When Education Becomes Indoctrination By Soul’z Rhymez

EDUCATION 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.

If one who doesn’t ever attend university is considered educated then who is uneducated? An uneducated person is the person who doesn’t know anything about his life’s visions and goals and how to pursue them; one who does not have what it takes to succeed in his chosen lifestyle. For instance, if all you want to be in life is a footballer and you go to school to study mechanical engineering when you should register yourself into a football academy and develop your skills, you are simply uneducated. It doesn’t matter if you have a PhD in it. PhD in mechanical engineering will never make you a better footballer. Imagine if Messi and Ronaldo have left football academy to go to university, will they have become the famous and successful footballers that you know today?

These men and the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and even our own Genevieve and Omotola who didn’t become graduates of any university are among those who chose to be truly educated when schooling becomes indoctrination. True education means the development of the mind and the whole being through learning and putting to work what has been learnt.

However, being an illiterate (unable to read and write; having less than an expected standard of familiarity with language and literature, or having little formal education; not conforming to prescribed standards of speech or writing) basically, inability to read and write will always limit anyone’s level of education if one has to learn about his goals and passions. Of course, there are natural talents that do not require being taught in order to have them. If one is unable to read and write, he or she will definitely have limited education. Education can be acquired via other sources but literacy (ability to read and write) is vital.

However, being a university student is not the proof that one is educated. For you to be able to sit for university entrance examination you must be educated (be a literate and have at least ordinary level of formal education).That means you can be educated even without university education.

Tertiary education is not for everybody and those who are there are not superior to those who are not. It is only a required type of education for those whose goals and dreams in life could be shaped thereby but if not it is a gross waste of time and wrong indoctrination.

I am not against university education and certifications. What I am against is the indoctrination. I want everyone to be liberated from the sick mentality that university or tertiary formal education is a must. Not everyone should be in the university, judging by different skills, talents, passions and destinies and how they can be developed and attained. If truly some of these folks know what they want and how to get them, most of them would not have thought of university education at all.

I want parents to understand and discover their children’s passion and give them appropriate education as required by their passions and dreams instead of forcing them to the university thinking without it they will become nobodies. I don’t want our government to place more than necessary emphasis on certification; let them focus more on practical evidence of these certificates and we will have capable hands in different sectors.

I want the government and the labour market to recognise other certificates aside from those from universities. They should not place university certificates ahead of those obtained from other institutions since all of them are certified institutions of learning.

I want the young folks also to take their destinies in their own hands, follow their dreams and not unnecessarily crave for university education and become nuisance after graduating even with good grades.

Remember, when schooling becomes indoctrination, only the truly educated ones become successful. To be successful in life requires more than just university education and most significant success stories in life are not as a result of it. The truly educated people are those who are original, resourceful and creative, who dream dreams and think out of the box to attain their dreams and fulfill their passions. They are those that acquire the only type of education that liberate their passions and help them to reach their set goals, not university graduates.

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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