“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” – Victor Hugo.
Ignorance and illiteracy are the biggest nemesis to mankind, that pave the way for many social evils. The statement by Victor Hugo is a thought provoking one and arrests the mind into critically evaluating it. The statement is open to many interpretations, which are all laced with rationales and facts that address a social issue.
The absence of education not only makes one chained by feathers of oblivion and feeble cognitive abilities, but also leads them to a downward spiral, a trough, that sucks them into the world of anti-social activities, where the final destination is the much dreaded one- the physical prison. Consequently, one can find a direct correlation between lack of education and the prison of mind, which would ultimately lead to the physical prison.
An analogy can be drawn between literacy and illiteracy and darkness and light. Darkness is often described as the absence of light. Similarly, illiteracy can be described as absence of literacy and knowledge. The darkness of illiteracy can be detrimental, lead many astray and render them marooned on an island of self- destruction. The light of education and knowledge is a priceless weapon and gift. The more it is polished, the more it shines, illuminating the life of a person and many in society. Thus, opening a school door to a person, not only solves a social issue but also solves economic and environmental issues as well. It surely closes the prison door and acts as a leverage in the development of the personality of a person and crafts the future of person in positive way. School is the medium of such conversion and “ontogenesis” of character and mind, that could save a person from the annihilation of the prison walls. Schools serve as the breeding space for optimistic, positive and critical thinking.
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”- Kofi Annan. This quote is an eye opener for society. According to the Oxford dictionary, a school is an institution designed for impacting education, learning and instructions in a specific field and branch of study and thereby guiding students to develop their own niche. School is the nascent phase for the development of formal education and learning. This is the foundation for the instillation and growth and development of person that transform a person into a productive and responsible social person. The importance of schools needs to embellishment and it certainly transcends the limits of expression in mere words.
Statistical reports highlight more than 65% of crimes committed in United States of America were a result of lack of education, since most of the prison inmates lack basic primary education and were high school dropout. What is more radically amiss, is the growing pattern of school dropouts in USA. These signs are red flags for the developing and undeveloped countries, like African countries, where citizens can be caught in their bubble, held by the prison of their uneducated minds and access to education is a Sisyphean task in such region.
The dream of an egalitarian society, is only possible through education and knowledge. School is the bridge that connects a person with knowledge and education. It is critical to realise that education does not limit itself to academics, but rather the definition is expansive and broad and also includes intricate and sensitive moral values of life. The demarcation between a human and an animal is civilisation and what puts humans as more refined and superior creatures are cognitive abilities and the ability to be morally awake. Moral values are only possible from schooling and more exposure to education. On careful examination, a fact that is brought to light is recognising and comprehending the roots of the evils of crimes and one of the fundamental reasons is the inability to decipher between morality and immorality, or rather having a dead moral sense, on a harsh tone.
Even though,Neo-Marxist school of thoughts oppose the notion of importance of schooling for an egalitarian society, the truth is, that the inequalities and the widened gulf between the rich and the poor, ‘the haves’ and the ‘haves not’, is predominantly bridged by education and the dissemination of literacy among the masses. If we critically analyse a social issue, and its detrimental impact on the society, the notion makes so much sense.
Let’s say the prevalence of unemployment, due to lack of skills and abilities in a person, is one of the biggest banes in the society. Unemployment not only creates income equality in a society but it also keeps a person deprived of basic amenities. One major repercussion is the growing incidents of thefts and robberies. Even though kleptomania is a psychological issue and lust for money is a deadly vice, thefts and robbery cases owe to monetary difficulties and the inability to meet the basic amenities of life. The consequences of this is contravening the law and ending up in prison, which is a downward plunge into the crime world. Illiteracy and ignorance trap a person in the web of crime and anti-social activities. The knowledge and educating about law acts as the moral and invisible police of the soul and assists a person to decipher between what is right and what is wrong.
The human mind is an asset and it is critical that it is sharpened and polished. Schools and universities provide knowledge and education and, in the process, develop the cognitive ability of the human mind and craft the mind to be sharper and make it more productive to the society and on an individual level. The depreciation of this asset, on the other hand, could be potentially dangerous and suck a person in the vicious cycle of crime and anti-social activities that would ultimately lead him to the prison door. Schools are the investment for the sharpening, developing and fine tuning of the human mind that would broaden the scope for intellectuals and wise. The education and curriculum in schools is specifically designed the effective development of mind and analytical subjects serves the purpose of utilising the grey matter of the brain.
The profile of an educated person and that of an uneducated person depicts a gargantuan disproportion after a comparative analysis- an analysis hinging on the contribution and mental ability of an individual to rationally analyse different intricate subjects. Past events bear testimony to the facts. The prevalence of social evils, owing to ignorance and blind beliefs that were devoid of any rationale and critical thinking, was a conspicuous illustration of the effects of illiteracy and lack of education. On the contrary, the efforts and contribution of social reformists, who were torchbearers of modern education and seekers of knowledge, shed light on the importance of education and how analytical and critical thinking could provide the bulwark to the evils of ignorance and consequently spread the light of education and knowledge to the society.
The above-mentioned discussions and facts shed critical light on the notion “”He who opens a school door, closes a prison” , advocates the importance and the role of schools in the growth and development of a person. It depicts the nurturing of the character and mental faculties of a person and concurs with the statement put forth by Victor Hugo. The discipline and training of school builds a personality and saves a person from claustrophobic imprisonment of a person in the long run.