Public education has been defined differently by different scholars. Some definitions focused on children in a classroom setting while some incorporated both children and adults.
In my own understanding, public education has to deal with mass literacy programme that educate and train both kids and adults in ways to improve their mental and physical wellbeing through learning the right skills and knowing how to apply it.
The skill would incorporate both reading and writing and common understanding of the issues of life. It also incorporates skill acquisition and other forms of education.
Ebonyi state was known to be a state with the highest number of illiterates amongst other south eastern states in Nigeria. It was so serious that the indigenes were despised by their fellow Igbos and in many cases, were mocked.
Dr. Sam Egwu, the first executive governor of Ebonyi state launched a mass literacy programme to curb illiteracy in the state by calling all Ebonyians in Diaspora to return home and get a quality education. People were dragged from their homes to school and it became a success. Today, Ebonyi has high number of literate people in the state. But that notwithstanding, there are still many uneducated people in the state at present time.
Illiteracy is known to be the common cause of violence. Take a look at some northern states of the country, you will come to realize that there is a very thin line between illiteracy and violence. Ebonyi state has recorded different communal crisis and it has gone far in tarnishing our image before other citizens of the country. The latest crisis that occurred between Izzi and Ikwo people saw the end of many lives, even women and children that did nothing.
Today, many indigenes of the state crave for quality education without being forced, but education is now expensive in the state that many can no longer afford it. However, some people that can afford the fees do not still know the value.
As an Ebonyian that grew up in diaspora, I have seen many abnormal things that shouldn’t have been the way they are. Ebonyians are known to be strong people and hustlers, but some still see most of us in other states seeking for greener pastures as touts. This is because of the type of business Ebonyians mostly engage in. in Enugu, 90% of sausage roll (Gala) hawkers are Ebonyians, 80% of Barrow pushers in the state too are Ebonyians. These jobs are things that could be easily started by anyone and Ebonyians do not hesitate to take part in such instead of staying hungry or turning to crime. This will tell you that Ebonyians are good people with strong desire for a better life, but where did we go wrong?
It is said, “In everything you do, be the best.” Most Ebonyians doing these jobs in other states don’t strive to improve; hence they feel contented with the level they operate on. Only a few wise ones strive to save up and start up something better.
Having looked at the effects of illiteracy, the importance of public education and mass literacy cannot be overemphasized. Public education will go a long way to contribute in the development of the state as education is the greatest tool against poverty and violence.
Public education in the state, I suggest should come in different forms that would incorporate various forms of education unlike the normal classroom setting where people are taught how to read and write and only a few learn the real life application of what they were taught.
Take a look at the world today, certificate is rapidly loosing relevance, but education is not. Education is getting stronger day by day, but certificate is becoming common on daily basis too as many graduates are being produced every year.
In the type of public education I’m talking about, I suggest both government and individuals that mean well for Ebonyi and her indigenes should launch a programme that will train people in different fields especially in ICT as it is the future.
Public education if launched should be able to help the indigenes build their self esteem which will enable them to stand out and not get intimidated by other people outside. I cite myself as an example; my greatest problem was low self esteem, but thank God for education.
In conclusion, I want to highlight the things we stand to gain through public education.
We will gain the following and more through public education;
- Self esteem; when this is built, the right of the state and her image would be protected by indigenes.
- Reduction in violence; Most people that will benefit from this will turn away from violence and use diplomatic means to solve problems.
- Job creation; The type of public education I discussed is the type that would incorporate entrepreneurship and skill acquisition.
- Growth of IGR: The internally generated revenue will increase when more jobs are created.