Saturday, 19 January 2013

Education: A Lifeline for All.

All around you and I are noticeable changes taking place daily irrespective of whether it’s in our favour or not. What is your perception of change? For me “change makes the present different from the past.” The key: A difference.

We can honestly agree that if we search deep within ourselves as individuals and collectively, we’d find areas in our lives and societies in dire need of tune-ups which will help boost our self-esteem and image; boosts that would require listening to the voice of reason by separating the chaff from wheat which eventually leads to progressive change. How can we achieve this? By getting an education of course.
In the past especially in developing countries, females were restricted from getting an education and in some cases such restrictions still stand. However in modern times, such restrictions occur not as a result of gender inequality but primarily due to the ever widening gap in finances between the wealthy and less privileged in society.
Education in whatever format it is received helps with the renewal of the mind by keeping abreast of current happenings in the society. Irrespective of whether we pass through formal or informal education (as is the case with village dwellers), vices like ignorance et al need to be nipped in the bud; we can achieve this by learning to read, write and communicate properly; for according to a Persian parable,
“It is wise for you to follow a man who is wise and knows that he is wise” and “it is wise to shun a man who does not know and does not know that he does not know for he is foolish.”
Education is a necessity and should not be a luxury. This life of yours’ or mine is all about making choices and the first step in getting educated is in realizing that change is the only constant in life and admitting the need to turnaround prevailing situations. How do you do this? Seek a mentor; enrol in private or public classes-whichever makes you feel comfortable. Some governments assist via free education programs up to certain levels including adult education too. Whatever the student is able to assimilate now would definitely help out at some point in the future because all that matters when one receives an education is ‘his or her ability to rise up after numerous falls and stumbling blocks.’
The primary goal of an education is at the end of the day being able to decipher between ‘the good, bad and ugly’ as well as utilizing all learnt to achieve excellence for the common good via creativity. With the world being the global village it is today, it is only sensible for people to change with the times.
Nowadays, the role of the woman cannot be restricted to domestic duties in the home. Women need to have or regain some self-worth hence taking steps to improve their self-esteem. What better way than receiving an education that would empower her to attain greater heights in the future especially in the 21st century where there’s a cry for improvement of living standards for women and gender equality so that women at home can compete with their peers on a level playing field.
All these require time but there’s a popular saying that, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” A new mindset with a proper vision must be adopted; a vision requiring sacrifices, producing passion for success, giving direction for life’s destination as well shape one’s future. The Nigerian First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan notes,’ the well-being of women leads to a faster developing nation and removes them from the receiving end of conflicts’, thereby giving weight to another popular quote, ‘When you educate a woman, you educate a Nation.

Empowering women cannot be overstressed as the UN under Secretary-General and Executive Director for Women, Michelle Bachelet amidst notable personalities in Abuja FCT last week commended Dame Jonathan and the Nigerian government for her work in alleviating the plight of Nigerian women and the 35% affirmative action in including women in governance respectively.

Gone is the era when women were contented with just their domestic duties. Although the African woman shoulders a lot of responsibilities as Wife and Mother helping to create a calm atmosphere, she craves for more and like Eric Butterworth said, “Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It's a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.” Let’s be wise and give everyone opportunities of a better future.

Elsie E.U. Omubo

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