The phenomena of the “Educated Illiterate”

Food for thought as we prepare to select and not elect our next crop of leaders.

Given the pejorative weight of the lingo, it is not unexpected that some readers of this piece may want to know from me who an educated person is, and how is he supposed to be conducting himself or herself in public, or rather make utterances.

There is no denying the fact that two schools of thought now exist in support and in disagreement with the argument that on the grounds of the falling standard of education that there is now a category of graduates that can best be described as “Educated illiterates.”

it is not about going through the four walls of a learning institution, because there is a thin line of divide between education and literacy. This is because somebody can be educated and still be an illiterate.

At this juncture, it is expedient we resort to lexicographers for clarification. To them, “Education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession.” In the same vein, the definition of illiteracy is lack of knowledge in a particular subject or the inability to write and read.

From the foregoing perspective, it is clear that education can informally be obtained as it is about the acquisition of knowledge or skills.

Still in the same vein, an educated person is the one that can use his knowledge to educate and awaken the people at large about their rights and duties. He can also make other people realize that in a democratic set up, while there are certain rights, there are certain duties that complements such rights for peaceful co-existence to prevail.

An educated person can create love for our country by sharing and spreading our rich culture. Simultaneously, he can also encourage our younger generations to prepare themselves for discharging their responsibilities to build a national character by sharing our legacy which we inherited as a result of huge sacrifices made by our ancestors.

An educated person can also play an important role in creating social, cultural and religious harmony so that love, trust and peace are ensured in community life. This would also ensure national unity and protect our national integrity and development.

Despite the presence of 44 federal universities, 48 state universities, 99 private universities, it is paradoxical that some people still come across as “Educated Illiterates”. The reason for the disagreeable development cannot be farfetched as the universities are not imbuing them with the right discipline, help them develop self-control and a generalized respect for others that would collectively be a tool for moral growth.

As basis of opinion is been formed from the foregoing perspective, it is expedient to ask, “Who then is an educated illiterate?” I am not going into the definition of these words!

According to Mahatma Gandhi, education is the realization of the best in man; body, soul and spirit. He maintained that education must be based on ethics and morality. We need to revisit our education system beyond the literacy framework. We need to educate our kids and youngsters so that they become instrumental in strengthening the nation rather than becoming force of division. Today, even people with high degrees surrender their reasoning and speak language that is divisive. Looking at the hate speeches and trolling rate on social media and on the ground that leads to tension and divisiveness, we can reasonably argue that we are unable to deliver education, which can potentially become medium to realize man’s best, as Gandhi had foreseen in his vision.

Duruebube Uzii na Abosi


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