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EDUCATION AS A POWERFUL TOOL FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION: IMSU EXAMPLE

Joseph Aniemeka Nwachukwu

Education specialists are of the view that education is a catalystic and formidable agent of civilization, which enables persons to develop their mental capacities and enrich their knowledge.

Admittedly, it is against this back drop that section 18 of the 1999 constitution stipulates instructively that a fundamental objective of government is to provide Nigerian’s with “equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels and where practicable, free, compulsory and universal primary education.

Successive governments had in the past paid lip service to this declaration.

The current democratic order in the state under the indefatigable and administrative ingenuity of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha with his able lieutenants at various levels should pay attention and demonstrate political will to raise the standards of education.

This is apparently anchored on the premise that education as a selective device offers citizenry the auspicious opportunity to do good without counting costs or returns and without blowing horns or trumpets.

Indeed, the illiteracy and its manifold manifestations pose a serious threat to democracy and detrimental to democratic evolution.

It is a statement of fact that in recognition of the formidable role of education, Governor Emeka Ihedioha’s administration is working doggedly to eradicate illiteracy in the State. This is so because Imo Citizens require the basic skills in reading, writing and self rediscovery in order to interpret vital documents such as, holy books and appreciate the absolute need to discharge their civic obligations to the State.

Today through the mission and vision statement of Vice Chancellor of Imo State University Prof. (Mrs.) Victoria Adaobi Obasi education is meant to bridge socio-economic gaps among the citizens, facilitate individual self-actualization and material well-being thereby equip many persons to contribute meaningfully towards egalitarian society.

The strategic policy of IMSU V.C, Prof. Adaobi Obasi is targeted at the growth of culture, entrepreneurship, civility, public enlightenment and economic development, through the empowerment of the individual and his transformation into a creative and responsible citizen. She has substantially and faithfully sustained these survivalist measures.

There can be no doubt that the foundation of every state is the education of its youth. This explains why in most developed countries, the education of the citizens is actively promoted and funded.

Prof. Adaobi Obasi correctly, recognized that education is a powerful tool for social transformation. She has effectively transformed the Imo State University raised its human resource profile and offered Imo State specific advantages within the federation especially in terms of human capacity, and societal current of thought.

Based on her visionary leadership, university education has become not just a sacred mission, but an affirmation of faith, at a governmental and societal level, in the individual and his/her potential.

Essentially, Professor Adaobi Obasi’s policy is targeted at the growth of entrepreneurial spirit, self-reliance and economic development, through the empowerment of the individual and his transformation into a creative and responsible citizen.

After some years, this process which has touched many lives and made a difference is worth writing about. There can be no doubt that the foundation of every state is the education of its youth.

According to Prof. Adaobi Obasi, the first IMSU female V.C, qualitative, education is the key to the building of a productive, progressive and creative society. She maintained that education is also an essential tool for deepening democratic values in society.

This explains why in most developed countries, the education of the citizens is actively promoted and funded. For instance, in Japan, education is free and compulsory for the first nine years of school life. Today Japan’s literacy rate is close to 100 percent. Similarly, in England, school attendance is compulsory up to age 16, and the state fully funds public primary and secondary schools.

Interestingly, in Imo State, Prof. Victoria Adaobi Obasi has raised hopes and expectations about the value of higher education. Restoring education to a primal place in the nation’s order of priorities is important.

The right to education must be seen to be defended by Governor Emeka Ihedioha as a means of raising the quality of human lives in our environment.

The Imo State University should be better funded, and our children should be guaranteed access to such qualitative education that can empower him or her adequately in a world that is increasingly reliant on skills and competitiveness.

Nothing should be done to truncate education which UNESCO has definitely clarified as the right of every child. Today, Prof. Adaobi Obasi, has guaranteed that lecturers would no longer be relegated to the state of inferior status in the scheme of things. Their salaries are not delayed long after civil servants must have been paid. She does this notwithstanding the paucity of fund squarely confronting IMSU.

In the same vein, teachers or lecturers should as moulders of next generation of leaders, appreciate their significant and pivotal roles in National development. The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), one of the oldest trade unions in the country and ASSU must be in the vanguard for a stress free industrial milieu. It is a truism that no nation can develop beyond the level of education of it citizens.

We must remember that the process of education is something that continues from cradle to grave. Therefore we must not think that there is a point in formal education at which a man has learnt everything about his group or his environment and that, thereafter, he ceases to learn.

An educated and cultured man is a rare product. The true position is that any nation that evolves a parliamentary or presidential system without an informed and actively participating electorate is bound to hit the rock.

Joseph Aniemeka Nwachukwu

Public Affairs Analyst.

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