A vast number of institutions today, I would say, either needs to be improved, re-invented or jettisoned altogether.
Many grew up into embracing the idea of schooling to ensure a fulfilled life. An average child is dumped into the school system as early as age 2 and she’s left in its hands. Schools have thus become a status quo.
While other institutions are being questioned by many individuals, schools seem to have become the sacred cow. Little to nothing is often said about its origination and the intention behind it.
The invention of school was partly attributed to a man named Harry P. School. School built the first ‘school’, but that was actually the place to take children and leave them there if they are behaving badly. So, basically, the school was a place for punishing children.
As a mere tale; this might sound – but an in depth understanding of how it all began in my beloved Nigeria, would pose more authenticity to the probable fairy tale.
Oral traditions as well as studied documented materials reveal that parents were reluctant to releasing their children for ‘western education’. The weak ones (those who could not work on the farms) were most times the victims of schooling – although the paradigm shifted with time.
One very important thing to note then as well was that majority of our parents were not schooled based on the standards of formal education. I’m very conscious of using the rather derogatory word ‘illiterate’ – since it’s a relative word. If education would be synonymous to gaining insights and having the wisdom to apply it, then our early fathers cannot be said to be illiterate. They could communicate with one another, do business, lead, secure their environment as well as contribute to the growth of their communities.
Along the line, the story changed. The schooled children grew into adulthood, got married and started up a new family – hence, children began to have ‘literate’ parents – which infer that they could decide to tutor their children. But the reality was that the same process was still enthroned years after – even up till now. Most parents still play little to no role in the education of their children – forgetting that they ought to be their primary tutors.
The importation of western education into Nigeria is not altogether a bad idea – but the truth be told – it was partly to harvest a vast majority of workforce from among us by the colonial masters. They used us as tools for their own national development and we gladly played along with the meagre enticements presented as incentives at the expense of developing Africa.
I submit that traditional schooling – as much as it might have aided the industrial age – of which Nigeria is classed as not being a participant (hence, still a third world country), need to be reviewed. The institution is busy educating our best minds out of creativity. Everything is standardized; with little to no provision for trying out something new. A child is afraid of failing or better still taught that failing is a taboo, hence, she strictly abides by the rules. We are daily burying potentials. Africa can breakout of this malady.
Not participating in a traditional school is not synonymous to illiteracy in this time and age. The Internet is the new school – let’s embrace it!