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SUSTAINABLE EDUCATION FOR A HEALTHIER FUTURE

By Ogadimma Mbadiwe

Education gives knowledge which as Bacon rightly puts, is a

“source of power to man”. However, it is crucial we note

that this power can function either as one employed to

build a better future or as one that destroys.
Our masters, the likes of Galileo, after much philosophizing

and experimentation, discovered truths and initiated

beneficial principles now observed in our educational

system. Their great philosophies are perfect for numerous

situations, but our system does not show scholars the path

to think and understand the proper situations to apply

them. This is chiefly because the concentration of teachings

nowadays is not to make people think, which ought to be the

primary goal, but chiefly to uphold existing laws, reasoning

in the confinement of principles, and empowering
indirectly an unsustainable world.
Acquiring Knowledge of established principles is good. But

our educational system is leaving out an essential goal of

growing our thinking faculty, by not grounding scholars with

the understanding that the established principles are

simply discoveries employed to help and should not be

taken as final. Such limits our sense of discovery needed to

address the diverse problems growing in our world.
Time or situation can transform valid principles to invalid;

the superseded scientific laws or theories we had and will

still have are examples. “To be yourself in a world that is

constantly trying to make you something else is the

greatest accomplishment” (Ralph Waldo). A good quote it

is; however, students are not grounded to understand its

context and scope: Sadly, one can now see a sadist
employing similar quote to justify actions, causing

mayhem.
At a tender age, it was like a law according to my parents

and remarks from people that rain starts and ends in

certain months. I remember asking: “What if it rains in

January?” their answer was: “It cannot”. The reply came

with some air of finality because the principle had been

valid historically and probably because they had never

experienced otherwise. The principle was true. To them it

was irrevocable. But time has invalidated that principle

through climate change. Now the months they had known to

bring heavy downpours sometimes turn to be the driest.

Life gets more complex every day, luckily we have principles

intended to help, not to mold or limit our future. Sadly, our

recognized principles cannot fit in every situation, and

sticking on them will only bring about chaos. For a

sustainable world, we need a kind of education where

principles are acknowledged as a stimulus and not a

decree. We need Education where people have enough
grounds to express themselves beyond established
principles, laws or philosophies; one that develops our

reasoning and thinking faculty without constraints.

Pitiably, the knowledge we now gain from education does

not train one in the part of wisdom which grows when one

begins to think. It only exposes some people’s wise thoughts

or principles. Our system of education now yields educated

fanatics: people that have acquired better knowledge on

how to present and manage their fanaticism, planting

chaos by training advanced erroneous people.
Due to life’s growing complexities, education that develops

our discerning ability to avoid further knowledge
misappropriation is needed. Adoption of fine principles

helps, but we should avoid settling in a period where ­

scholars are chiefly concerned with following of principles,

so we can elude a future of people that reason more with

citations than their heads, like robots.
For a peaceful and sustainable future, we should stop the

degrading practice of following principles thoughtlessly in

our educational system, and welcome fresh educational

scheme that stimulates our thinking faculty. That will

enable all to understand the fact that time or situation

can change anything. So, one would not be quick to
conclude because of knowledge from recognized scholars or

universal principles.
I believe in the future of education where people do not

just copy principles or laws, but where people also

philosophize on situations to know where the principles are

usable. This will free our world from the problematic chains

of principles. Some of our masters foresaw this ugly future

of ‘ scholaroids ’; Socrates addressed it: “I cannot teach

anybody anything, I can only make them think.”

Postmarked May 2016 for Goi Peace Foundation Essay
Contest (2016)
THEME: "Education to Build a Better Future for All"

Word limit: 700