“O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge.”
Education thought has been with us throughout the ages. It has continuously been evolving, improving, reflecting on itself, and changing. Most importantly, educational thought has invariably been, for better or for worse, able to change society.
Quite often, we hear ourselves or our mates asking: What are we doing in school?
Why do we have to attend school? Quite often also, we hear answers from our elders: To improve your mind; to insure for yourself a high position; a well-paid job; a respectable status.
But, really, how convinced are we that this is the actual purpose of our education?
I, for one, am not that convinced. It is too much hard work, too much money invested, too much time used, just for a job or a position.
I believe that we attend school because we are the instruments of change, of evolution, of development. It goes without saying that a good education invariably ends with a prestigious job and a respectable position; but these are just the icing on the cake. The real cake is our ability to change. Without change, our societies will turn to routine and decay, eventually crumble. With change, we will prosper and evolve.
Not all change is welcome, however. Unless such change is ruled by values and ethics, it would amount to mechanical, sub-human results. Examples of the misuse and abuse of technology and scientific inventions are all around us: polluted air, deforested areas, dirty waters and soil, depleted ozone layer, the list grows every day. Our responsibility, our duty, is to make sure that whatever change we effect is always bounded by our deep-rooted values and morals.
What our teachers strive to provide is the illumination to a future. What road we take will be governed by our ability – or inability – to differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong. If the school does not give us this skill alongside the chemistry and the grammar and the geography, then the whole educational process will have failed.
May this year, and all the years to come, provide us all with the skill to perceive and distinguish right from wrong. May we receive the proper answers to our questions; but more importantly, may we be able to ask the proper questions.