By Kufre Ekanem , M. Sc Sustainable Development.
The Oxford Dictionary, Online Edition, defines a school as “an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers.” Therefore, “Schooling” refers the act of being in school for the purposes of what happens therein. The same source defines Learning as, “the acquisition of knowledge, or skills through experiences, study, or being taught (probably by teachers).”.
This definition gives learning the ability to occur anyway, at anytime, and in various discipline with or without teachers and not necessarily in the confines of a school or within a particular passion; while schooling must distinctively happen in an institution or as directed by the teachers. This limits students to what the curriculum of the school and the methods of learning available and practiced there. Learning on the other hand, is open, operates without limits of any kind; and exposes learners to abundance of ideas, information for the reality of life. There are many things one can do and love to do, but without knowledge of their capacity and polishing of gifs, there can be no benefit to them or the community.
In my country Nigeria, the school systems are mostly based on theory, and the practical lessons are have no content of reality of life outside, thus limiting the capacities of student to get employment or engage in self employment ventures. We see many students leave school and cannot represent themselves in any fora, or show intelligence even in the field of study they so prefer. The community sees all who have been to school as people made for white collar jobs (office jobs) and these affects the students from venturing into small personal business or engage in other innovative thinking, being that they are a subset of the community.
I see this as a failure of the educational system and a narrow approach to the celebrated curriculum and therefore recommend learning for all, at all levels to gather information, generate ideas, discover hidden capacities that are needed for the turnaround in the country. The problem is that many Nigerians spend more than four hours daily on the internet for social media actions, if part of this time is used in learning new trade, and discoveries of modern applications towards solving problems, we will have a more practical hands around us.
I have a team of four colleagues as students with background ranging from Engineering, Insurance, Accounting and International Relationships; reading, discussing the book, The Element” by Ken Robinson, Ph.D, to help discover their capacities and ways through which they can save the people and generate income for themselves. Following which the book, Where Do Good Ideas Come from by Steven Johnson would be studied. The lessons are very interactive and students write down their passions, what to do and horn them and how to apply in real life situations. Below are the excerts from the students when asked what they have discovered studying the book:
Godwin: "captivating, has help me discover passion in helping others solve problems".
Chika: "passion for beautifying person so would own a spa and beauty parlour".
Ekemini: "develop my passion in public speaking and personal development".
Ijeoma: "have discovered my passion in creative designs on cloths, teaching and mentoring kids".