Education And Real Life Challenges


Eugene C. Onyibo

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“The inability of formal educational training in academic institutions to assist graduates excel in life by effectively managing their real life challenges is rooted in the fact that there is a gap between education and real life challenges which is not bridged by the school system.”

In contemporary times, almost as a cultural practice, education has been elevated to the level of an initiation rite into the modern world. With the aid of formal educational training, people acquire the skills of reading and writing. It is obvious that literacy has become a requisite for coping with numerous challenges of modern times, even in developing countries. This speaks very eloquently on the fact that the society can no longer accommodate illiterates. As a result, it is becoming difficult to fit into the modern time in the absence of formal educational training.

Education is now a necessity, not a luxury. People’s attitudes to education appear to suggest, in fidelity to Platonism, that it is better to be unborn than to be uneducated. The demand for education is unarguably on daily increase. People make numerous sacrifices to acquire education. Parents are willing to give all they have in order to see their children through school. Some people travel to foreign countries in order to acquire quality educational trainings. Acquiring formal education has become one of the greatest priorities in life today, irrespective of people’s financial status.

However, despite the wide acceptance formal education has gained all over the world, one of the most significant questions about education that is often not asked is, “What is the relevance of education to practical life?” In other words, to what extent is education helpful in addressing practical life challenges? These questions should be asked because their answers justify the rationale of education. It is obvious, from daily experiences and observations, that education has continuously remained unable to improve the standard of living of numerous educated people, especially graduates.

How many educated people are truly financially successful? What percentage of graduates is exceptionally financially successful? It is a fact of life that most graduates struggle all through their adult lives merely to make ends meet, but sometimes to no avail. There are numerous people who graduated from tertiary institutions (even at the top of the class), but who are far below many people with lower educational training (academic intelligence and scholarly ability) than theirs in the ladder of financial success. Perhaps, financial struggles and crises are worse among educated people.

The inability of formal educational training in academic institutions to assist graduates excel in life by effectively managing their real life challenges is rooted in the fact that there is a gap between education and real life challenges which is not bridged by the school system. This gap stems from the fact that most people are ignorant of the purpose of education. What is the rationale of going to school? What are the objectives of education? Unless the purpose of education is understood and clarified, the continuity of its abuse will remain inevitable.

Most people have erroneous conceptions about the objectives of education. This misconception is rooted in the fact that the major incentive for going to school in the earliest days of its inception was that it was a ticket to prosperity. This was possible then because there were employment opportunities for educated people. But things have changed, and very significantly. Education does not guarantee gainful employment anymore, let alone financial success. What then is the purpose of education?

The ideal purpose of education is to facilitate an integral development of the human person - the intellectual, moral, physical, social, spiritual, psychical and psychological dimensions of man. Education should facilitate the optimum development of all the aspects of the human person, especially the mind. This is the most significant factor that validates the rationale of education. The school system should not isolate any aspect of man, nor consider some aspects more important than others in the training process. Anything short of this is an aberration, and is unacceptable.

Every educational process should be able to assist students to develop their latent potential; otherwise, it will be useless. When the mind is developed, it is able to identify and solve problems for humanity and, consequently, be compensated with rewards. This is the foundation of wealth creation because money is merely the reward for solving problems. Any graduate who cannot solve problems in the society lacks the potential for wealth creation. This is a fact of life most graduates are ignorant of. This is also one of the factors that are responsible for their ugly financial experiences.

Education will assist graduates to become happy and fulfilled in life if it is structured to facilitate the optimum development of their minds. If this is done, education will equip graduates with the requisite skills to survive the economic battles and challenges of real life. Consequently, they will become assets to themselves and the society no matter the circumstances. The quality of life of graduates will remain the most reliable standard for ascertaining the rationale and quality of formal education.
The experiences of most graduates in contemporary times lend credence to the fact that education does not guarantee financial success any more. There is continuous decline in the standard of living of most graduates. As a matter of fact, many graduates are living in abject poverty. Numerous people remain financially dependent on their families and friends after several years of graduating from tertiary institutions. Some are finacially dependent for the rest of their lives. The ugly experiences of most graduates are rooted in the fact that there is a missing link between education and financial success, which is not bridged by the school system. What is this missing link? How can graduates achieve a happy and prosperous life? Now You Are A Graduate, What Next?: A Handbook For Fresh Graduates answers these questions. It offers a guide to graduates on how to survive in life after school.

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