Education crisis and the irony of being in school

The 50’s were the dawn for educational movements across the world and the most talked about notion in the history of mankind. This period will be remembered majorly for considerable student enrollment in various levels of education across the world. Global leaders ‘walked the talk’ in the pursuit of quality human resource through education and human empowerment. Expenditures on education were more realistic and society-oriented, teachers were highly professional and stuck to their jobs and nurtured the best. While so much has happened and the world seems more digital than ever, student enrollment has tripled and many institutions have been established across the world.

While it is highly relevant and meaningful to the needs of society today, there is an old-fashioned construction that continues to impinge on the quality of education.

People have failed to differentiate between education and being in school (plus learning as the primary component of education). Hence, a serious challenge to the sense of education as a channel through which learning takes place and knowledge is acquired.

Many countries have made access to education a priority but have failed to come up with a clear definition of learning in relation to education, which continues to subject the world to professionals that can barely comprehend even the easiest concept.

Globally, millions of school-going children graduate from college without even basic skills like knowing how to write official letters, let alone building a successful career for their personal growth and development. Despite this predicament, parents and other key players in education continue to consider the number of students enrolled in a particular school, but less attention is given to what is learnt in the school and the curriculum of instruction and its relevance to the needs of today and the country’s development.

To make this concern clearer, let’s echo the principle of Theodore Brameld, a passionate educationist who believed that an ideal society should have learners and, according to him, there is need to comprehensively reconstruct education systems and make learning actual and not just about attending school. Brameld believed that education is affected by a “divorce syndrome” hence making it hard to meet its realistic goals to societal growth and development. The scholar believed that learning and society have been made to exist independently yet they are supposed to work together because of their mutual significance to society.

While we continue to pursue quality education, it’s important that we sanitise it with meaningful learning for it’s the epitome of competent human resource development.  It is only a learnt society that will be able to change the fate of the world and enhance a relevant knowledge-based economy. In fact, the World Bank report highlights that the productivity of 56 per cent of the world’s children will be less than half of what it could be if they enjoyed complete education and full health.  In this case, therefore, there is need to pursue a system of learning that communicates directly with the problem society continues to encounter, and also for the individual development, as well as other opportunities, such as institutional growth and lasting economic prosperity.

The writer is a PhD student at Beijing Normal University

Pontiankbr@outlook.com

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