Six-Eight hours a day, five days a week, four weeks a month, and on and on, our kids/wards are confined to schools, reading books and ostensibly learning.
Oftentimes, I struggle to fathom the wisdom behind the decision of parents/guardians to send their kids/wards to “lesson” (colloquial preference) whenever the schools are on holidays. One expects that it should not be difficult for them to understand that there is a wisdom in granting the children vacation from school academics in the first place. The designers of school calendars are not thoughtless to have created windows for holidays when the kids are supposed to take breaks from academics and promenade into other capacity building engagements in life.
Restricting the entire childhood trajectory of these kids to school books and cramming exercises is an uninspiring approach of leading them into the world of options and opportunities. The monotony of an almost everyday school work has a way of giving the kids a banal impression that the world is a boring place. It is enough unfairness that these kids are often dumped in ‘schools’ at outrageously early ages as two years old or below, when they ought to be around their parents learning important foundational constructs of life; values which schools do not teach.
The world is, in itself, a harbour for different ‘worlds’ with myriad of options and opportunities. School holidays are supposed to be period during which kids are allowed to explore the dynamism and plurality of the world. Certainly, not an opportunity to perpetuate their myopism of the world through restrictions to bookish engagements. What does a 3-4year old need “lesson” for, after three months of 8hours/per day and 5days/week of bookish memorizations? Even a 10year old?
A holiday from school is supposed to be an opportunity to learn new things about the world. An opportunity for alternative exposures. Let the kids play football, let them go to the salon and learn how to barb the hair, allow them go with you to your shops and learn entrepreneurship as well as observe some basic financial intelligence, let them learn how to cobble and make shoes, let them follow you to your farms, etc. Take them out and let them see the world from other angles. Let them have the options in order to be able to make wilful choices. Choices that are simpatico with their self-induced passions. When the holiday is over, they can return to the classrooms.
Beneath this popular bandwagon of slippery ‘bokoism’ is an intellectual poverty that cannot decipher the difference between schooling and education. Whereas schooling is the process of ‘learning’ that takes place within a formal environment of four-wall-classrooms, which basically rewards memory (and memorizations) with the ultimate factor of (paper) certifications, Education, on the other hand, being a farther and much broader extension of schooling, is an infinite process of building capacity for the purpose of providing solutions to real life problems. It is an endless process which combines both formal and informal methods. It is that which fits the analogy of a torch-light in a dark room. Unlike schooling, education is a process that hones intelligence, imagination, and creativity.
With these factors of self-empowerment, education shepherds a person through the labyrinth of unpredictable future. It produces and reinforces value. It is no coincidence that Prof. Attahiru Jega seminally describes Education as “not about literacy or numeracy, but about value-formation, value-orientation, and value-regeneration.” Indeed, a person may be schooled yet not educated; that is, an uneducated literate! The value of education is deeply concrete and its substance transcends the braggadocio of paper certifications.
Unfortunately, for the most part of their formative years, we drown our kids in the insipid pool of schooling while we rob them of the core elements that define education.
Is it not troubling enough that our society is increasingly replete with uneducated literates who cannot create values? They haughtily brandish their (school) certificates and impress with doctored fluency of colonial language. They are “graduates” but jobless and lack the capacity to provide solutions. They cannot create. They rather choose to join the already long queues of joblessness and add their voices to the cacophony of lamentations.
How many more Kanu Nwankwos shall we suppress from sprouting from our midst? How many more Dangotes shall we sacrifice on the path of blinkered bokoism? How many more Yomi Casuals shall we derail? How many more value-generating skilled countrymen shall we continue to waste by ignorantly narrowing our collective philosophy of mundane successes to the (myths) of academic bokoism?