I was in Portharcourt recently and heard a program on the radio, discussing the difference between schooling and education. The presenters were asking listeners for their comments on the above and it made a very interesting program.

Is schooling different from getting an education? Are they the same? Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Is it much more than just ‘book’ or school? In fact, Mark Twain said, ‘I refuse to let schooling get in the way of my education’.

I get it!

I get the fact that there is a big difference between going to school and getting an education. School for instance teaches you things you need to remember for passing the exams and getting out of school with a paper qualification. However, the education you get (in school) teaches you things you need to learn for improving your life! Tom Bodett said, ‘In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson’.

Further, school can be boring for some and a downright killer of creativity if you let it. You would remember many people who simply come to school to while away the time. They do not see the need for school in many situations because they do not comprehend the educational aspect of school. For some, school is a waste of time! Some people pass through school while school passes through others. There lies the rub. Both sets go to school but only one gets an education.

Take some of our schools for instance. The situation where you are made to buy hand-outs from lecturers and return the answers to him/her verbatim for a pass does not lend itself to real self-examination and an understanding of the subject matter. The reason why many of our graduates cannot speak, write or actually function in the market place is that they have simply gone through school without getting educated. They have not been stimulated to think and appreciate the depth of knowledge gained.

I get it!

Education is personal and an application of what you may have learnt in school. Education opens the mind and allows you to soar past your present capabilities. Education is most important because it expounds the mind: developing it. Education is actually what sustains learning and is life-long: if you apply it. Education prepares you for life after school. You therefore cannot and should not stop learning. In effect, education is life and is for life!

In fact, Epictetus wrote that, ‘it is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows’. The fact that many in the work place cannot flourish, expand the role, add quality to the business is because of a closed mind: uneducated. Sadly, many do not even appreciate the depths of their ignorance as they brandish insignificant certificates. In many situations, you have to spoon feed graduates and guide them on the job every day, till you tire!

Gloria Steinem said, ‘The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. See the situation with doctors, Malaria and Typhoid? Many doctors are treating everything as Malaria. Too many are still treating Malaria without testing. Yet, affordable test kits are readily available at affordable cost. The computer is stuck on Malaria!

Another great thinker, Clay Bedford, explains this very well, ‘You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives’. This may explain why we still have poorly schooled and poorly educated artisans. Many plumbers, carpenters and mechanics remain so bad you wonder what they have learnt. Simple fixes are turned into disasters with mistakes repeated day in, day out!

I get it!

My father used to say, ‘I have told you that fire burns, and you have not listened. No problem, if you want to get burnt, I will hold your hand to the fire’! In so many circumstances, he allowed us to experience life and learn from it. According to James Baldwin, ‘Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them’. I did that to my children too, teaching them, then allowing them to experiment and get the experience. Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand. Chinese proverb

I get it!

Learning can be hard though and a tough lesson stays with you for life. According to a smart man, education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance. If you cannot fathom that you are ignorant, it is difficult to improve in life. The whole of life is education. Each day should be a clean slate, ready for more learning in our journey through life. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, but learners may also educate themselves. There is a big difference between schooling and education.

So, start with your own education today: if you get it!


One Response

  1. Nehemiah Obadiah

    Sir, i got it, that was magnanimous
    am blessed by your articles … more grace to you
    Please, can there be Education without Schooling?


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