LIVING BEYOND THE SCHOOL CERTIFICATE (COLLEGE) EDUCATION LEVEL
To start with, what does the concept education imply? Education connotes different things to different people and this elicited various definitions of the term depending on the perception of the author. The word education comes from the Latin word e-ducere meaning “to lead out.”
Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) of Nigeria defines Education as “the training of physical, intellectual, mental or moral powers”. What this means is that anything that results to the training and development of a person’s physical, intellectual, mental or moral powers is education. Webster defines education as the process of educating or teaching. So to educate implies “to develop the knowledge, skill, or character of a person. From the above definitions, we might assume that the purpose of education is to develop the knowledge, skill, or character, etc. of somebody.
TYPES OF EDUCATION
For the purpose of clarity there is the need to differentiate various forms of education which include:
Informal (Traditional) Education.
Formal (Western) Education.
Informal (Traditional) Education: This was the type of education in existence in the country (Nigeria) before the advent of Western education which was championed by the missionaries in 1839/1842. It is the type of education that takes place within the home setting without a structured curriculum. It uses indoctrination, etc as a means or process of imparting knowledge. It does not involve writing.
Informal education has been defined as the lifelong process by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily experiences and exposure to the environment – at home, at work, at play; from the example and attitudes of family and friends; from travel, reading newspapers and books; or by listening to the radio or viewing films or television.
Generally, informal education is unorganized and often unsystematic; yet it accounts for the great bulk of any person’s total lifetime learning – including that of even a highly schooled’ person (Coombs and Ahmed 1974:8). It is the truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment – from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media. This implies that it connotes all experiences a person continues to acquire from the first day he is born into the world to the last day he or she leaves the world.
Non-formal Education: A non-formal education is a form of education, learning and training which takes place outside recognized educational institutions. It can be defined as any organized educational activity outside the established formal system (whether operating separately or as an important feature of some broader activity) that is intended to serve identifiable learning clienteles and learning objectives. It is every educational activity outside of formal. According to Coombs and Ahmed 1974: 8, a non-formal education is any organized, systematic, educational activity carried on outside the framework of the formal system to provide selected types of learning to particular subgroups in the population, adults as well as children. This is what the artisans, the mechanics, the tailors, etc do.
Fordham (1993) suggests that, four characteristics are associated with non-formal education, these are: 1. Relevance to the needs of disadvantaged groups. 2. Concern with specific categories of person. 3. A focus on clearly defined purposes. 4. Flexibility in organization and methods.
Formal (Western) Education: This is the form of education brought to Nigeria by the missionaries. It is a well structured education that incorporates reading and writing. It takes place in an organized classroom setting. It is “the highly institutionalized, chronologically graded and hierarchically structured education system’, spanning lower primary school and the upper reaches of the university”. (Coombs and Ahmed 1974:8).
Thomas, 1983; Fagerlind and Saha, 1989 affirm that it is recognized in most countries as an important mechanism of socialization, cultural identity, social control, labour force production, social mobility, political legitimating and stimulation of social change.
Formal education is an institutional matter. State sanctioned agencies such as the school, college, university and so on are viewed both as the normative exemplar of education, and the only bona fide value structures within which meaningful teaching, learning and education is perceived to occur. It includes addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialized programmes and institutions for full-time technical and professional training
PURPOSE OF EDUCATION
Education has numerous consequences for individuals and society. For many people, there is some “consumption value” from the educational process. Human beings are curious creatures, and they enjoy learning and acquiring new knowledge. Education also has considerable “investment value.” Those who acquire additional schooling generally earn more over their lifetimes, achieve higher levels of employment, and enjoy more satisfying careers. Education may also enable people to more fully enjoy life, appreciate literature and culture, and be more informed and socially involved citizens.
There are Private returns to education which refer to benefits received by the individual who acquires the additional schooling. These include economic benefits such as higher lifetime earnings, lower levels of unemployment, and greater job satisfaction. They may also include outcomes such as improved health and longevity while there are also social returns which include positive (or possibly negative) consequences that accrue to individuals other than the individual or family making the decision about how much schooling to acquire.
THE SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EDUCATION
This is the formal education undergone after the Primary Schooling. In those days in Nigeria, it used to span through five years, but when the 6-3-3-4 system was adopted, it usually takes six years to complete. The 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria makes it free. And it is the minimum qualification every political office holder in the country is expected to have.
The basic question that rightly comes to mind here is the relevance of this level of education to the socio-economic life of the individual, home and the society as a whole. It is believed or assumed or expected that any person who has attained this level of education is matured enough to take up employment in order to better his or her life, that of the home and the society.
LIVING BEYOND THE SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EDUCATION LEVEL
Living beyond the School Certificate Education level implies furthering your education, learning new things, being in charge of your choices and getting to where you want to be in the future – whatever stage you’re at, whatever age you are. This can be done by taking a higher education course at a university, Polytechnic, College of Education, etc.
From empirical evidences available, you will all agree with me that the Secondary Education in our contemporary time is no more what it used to be. Most School certificate holders have a lot of deficiencies ranging from poor communication skill, low level of display of intelligence, poor attitude to life, etc. that is why it is incumbent upon all the youths of our contemporary days to aspire to live beyond the school certificate education level if they would make any meaningful impact in the society.
BENEFITS OF LIVING BEYOND THE SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EDUCATION LEVEL
1. Higher education does not only boost your education and skills, it improves your ability to earn a good living too. (i.e your future earnings are boosted) and your chances of getting the career you want (i.e, A better paid job) while you immerse yourself in subjects and activities that interest you are improved.
2. It also enables you to experience a rich cultural and social scene and meet with people from different spheres of life which also increases the number of friends you make.
3. It connects you with people of high calibre in the society.
4. Good Health and wellbeing. Higher Education may impact how individuals assess information on how to improve health, and it may increase the efficiency by which individuals use that information in lifestyle choices. It may also impact the rate of time preference of individuals, with more educated individuals discounting the future less, and thus undertaking actions that improve health (e.g. smoking less). In a widely cited study, Kenkel (1991) found that education is not only associated with better health outcomes but also superior health behaviour such as reduced smoking, more exercise and lower incidence of heavy drinking.
5. A well educated person will be able to know his rights and responsibilities in the society.
6. Poverty Alleviation. Higher education reduces poverty not only at the national level but also in individual lives. (It is the micro that affects the macro)
7. Development of innate ability, capability, skill, prowess, etc. Alfred Marshall, writing over 100 years ago argued that: [They the children of the working class] go to the grave carrying undeveloped abilities and faculties; which if they could have borne full fruit would have added to the material wealth of the country . . . to say nothing of higher considerations . . .many times as much as would have covered the expense of providing adequate opportunities for their development.’
8. Equipment of individuals economically, socially, politically and culturally for the societies in which they live.
9. For efficiency in ones endeavour.
10. The enjoyment of the educational process itself.
11. Greater productivity in virtually all areas, physical, spiritual, etc.
12. Increased enjoyment of leisure.
13. Greater levels of life satisfaction.
14. Technological advancement calls for furthering of one’s education: Technological progress increases the demand for skilled workers and reduces demand for unskilled workers. For example, the introduction of computers have resulted to making some people, even educated ones irrelevant. So, the overall decline in the demand for unskilled labour has been sharp. Thus part of the case for higher education and training is to ensure that one has the skills necessary for the application of modern technology. It has a special role to play in preparing workers for technological adoption and innovation.
15. More broadly, there is evidence (Bynner and Egerton, 2000) of a link between participation in higher education and participation in political activities, community affairs and voluntary work. More broadly still, education is part of the socialization process: its function in transmitting attitudes and values is a critical part of fostering shared attitudes, thus strengthening social cohesion.
16. To fit into global changes and challenges.Promotion of equal opportunity, social mobility, and a more equal distribution of economic rewards.
16. Higher education plays an important role in economic growth that emphasizes the contribution of knowledge creation and innovation in fostering advances in living standards over time.
17. Higher education is associated with lower criminal propensities in children. It is also associated with lower probabilities of parental abuse and neglect, which also may reduce criminal behaviour and the need for the removal of children from the home.
18. It is an investment of considerable time and energy, in addition to naira/dollars, into building your futures through. And this is a worthwhile investment.
19. It follows logically that higher education contribute more than others to the public treasury (tax payments, etc) and also contribute in other important ways to social well-being.
20. Similarly, it is no surprise that higher education reduces the probability of being dependent on society and parents for support.
21. It secures your future.
22. It makes someone more productive.
23. It increases your level of intelligence.
24. Right sizing and down sizing which is a global trend and being adopted by the government and private establishments in the country today affect majorly lower educated people
A lot of opportunities abound for highly educated people. They are the real policy makers in government, private sectors, church, (do not forget that Christianity came with the Western Education) even these days a pastor’s level of education will determine the level of the church members. Jesus was not an illiterate, but a well read and all knowing Lord, who at age 12 debated with Drs. and Professors in the temple to their great amusement.