Philip Ngozi Ifechukwude Kwusike

“The progress of a nation can be no swifter than her progress in education”. – JF Kennedy

I consider it paramount to do an in-depth analysis of education Vis a Vis sustainable development in our society. This is largely due to the target audience at this occasion.

What is Education?

According to the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary, “education is a process of teaching, training and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skills”. In furtherance to this understanding, it therefore means that for one to acquire education there is a limitation to certain knowledge, hence the teaching, learning and training in order to improve in knowledge and develop skills. This can be done especially in schools or colleges but not limited to that scope. So, it does not mean that teaching and learning ends in schools. It is a continuous process.

Teaching and learning are developmental. It begins right from cradle and continues to adulthood. It starts from our parents who are the first teachers given to us by God. From home, we learn virtues that will propel us as we advance developmentally in life. Home is the first school where we learn manners and good behaviors from our parents. By the time we advance to school to learn how to read and write; we are on a two way garb of double acquisition of knowledge. This prepares us as we metamorphose from different stages in life. At these stages, our ability and readiness to learn determines our level of comprehension. This is where intelligence comes in. like Alfred North Whitehead puts it, “intelligence is quickness to apprehend as distinct from ability, which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended”.

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Many people falters here because they cannot comprehend, not that they are not intelligent, but because they have failed to utilize their time. Education is mindset. Napoleon Hill posited that “whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”. If you believe through dedication and commitment, success will be your watchword. Little wonder many drops out of school to seek a leeway to success. But I tell you emphatically that success has no shortcut. Many have failed because of doubt. This is why Dr. Charles H. Mayo told us “I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt”. Education remains the key to a successful life.

Philip Ng Ifechukwude-Kwusike: Author of Imagine Lagos and Other Stories

Importance of Education

One important thing to note is the misconception people have about education. In as much as we are talking about education in academic line, it is right to note that not all succeeds in academics. Some people are gifted in the areas of learning a trade or skill acquisition. Owing to their dedication and commitment to the trade, they succeed in life through it. At this juncture, it is important to note that education aids progression and success in life.

Early learning remains the basis for acquiring knowledge in life. Today, a lot of people shy away from learning because of get-rich-quick syndrome. But we need to heed to the warning of one of the greatest philosophers of all time, Aristotle. He said, “Young people have exalted notions because they have not yet been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves as equal to great things – and that means exalted notions. All their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They love too much, hate too much, and the same time with everything else”. Today, we are all aware of the great devastation that quick riches have done in our environment. But education gives you an edge in life by giving you a future you will be proud of. That is why Martin Luther King Jr. said that “I won’t have any money to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind”.

Education develops our individual perception of things and world around us. The aphorism that you cannot give what you don’t have comes to the fore here. Education makes us distinguish what is right from what is wrong with the ability to interpret things and give sound judgements. With education and sound mind, you are singled out of the crowd. You can build an opinion and points of view in life only if you are armed with the basic prerequisite of a sound educational background. Today, many people have become the architect of their own misfortunes because they failed to make the hay while the sun was shining. Augspurger admonished that “no one else will have confidence in you if you don’t believe in yourself”. It has become a tradition to link our mistakes in life to people we see as destiny killers.

Education affords us the opportunity to live independently by instilling some level of confidence. Political thuggery, arm banditry, cultism and all manner of evil vices are all products of lack of confidence. Many youths today are mortgaging their future because they have lost track of life. But you can be dependent on yourself overtime. For this reason, Wendell L. Willkie submitted that “I would rather lose in a cause that I know someday will triumph than to triumph in a cause that I know someday will fail”.

The Bible tells us that a man’s gift makes way for him. The society only recognizes people who have something to offer towards the development of their environment. Only education can guarantee you a key role in the development of the society.

Education and Sustainable Development

“The qualification of self-government in a society is not innate. They are the results of habit and long training, and for these, they will require time and probably much suffering”. Thomas Jefferson

Education and sustainable development is an interdisciplinary learning method that covers integrated social, economic, and environmental aspects of formal and informal curriculum. This academic can help graduates nurture their knowledge, talents, and experience to play a role in environmental development and become responsible members of the society.

Sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present generation without putting at risk the capacity of generations to come in meeting their own requirements. The aspiration of sustainable development requires us to resolve common problems in order to identify new environments with global challenges. It suffices to say that education remains the bedrock of sustainable development in the society.

Without education, sustainable development always tows the path of retrogression through wrong projection of ideas. Development of an entity thrives with nobility and ingenuity. Like minds always gather to project a master plan for the development of the society. Future leaders are determined by the education of the younger ones who grows to metamorphose into opinion leaders and society molders. No one can take away the relevance of education from the development of the society. Education remains the yardstick for sustainable development. I have never known any government administration that wants to succeed and wall itself with bunch of illiterates. Sustainable development begins and ends with education.

Life without Education

Life in entirety is about choice. Therefore, the choice to be educated or not lies in our hands. Paradoxically, it is like a tale of two roads. The one with a wide alley open with an influx of a multitude besieging it, but only a handful comes out successful. The other is narrow with only a few going in and succeeds eventually. William Blake cautioned that “great things are done when men and mountains meet; this is not done by jostling in the street”. You do not expect to succeed without giving into life.

The choice of either going to school and choose a career; or learn a trade and specialize in it lies in our hands. A life without education is a life without direction.


Education remains the key to sustainable development through the development of our minds. This begins from the moment we choose to enrich our acumen and feed it with the right thoughts. Sustainable development nurtures the way we live in modern times, hence the need to harness the potentials inherent in us to be able to blend with the trend.

Sir Karl Popper enthused that “we may become the maker of our fate when we have ceased to pose as its prophets”. Therefore, think right, act right, embrace education.


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