Are we teaching our children the real motivation of education?

We, humans like to believe we were born with the brains of Einstein, fingers such as dextrous as Mozart’s and an eye for art like Picasso. Let’s not trip over our own egos.
Children in a classroom: they must be allowed to dream. (Net photo)
Children in a classroom: they must be allowed to dream. (Net photo)

We, humans like to believe we were born with the brains of Einstein, fingers such as dextrous as Mozart’s and an eye for art like Picasso. Let’s not trip over our own egos.

Remember, even some of our most brilliant scientists today claim we evolved from apes; well, do apes paint or play the piano? Well, as has been proved recently, with some education they can!

Education is the most fundamental reason humans live the way they do in this day and age; every thing we depend on, to the live the lives we’ve become accustomed to, has been created by the minds of man- the minds of those who have been ‘educated’.

The educated have influenced our economy, technology, even our very city’s public gardens- they were designed by trained horticulturists.

My opinion is that education is being ignored; I don’t mean it’s not being given the importance it requires by the government or the overall education system however- my point is that education is losing its value in the very minds of the children we are trying to educate.

I live in Kacyiru and at precisely two o’clock in the afternoon the streets are filled with hundreds of students of all ages, from kindergarten right up to secondary school, all going or coming from their lunch breaks.

As I watch them streaming past, I ask myself what do all these students really wanted out of life? What do they want to be when they grow up?  So, instead of subjecting myself to hours of guessing and daydreaming different lives for them each, I decided to ask. 

I skimmed the crowd and set my eyes on three young kids chatting away animatedly to themselves, walking slowly while dragging their shoes in the dust: this act of dust dragging seems to have become an extracurricular activity amongst school kids.

As I approached them, they begun to giggle and edge away slightly; finally, their curiosity getting the better of them, they warm up to me. I introducing myself and told them I was a writer.

I asked them if they want to help me with a story I was writing to which they respond enthusiastically -maybe I should also mention the sweets poking out of my right hand.

The first child told me he wanted to be a teacher “I want to be a teacher so that I can teach my children too”, while another one answered, shyly, that she wanted to be a doctor.

Funnily enough, when I asked her why she had chosen that profession, she answered that “my uncle is a doctor, and he is very rich”

 I laughed at this answer, but somewhere inside me I was sadden by this little girl. She wanted to be a doctor, not for the love of the profession which, admittedly, she probably didn’t fully comprehend, but for the love of the money.

Is this what has become of us? Are we raising a generation of money-minded children? The children go on to share their ideas of ‘why they are being educated’; some answers make me smile “I want to help my family”, “I want to be a minister”, and so on and so forth, while others make me frown with worry. 

“I want to find a husband” when I heard that I jerked my head towards the little voice only to discover she wasn’t so little. The girl, in a primary school uniform, looking to be between the 20-25 years of age (she told me she was 23 years old.

Betty (not real name) is the victim of a, somewhat popular belief, that an ‘uneducated girl’ CANNOT find a husband.

I mean can you imagine your father, uncle or guardian telling you that the end purpose of your education is, not to empower you as an individual, with every possible tool to make your place in the world, but to secure yourself a husband.

You see, the problem is this- many youngsters see education as just an obligatory rite of passage, a way to get from one point to the other and not as something that they could use to excel far beyond their wildest dreams.

Children today dream of joining all sorts of honourable professions such as medicine, law, finance, arts, dance & drama to mention but a few; something I think is wonderful but something is lacking- the passion to learn, just for its own sake.

Learning shouldn’t just be about survival, but should be about revival as well, allowing our children to explore their dreams.

I can’t imagine a world without the likes of Mr. Bean, the popular British comedian, who also happened to be physics graduate.

He was allowed to follow his childhood dreams.
Education is definitely key in unlocking change, growth and personal prosperity.

I believe that it’s not just about educating children in the classroom but out of it too. Helping them understand its importance by allowing then the opportunity to enjoy every aspect education has to offer, by guiding them and not shoving them into a ‘lucrative’ profession. 

Parents and teachers should tell them that it’s alright to learn what they love. And let them live their chosen professions.


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