It is education that gives birth to sound knowledge. However, knowledge is the opposite of ignorance.
While education illumines the mind, fostering noble vision, ignorance inhabits any thick and abiding darkness. Socrates (469-399bc) was a Greek philosopher who placed a dividing line between knowledge and ignorance. According to him, knowledge is good but ignorance is evil. Ignorance breeds darkness and it dwells in vacant minds. Such minds are prone to the occupation and manipulation of few men whose only agenda is extremely evil; the destruction of human kind.
In contrast, education is a potent force that cannot be stopped, a soothing fire that cannot be quenched, and a moving river that can with stand any dyke. If you place a barricade across a moving stream, it will surely find its way around and keep moving. Joseph Addison (1672-1719) once said,
Education is a companion which no misfortune can Depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can eliminate No nepotism can enslave. It chastens vice, it guides Virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it what is man? A splendid slave, reasoning savage.
The right kind of education seeks to mold people who in turn mold society. There is no education in violence, in the ravaging destruction taking its toll in our world, only ignorance. Hebert spencer (1820-1903) observed, “Education has for its object the formation of character.” Education, therefore, can be defined as learning in order to make worthy contribution to ourselves, family, community, nation and the world at large. That is to say that the most important reason for schooling is to improve human life. The study of medicine which provides cure for all manner of disease, the field of engineering that offers advance knowledge for manufacturing bringing efficiency to work and aids life, the social sciences which provides explanation for life and living especially guide for good governance are typical examples.
The recent insurgence in the North-East of Nigeria has direct significant relationship with the growing number of out of school children in the region presently feasting on ignorance. Statistics has it that over 56 million children are out of school and on the streets globally. About 36 million of them are from sub-Saharan Africa, with over 10 million in Nigeria. The picture is very frightening. It shows that close to 10 million vacant minds are in the manipulative control of traitors and are now raising uncontrollable spread of terror. I had thought that the brutal killing of hundreds of male students in a Unity school in Yobe was madness. Now the recent abduction of over 200 school girls while taking their final exam in Chibok Nigeria is completely senseless. It must be condemned for evil can never overcome well. Whenever I stray in thought and imagine that it could have been my very own daughter, I weep profusely. No, I groan. Let us now open our eyes so we can see that their abduction is not political, though it may seem. It is not an attack on Nigeria. It is another attempt to destroy education once and for all.
Let us now rise, let our leaders rise, let the world also rise in defense of this noble cause, in defense of our posterity, in defense of education.
Udeh writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers Sate capital, Nigeria.