Let’s get some myths out of the way. It is a general belief that we get educated in schools and colleges. But, do we really get educated in schools and universities? I am in no way denying the usefulness and perhaps the necessity of schools. Education is something most of us have come to take for granted. We have come to believe it is something one acquires after graduating from
universities and colleges. Yes, we do need the information to be educated. The awesome amount of knowledge man has produced, especially in the last century, makes the head spin. Yet, the modern knowledge explosion has done little to solve the problems of this world. Isn’t it about time we asked ourselves what true education is?

Education, as defined in the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, is an attempt on the part of the adult members of a human society to shape the development of the coming generation in accordance with its own ideals of life”.

A study found that when a person gets a job or promotion, 85% of the time it is because of their attitude, and only 15% of the time because of intelligence and knowledge of specific facts and figures – certificate. Is it not astounding that in most campuses across the world, we expend all our efforts on that which account for only 15% of success in life?

True education goes far beyond just preparing students for a career. True education teaches how to live a truly successful life. There is an unbreakable, undeniable link between character and true success. We cannot attain true happiness and success without moral character. Education – the one that could make young people leaders of tomorrow – should emphasize character building, developing a sound mind, becoming emotionally mature and socially balanced, building a well-rounded and service-oriented personality, and learning to appreciate the finer things in life.

These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate an individual who has been taught within the walls of a classroom from one who has not. The distinction is fading off quickly! Can students, parents, lecturers, employers, or employees be good in their roles without the right character? The answer is a resounding NO!

In countries the world over, people who are often remembered as heroes and heroines are those who at certain times exhibited the most important ingredient of education – character. These individuals, many of whom never attended schools, are honored and remembered not because they attended schools, but because they, through character, showed what it truly means to be educated.

Many African countries are in the pitiable situation they are today because of this utter lack of character by the so-called educated individuals in leadership positions all across the continent. It is the reason virtually all of the sectors of African societies are in the cesspool they are today. The education sector of most African countries is put in a mess majorly because the “leaders”, who themselves do not know what it truly means to be educated, care very little about the education of the people of their respective countries. However, most of these African “leaders” have their children in schools in Europe and America! Isn’t it true that you cannot give what you do not have? It’s all about ignorance.

We must not forget: The foundation of success, regardless of a person’s chosen field of endeavor, or grade, is moral character. Of course, we have to learn the know-how of where we hope to reach. We have to learn how to drive ourselves constantly to get there. We need to be careful about our health and avoid health-destroying habits. We have to be resourceful and persevere in our pursuit of set goals.

But we really cannot attain true success and rightly be educated without a strong character.

Education is a way of life. While “school” may be a four-year institution, education is a lifelong project. It is about developing the whole person. It is learning how to live, not just how to make a living. Education is building character. It’s doing what is right, not what is pleasurable, or what we feel like doing. It involves constantly observing, thinking, and learning – seeking a better, more productive way of doing things. This is what makes life interesting. It’s what stimulates personal growth. Unless we try to go beyond what we have already mastered, we will never grow. We must be constantly growing in how to live and how to make a living. If we do, what an education that would be.

Author's Bio: 

Gbadamosi Adedayo is a chemist cum writer who likes to express his thoughts on what is going on in the world. In his free time, he likes to watch football and try his hands on coding.