What does it mean to be educated? The Free Dictionary by Farlex defines it thus:
1. Having an education, especially one above the average.
a. Showing evidence of schooling, training, or experience.
b. Having or exhibiting cultivation; cultured: an educated manner.
3. Based on a certain amount of experience or factual knowledge
When an educated person talks or behaves like an illiterate, I’m seriously disturbed. In fact, I suffer serious ‘brain pain’. And most people don’t understand. They ask: ‘Peter, is it your education? Why e dey pain you?’ They advise me to leave people alone. They think that an educated person that talks or behaves like an illiterate means nothing.
Well, it does mean a lot. There’s a reason why you became educated. It’s because of the sake of those who weren’t privileged to get educated. Look at the whole society as the human body. The eyes perform a function. The ears. The bowels. The genitals. Just name it. Every part of the body has a function that makes the whole body work together. Once a part fails to perform its function, the whole body becomes sick.
Educated people have functions to perform in the society and their functions are even more critical in societies where large cross-sections of the population aren’t educated. They are to be leaders of thought. They’re to be the very ones influencing trends for development. They’re to be looked up to by the uneducated folks for positive mentality, productive behaviour, etc.
So once educated people speak or behave in a manner that’s below what’s expected of them, the society becomes stagnant — or sick if we apply the above-mentioned analogy of the human body. For instance, you’re in a family. If you’re educated, especially if you’re one of the very few people to have gotten quality education in your family, you should be the one enlightening and guiding everybody else into modernity and sound thinking. You should be the ones leading people out of the cave in that neighbourhood.
On another note, if you’re educated and you’re performing below what’s expected of an educated person, you’re a waste, a monumental one at that. The society has invested a lot in you to get you educated. The government used everybody’s resources, the whole nation’s resources, to provide the facilities and subside your education. Your teachers, and others staff worked tirelessly to make you what you are. If you monetize that, perhaps the society altogether has spent thousands of USD’s to produce a single first degree holder.
And your parents paid too. Some parents sold what they had to pay your education through school. Your mother couldn’t get an education but became a commercial sex worker or a bar attendant or a manual construction site worker to make sure that you have the BSc you have today. Some people’s education became community projects for the whole village. Now ask yourself: why did they go through all the stress? To make you comfortable in life so that you could help them out financially? Yes, of course. But much more. They did all that also so that they could have an enlightened person around. They know that an educated person is a protection for those who have him or her and an edge over those who don’t have such a person. To whom much is given, much is expected.
Even well-read, educated parents, families, and societies need a lot to benefit from their educated offspring. Parents who are both professors can benefit new ways of thinking and reasoning from their educated kids. The generational gap ensures that even professors need to be brought to speed on current thinking about life, relationships, and thought. Children by virtue of being contemporary in age can provide direction to their educated parents concerning modernity and current ways of problem-solving. Cultural evolution in every society is engendered by the younger generation leading the way. This paragraph is for those who say ‘Well, I’m not the first person to get educated in my family. My grandparents and parents are educated’. You still have these functions to perform, these expectations to live up to. Again, to whom much is given, much is expected.
So picture yourself being a disappointment in this regard. Provide sensible direction, you can’t. Provide enlightenment, you can’t. In fact, the person that didn’t finish at the primary school thinks better than you. He has more idea about life than you. They look at you and there’s no difference between what they will see you do or hear you say and what they will see an illiterate okada rider do or say. They’re sad, dejected. Their investment has been a waste. What if your parents had spent all that money on starting a business or living a more comfortable life instead of wasting it on you? For both your immediate family and the society at large, you’re a non-refundable investment. Or can we now sell you and get our funds back? You’re an abyss of waste, like life savings thrown into a giant black hole! My people refer to something like you as ‘owó wọ’gbó’.
You have nothing to correct in the way they think and reason. You too have joined them to believe in the same things they’ve been believing since you were born. You’re even the coordinator of the most stupid superstitious and nonsensical beliefs and practices in your household. You’ve done nothing to change their orientation about life. You’ve added nothing to them. And some of you even have MSc and PhD and bar your academic degrees, you’re not smarter than a primary school dropout.
OK. We have so many problems in Nigeria but these ‘uneducated educated’ folks are a major problem. And you know the problem with an ‘uneducated educated’ person? He’s difficult to correct because he thinks he knows it all. He went to the University of XYZ and studied PQR and thus can’t be corrected. Bros, change your ways today.
Yes. Have a rethink. You may actually not have been properly educated. If the only things that are different between you and an uneducated person are physical appearance and English grammar, you need to be sorry for yourself. Let me tell you. The way Nigerian education rolls nowadays, it might be difficult to get properly educated. Even people aren’t savvy about their disciplines talk less of knowing anything about life generally. Accountants that can’t execute simple accounting maneuvers and mechanical engineers who can’t design a simple machine are all over the place. Is that one a graduate?
And being educated is more than owning a degree. A university graduate that’s still misogynistic or following charlatan faith healers all over the place, is that one a graduate? Someone who calls himself a graduate but is a religious bigot or a bitter tribalist, is that one a graduate? Someone who says he’s educated but posts thrash on social media and types Amen on nonsensical posts, is that one educated? A so-called educated person that doesn’t know the name of his state governor or the first thing about civic duties, is that one not a waste of a human being? That one that won’t advise sick people to visit the hospital or that one that believes he will become rich by sleeping in church, is that one educated?
It’s never too late. You can still panel-beat yourself to shape. If we’re to progress as a society, you and your likes need to justify the academic degrees you have. Read wide. Information is free now (at least, the national assembly has pulled back the earlier proposed hike in data tarrif). Don’t just follow Ini Edo and Rihanna on Instagram. Don’t just start your morning with Linda Ikeji. Read something about politics, about business, about arts, about science. Read books written by intelligent people across the world. Get erudite. Get properly educated. Don’t just wake up and read Open Heavens or all these devotionals. Spend your day getting abreast of information about events around you and those happening around the world. Connect yourself with intelligent leaders of thought both locally and internationally.
Being educated is not just an empty title. It’s a position of responsibility to oneself, one’s family, and one’s society at large. Your society needs you today. We need you to justify the ‘educated’ tag. The population of stupid people around is too much for humanity to bear. You can help us by reducing the burden.
Thanks for reading.