Crime is rising by the day. There are a lot of people who find their way into prisons in many countries. This sad scenario, especially in Third World Africa, has wrecked havoc as more and more funds and resources are channelled towards finding ways to combat crime. Many societies end up wasting valuable resources in trying to combat crime at the detriment of investing the resources in more developmental projects that could possibly elevate the economy and livelihoods of the people.
The main problem lies in the fact that authorities seem to channel huge resources in seeking measures to stop crime. Money is wasted on constructing correctional facilities, recruiting more law enforcement officers, and even in implementation of harsh measures in dealing with crime. This is a very grave mistake; the problem of crime should be dealt with by striking at the root of the problem.
The only viable and long-lasting solution to tackle the issue of rising criminality is to invest heavily in education. Governments need to channel more funds towards the education sector, especially in early childhood educational programs. Upon closer scrutiny, it is quite clear that all the major causes of crime in society lend themselves to a deficiency in the education process. Take for example the issue of people who engage in criminal activities because they are unemployed. The lack of employment is a direct result of a lack of education and skills that can make someone employable.
The lack of employment opportunities, some may argue, may be a result of a lack of a strong economic and industrial base to accommodate school leavers and graduates. Upon closer examination, one can clearly see that the problem lies in the deficiency of the education sector. Good and quality education is able to produce people who have the skills to start viable economic projects that can help create employment opportunities for its citizens. This example shows clearly the benefits of investing in educational programs if societies need to reduce the alarming rates of crime.
Early childhood education is the best solution to reduce the ever rising rates of crime. Although there are other motives behind crime, it is imperative to note that the mind of the person is the major source of criminal activity. Therefore, it is prudent that all efforts be directed towards moulding people’s minds. This can only be done through early childhood education. Early childhood education is very important as it fosters mental health and development. Early childhood educational programs are vital as they play an important role in the mental health development of children. This means that children grow up with a moral awareness that will be very instrumental in making sure that they do no participate in criminal activities.
Childhood is the basis and foundation of any adult’s personality and behavioural traits. That is to say, the way how one behaves as an adult can be a direct result of one’s childhood. The way how one is brought up directly affects one’s future. Therefore, investing in childhood education means shaping people’s minds as they grow up.
During the first three years of their life, children develop their cognitive and behavioural traits. These cognitive and behavioural traits are responsible for shaping up a child’s future behaviour and personality. It has often been said, “Catch them young,” by many educators. This means that people need to be taught while they are still young to lead responsible lives and to have the awareness that crime does not pay.
Opening school doors, that is, investing in education, is the best way to reduce the alarming rates of crime prevalent in our society. Education is a catalyst for change. This can be seen virtually in all spheres of life. Governments should therefore invest heavily in productive and quality educational programs.
One may argue that correctional facilities are meant to educate the inmates to desist from the criminal world. Of course, that is the idea behind correctional facilities. But how many prisoners who are released from these facilities, after a short period of time, find themselves again in prison? These recurring criminal activities is ample proof that efforts are not being directed towards striking at the root of the problem.
Society should do away with resorting to reactive measures to combat crime. Prevention is better than cure, so goes the old adage. Society should direct all efforts to use preventive measures by educating children. This can be done through investing funds in the construction of schools, providing quality education, and formulating good educational policies that promote and increase high school completion rates. Mandatory early childhood education should also be put in place.
One other very important thing to take note of is that of raising the school leaving age. Raising the school leaving age can reduce crime significantly. Firstly, as children spend extra time at school, they will be increasing their employment prospects. Secondly, as children are kept in the classroom, there is less time for them to commit crimes.
One point of caution is in order. Governments need not only invest in education, they should invest in quality educational programs if reduction of crime is the target. Governments should formulate policies that offer quality and productive educational programs that are aimed at producing morally responsible citizens who will, in turn, fuel development within their societies. Poor educational policies will not help reduce alarming rates of crime. Poor educational programs can, to some extent, increase criminality as people are not equipped with the right tools to help them manage gainful employment or undertake projects that are able to sustain their lives.
Policies should be put in place that have childhood education as the primary anchor. There should be opportunities for early childhood learning. Governments should make sure that there is high quality mandatory early childhood education to all. This is the only way criminality can be reduced drastically.
Another facet to the problem of criminality pertains to behavioural and personality traits forced upon growing children by non-conducive environments. For instance, a child who is brought up in an abusive and violent environment has higher chances of turning into a potential criminal. However, this can be remedied by educational instructors and teachers at school who can provide the much needed support.
The same can also happen to children who are not co-operative. These children can direct their frustrations and energy into criminal activity. However, with support from teachers and educators, these students can be taught how to do away with their frustrations. The children are in a position to learn how to direct their energy into doing productive tasks.
Investing in good, quality, and sound educational programs is the best way to reduce alarming crime rates that have demonised our societies. Surely, Victor Hugo was right in asserting that, “He Who Opens a School Door, closes a Prison.”