Education is the system of formal teaching and learning. It is the acquisition of basic knowledge, skills and developing the body and mind while values are rather mental discipline, social efficiency and realization of standards considered worthwhile.
One needs not be told that education fetches one power, admiration and respect. In the world today, one who is not educated might not find many doors of opportunity open to him, he might be dominated and be irrelevant in society. Education creates a barrier between the set of people that are opportune to get it and those that are not. However, values are much more essential to man. Any man lacking them is lacking a very basic element that makes up man and the absence of which makes him grossly inadequate, even if educated.
The worth of education should be measured against standards of decency and humanity. In the contemporary world, values are forgotten. Arts, philosophy and sciences which are the only fields of formal learning prevail where they should have been accompanied by human decency, appreciation, sense of duty and responsibility and forgiveness without which the world is one huge mess. And the culture that develops mind and personal identity has been ignored and thrown to the dogs.
Students learn through the present system a kind of hollow and materialistic thinking, selfishness and attainment of success at other people’s expense. They can trade their own soul to the devil to get anything. It is the trend in contemporary times for students to tease and make jest of their teachers and instructors: they call them names. Indiscipline has become the order of the day as theoretical academic excellence has become the only criteria for choosing the best. Also rampant are selfishness and arrogance, the ‘copy and paste’ slogan where students read only because of examinations and forget whatever is read immediately after examinations; cheating during examinations will eventually produce professionals and adults who will be irresponsible; who will grow into adults without conscience or accountability, whom greed will drive to acquire material wealth at the expense of their responsibilities or even other people’s life in their care, and the politicians that will stop at nothing to achieve their political ambition.
Nowadays, no regard is apportioned to the human body as it is pierced and mutilated anyhow; the ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’ slogan is adopted by many who throw modesty over their shoulder and go about nude in the name of fashion is gaining popularity. Unwanted and teenage pregnancy is the order of the day and quack doctors who have no regard for the oath they took or human life would without any qualms undertake abortions, ending lives even before they begin and destroying the existing ones. Cultism and organized crime, terrorism and mass destruction spring from every corner of society. Critically analyzed, it would be discovered that most of those that undertake the atrocities listed above are those that have one educational qualification or the other.
Every year graduates are churned from different universities across the world, equipped with different educational skills but no solid courage to withstand or face the challenges awaiting them in the outer world, or patience to wait for their time such that they fall easy prey to their own desires or other people’s evil machineries. They want to enjoy all the comforts of life and do little or no work; they want pleasure full time and want to get rich instantly which if not achieved will cost them nothing to seek in dubious ways. They have to be caught young and courage and honour imprinted into their thinking as courage is not one of the virtues but the form of virtues at every testing point – C.S. Lewis.
The recent case of the four undergraduates of the University of Port-Harcourt, Nigeria who were accused of stealing blackberry phones and laptops is an incredible account of how man has lost his humanity. The students were stripped stark naked and paraded about town before they were heavily descended upon and beaten mercilessly. They were thumped on the head and the face and all over the body with heavy sticks such that one of the four died from the beatings and the other three were sprayed with petrol and car tires and burnt alive; that incident is at the crux of demoralization and cold-bloodedness, where human beings cheered as others human beings treated fellow humans in an unacceptably callous way. All this happened because of the theft of ordinary phones and computers which was not even verified or ascertained.
Loss of moral values and spiritual accountability which has resulted in the educated personnel of society being one another’s nightmare, it is because they are half baked that they thwart what is supposed to be blessings to the world into its contrast. Corruption has come to stay in the lives of civil servants, politicians and even professionals. The less privileged in society, educated or not now bear the wrath of the powerful, educated but devoid of integrity in society, who think of nothing but ways of cheating and exploiting the masses. Elected leaders of the society who before office are the people’s darling, promising heaven and earth become the very headache of the electorates after elections.
Charity, they say begins from home. Society needs to return to its roots and begin to drink from its spring of morals; the spiritual shelter has to be returned to, as man cannot survive on his own. The educational system does not favor much the spiritual side of life but the spiritual side is of much importance as the activities of man will be checked against his spiritual beliefs and the fear of accountability before a superior force of his actions or an immediate penance will help him set his path right. There is need for the inculcation into the educational curriculum, spiritual knowledge and practical aspects and as Michael Josephson once said, “If we keep treating our most important values as meaningless relics, that’s exactly what they will become.”
Finally, it is refreshing to recall the popular assertion of David Orr that “It is not education that will save us but education of a certain kind.“