Is education a right or a privilege? 

By Mmesoma Emeka. Mmesoma, 18, is a student at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, from Awka, Nigeria. Please read his entry and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Education is the process or art of imparting knowledge, skill and judgment. Right according to the Meriam Webster dictionary is something that a person is or should be morally or legally allowed to have, get or do while privilege on the other hand is a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favour; a right not ENJOYED by OTHERS or ALL.

Is education a right or a privilege?  Education is a privilege. Of course, we all know it is written in the constitution; Right to education.  That is so but looking deep into the issue, we see that education is a privilege.
Every human is intuitively born with the right to acquire  education but at some point in life, it turns out to be a privilege. We have more than seventy million children who have no access to primary education, it is clear that not all are given the right to education. As a result, most people cannot read nor write hence are illiterate.

The white men came into Nigeria and brought formal education and some aspects of informal education  along with them, but imagine if they hadn’t come, would we even claim education as our right?

Going back into the days, I was made to know that the girls were not allowed to go to school while the boys did. To those girls, was education their right then? Even in the modern contemporary society, can a child whose parents has no money to cater for his education  match into a school claiming that he must be educated since it is his right? When you’re poor and someone wants to help out with paying your fees, it can’t be your right for them to pay your fees. You’re privileged. Privileged enough to find someone to do so. Not everyone is that privileged.

My dad had a rough beginning in life. His parents couldn’t afford three square meals a day, talk more of sending him to school? If education was his right, what stopped him from going to a school and demanding to be taught? However, one of his uncles met him, and began training him through different levels of schooling. It was a privilege. A rare one at that. A privilege to find someone  to do that for him. Yes we hear about schools built for the poor and those who have no access to education but look well, most of those schools are being restricted to indigenes of that particular state. They were privileged to have one.  So what happens to the rest? Is it still their right to school there despite not being from that state?

Also, going to the informal aspect of education since we can’t just dwell on the formal aspect,  many claim to be Christians but don’t attend church services. Hence, not everything said during the sermon will be known to you. You cannot take the pastor to court as your right to know. It becomes a privilege to those present during the  sermon since it was to their advantage (this refers back to the meaning of privilege). It also becomes a privilege to you when someone gracefully decides to tell you everything.

Moving further to our homes, some children are not privileged to have parents who sit them down and educate them on sex, puberty, Christianity and many other things which explains the reason why most girls and boys have gone wayward. Yes it was their right to know but they never found anyone around them to do so. We also have drug traffickers, human traffickers, hard drug users, kidnappers, armed robbers  amongst us. If it was actually their right to know, why didn’t anyone save them early enough by educating them on the effects and consequences? They weren’t privileged to find that one person who would do so.

Nevertheless, gaining access into enlightenment programs these days even requires paying some amount of money before you’re being allowed to learn. Definitely, not everyone would attend. Why? Because not everyone has the money to pay at that particular point in time. Others may have the money, but were not privileged to know about it. Education has always been a privilege and still is a privilege. Some may say that education is a right for developed countries and a privilege for developing countries. The truth is not so far from that statement since the rate of poverty is higher in developing countries.

Many of us still think that education is our right. However,  when keeping the above points in mind, it is limpidly stated that it is more than a right; it is a privilege. By law, education is our right but by virtue of essence, it is a privilege.

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