The power of education

By Abdulhafidh Ahmed Ali. Abdulhafidh, 18, lives in Kenya and is a student at Wajir High School. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world. This is a statement uttered by the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. From my point of view the purpose of education should be to broaden the mind of students. But most people in today’s world have the mentality that the purpose of education is to prepare students for working life. This kind of ideology is in the majority across the globe. Parents should understand that taking their children to school so that they can pass examinations and get good grades and at long last get a good job cannot help to curb the challenges that the world is facing.

Starting with my Somali community: nowadays the parents are “pushing” their children to go to school, not to help them be knowledgeable and grow in terms of their education, but in order to finish school and get a good job, so that they can help them alleviate the state of poverty. You can find a student promoted to the next class, but if you ask him or her a question about the previous class, he or she may find it very hard to answer. We should be learning by our hearts and apply the knowledge we gain in our day-to-day activities. One of the famous theoretical physicists, Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” You will find most students in many schools learn in order to get a good grade which will help them in future life. But after finishing the school or universities and getting the job, they just forget what they learned.

Knowledge applied practically to solve the problems and obstacles in the society is better than that which helps only an individual. Challenges that face the world today like drought, famine, war, crimes and corruption can be eliminated by education. Most developed countries spend money on their education sector, especially science and technology, where students can come up with new things (inventions). For example, man could not have made history by landing on the moon if it were not for the knowledge of making rockets. If the education we gain was just for working life, when will we have time to come up with these kinds of inventions? Education is something which contributes to the development of a country. Just imagine what a country with people without education would look like. It is through education that the today world has become a global village. People from far areas can interact because of the inventions of mobile phones and computers for communication; this was made possible through the knowledge that people gained from education.

Today people across the world are struggling to do well in their courses, trying to obtain many degrees so that they can get good positions in government and organisations. The person will be benefitting himself in terms of finance and status. Some people may be holding a big title like professor, but sometimes when they are asked question on their field of study, they cannot even answer you to your satisfaction. Through these, one can know that these kinds of people have not understood the purpose of education.

In most schools, teachers urge students to read not to help them expand their mind but to help them in passing examinations, so that the reputation of the school is not at stake. Teachers should try to nurture the careers of the students through giving them basic knowledge that can help them understand the logical things in life. Education has no end and this means that having degrees and a good job is not the end of education. When we search for more knowledge, our brain broadens and we can come up with new ideas and inventions that can change and make the world a better place to live in.

It should not be seen that education should be for working life only. Those people who have used education as a tool to broaden their mind are famous and well-known all around the world; for example, Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Isaac Newton and many others. Let us not be people who use their knowledge to benefit their selfish ego by learning and then forget, but rather let us be people who learn to help broaden our mind so that we may be helping to counter the problems affecting not just individuals but society at large.

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