Living on planet earth is no fun! Many obstacles confront mankind in our quest to actualize our life ambitions. There is prevalence of unemployment, poverty, epidemics, and civil unrest in many nations of the world and the existence of these heartrending conditions instil fear into the psyche of many. The fundamental question which occupies the mind of most citizens of our world has to do with how they can manoeuvre the obstacles placed on the way of mankind in attaining self fulfilment. ‘How can I feed my family; take care of my basic necessities; utilize my inherent talents in eking out a living?’ among others, are questions harboured by many citizens of the world, that are yearning for answers.
Any hope for Mankind?
Fortunately for mankind, education serves as the answer to most of the challenges facing us today. No wonder many governments are beginning to accord attention to the education of their citizenry, such as the case in India, where the right to acquire formal education has become an enforceable fundamental right, by virtue of the provisions of article 21A of the Constitution of India 1950.
Education erases the fear projected by poverty. Many people are bearers of talents that can help change our world for the better and also provide an avenue for the bearers of such talents to earn their source of livelihood if those potential ideas of theirs are brought into fruition. Unfortunately, many people wallow in poverty today, solely because they were not opportune to acquire formal education. Most of those who are lucky to have acquired formal education are better armed to provide their source of livelihood and examples in this regard abound. Mr Kenny Trout was never born with a silver spoon. He laboured hard to acquire formal education. Today, he is one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. Kenny Trout’s story is one out of the uncountable stories of many people who were born into poverty, but escaped from the fangs of poverty because they embraced education.
Education is a great social equalizer. Some years back, women were relegated to the backseat in decision-making circles in many nations of the world. Today, many women are occupying leadership positions in nations of the world, with women like Joyce Banda of Malawi, Sonia Gandhi of India, and Ellen Johnson Serleaf of Liberia, among others, wielding political influence in their respective domains. It is doubtful if these women and their likes would have attained the political heights which they occupy today, if not for the fact that they are educated. Likewise, in India where the society is stratified occasioned by the existence of caste hierarchy, a member of the erstwhile lowest social class in India, known as the untouchables, being Mr K. R. Narayaran, once became the President of India. This development of a member of the lower caste becoming the President of India, could not have been thought possible some years back. Mr Narayaran was privileged to occupy that coveted position because he was fortunate to acquire formal education, even though he encountered challenges in the course of acquiring same.
Gone are the days when people died uncontrollably because of lack of drugs to checkmate epidemics. The manner in which pharmacists manufactured drug that are useful in minimizing the hazard of the Ebola epidemic ravaging many nations of the world of late, being the ZMapp medication, shows that the days when people are compelled to live in fear of the unknown caused by epidemics are over. Admittedly, ZMapp medication has not proven to be a total cure to the Ebola epidemic, nevertheless, there is no doubt that the cure to the disease that has caused panic across the globe will be developed within the shortest possible time. Meanwhile, sanitary practices that are useful in controlling the spread of epidemics, such as the washing of hands and avoiding contact with the body fluid of sick patients in the case of Ebola epidemic, are all made possible and encouraged, because of the prevalence of minds that have become enlightened, courtesy of education.
Information is power and education has made the dissemination of information easier. The emergence of the Internet era is a blessing to our generation. One can enjoy near unrestrained access to information with a click on the mouse of an Internet-powered gadget. The Internet is a brainchild of intellectual ideas, propelled by education. One can now obtain information on solutions to most of the challenges facing mankind, by going through information made available on the Net of how people who have been faced with such situations were able to address same. With the weapon of information at the disposal of many citizens of the world, there is no doubt that irrational fears which mankind has harboured in time past are being demystified with factual and rational pieces of evidence. People are beginning to know that ailments like insanity might be cured medically and the superstitions held in time past about insanity being caused by metaphysical factors have greatly being jettisoned. Through access to information, many people are beginning to realize that human beings across the globe face similar challenges and that some societal setbacks such as hunger, bad governance and poverty, among others, cuts across boundaries and race. The knowledge of these facts help widen the horizon of many to view their fellow human beings as human firstly, before putting other factors into consideration.
Education enlightens the human mind. Many superstitious beliefs and nefarious cultural practices, held sway in time past, and which practices set the human race on the path of retrogression. The practice of killing of twins was common in time past in some African societies, same way slavery flourished some years back. Luckily for us, many citizens of the world are beginning to jettison some of the obnoxious practise that were the norm in time past and this positive development is occasioned by the manner in which many erstwhile ignorant people have become enlightened by education. Obnoxious practices which fail to scale through the test of logic are being done away with, courtesy of education.
Despite the blessings associated with education in empowering mankind, it is disheartening to note that many citizens of the world are still groping in the dark because they have not been opportune to acquire formal education. Many policymakers of nations of the world have not accorded education the attention it deserves in their domain, thereby denying their citizens the empowerment needed for such citizens to enjoy other rights that should accrue to them as humans. Education is still made the prerogative of the rich in some societies and not a fundamental right to be enjoyed by all segments of the society. All these unhealthy treatments accorded education keeps taking the human race backward. It’s high time we realized that sons of men will continue to grope in the dark, until the saving light of education is made to shine on us. One of the beacons of hope that has passed through our planet, being Mr Nelson Mandela of awesome memory, must have reflected deeply before asserting thus:
‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’
What is left for our generation to do is to reflect on the words of wisdom made by the late sage, and accordingly, utilize the tool of education in confronting squarely the multifarious fears threatening mankind.