The back to school fever going around with the pupils resuming classes this weekend has prompted me to reflect on Education and schooling. As I always have, I continue to believe that the main function of schooling is socialization; socializing the individuals concerned.
In fact, the Report of the International Commission on the Development of Education, set up by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 1972, expressed the same view by titling the Report: “Learning To Be: the World of Education Today and Tomorrow”.
Yes, the dispensing of knowledge or “learning to know” through the Core- Curriculum subjects such as Geography, History, Mathematics, Natural, Physical and Social Sciences, Religious Instruction is essential and perhaps indispensable. However, it need not exclude the “Learning to be”
The kind of “Learning to be” that I am referring to cannot be effectively delivered solely through theoretical lessons. Those Core-Curriculum lessons need to be complemented by Co-Curriculum activities such as games and sports, debating, action groups and Associations such as scouting. These need to be afforded physical space/grounds and scheduled time to exist. Unfortunately, some teachers and some parents tend to dismiss Co-Curriculum activities as useless and waste of study. They are wrong! A lot of “learning to be” goes on within the framework of Co-Curricular activities.
Obviously, many of those learning to be activities such as sports, theatre-acting require outdoor space. I therefore find it unfortunate and rather pathetic when I see schools or other institutions of learning stuck in the midst of cities without any green spaces, leave alone playgrounds or physical infrastructures for that purpose.