It is a universal truth, and as the cliché goes, that education is the bedrock of everything. Practically, several societies have used the phenomenal powers of education to achieve wonders in all aspects of life and attain enviable feats in science and technology, medicine and astronomy, politics and economy and whole lot of religious and social issues. What often comes to mind when we mention “advancement” and “development” are countries like the US and the UK, France and Germany and lately countries like China and Japan who are making scientific and technological breakthroughs to the admiration of less endowed countries, particularly those in the African continent.
But can we really argue that education “has a hand” in making possible progress and development? Are those countries that pose as models for the rest of the world truly more educated than those less fortunate countries? In other words, does education play any important role in turning around the fortunes of a country?
Of course don’t expect me to engage in recounting how any country developed or uses education to develop. My intention here is simply to explore the nexus between education and the litany of ills that retard our country’s development in all aspects of life. Good education, an educator once contends, “trains the head, heart and the hands”. Indeed I can’t agree more with that assertion given that people look up for solutions to their problems from supposed more educated among them.
In other words, educated people are expected not only to know their trade, but also exhibit good behaviour and guard their hands against any impropriety ranging from stealing, misconduct or any form of abuse that can lead to sandals. Of course this entails a lot of things. That is why we often express utter surprise when those we look up to as educated “misbehave” or are caught in some form of scandals.
It is worth asking, at this point, if education has universal applicability. Late Dr Alhaji Junaidu, the Waziri of Sokoto, once argues that “education has a cultural stamp”. Indeed, education, we can agree, is the culmination of diverse efforts and thoughts of different peoples that translate into meaningful contributions to the world. However, as the late sage compellingly avers, in addition to advancement in science, medicine, technology and so on, true education also encompasses virtues like honesty, trust, justice, fairness, truth, reliability, and so on. Interestingly, our education is obviously failing woefully not only in areas of true innovation and meaningful contributions to the world but also in ensuring that such virtues as honesty, trust, justice, reliability and the like, are upheld. What pride, for example, is in a country whose name is synonymous to corruption?
Despite all the army of religious leaders, who are themselves more often than not, smeared in corrupt cases, despite existence of mosques and churches in every corner of this country, we still rank conspicuously high in all forms of negative indices of backwardness including bribery and corruption. One may argue that the issue of corruption is a global problem, given that on Monday 9th of December 2019, when the world marked the International Ant-Corruption Day, the United Nations reports that about $ 1 trillion dollars were reportedly paid in bribes while $ 2.6 trillion were stolen all over the world every year through corruption, an amount that, the report adds, is 10 times bigger than monies spent in grants for development assistance in developing countries. Indeed, this revelation, among other things, tells us that corruption is a global problem, not just Nigeria’s.
But Nigeria is actually in a class of its own when it comes to issues of corruption. Of course corruption not only strangles economy but also retards development, peace and progress. Education particularly suffers, and in turn affects all other sectors, when corruption is promoted to the position of national pastime as I will try and show next week.
© Usman I Zakari (08059612086 SMS ONLY)