When education becomes indoctrination (1)

EducationEDUCATION is good but can be really bad and unproductive when it becomes indoctrination. When one talks about education and being educated in this part of the world, people are quick to think about going to the university. They see those that have access to the university education who are regarded as being educated and those without the privilege as illiterate.

Having seen and experienced this, I realise that when schooling becomes indoctrination, only the truly educated ones become successful. Now, what does it mean to be truly educated? What does it mean to be indoctrinated? What connection do these two have with schooling? To answer these three significant questions, we will need to define the nouns or verbs from which each of them is derived and analyze them.

Longman Dictionary defines education, a noun from which educated is derived as: the process by which your mind develops at school, college or university. Indoctrinate, a verb from which indoctrination is derived, according to Longman dictionary means: to train someone to accept a particular set of political or religious beliefs and not consider any others. The English dictionary defines indoctrinate as: To teach with a biased, one-sided or uncritical ideology.

School, a noun from which schooling is derived, is defined in the English dictionary as: (U.S.) an institution dedicated to teaching and learning; an educational institution.

(British)  an educational institution providing primary and secondary education, prior to tertiary education (college or university).

It must be noted that school is not limited to a certain institution, it is simply any institution for learning and education can be derived from any of these institutions. It is only indoctrination that makes people glorify one ahead of the other. Education in Nigeria has, for long, become indoctrination and many folks have been seriously affected by this development.

Almost everyone in Nigeria belongs to the school of thought that without university education a person is not educated. Our government has not also helped in this regard, they have so much glorified university certificates ahead of practicality and this is one of the things that have led to rot in nearly all sectors.

Our government is ignorant of the fact that the university is just an institution among many institutions of learning that churn out professionals. It should then follow, therefore, that the polytechnics, colleges and other institutions of learning make up schooling through which one can also be educated and certified. However, these have been relegated.

A polytechnic graduate is always rated lower than a university graduate regardless of intelligence of the former; thus certification has taken the place of real intellectualism and technicality. This indoctrination is a great tragedy to youth development in Nigeria. We have been made to believe that without a university education, we are no better than illiterates are. When you talk about intelligence, people are fast to measure it by the good grades acquired through formal education.

We also have not been studious enough to see the difference: being a university graduate does not guarantee a successful life. The pieces of evidence are here but we couldn’t see. That’s indoctrination. It is a gross waste of time to sit down and wait for admission when what you want to study in school is unrelated to what you really want to become, perhaps in what you are skilled.

It is lack of vision to accept a change of course just to be a university student; but our society has provided us with no other choice than to “join them if we can’t beat them”. Everyone just wants to answer the name “university graduate” just for the sake of it. Therefore, we forgo our visions, dump our dreams for the title that comes with certificates which we might dump in our wardrobes and not make use of for the rest of our lives. It is true no knowledge is lost but such indoctrination comes with lesser or no profit. For the records, not being a university student does not make a person less or an illiterate. Let us overcome this wrong mentality in which we have been so much enslaved.

University education with good certificate is an achievement on its own, but it is not the most accurate determinant of efficiency nor does it necessarily enhance productivity or efficiency in the labour market. Year in year out, young boys and girls register for universities entrance exams (Jamb and post-UTME) and when they fail to make the required grades, they are considered failures. The ones that are tired of trying settle for colleges of educations, technical schools or polytechnics while the so-called determined ones, most of whom have no idea what they want to do with their lives, continue in the struggle of rewriting university entrance examinations. They keep making money for the universities when it is certain most of them have no business being university students.

Now, what does it mean to be truly educated? Going by the definition of education in Longman dictionary, it is the process by which your mind develops at school, college or university. The dictionary only mentions school, college or university in order to foster understanding in a layman, but the true meaning of education is: The process by which mind and the whole being is developed through learning. This learning can be acquired in any designated institution. However, there can be no true education where there is indoctrination.

In Nigeria, we have many school, college, polytechnic and university graduates that are not truly educated. What they had was indoctrination in the name of education. That is why they are straight jacketed, hardly able to dream or translate dreams into something tangible.

Education is all about learning how to achieve one’s passion and goals while indoctrination, going by its definition, is believing what one is told or what seems agreeable, convenient and best in order to avoid the stress of learning and engaging in its practicality. Exceptions are those who go for professional courses. In the University of Lagos, most professors and HODs won’t take it lightly with you if you call them without their titles; they always punish students that make such mistakes.

That’s what indoctrination has done to them, not even with their PhDs will they ever understand that calling them those titles doesn’t enhance their productivity or earn them any more respect than when they are not so addressed. Not addressing them by their titles won’t reduce their status. A truly educated folk even without university education knows it is not about title or position but productivity, about the responsibility given. That is one major difference between the truly educated person and one who is indoctrinated in the name of education.

• To be continued.
Rhymez (Real name and telephone protected) is a social analyst, poet, songwriter and an undergraduate of the University of Lagos studying Sociology.

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