Education is the process of facilitating learning, or acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits, which frequently takes place under the guidance of educators. Education can take place in formal or informal settings, and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels or acts may be considered educational.
Formal education is the type of education delivered by trained teachers in systematic intentional way, within a school. Small children often attend a nursery or kindergarten but often, formal education begins in elementary school and continues with secondary school. And then, there is post-secondary education. Most school systems are designed around a set of values or ideals that govern all educational choices in the system. Such choices include; curriculum, organizational models, design of the physical learning spaces-classrooms-, teacher interactions, method of assessment, class size, educational activities, and more.
Informal education is a general term for education that occur outside a structured curriculum. It encompasses student interests within a curriculum, but is not limited to that setting. It works through conversation, and the exploration and enlargement of experience. In informal education, one can learn literacy, other basic skills or job skills. Examples include; home education, individualized instruction such as programmed learning, distance learning and computer assisted instruction. Informal education is less organized. It may be a parent teaching a child how to prepare a meal or how to ride a bicycle.
In Nigeria, education is overseen by the Ministry of Education. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing state-controlled policy regarding public education and state schools. Public education (a school that is maintained at public expense for the education of the children of a community or district and that constitutes a part of a system of free public education commonly including primary and secondary schools) was the only type of formal education in Nigeria but this system has been experiencing a decline in standards, hence the need for alternative means to standard education.
As a result of the failure of government schools to meet the demands of standard education in Nigeria, some group of people got the drift, built schools, and on the other hand, became hangmen around parents’ necks: they put a price tag on their label. On the other hand, private schools have taken to nibbling on government shortcomings through diverse ways: tuition fee, textbook fee (per term), event fees, developmental fee, and the list goes on and on.
They fix outrageous amount as school fees, therefore making it known that they only accept certain class of people in their schools: it is so glaring and unfortunate that it turns into a competition, that some parents go to the extent to clamour for a raise in fees, so that certain class of people will know where to fit themselves. It is a race of the higher the school fees, the better the school, and it’s standard of education. On the other hand, these fees are not well managed, because most parents end up not seeing where development of event takes place.
The most annoying part is that a child is expected to pay for books that most times are never used, in order words; it is obviously a good deal between the school and the author or publisher. Books are provided by schools, it is no longer purchased in the market by parents. In those days, a single comprehensive textbook was used for a whole session by a child, while his younger siblings use same text, and such kids excelled. But today, a book becomes useless at the end of each term, not minding that single child might have younger siblings that could use the same text.
Today, some of these so called private schools force students to take all manner of international exams with the aim of belittling the WAEC, GCE, NECO, and JAMB exams in Nigeria; such exams have certainly lost their value, to the extent that some of these exams are not taken in some private schools, therefore, it becomes a great loss to the country.
These schools only pride in intimidating-looking structures, but they ride on the backs of unqualified teachers, empty library, and laboratories. Most of them do not offer indigenous languages or cover syllables at the end of the session. Parents are confronted with paying for expensive textbooks each term for her children, who at the end of each term, get rid of these books, because they will never be used again. Such schools don’t care how parents get the money to pay fees, but keep on demanding without offering much.
In Ebonyi State where majority of the parents are peasant farmers who cannot boast of three square meals a day, access to education becomes a big problem as those who are enlightened enough to know the importance of education, and crave so much that their children be educated so as to become better citizens, cannot afford the cost of enrolling their children in school, as the only place that they think can give these children the quality education they yearn for are private schools which they cannot afford.
Aside the number that knows the value of education and want their children enrolled in school, there are yet a greater number of individuals in remote areas of Ebonyi who are yet to understand the importance of formal education. These individuals, up to this moment, are comfortable with the olden days life and culture. They believe in the ways of our fathers and are okay with being naked, drinking water only from the streams, ponds and rivers, use of herbal medicine as the only treatment to diseases and infections, taking farming, fishing, palm wine tapping and hunting as the only occupation. In these remote places, they still carry out harmful medical practices like Female Genital Mutilation. This is so more because they are not yet exposed to the health implications of their practices, and this can only be achieved through education.
Nelson Mandela said, and I quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Ebonyi State is one of the states in Nigeria that comprises of rural dwellers, and for change and development to come to these rural areas, we need education. Yes, we need public education.
The government should build schools in these remote areas where it will be close enough to the inhabitants, equip these schools with the necessary equipment as seats, boards, libraries, etc., and employ qualified teachers to teach in these schools.
As it is remote places we are talking about, the government should provide accommodation for these teachers, and pay them well and as at when due so that they will be encouraged to stay in these rural areas and teach the children. The communities should also be provided with basic amenities such as electricity, good roads, hospitals and clean sources of water supply.
The education which will be provided should be free, with books made available to these students. Secondary schools should in addition, be provided with well-equipped and functioning laboratories for their practical.
In conclusion, Ebonyi is a state blessed with natural resources, and people with potentials but these potentials cannot be uncovered without education, which is denied to the majority of people because they cannot afford the cost. Therefore, public education will go a long way in uncovering the potentials in the indigents of Ebonyi State, make them better citizens, and as such bring development to the state and Nigeria at large.