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Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to transform the world.”

Nelson Mandela
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I am thrilled to be penning this piece this moment because it seems to me that we have found it so difficult to draw the curtain between being schooled and being educated. With my own level of understanding, I am going to build the demarcations between the two and presents insight on how beneficial are the two, but which is more preferable to acquire. At least, if someone cannot afford to acquire the two, acquiring the ideal one can cover the void left by the other.  

Our society is filled with individuals who are schooled but are not educated. This is because it is possible to be schooled without being educated. Schooling has to do with studying, while education has to do with learning. Of course, more than half of our population are acclaimed educated fellows, but the reality has shown that the impact education should have on anybody that has acquired it is present in only a few portions of our population.  

In Mesopotamia, the Scribes who were educated were trained in various palaces to uphold the values of men, maintain social ideals and be embodiments of exemplary personality by imparting values in other people around them. This was also applicable to the universities of Aristotle – the Academy – and Plato – the Lyceum – where people were also trained to discover themselves and acquire skills in accordance with their gifts and interest.

Aristotle submitted, “The purpose of education is not the assimilation of knowledge but the development of personality.”  

Gradually, civilization was creeping into the system and what education is meant to achieve is being eroded. Today, education has lost its essence to certificates, which is being offered in our schools. In reverse, those schools are just being established with curricular and teaching programs that limit and restricts students’ thinking to the purview of our lecturers thinking realms. Schools are designed with metrics and those who couldn’t meet those metrics would be projected as failures! And because the certificate is what we pursued there, we are bound to have no choice but to comply with their dictates and instructions. Therefore, we have lost our freedom to reason independently and explore the beauties that are inherent in nature.

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Our schools are designed to uncover only our mental capacity at the expense of other educations – spiritual, emotional and physical – as Robert Kiyosaki described, which we should have explored. In education, you are free to conquer failures without hesitation.   If not that our schools are limited and that we students are only going to pursue certificates, how many of us among the educated ones can claim that we intentionally selected the courses we are studying or studied? Just a few of us. Most of us are developing interest in the trajectory of studying those courses and at the end of the day, it will be inscribed on the certificate that “This certificate is issued based on sound moral and ethical characters.”  

That inscription is the highest fraud I have ever seen! Sound moral and ethical characters in someone who passed through the Ivory Towers and has not discovered himself, who has not developed robust self-esteem, who has not been imbued with courage and tenacity to face life challenges and whose mind has not been trained to be immune to fear and adversity? What characters? These are what prompted Gbenga Adebambo to posited that “The proof of going to school is your certificate, but the proof of your education is in your ability to solve problems through innovation and creativity.”

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We always feel excited when seeing someone who has not gone to school but is polite, intelligent, reasonable, courteous, humane and distinctive in his/her conduct, but how do we feel when we come across someone that schooled but lacks the ideal characters that should be reflected in the personality of his/her status? We will feel disappointed or embarrassed! That’s it. To attend school doesn’t guarantee education, but someone can be educated without going to school!  

The truly educated ones among us don’t limit themselves to what they were taught in classes, some of them entirely abandoned their courses of study and pursue their passion because they are independent and lifelong learners, they have identified a problem and filled their minds with burning desires to get the problem solved, to get it fixed! They exemplify Henrik Verwoerd’s words that “Education must train and teach people in accordance with their opportunities in life.”  

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Helen Keller was deaf-blind, but her passion fueled her to become the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Oprah Winfrey was born into a poverty-stricken family and sexually abused, but she has educated herself to become an advocate of child education. ALIMI Taoheed Olanrewaju is pursuing a degree in Agriculture related field, but he is a budding Communication Coach and Public Speaker. Henry Ukazu studied Law, he is now flourishing in Life Coaching, Public Speaking and author of the book “Design Your Destiny.”

Don’t confine yourself to what you are being taught in schools, expand your thoughts beyond the four walls of the Ivory Towers you attended. Don’t limit your mind to reasons that will enslave you, explore your mind to transcend the reasons that can imprison you. Don’t restrict your perception to the facts presented to you alone, train your mind how to question facts. Albert Einstein aptly surmised that “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”   Sulyman Sodeeq Abdulakeem is a Librarian, Writer who co-authored the book “Responsible Living: Live to Fulfill Your Potential.