Education: An important tool.

By Devon Bailey

Proverbs 20:15 (NIV) "Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel."

The current state of our nation concerning the increasing unemployment rate suggests that obtaining an education is a futile accomplishment. This is primarily because of the growing number of unemployed graduates in our country. This, however, does not take away from the fact that securing an education is one of the most powerful tools with which one could ever equip oneself, and even more powerful when applied. Apart from other vital belongings that we are so easily robbed of such as our innocence, our youth, and our material possessions to name a few, education is the one thing that can never be taken from you. It is from this perspective that I write this article on education as an important tool.

believe that the vast amount of people who are unemployed and uneducated in our country is a result of misguided talent and a lack of quality education. Many of the social and economic injustices that we face as a nation such as poverty, unemployment, and crime, to name a few are deeply rooted in education and the lack thereof. These issues can be combated in three ways:

  1. Availability of and exposure to quality education,
  2. The active pursuit of educational opportunities, and
  3. An awareness of the sustainable future that one could secure with some kind of qualification in the bag.

It is therefore one’s personal responsibility to equip oneself with the tool called “education.” It is also the responsibility of the government to ensure equal quality educational opportunities for all in order to increase the level of sustainability of the people of our nation. This, in turn, increases the chances of a growing economy. Being a philosophy student, tutor and part-time lecturer for the last few years has given me the privilege of witnessing how education challenges and changes people's mindsets and perceptions of life. Imagine how much better our economy would perform if the intelligent minds of criminals were channelled in a more positive direction through quality education and employment opportunities. It’s only with a quality education (from birth, through tertiary) that one can really discover and effectively apply one's skills and talents.

Securing one’s education does not only speak to one being able to begin and complete a task or series of tasks within a set period of time, it also speaks to one’s work ethic, which ultimately determines whether or not one is an employable individual. It also speaks to one’s level of willingness to accept responsibility for one's self, which essentially results in more responsible citizens, and human beings. The significance of education does not only call to order the students involved, but also parents, teachers, and mentors. A child’s education starts long before they get to school. This is because education does not only comprise of that which we learn in the four walls of school, but the life lessons that build the character that we carry into adulthood. What children and young people learn, particularly by example, rests on the shoulders of everyone they look to for guidance.

Accountability and parent involvement

Obtaining an education creates a sense of accountability that one has to take for oneself, and is the perfect opportunity for parents to be more actively involved in their child’s growth and development. Effective parent involvement, done correctly, ultimately motivates children to achieve their goals. When I refer to the “correct way” of parents being involved, I refer specifically to allowing and encouraging children to pursue and achieve the goals and expectations that they have set for themselves. I do not refer, in any way, to the expectations that parents place on their children because of personal goals and/or failures, and the like. Parents ought to be virtuously involved in their children’s education and lives in general. By “virtuously,” I refer to neither of the extreme ends namely:

  1. Having absolutely no interest in your child because of your own failures and/or shortcomings, and
  2. Trying to control your child as a means of achieving your personal goals.

Parents have the primary responsibility of raising responsible and respectable adults. Holding children accountable for the goals that they set for themselves motivates them to finish what they start and to remain focused on what they want for themselves. Consequently, children begin to assume the responsibility they have taken upon themselves with the help and support of their parents holding them to their decisions, thus enforcing a positive push in the right direction.

Educate yourself in line with your gift ​

Proverbs 18:16 (ESV) "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before the great."

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God" - Leo Buscaglia

It is true that every person has a gift. Steve Harvey explains that your gift is “What you do best with the least amount of effort.” I am certain that after a fair amount of introspection, anyone is able to identify his or her gift according to this definition. Irrespective of the area in which one is gifted, I believe that educating yourself in line with your gift will ensure that you push through the challenge. This is because you would be pursuing a qualification in an area that you enjoy and not necessarily what is popular. Following the hype around a popular or trending field is a predominant result of misguidance or no guidance throughout and post school. This is also the primary reason for people dropping out of college or varsity. In addition, pursuing an education in a field in which you are able to grow is more meaningful than furthering one's studies for the sake of it.

Educating yourself in line with your gift equates to sharpening your skills and working your gift to the point of excellence; adding the value of theoretical expertise to your practical abilities. In this way, the job you secure once you have completed your studies will be what you really want to do as opposed to doing a job that brings no sense of fulfilment. This could ultimately result in frustration and depression. Knowing that you are doing something meaningful with your gift and being paid to do it adds meaning to one's life and creates a feeling of satisfaction.

Specialising in a particular area of expertise is essential to formulating a solid set of skills within the area of your gifting, but one should not be afraid to diversify. One's education should be consistent with a changing world and therefore, information and innovation need to work together. Another point of significance is that familiarising oneself with the industry of one's specialty enables one to understand what exactly the industry pays for and thus provides directions of how to equip oneself in line with the findings thereof.

In conclusion, because there will always be someone better than you at what you do, it is vital to build a network of relationships with people who are able to teach you something new within your field. Having and being a mentor guarantees that one is always learning, applying and passing knowledge on to others.

Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) "Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."