This fourth article of the series on the indispensable role of education in national recovery and development concludes the series by highlighting some of the major benefits or advantages of being truly and holistically educated. We have made the point again and again in the series that a good education goes beyond just books and skills to character development that makes the educated be of value and assert to self and the wider society. How then does the well educated benefit from his/her own education? The third article on the responsibility of the educated to society observed the following points:
What then is such a person’s responsibility to society? Some people see education as a means to acquiring lots of wealth, having access to power, and for having social prestige and respectability, and thereby to abuse power and people, and to look down upon others who are less privileged than they. But the essence of true education is to make the educated person useful to God and serviceable to society. How?
Let us begin with God. To be serviceable to oneself, family, Church, community and society at large one must first be useful to God, the Creator and Sustainer of all of life. The religious factor or element of life is key to understanding mankind and its needs and solutions. We were all made for worship and if we refuse to worship God we will worship money, power, another person and other created things. But worship must we. So the supreme purpose of man’s existence is to know God, worship him, do his will and enjoy him forever. Jesus puts it beautifully and accurately: “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
The first duty of every person is to know that you are a servant of God; I am a servant of God. All the great men and women of the Bible are called servants of God: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Peter, and Paul.
The second primary duty is to know your calling or vocation, the specific task or mission you were made for. It is that which you were made for and have a passion for; enjoy doing and you do not need urging to do.
The role of an educated person in society in summary is to serve self, family, Church, community and society at large. A person who has acquired a sound education, accompanied by a strong moral character, is obliged to contribute more to the wellbeing of society than those less educated or with no formal education all. The Bible says, “to whom much is given must is expected” (Luke 12:48). The role of an educated person in society is to promote the goodness of that society: peace, economic empowerment for the less fortunate and vulnerable groups.
We have already made the point that the overall purpose of education is to make the educated a better person and to live a better life. So a sound education equips one to live and make a contribution to life. It does so by enabling a person think intensely, critically, and incisively with the view of solving and preventing problems. One of the problems of the world is that the vast majority of people do not think. They just act or do. A well educated person ought to think creatively in order to plan, prevent and solve problems. He/she is prepared to make things and not just use what is already there; to be creative and initiative. With the right kind of thinking almost every human problem and challenge can be overcome.
A sound and holistic education also makes the educated confident and free. A good education inspires confidence in one’s ability. It enables one approach tasks and difficulties with certain reasonable amount of confidence that one can and will succeed and achieve. And confidence and a creative mind inspire a feeling and sense of freedom. A well educated person is not easily intimidated by political, socio-economic threats arraigned to silence him/her. The educated can challenge the ills of society and thereby confront and overcome many of them. One expert has asserted that one way to suppress and keep people subjugated is to deny them of education. For the educated cannot be oppressed too long; they will rise up and fight for their rights. So a sound education, along with a good moral character, is a major key to a successful living and for contributing to the welfare of the larger society.