LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

THE RELEVANCE OF EDUCATION IN SOCIETAL CHANGE

The continent Africa gave
birth to a lot of ideas that
shape our modern world. As
far as 800 years back, it
already hosted the first
university of the world in
Timbuktu, where men and
women of letters gathered
together to exchange ideas –
from astrology to religion
and other important
discoveries.
EDUCATION CAN BRING PEOPLE
TOGETHER WHERE GOVERNMENTS
FAIL
Yet, nowadays, in many
regions of the continent,
governments continue to
fail those who are
systematically left on the
margins: women, girls,
children and many more. As
a result, the human rights of
the most vulnerable citizens
are neglected and ethnic
and religious tensions are
worsened for personal and
political gain. Sadly, one
tactic that has often been
used to achieve this is to
deprive the large majority
of the people from
educational opportunities,
such that citizens do not
know what their rights are.
Education can help bridge
the gap between ethnic,
religious and cultural
tensions. If people are not
raised to be active from
their childhood on, to be
responsible participants in
their communities and to
participate in the activities
needed towards achieving
development, then it is less
likely that any form of peace
will be sustainable in the
long term. And peace is a
key ingredient to
meaningful progress.
RESEARCH IS ALSO KEY TO
CHANGE
Progress cannot easily occur
without educated minds
ready to take on its
challenges. Indeed, progress
depends on research,
adaptability, innovation,
and an ability to think for
oneself. In a way, we owe it
to the enlightened men and
women who first shared
their ideas at ‘Sankore
University’ in Timbuktu,
over 800 years ago.
Furthermore, better
education can serve as the
key to active and effective
participation on all levels of
society. It is a vital part of
achieving better relations
among people, of fostering
respect for others, and of
engaging citizens in more
social action and public
awareness.
EDUCATION ALLOWS YOU TO
MAKE AN IMPACT
There are several ways
better education can make
us take more responsibility
and have a bigger impact on
the society around us:
We can become better
informed about how a
proper democracy and
electoral process function,
leading, ultimately, to
creating stable
governments for the
people and by the people.
Better education can teach
us to be more ethically
responsible and respectful
towards the environment,
our plants, animals,
natural resources etc.
These are only finite, so
we need to make sure to
protect them for future
generations.
We can become more
critical and challenging of
situations that in their
current form might not be
productive for society. This
can be vital for
constructive growth
We can become more
enlightened about how to
deal with those who suffer
from mental health issues
and learning difficulties.
This will improve the
learning process for both
teachers and students
Lastly, education is so much
more than formal schooling.
There is so much to be
learned from our
communities – rural and
urban – by being more
aware and open to
exposure. We can then
reflect on past failings and
injustices, so that we can
explore new visions and
concepts, new modes of
learning and thinking, all of
which can help to bring
about desired changes in the
world.

For knowledge and Justice

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