilet, scrubbing the floor, clearing the bush, pushing trucks, dusting shoes, running errands and enduring constant scolding. He gets a pittance for a salary, puts up with starvation and malnutrition and sleeps, in Nigeria for instance, in dilapidated shacks, uncompleted buildings, under bridges or even on trees at night. He is in economic chains for the simple reason that he is educationally deficient.
To be continued in part III.
*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 Naija Writers’ Coach. You may follow him on Twitter @Oxygenmat