Epictetus, the famous Greek philosopher rightly stated that only the educated are free. Education and freedom are no doubt closely connected. The process of training, teaching and learning contributes in no small way to the development of human beings, societies and the world at large. It is therefore not uncommon to find schools and institutions of higher learning springing up practically everywhere in the world; neither is it any wonder that the members of different societies are striving to inculcate the norms, values and customs of these societies in themselves. These underline the importance of education.
The lack of education is a major hindrance to the development of the human race. It is potent enough to keep the achieving spirit of man fettered. Education brings about the much-needed mental emancipation. It will never do for one to just aspire to do or be what one wants. One needs to acquire acknowledge in order to be equipped and empowered to actualize certain achievements. At this point, it will not be out of place to state that individuals with neither formal nor informal education are not at liberty to attain great heights in different fields of human endeavour courtesy of the restrictions placed on them by their ignorance.
Every environment imposes limitations on the organisms found therein. For instance, human beings have to deal with a myriad of conditions like sickness, poverty and environmental hazards. Without education, it is impossible for them to surmount these limitations. A case in point is the cycle of poverty which is the bane of uneducated people worldwide. Education is without doubt the one strategy that can set them free from poverty for it is only through education that knowledge of environmental and resource management can be acquired.
Furthermore, the dynamic nature of human societies can overwhelm the uneducated. On the contrary, the educated can function effectively in them because of their ability to control their environment through the utilization of acquired information and appropriate skills.
Uneducated people are likely to feel monumentally inadequate as human beings. Their lack of confidence stems from the dearth of knowledge and it renders them incapable of influencing their culture and society. They are also unable to protect their rights or know their obligations and as a result they cannot develop themselves nor participate in the development of their society. They are perpetually stuck in stagnation.
There is no gainsaying the fact that education determines the world view of individual members of society. It directs how people see and interpret events around them. Educated people with their acquired knowledge and information are better able to understand and have a healthy mental image of their environment. On the other hand, uneducated people tend to have misconceptions, stereotypical views and superstitions as a result of their restricted operational environment. Their warped perceptions have negative effects on their behavioural environment. In Southern Nigeria, for instance, there have been reports of the torture and mal-treatment of children believed to be involved in witchcraft. Pathetically, the ignorant families of these children are in most cases, responsible for these atrocities. Until they become educated, ignorant people will forever remain slaves of their environments.