“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

By Lucas Veuillet, of Aumont-en-Halatte, France. Lucas, 15, is a high school student at the Lycée St Vincent, Senlis, France. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

I totally agree with this quote. Why? That’s really hard to explain. But I can ask you a question: what is most important, more powerful than education? Army, Economy, Industry, Politics, or Religion? Nothing. Because everything begins with education. Indeed, a society cannot exist without education. Our society but also our mentality depend on education. If education was different, based on other rights (better or worse), the society would change its face. Thus, education is not only the most powerful weapon to change the world, it is the only one. In fact, the army or religion for example does not have such influence as education. If an army or a religion wants to change the world or the mentality, they cannot totally achieve this objective. Because education has allowed some people to take their own decisions and therefore not to be influenced. We have some examples of this situation in history. During the 15th century, persons like Martin Luther or Jean Calvin opposed the supremacy and the total control over thoughts by the Catholic Church, creating Protestantism. Another example is the resistance of some Chinese citizens against the communist dictatorship during the 20th and the 21st century. This intellectual resistance is possible through education. We can see that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.

But like every weapon, education can be used for noble causes but also for the worst crimes. When education, like in every developed country, is used to learn respect of human rights, intellectual and religious tolerance but also to learn to form his own opinion, to think alone and to prepare his future, education is the best thing for the society and the country. With this type of education, the children, who are the future of the nation, receive a solid foundation for a successful life but also for participating in the organization of the society in a good way. Even if education is not a success for everybody in the developed world, we can see that when education is used in a good way, it affects all sectors of the world.

However, when education is used, like in the very poor countries, to learn how to kill somebody, how to steal or how to do war, it may have terrible consequences on the country. In this case, education is used to cause violence, intolerance and disrespect for others, authority and society in general. It leads to a high rate of delinquency and crimes (especially for young people), civil wars, dictatorships, traffics and poverty or misery. In the countries where education is not developed in a good way, we can realize that there are low standards of living and high rates of violence. These countries are often on the margins of globalization.

To conclude, we can see that “education is the most powerful weapon” to change the world, as said Nelson Mandela. Education is the foundation of the society and every sector (army, economy, religion, etc…) depends on it. Education allows respect of human rights, other people and also tolerance of other beliefs. Education can also be a weapon against totalitarianism or single thought. However, education can also lead to some scourges (violence, crimes, wars, dictatorship, etc…) when it is used in a bad way. That is why it is really important to promote education throughout the world in order, why not, to change the world in the more or less immediate future.

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