Afrikrown Annual Art Exhibition
This is the third article being written on the series aptly named “Box”. We have dealt with the ‘box of Culture and Traditions’ and also the ‘box of Peers and Surroundings’, and I for one am glad that we are finally getting a topic with a single word. The concept of ‘BOX’ has been discussed thoroughly here and this article centers on EDUCATION and like always, I will begin with some definitions of the word education which will form the guideline to be used for this article.
Education can be seen as the process of imparting knowledge, skills and judgement which is more than the passing on of book knowledge but also the building of character. It can also be seen as facts, skills and ideas that have been learned either formally or informally. From the brief definition above, it can be observed that education builds character and not through books alone with which formal education is imparted, but also through observation and other forms of informal learning.
Our African culture encourages the community to help bring up a child and this is why the elders in our society have the authority to discipline children that aren’t related to them to a certain degree. This act of others helping to raise one’s child is an informal education and is one of the key components that determine how we turn out to be as adults with strong value systems that reflect the values of our society. The formal education of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions also play a major role in forming the box we grow up to identify with and which guides most of our actions. The key thing to note however is that it is not only the book knowledge that defines who we are but also the crowd we associate ourselves with in these institutions that add to the value system of the individual.
Thus it can be said that it is the people and learning materials/methods in formal and informal education that shape who we are and thus forms the basis of who we turn out to be as adults. This then follows that a handful of the knowledge we hold dear is accumulated from other people, learning experiences and materials and thus can be subject to error as one such knowledge is an accumulation a number of correct an incorrect findings or information. Some of this information would have undergone a long string of adoption and editing and others would have been consumed verbatim with no proper research by people in different parts of the world with different biases. This can lead to the possible consumption of information that may be correct in one part of the world, but incorrect in another, or information that may be untrue and without proof or facts.
One way out of this box, which is the usual way of stepping out of the BOX, is to question our value system that we hold dear to see if it represents who we truly want to be. Hence, we can change the aspects that do not represent who we want to be, replacing it with what we want. Self-reflecting is key to analyzing what our education has taught us and who we really want to be. This is a continuous process of growth that cannot be achieved at once. Like a Japanese proverb says, “If you understand everything you must be misinformed”.