Don’t train the brain, train the heart FIRST

There was the recent news that the new Governor of Sokoto State (and former Speaker of the House of Representatives) has made it a criminal offense for for any parent to deprive his child of ‘basic education’.

Tambuwal Makes It a Criminal Offence to Deprive Children of Education

Many people have come out to applaud this move, as the level of illiteracy is highest in the Northern part of the country. If other governors would emulate this, then maybe we may be on the right path to the elimination of rampant illiteracy, with the attendant societal spillover / domino effects.

Great.

However, I had this to say.

How would one be able to prove if the parent is willing but unable, rather than unwilling but able? Good on paper… Like the Smoking prohibition Law, the Enforcer is probably just as culpable

Somebody countered..

I believe there would be pull factors (free tuition, free meal, etc.) to complement this push factor. The focus here is on basic education and not tertiary education. The policy direction looks sound to me and certainly there exist practical routes/options to execute on it.

Free tuition, free meals? The Osun state dabbling into this kind of policy direction is still fresh in our mind as regards sustainability.

photo courtesy - dailynews.gov.bw

photo courtesy – dailynews.gov.bw

If the parents are financially well off, what would be the business of government making the populist move of providing free meals and free tuition?

The thinking is that poverty begets poverty, while illiteracy begets illiteracy. Poverty of the mind and the body are two things that impede the spread of knowledge (education). You are more likely to be uneducated if your parents are uneducated and poor, than if you have affluent (even if uneducated) parents. These two factors are intertwined. Clearly, even if a parent is willing, the quality /level of education that a child would receive is very dependent on financial wherewithal?

photo courtesy - gudev.org

photo courtesy – gudev.org

This is why I tend to think that the problem of illiteracy can be better frontally tackled by addressing the financial wellbeing of inhabitants first (through good governance and the enthronement of equity in society). We have ‘well to do’ illiterate patents who trained their kids to the highest level simply because the means are there. Conversely, there are educated parents without the means who would have loved to give their wards the best education money can buy.

Somebody made this statement…

Another avenue to end terror in Nigeria

This got me thinking and is the real basis for this post.

The landscape is littered with ‘book literate’ people who have demonstrated that literacy is different from education. And it is looking like education does not have much to do with literacy or numeracy.

photo courtesy - agfax.net

photo courtesy – agfax.net

The one who said ‘enforced basic education would reduce terrorism is missing it’. It is not the ability to read or write that influences your thinking, your gullibility / susceptibility to manipulation, or lack of independent thinking. It is more of your core beliefs /values which are primarily more fundamentals shaped by culture, tradition and/or religion.

Umar Farooq Abdulmutallab had the best of literacy (not education), but was still willing to be a suicide bomber. The people who engage in suicide bombing and terrorism don’t do so because they are illiterate They do so because of their core beliefs, which has little to do with book literacy.

We had graduates at the highest level of rulership, with a coordinating Minister who won international accolades. Where did that leave Nigeria in the committee of nations?

My submission is that we should focus more on education than literacy, training the heart and not the brain, because a literate criminal or suicide bomber or armed robber is far more effective than the illiterate counterpart.

While not knocking school literacy, it is clear that book literacy does not go far enough in building a sound society. It is the core values, better imparted within the society, amplified by religious and traditional beliefs that are more effective in shaping individuals.

And that’s where we need to start. From the grassroots and (inter) personal comportment….

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