Will Imparting Education Reduce Crime?

By Leena Jose. Leena, 47, is the Principal of the Adhiyaman Public School, in Uthangarai, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

All societies are going down in terms of moral values. This decline in morality has caused an increase in crime rate. Violence, stabbings, murders, robbery and child abuses are daily occurrences today. Violent crime is widespread and it is growing faster. The number of inmates in prisons and juvenile homes is increasing. When we go through the statistics, it is clear that the crime rate is inversely proportional to education. And in this context the famous saying by Victor Hugo “He who opens a school door, closes a prison”, is very relevant.

This saying, in fact highlights the significance of education in one’s life. What one becomes in life, whether he turns out to be a criminal or a productive member of society, depends purely on the kind of education he or she receives. Thus, right education has a great impact on the growth and development of a nation because it not only reduces crime ratio but it also helps its citizens to escape from the darkness of ignorance. When we educate someone, we reform him into a person worth looking up to. We help him become a productive member of society. Thus, those who open schools help masses by working for the noble cause of education.

Education is one of the primary factors in life that helps an individual face most of the challenges in life. Thus it is a valuable asset for humans. It helps prepare people to play their roles as enlightened members of society. The UN in 1948 drew up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says all the citizens of the world have a right to education.

Today, we are not teaching values separately in our classrooms. We have integrated values to our day to day teaching. We associate every topic we teach with a value. Thus today’s education makes our children witness all the virtues of life. In classrooms we teach our kids that honesty, uprightness, compassion, concern, benevolence and empathy are the most important values of human life and this in turn helps them grow into better human beings. Thus, the school years are the grounding years of one’s education. The school years lay the very foundation of a child’s development. Schools transform children into responsible citizens and good human beings.

Studies prove that a proper education is one of the most effective crime prevention measures. Quality education, in fact, reduces crime. Therefore, instead of implementing extreme laws to prevent people from committing crimes, we must encourage them to become productive members of society by providing them with proper education and training. The evils such as corruption, vulgarity, child abuses, women abuses, murder, scams and scandals, drug addiction, blackmailing, black marketing, adulteration, smuggling, hypocrisy, lies and manipulations can be reduced to a certain extent by educating our kids properly. Education is not the transfer of knowledge and information.  It really helps children to learn ideas and integrate values with the ideas they learn and apply these ideas in real life. Today, education is the only weapon that is capable of waging a war against a world polluted by an increasing number of materialistic minded people and criminals.

When we educate a person, he is aware of the social norms and choices and the possibility of a better life.  Education instills a new thinking in the mindset of children. It enables children to analyze and correlate the impact of their current decisions and actions and the future. Education exposes children to different philosophies and schools of thought and thus promotes healthy positive thinking and reduces crime.

Education is the most important element in the evolution of a nation. That is the reason the whole world is focusing on universal mandatory education for all. For instance, Iran, which has long been host to the second largest refugee population in the world, has a brilliant history of providing access to education to its refugees just like what it provides to its own national citizens. In South Africa, where a matriculation pass is considered the basic requirement for anybody seeking a job, the government spends the lion’s share of its capital to the very cause of education. Therefore, we can conclude that lack of education leads to unemployment which is one of the major causes of poverty. And poverty most often forces people to commit crimes. This is the reason why we consider social reformers, educators, religious men, scientists and writers as prestigious faces of society. Even before 500 BC, the great Greek philosopher Plato recognized the significance of educating the masses for the betterment of a society. During the time of Jesus Christ, though there were no properly established schools, he educated people through parables. There were gurukuls, that is, a kind of school where students went to a teacher’s place, resided there and learned ideas and skills. But only the rich and aristocrats could afford gurukuls. And today education has become our priority that there are thousands of schools and educational institutions in all countries all over the world.

This doesn’t mean that education alone can prevent crime. Today, schools don’t serve the purpose they are supposed to do. Education has become one of the biggest businesses of today. As a result schools and educational institutions are producing highly skilled barbarians.

In this context if we have to make our world a better place for all, the educators, school managements and those who work in the so called ‘business’ of education have an obligation to impart a value integrated education to all.

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