What exactly is education? Education can be defined as a process of acquiring knowledge. Education is a social process; education is growth; education is progressive; education is liberating; education is freedom, yes, a mind set free. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself (John Dewey).
Plato, one of the greatest philosophers of all times, regards education as a means to achieve justice, both individual justice and social justice. According to philosophy, individual justice can only be obtained when each individual develops his or her ability to the fullest. In this sense, justice means excellence, and excellence is virtue, and virtue is knowledge. Thus, knowledge is required to be just. Social justice is achieved when all social classes in a society, be it workers, warriors, or rulers are in harmonious relationship; but people can only exist in harmony when society gives them, not equal schooling opportunity, but equal educational opportunity from an early age to compete fairly with each other. Without equal educational opportunities, society becomes unjust, and unjustness causes frustrations, and frustrations cause chaos in societies. How do we avoid this as a Namibian society? The greatest weapon to fight social injustice and maintain tranquillity in a country is education. Not schooling, but education.
Lack of education, and not lack of schooling, is the root cause of almost all calamities we are experiencing as a country, be it poor governance, economic breakdown, poverty, or crime. It is lack of education that makes some countries to have political systems run by not-so-able people; and this eventually results in timocracy, oligarchy, defective democracy, or tyranny. People commit social ills due to lack of education. Many people who have committed crime have gone through the schooling system, but exited without any form of education. Many have gone to school but cannot even regulate their emotions, i.e. they have not developed emotional intelligence. There is no education in many of our public schools, all what is there is teaching learners to pass tests and examination; go to universities, study, pass and get employed; just that. THIS IS NOT EDUCATION!
Education should transform a person from bad to good, from poor to rich, from ignorance to knowledge, from being a passive spectator, to being an active participant in the affairs of his/her society. Education should open up a person’s mind to think outside the box, think beyond being an employee, think business, business other than a bar or cuca shop, think further than the tip of his/her nose. Education is not curricula symbols, education is knowledge; true knowledge that liberates one’s mind; knowledge that loosens the chains of mental colonialism and intellectual poverty. This is what Nelson Mandela meant when he said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Wars cannot change the world; riches cannot change the world; lies cannot change the world; crime cannot change the world; but education is mighty, and can transform societies, making the world a better place to live in.
Wake up Namibia! Namibia, stand up! Namibia act! Namibia, give your people TRUE EDUCATION!
• Martha Namupala is a scholar in the field of curriculum studies and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)