The Need for Balanced Education  

There is a Yoruba proverb that says, “aaro meta o ki n dobe nu” (“three earthen mounds do not spill the soup pot”) which suggests the centrality of triangulation as we have it here. A judicious admixture of traditional education, religious education and modern/conventional/Western education is all we need to power our peace and development, animate our progress and advancement and secure our present and future.  Without realising the need for this triangular and balanced approach, we would always realise that “it is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense”, a point once made by Robert Ingersoll. That common sense is better than “education” is a fact that is playing out in our political arena where supposedly educated people fight in the hallowed chambers like wayward children and engage in theatrical antics that are bereft of common sense in their bid to escape justice or win elections.

While Malcom X would tell us that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today, education itself is not adequate for us in Nigeria without it being balanced. It is the dearth of that type of education that would make a medical doctor smoke, a lawyer not to have a driver’s license and an accountant not to have a personal budget. Lack of balanced education makes English-speaking people among us to abuse drugs, engage in prostitution and indulge in conduct unbecoming since character is the soul of education as the beautiful story of the Chinese and their Great Wall of China that the Minister alluded to illustrates.

We should always remember that “a child educated only at school is an uneducated child” as George Santayana told us and as a nation, we should imbibe the culture of life-long learning so that schooling does not terminate our education. Education is from the cradle to the grave, as Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, and the teachers, the parents and the religious leaders are expected to educate their children and followers functionally, not indoctrinate them.

Quality education promotes peace. An educated mind is at peace with itself. The question that jolts us is: are Nigerians at peace with themselves? The answer is stark: No! Therefore, to achieve peace, we must take education seriously as ignorance itself, which Lord Denning said is a misfortune, is a threat to peace. It is lack of education about war that would make people to flippantly talk of war on the social media, and on the internet at large, to stir ethnic sentiments and inflame religious prejudice.

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