As declared by UNESCO, the theme for this year’s International Day of Education is “to invest in people, prioritize education.” As you may already know, the concept of Investment is not exclusive to the world of banking or finance. It simply means committing resources to a venture in the hopes of a great return.
We will liken it to the experience of the secondary school student who just learnt how plants grow in a biology class. They rush back home to the kitchen to pick out a bean, push it into a cup of soil and spend days watching, watering and waiting. Then in less than a week, they begin to see what was once a bean pod push through the barrier of the soil, out into the open in search of sunlight, water and nutrients, they get to watch the seed grow into something more, and oh! What a delight it is.
The government, the private sector, NGOs, educational institutions, parents, teachers and the general society are all important stakeholders in the investment process.
In the past year, Teens Going for Gold Network’s Lagos team visited a secondary school in one of the underdeveloped communities of Lagos, a large percentage of the students that we met, confessed to have lost interest in the idea of education and would rather engage in get-rich-quick schemes like internet fraud and here’s why:
Remember the story of the bean pod earlier? Many Nigerian students never really get to watch their bean pod grow to become anything exciting. When education does not seem like a priority to the government or even the general society, many young persons would prefer to explore alternative paths which are often unethical and in the worst case scenario, illegal.
What then are we saying? Most Nigerian students never get to see a representation of what it would look like to fall into the hands of a good caretaker . They only know of incessant strikes, poor facilities and the poor reward system that follows so much hard work. A higher premium. therefore, has to be placed on education and more funds injected in the system.
The government, the private sector, NGOs, educational institutions, parents, teachers and the general society are all important stakeholders in the investment process. Just like the bean plant, when proper infrastructure, learning tools, conducive learning environments and a proper economy are put in place, the Nigerian student will burst forth with so much resilience, out from beneath the soil and grow to produce more fruit. There is no better way to invest in people than in their education.
To invest in people, we should prioritize education of the Nigerian children and teenagers who we hope become the leaders in their own right today and can assure our progress as a country tomorrow.
Happy International day of Education!