Educational Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
FORMAL education brings together people of different backgrounds to share knowledge and common cultural and traditional
values, among other things. It provides a platform on which people acquire interpersonal skills that enable them to live as a society.
Respect for all members of the human family is an important ‘treasure’ that the system continuously aims to promote in its role of shaping positive, harmonious human relationships and behaviours. An educated society, therefore, must work towards the common goal of attaining social, economic and cultural development at individual, community and national levels.
We now live in an ever-increasing technological world. So the educational system serves as a channel through which skills that are required for us to function in it are developed. Scholars who view education from this perspective agree that it is aimed at socialising people through established institutions, namely schools, colleges and universities, which are the ‘focal socialising agencies’, and select them for manpower allocation by instilling appropriate values and attitudes in them – as future workers. In this way, schooling contributes to the cohesion of society.
“Our age demands army upon army of skilled technicians and professional experts, and to the task of preparing these men [and women] the educational system is increasingly dedicated” (Clark, 1962:3, cited in Karabel and Halsey, 1977:9). This emphasis, by Clark, was as a result of the realisation that there is a very close relationship between education and other areas of society, such as the economy and polity, that is, society as a political unit, as well as the governance process.
Education, therefore, is regarded as a service that should be used to preserve the human capital, since the skills and knowledge attained in the process enable people to develop a given society. This idea, called the ‘human capital theory’, popularised by Theodore Shultz in the 1960s, is based on the premise that, firstly, education enhances individuals’ productivity. Here, the argument is that educated people are more productive than those who never went to school and those who dropped out of school at an early stage of the system.
Besides, education helps to develop the technical base for the kind of manpower that is required for accelerated socio-economic growth. Shultz believed that the process of acquiring skills and knowledge is a form of ‘productive investment’. Through investing in their education and that of their children, individuals “can enlarge the range of their choices. It is one way men [and women] can enhance their welfare”.
Since this investment requires support in form of finances and other resources by governments, non-governmental organisations and individuals concerned, the ‘income foregone’ should be ‘compensated’ in the future through the jobs for which individual workers were trained for. And these jobs should be rewarded according to the sacrifices one has made in terms of time and money spent on education; the more time and money spent in school, the more rewards there are in one’s career path in future.
Such truths should encourage students to look forward to working hard in school. Government, its agencies and business entities, too, among other players in the country’s development agenda, are supposed to ensure that there is continuous expansion of institutions and improved educational quality. Having well-trained, educated workers who are well motivated entails high productivity in various sectors of the economy. Government and its development partners should also be prepared to fund all research undertakings involving education and economic development, as well as education and productivity.
As we witness technological developments throughout the world today, educational systems should also be expanded to accommodate new ideas, as well as to create room for innovation.
For us to fully appreciate school as a ‘focal socialising agency’ and a real channel for manpower allocation towards all-round development of individuals, society and the nation at large, there is need to increase investments in education. Citizens should be educated.