Monday, January 6, 2014

A Reflection on Mandela's Views on Education

Today(5th January, 2014) marks 1 month since Nelson Rohilhla Mandela, world renowned icon and former President of South Africa, died on 5th December 2013 in Johannesburg. A lot has been said by many greater than I about this great son of not only Africa but the world at large that it seems almost pointless to say anything more about him. However, I thought of having a glimpse into the mind of Mandela through his words and what those words mean to us. Since my vocation is education, I will focus on his famously quoted words: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." In reflecting on these words I will look at them from two angles i.e. agreeing with the words and also offering an alternative view to these words.

Firstly, in agreeing with Mandela without a doubt education makes a difference in the lives of men and women, boys and girls. It makes them better persons who can handle the challenges that a changing world faces. It is for this reason that parents and guardians will work very hard to ensure that their children or wards get educated even at great financial cost to their families. Most of us have noted that families or individuals that have not taken education seriously, have ended up being problems to their families, communities and their nations at large. Education seeks to equip members of society with knowledge, skills and attitudes or values that make them better and useful citizens. Governments and other agencies strive to support education of citizens by allocating a good part of their budgets with funding. This is common knowledge. Parents or guardians want their children to live better lives and be responsible citizens and so will encourage them to work hard in school and get educated. 

Mandela says "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." This means that the world has a number of challenges that it faces that require a number of tools to address them, Among these tools, Mandela singled out Education as the most powerful tool. Individuals, families and nations who neglect investment education of themselves, families and citizens are doing them a great disservice as they will only breed a nation of ignorant talkers and doers who will make the world worse than it is. Change in our communities, nations and the world is necessary. Just look at the many unwise decisions that those that do not have knowledge, skills and values that education gives and you begin to see why education is very important.

Secondly, in looking at Mandela's quotation from a different perspective. Education is not the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world. The gospel of Christ is. No wonder the apostle Paul would say he was not ashamed of the Gospel for it the power of God for salvation for sinners (1 Timothy 3:16). Having an educated person alone without the influence of the Gospel only creates an educated sinner who though she or he may make some changes to the world, cannot make lasting change to the world. Men need to be educated alright but they also need the transforming power of salvation from sin brought about by the gospel. So then I would rephrase the words to read: "Education is the one of the powerful weapons which you can use to change the world, but the Gospel is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world".