Education is a universal right.
But, so is the right to life, the right to trial, the right to nationality, the right to rest, and many other liberties according to this list of the 30 basic human rights. What sets education apart from all these other rights, however, is the fact that education has significance beyond just recognizing its attainer as a human being. Sida.se captures this concept further by breaking down that,
having basic literacy and numeracy skills has been proven to notably reduce poverty, and to promote participation of individuals in important aspects of their societies such as their politics, cultures, and economics.
It does not come as a surprise then, that there has been a rapid growth in schooling systems in the past few decades, which is mainly due to the fact that schools have become the main areas that knowledge has been imparted among the younger generations. As a race, humans have managed to put systems and structures in place in order to enhance the attainment of this human right, and to really understand how and why education is so basic and necessary, one has to ask themselves: what exactly is education?
Is it “the process of teaching or learning, especially in a school or college, or the knowledge that you get from this” as the Cambridge dictionary defines it, or is it the many quotes that we may have all come across in our lives, like:
“Education is what has remained after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." - Albert Einstein -
“Education is the movement from light to darkness.” - Allan Bloom -
“Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions.” - William Allin -
And many other similar quotes …
Clearly then, there isn't a single coherent definition of this word, and perhaps the reason for this is that there are different categorizations of educations. And of these classifications, the most common one is that of formal vs. informal vs. non-formal education, where,
- Formal education is a structured and systematic process of transferring knowledge from a trained professional to a student. It usually involves a rigid curriculum and a set of laws and rules that should be followed by the two parties. An example of this would be modern-day schools and colleges.
- Non-formal education occurs when these rules and procedures that are established in formal education are loosened up , thus are not followed to the dot. For example, community education courses for adults and language courses for immigrants in different countries.
- Informal education happens when the formal systems and flows are completely broken, such that education occurs outside of the rigid curriculum. Here, the main aim is to just ensure the preservation of knowledge within a given community, e.g. when mothers share with their young daughters how to parent little kids.
Understanding these will make it easier to digest why all forms of education are fundamental in any given human’s life. So, in what ways is education requisite?
Desiderius Erasmus is quoted as saying,
“The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth”.
In other words, education is so crucial, so essential, and so precious that a whole nation's trajectory could be determined by how well its young people are being trained to gain knowledge. This just goes to show that education has the power to create a better society. The question one may have is, how? Well, there are many ways this can be approached, for example, research has shown that the more educated the residents of a place are, the lower the crime rates among its adult population (18 years and older), such as in this study by gatech.edu on metropolitan cities. Beyond this, education can also help improve the general standard of living in a particular society. This is pretty straightforward that the more educated someone gets, the more likely they are to get a job and find the means to earn a living. This individual improvement can lead to the collective development of a society. As Nelson Mandela once said,
“Education is the most powerful tool that you can use to change the world.”
So in the same way, one person gaining good education can greatly impact the trajectory of a whole community… and even the whole world at large.
Speaking of individual benefits of education, the more educated someone is, the more likely they are to think critically. Several subject areas offered in different schools are structured in such a way that they are meant to cultivate this skill in the students. Subject areas that encourage the freedom to learn, to work in collaboration with others, and to allow students to think creatively, for example… these allow students to be able to develop critical thinking skills that will further help them in the future. Eventually then, subjects that encourage students to think for themselves are the ones that should be pushed forward, because as Malcolm Forbes stated,
“The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
Therefore, after reciting these key points, one can conclude that the value of attaining a good education is immense. That is, it is not something that can be debated over. Education is more than a necessity; it is not just a "nice" thing to have, it is absolutely key for every single human being to have it. The pragmatist John Dewey would agree with this because he believed that,
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
In other words, education is the very essence of being, and without it… one has no direction or sense of purpose and meaning in today’s world. Going back to the list of universal human rights, one can have enough good food, privacy, assembly, and every other thing on the list, but without education, they will still not be able to properly thrive in today's world. This implies that everyone should strive to get a good education, because attaining it will open many more opportunities to live a meaningful and impactful life on earth.
At Edvora, we understand that this is not an easy task for everyone. This is because not everybody has access to tools, information, and other resources to enable them to maximize their ability to learn. Some people face hurdles that make it harder for them to acquire quality education. This is why we are here to ensure that students get the apparatus necessary in overcoming these challenges that they face in their educational journey. So, write to us at: [email protected], to let us know what are the concerns you face in achieving your educational goals, and we will do our best to work out means to help solve them.