Students in many Commonwealth countries are making the most of the holidays before gearing up for the new school year. Daniel Olajuyigbe, 17 a Correspondent from Ekiti State, Nigeria argues that education is important for each of us and our countries for more reasons than we may realize.
When we think about bright futures for ourselves and our nations, we probably imagine citizens enjoying a high standard of living and countries with stable economies that experience rapid growth and development. We might also envision societies where people are safe, their human rights are protected and their political processes are free and fair – contributing to the betterment of their lives.
The big question is, can education really help us to achieve a bright future? The answer is: yes it can.
There’s a misconception that education is limited to going to school and getting good grades, gaining admission into a college or university for an undergraduate degree and probably going further to attain a master’s degree or a PhD, all in pursuit of a secure job with a high income. It is, however, important to broaden our understanding of education to appreciate the many ways that it can contribute to a brighter future for us and our countries.
Education is not confined to what happens within the four corners of a classroom between a teacher and his or her students. Rather it is the process of gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue life and it can take place in a wide range of settings. For example, education takes place when skilled personnel share their skills with their apprentices. We can also be educated in our homes as we interact with our family members, in social settings with our friends, at seminars, public talks and debates, as well as through the internet and the vast array of mobile applications that we have access to.
The reason it is so important to attain a good education is not only so that educated people can get high-paying jobs but also because of the positive impact that an educated citizenry has on a country.
First and foremost, education is a source of knowledge and as the saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’. Knowledge gives people the ability to reason on their own and think for themselves. It drives innovative ideas, critical thinking and contributes to good decision making. It also enables us to develop our personal ideologies as we gain insight into life.
Secondly, education enables people to earn better incomes and attain higher standards of living. When people are well educated, it is easier for them to secure good jobs, and have successful careers or businesses.
The third benefit of education is that it enhances national development. Human capital is the most important resource of any nation. The more educated a person is, the more valuable he or she is to his country. If the level of illiteracy in a country is relatively low, the country has the opportunity to elevate itself in such diverse areas as the economy, health, science and technology. Education is key for any developing country, as citizens are better equipped to play their roles in the development of the country.
Education is also important because it makes citizens more aware of their fundamental human rights. Through education, citizens can know not only their rights but the options available to them when their rights are infringed upon.
Another way that education is beneficial to the population is that the health of the nation is improved when people are educated about the importance of immunization, the dangers of drug abuse and the right diets for different age groups and health conditions.
The part that education plays in peacebuilding is also significant. As a person becomes more educated, he or she will likely begin to gain a better understanding of the diverse views, opinions and cultures of others, leading to greater tolerance.
In conclusion, education is a vital part of life for every individual not only because it prepares us for the job market, but because it plays such a vital role in our individual and collective quality of life. Without education, we can never create a bright future in which citizens are safe, healthy, enjoy a high standard of living, and tolerance and have their human rights protected.
About me: My name is Daniel Olajuyigbe, and I am a first-year student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering. I love writing articles and public speaking. I aspire to become a high flyer in my field and leader in the future, having developed leadership skills over the years. My dream is to become not just an engineer but also an influential person in the world who causes changes for a fairer future.
Photo credit: Tom Perry and Aizuddin Saad via The Commonwealth’s Asset Bank
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/
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