Monthly Archives: July 2017

Education and the Complete Individual

Education is something that many have said much about. Most of these are complex or vague. Consider the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s saying that education is ‘an ornament in prosperity‘ and ‘a refuge in adversity‘. There have been a great many attempts to explain this description, but none have quite succeeded in satisfying my curiosity. Alternatively, this is what the English essayist Joseph Addison has to say on education: What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. This too, has a great many explanations and elaborations. But does it really tell us what education is? Does it tell us why we need education? Not really, since the concept of the soul is, till date, a shadowy area. So how can we begin to comprehend what everyone claims is essential to life nowadays? To put it simply, education is a process of training our mind so that we can apply it in a field of our choice: which is why we have education not as a single seamless entity, but as a whole made up of various divisions: music education, scientific and technological education, art education, even teacher education!

Education can be considered similar to picking and eating a fruit. Picking a particular fruit on the tree is akin to choosing a field to get an education of. When we bite into it, we get our first taste of the subject. As we chew on the bitten portion, we begin to understand its various aspects – the tastes, textures, intricacies and complexities of it – and when we are ready to move on to the next portion, we swallow what we have assimilated so far so that it can be used for further application. The tree we get the fruit from is the entire body of past thinkers’ teachings and the voice that tells us which fruit to pick is the interpreter of that knowledge: the teacher.

Throughout the lifelong course of education (no, it’s not like school or college which ends after a fixed period of time), we get to know about things that always were, still are and always will be around us, waiting to be recognized and acknowledged. Light plays a central role in education – both literally and metaphorically – for visual inputs are the best learnt and without light – of the sun or electrical – we would be missing out on a whole world of knowledge. In fact, this is where phrases like ‘light of knowledge’, ‘throw light on the matter’, ‘kept in the dark’ and so on came from.

You might be thinking, how can we narrow the infinite field of knowledge to select what we will need or want to know? This is where the part on ‘training the mind’ comes in. The mind, as psychology tells us, is the centre of cognitive faculties which enables consciousness, thinking, perception and judgement. It is the kitchen for the information we acquire, where we can season and prepare the bits and pieces of data into comprehensive knowledge. Like any good kitchen, the mind has infinite capabilities (which is often the reason for confusion among us youth when it comes to deciding on a particular field to ‘specialize in’ for higher education) and therefore needs to be trained in order to make this choice clearer as every good chef needs to know what to or not to use for a dish. Unfortunately, the world we live in does not allow us to experiment with our capabilities without being ostracized or reduced to penury. Thus the need for specialization. And thus the need for education.

Another obvious question would be: how can we get education? It’s easier to use metaphors and analogies when describing something like this, but a parallel in the real world is sometimes hard to provide. One answer could be a school, college or university. There are also other means to formally get education. Such as home-schooling, distance learning etc. All of these provide us with a forum to exchange knowledge – where we can gain as well as give. This is a guided and restricted form of education, especially in the Indian scenario. It is difficult to find a good school where we can tailor our education according to our needs and interests. Often, we fail to avail of the opportunity even if it is within our reach. Peer pressure, our parents’ and elders’ wants, whims and wishes and societal trends all play a role in influencing us. And this very often has an adverse effect with the student being unable to cope with the contradictory inputs and buckling under the combined pressure. An educational system where students can fulfil their desires and not bow to transient trends is necessary for proper development and realization of one’s full potential. An example of how this can help could be the famous English poet John Keats. Trained to become a doctor, Keats renounced his apothecary’s license to follow his desire, eventually creating a path for himself that no one else has quite been able to match.

Education is not just a pathway to money, as is often considered nowadays. The fact that it provides a doorway to affluence is secondary. Education is first and foremost, I believe, a source of joy and pleasure that is also a means of enhancing our capabilities. It is a landing that provides us with infinite doorways to choose to continue into, each leading to a different yet interconnected walk of life (after all, how can we forget that science and philosophy, despite being ‘at odds with one another’ go back beyond human comprehension?).

The needs of the human in order to lead a productive and satisfactory life have long been debated. Yet one point stands clear in this debate: along with the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, education is extremely necessary, especially in today’s material world. After all, without education, one cannot gain employment and without employment, one cannot fulfil his/her basic needs and is considered a failure by modern society.

The knowledge we gain through our guided education is definitely useful for life in the sense that they will be required to succeed in gaining and maintaining employment, a must to be accepted in society. Not having a job is enough to have you labelled lazy, a failure, even weird or odd. And any employer will require you to have a thorough knowledge of your field, which is easily available for the taking through education.

Education provides us with an endless canvas. How much of it we put into use is up to us. New fields seem to emerge everyday – parapsychology, particle physics, noetics, to name a few. Although relatively ‘unknown’ or ‘obscure’, these have as much importance as the others we know of. The flood of engineers and accountants that India is facing seems to know no end. Easy money is apparently all people seems to think of. They are becoming flat characters in the play of life: although given names like ‘security of future’, lust for a fat wallet seems to be the only motivation.

On the other hand, there are billions of people around the world who want to get an education but are unable to due to poverty, geographical isolation, familial conditions or ignorance. Like the Lady Law, education is blind to the faults or favours of those who take a sip from its pool. The people who are not able to get to its banks because they are dragged back by the brambles of shortcomings – economic, social or cultural – have to endure a life full of superstition, fear, hopelessness, helplessness, poverty and exclusion. The literate but uneducated are considered equal to the illiterate as their life pretty much goes to waste (not everyone is the Old English poet Cædmon, after all). We must, however, keep in mind that this ‘education’ is totally career-oriented – a trait that has emerged in the past decades.

Let us now consider another angle. So far we talked of the relevance of education in the tangible corporeal world. But, being human beings, the intangible yet equally expansive world of our feelings is equally important. Education plays a major role in helping us find our niche here as well. We humans are inherently social. Even ‘loners’ have at least one person in their confidence. In fact, the more solitary one is, the stronger the bond is with those that person does interact with regularly. Even those who have large friend circles have an inner circle of those who they trust. So, where do these friends come from? Most of our friends and acquaintances come from school, college and our workplace and education is the line connecting these dots to one another. We go to school and college to get an education, as do those who become our friends. We talk about things that we have learnt somewhere down the line: academically, through music, film, news bulletins, books, etc. These, too, are an important part of our education. Academia alone is not enough to make us a complete person. It is definitely important, but our character and personality depends on our education as well. As we grow up, we learn new things and experience various feelings and emotions. Events and situations, too, play a part in education. Growing up, we have quarrelled with our parents. These sometimes go downhill over time and ruin the parent-child relationship. Alternatively, it can also teach us to give people space and motivate us into trying to understand before blindly contradicting. Regardless of that outcome, it teaches us what not to do when we take up the mantle of parenthood. Whether we put it to use is, of course, a completely different question altogether.

Besides academic information, schools also impart social education. They teach us, sometimes by pointing out our mistakes, what we should or shouldn’t do in a particular situation. For instance, we learn to stand up and greet a teacher when he/she enters our classroom. We also learn to respect our higher-ups and when to follow instructions without question. This gives us an idea of the norms of society.

Education teaches us control. It tells us what is acceptable behaviour in a certain environment and what isn’t. Experience, which is yet another form of education, often also teaches us when to exercise caution and when to be spontaneous. For example, at an informal gathering like a house party, it is acceptable – even expected – to wear casual clothes. Also, we can be freer in expressing ourselves: we can talk over one another, raise our voices etc. In an office party or a similar formal gathering, on the other hand, a certain code of conduct is expected to be followed. A professional front – in both mannerism and appearance – has to be maintained. Formal attire is required and an unruly or unkempt appearance must be avoided. We also learn these things through books, entertainment, word of mouth etc. Education and its imparting is therefore an intimate and implicit part of our social life as well.

Education is a major source of mental contentment. There is a simple, innocent pleasure in gaining knowledge. As sentient living beings, we humans are inherently curious. And fulfilling that curiosity paves the way for further questions to be answered, for the thirst for knowledge to become a quest for more. Also, considering the level of competition nowadays, any and every little snippet of information in addition to what our peers know gives us an edge in the rat race of modern life. And success because of that little edge gives us a great deal of satisfaction, joy and pride: the boost to our self-esteem that is essential to our well-being, mental and, thereby, physical.

A complete individual is one who leads a wholesome life. He/she has both contentment with his/her material possessions and mental satisfaction in his/her current place in life. The complete individual, hence, is one who has found a balance between the material and immaterial worlds: one who has both access to resources and the means to enjoy them; someone who has both adequate material possessions and happiness in life. And what makes all this possible but education?

Education is the True Path to Success

Government has a big role in providing its citizens proper education. Pakistan has undergone a number of changes since 1980s. Recent policy changes is slowly shaping the nation, making it look more and more like Western nations that embrace “Americanization.” Pakistan is rapidly losing its social democratic status. Unfortunately, the so-called economic restructuring that is currently taking place is having adverse effects on the Pakistani school system and its students also. By analyzing the changes made to Pakistan’s education system we can track neoliberalism’s level of growth in the country. Privatization of education means transferring taxpayers’ money designated for public education to luxuries of the Government, corporations, and/or individuals instead of to public schools, colleges, and universities. For the poor and middle class people, to have access in proper education, government’s educational free facilities are most vital; should be available.

It is undisputed that common man creates government. Government exists to assure and protect the will of the people. Contrarily, against our will, almost all our costs of living including cost of education are now blatantly rigged against us. A huge percentage of our tax ultimately ends up in the pockets of politicians. Experience of the past about five years proves that our tax money is not going into our community; it is going into the pockets of the billionaires called our leaders – it is obscene. Our ruling elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep; they have launched a war to eliminate the Pakistani middle and lower class. They have deprived the people of getting affordable quality education. Private and self-finance public institutes have high fees so the poor cannot afford that fee. Private or self-financing education is nothing but making our country back because not only rich people, who can afford, but also lower class and middle class families also have brilliant children and they want to study further in good institutions but financial problems create much stress upon them, students get a lot of stress, and sometimes it make them so desperate that they think to commit suicide thus who lose the talent? Our leaders, our country!

The state of the Pakistani educational system began to change and ultimately crumble after the 1980s. So called reforms have dramatically changed Pakistan’s educational system, both from an economic and pedagogical perspective. There are clear signs that an affordable quality education in Pakistan is under threat. Pakistan’s education system has fallen victim to neo-liberal globalization. Neo-liberalism has regarded the educational institutes more as a commodity exchange and commercial body than as a sacrosanct academic institution or means of social and national integration.

It is generally accepted that the educational level of each country have a direct relationship with its development; as much people have access to education, the country has more opportunities to grow. Therefore government has to spend an important part of its budget to provide good educational levels for its people. With the help of Government, the public institutions should promote access, affordability and attainment in education including higher education by reining in costs, providing value for poor families, and preparing students with a high quality education to succeed in their careers. The more hardworking students must be provided with a fair shot at pursuing higher education, because education is not a luxury: it is an economic imperative that every hardworking and responsible student should be able to afford.

Educational system is today being formulated only to meet the demands of government to meet neo-liberal agenda. Political leaders have been able to get away with these changes. The quality of education is going down, students are feeling the pressure to get the grades and teachers are left to deal with the ambiguity and the uncertainty of how to achieve the objectives and standards set by the state. This has had negative consequences on the educational system in Pakistan, which are impacting students, teachers and communities. Our educationists and the Government have done nothing to upgrade the quality of Pakistan’s education system.

The bitter truth is our corrupt political elite don’t want common people getting world-class education. PPP Government is out to systematically wipe out the HEC’s achievements and destroy it in absolute terms. The poor are more marginalized after education is commercialized. Our children want education but they fail to cope in universities because everything is out of reach for middle and lower middle class students. Pakistan needs highly educated people to deal with the growing political dynamics that prevail – we should not be looking at the possibilities of outsourcing decision-making to external forces simply because we do not have people educated enough to strategize Pakistan’s policies. To achieve this goal there must be affordable higher education in place. The government should also direct its efforts towards villages. It should open more schools and employ more teachers.

Opening of schools does not mean erecting costly buildings and employing an army of unwilling teachers who are not fit to do what they are required to do, as had been the case during last five years. Only merit based dedicated staff can make the dream of education for all a reality. The government should provide scholarships to brilliant students. The Government should be committed to placing a good education within reach of all who are willing to work for it helps build a strong Pakistani middle class. Equal opportunities of development to all the children during the period of growth should be the aim of the Government. Healthy and educated citizens are the driving force of a nation’s productivity; the government should invest on this for the people to achieve their optimum well-being. We believe the government has an obligation to ensure that ample funding is made available to education sector. By investing in education, the government will be investing in its own success story of human resource development.

Coming Up Empty In Education Reform

The recent forays into public education reform from the No Child Left Behind Act, the Core Curriculum mandate, and standardize tests have all placed public education on notice that once again our policy decision makers have continued their assault on education. All they have done has resulted in a educational system that continues to fail our youth. From the mainstream Republican stance of what they have done in issuing these mandates they literally shoved down the public’s throats misguided attempts at education reform. This is nothing more than political expediency. What has been occurring with all these mandates is a continuation of glossing over the real underlying problems facing education in this country. If education was run like a business there would be far more accountability and structure in our public schools today. But, like everything else our most stupendous governmental officials have done is thrown tax dollars down the toilet. Meanwhile our youth are far worse off today in educational standards compared to the rest of the world.

Someone once said just recently that teachers alone cannot change conditions in our schools. The only way to gain back the supremacy we had in educational standards that prevailed in the 1950’s and early 1960’s will take nothing short of a revolution. When we take a good hard look at the landscape of America today we find that the US is indeed fractured. In one hand we have the wealthiest few who control the all too powerful politicians, Those self serving bureaucrats continue to overlook the obvious distress that the majority of Americas are wallowing in. Then there is the majority of the population, those multitudes wallowing in desperation hoping that somehow someday soon things will get better. Meanwhile our youth, the future generations of Americans continue to suffer the consequences of failed educational mandates and initiatives by a political system that by its own nature fails to grasp what really is needed to reverse the effects of years of meddling in educational policies that worked for decades prior to the late 1960’s.

The one key component in education reform where students in all grade levels are able to succeed is always overlooked by our illustrious bureaucrats. When we really take a close look into America today we find their are so many children just like Bob and Jane Smith. Brother and sister both are sixth graders at Roosevelt Elementary. Typical children, but what their teachers didn’t know until latter their parents lost their home when Mr. Smith got laid off and the bank foreclosed. For over a year the Smiths have had to live in a two bedroom apartment in a not so nice area. And, with only one income, a minimum wage job at Walmart many a night Bob and Jane don’t get enough to eat let alone the proper vitamins and nutrition they both need during the day. When we really stop to think what is actually occurring all across the country today it is unconscionable to think that over one third of the countries school age children are literally starving. The fact of the matter is nutrition really does play the most vital role in a child’s growth and development. But, what is so disconcerting is the fact that those policy makers fail to take into account that food, nutrition, vitamins and minerals are essential for not only physical development and health but are necessary for mental growth and mental health in every human being.

When schools today are judged solely on test scores the prevailing contention is that poverty should never be an excuse for poor academic achievement still remains the stance of policy makers. And, as long as test scores are at par our policy makers continue to be unconcerned if the pantries are bare, the parents jobless or worse yet in jail and the gap between the rich and poor is more appalling than it’s been since 1929. We now have a whole society of mounting inequality, where the wealthiest few totally ignore, are too blind to see and just plain oblivious to the harsh reality facing countless millions of children each and every day.

Food insecurity of our nations youth continues to undermine this nations ability to compete in an ever increasing global economy. But, it is not the only factor the has diminished this nations education prominence. When the Common Core Curriculum was implemented in so many states it dismantled many of the founding building blocks in elementary and secondary education that stood as the standard for over 100 years. This, regardless of all the new technology integrated into school systems still will have an adverse effect on generations of our youth. Take for example cursive writing. It is now obsolete in the minds of so many school boards. Their rational is why spend time learning penmanship where today all you need is a computer keyboard. The time spent on penmanship now can be used for more useful subjects that are more relevant to today. As many of us remember it was a right of passage for generations learning how to write. Signing your name is just one of the most useful tools we use today as adults.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in education reform that is already taking it’s toll on our nations youth. When one walks into any public school in Anytown USA many a baby boomer is quite shocked to see what is actually going on in our schools. All one has to do is read the latest paper to find that another school age student was bullied actually to death. Never before has this country been inundated with so many social crisis that allows public schools to be a haven for so much bulling. A moral crisis has taken over in so many parts of the country. It really does underscore that our public education reforms for the past twenty years and counting has only systematically rendered our public school system at the bottom of the heap in regards to other developed countries around the world.

In education especially for elementary and secondary age youth it is vital that physical education be as important as math or science. A prime example is a private school in the state of New York that mandates the first 3 hours of every day to rigorous physical activity. In doing so these students, every one of them has excelled exceptionally in core curriculum studies such as science and math. The benefits of physical exercise whether it is competitive sports or not clearly shows a vast improvement in academics. To have school systems retard or eliminate all together physical education clearly puts our nations youth not only at health risks but undermines our nations future stability and security. Many a time it is budgetary constraints that play an external factor in the elimination of Physical Ed. But, the reality is the hard cold fact that our nations youth obesity rates are among the highest in the world and consequently all the health risks related to our obesity rates do cost a hell of allot more than if we mandated Physical Ed. to begin with.

With the advent of so much technology especially the hand held personal computer has really taken it’s tool on the way our youth today are being educated. Gone in so many elementary schools across the country are the days when students were required stand at the old chalk board and work out math or other subject problems. Where the interaction of fellow students and teachers was actually encouraged. What we are witnessing today is the only interaction occurring is on a very interpersonal one. One can understand the importance of self confidence when students first over come the fear of standing in front of their contemporaries by trying to solve a problem at the chalkboard. That is not the case any longer.

Today, too many of our youth are being classified with ADT otherwise known a Attention Deficit Disorder. Probable cause, diet, genetics, and many consider their environment also contributes to its cause. What ever the cause too many of our youth are all lumped into this category and too many are prescribed prescription drugs like Ritalin. These drugs do nothing to cure or direct that hyperactivity into positive constructive endeavors. From a personal point of view took place over fifty five years ago when my father took control and put me on a path that transformed my life. Back in the Fifties ADT wasn’t a known diagnosis all my father knew I was a very hyper active kid, always getting into trouble. Sometimes I get caught and boy that was when corporal punishment came with a hard spank on the bottom. But, most time I managed to escape unscathed. My parents knew I was the fastest kid on the block. Nobody could catch me. It was one afternoon thought that changed all that when my father came home from work. That one afternoon while watching cartoons on our small TV was when my father pulled me aside and said “I have a present for us.” He then proceeded to hand me a small wrapped box. After tearing open the box to my dismay was a small stop watch. It was from that moment on I knew my life was going in a new direction. From that afternoon on my father took me to the old high school track field where I was coached running 440’s, half miles, and the mile. At first I loathed going but the gradual success at track and cross-country I not only succeeded in school but got into a major university.

A life long pursuit of fitness and a desire to succeed resulted because of my fathers influence, help and encouragement. Today most of our youth aren’t as fortunate as I was. It is a sad commentary for our times that too many elementary age children come from single parent homes. A whole spectrum of factors are involved now that weren’t back in the 1950’s. What is happening today there really is a sense of foreboding tension, a silent force that is ripping across our moral fiber, a sagging truth of unprecedented demise of morality, liberty, and justice. The world we once new in our youth is no more. We now are faced with the consequences of our actions and of our inactions of what we have done in the name of social liberalization in public education all across the country.

There is another factor in what has happened in our school systems over the years. It was on a recent visit to one of Tampa Bay’s public schools just to see first hand what it is like to be a student today. First impressions they say are worth a thousand words. Well, in this case that first impression I was totally unprepared for what my eyes were actually seeing. Gaining entry was no small task. Nowadays one has to press a buzzer and state name and reason for your visit. It would help to call before hand to make things go allot smoother. Fortunately, this visit upon entering there were no metal detectors that from my understanding are the norm in so many other schools all through-out the country. Now, as I approach the main hallway being escorted by a teacher or teachers aid through the maze of scantly clad young girls and droopy baggy panted boys cell phones a buzzing I couldn’t tell the difference between the students or my escort they all dressed very sloppily. It is a known fact that today over 40% of students do themselves a very huge disservice by cheating on their exams when they have access to personal cell phones in class. If they do it in secondary or even in elementary levels just think of the percentage of students that cheat in college. A very disturbing fact that has a very disastrous effect in business and our whole economy suffers because of it.

Finally made it to the main office where on a small table in the corner were a stack of papers outlining necessary items each student was supposed to have in their possession. Stuffed into every bodies backpack were items such as a calculator. Oh, that really amazes me. So much for the arithmetic tables one is supposed to memorize. Next comes the hand sanitizer for our disease conscious society. Heaven forbid we forget to use soap and water. Maybe with all the budget cuts especially in our public schools soap is a luxury that now is unaffordable. With all the backpacks packed with those so-called essentials as well as the actual course books I have a feeling that this generation is going to have an awful lot of back problems as they get older. Maybe, because again of all the cut backs in the one program that will help more than any others is physical education. Now, one of the first programs to go under the ax when budgets are trimmed. As in so many instances today. One of the most disturbing trends today in our public schools there really are too many administrators. But, we got to cut physical education, arts, music appreciation and all the other so called no essential programs that would otherwise contribute to an overall educational experience.

Now, when one steps into a school it is more apparent than ever when we walk away with the realization that somehow our own society itself is to blame for this nations failings in public education. Silly me, to want our youth to have more respect for themselves as well as others. Two of the four principals this nation was built upon Education and Morality both go hand in hand. The morality today, well there practically isn’t any. Sure there are remnants where the morality of generations past hold true but, for the most part is sadly lacking by the majority of students in practically every public school system in the country.

The decorum that is displayed by so many sets the tone for failing or not. Amoral societies too often fall where as a society who embraces and practices basic moral values rises and flourishes. Maybe, with all the political rhetoric about creating another great society we would really look at why our society’s moral values have all but disappeared. This is where and why our school systems have to reform and reestablish codes of etiquette and dress in every school. This would go a long way in bringing back moral values in our youth as well as the professionalism that our teachers must display.

When we look at other top flight educational systems through-out the world like Japan and Sweden professionalism and morality displayed keep those countries on the cutting edge of education and consequently their whole economy flourishes as a result. Just look at the period from 1952 – 1968. The United States economy reached heights never before or since attained. When morality along with education improve so does any economy. That is how to rebuild our nation.

Not only has our whole educational system been reprogrammed to do more harm than good our youth today are being continually subjected to the cultural stimulus that have had profound effects not positively mind you but have basically encouraged more of a amoral culture. The continuing escalation of youth violence whether it involves gangs, other issues that could stem from the lack of parental influence, or just the way our society has changed in the last few decades all have influenced a generation of youth and their interpretation of the freedom of speech. The United States Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech. This right comes with a responsibility. What we say does have a direct affect on the actions of others. A case in point; The Federal Communications Standard for appropriate expression on TV, radio, recordings, Magazines etc. Now studies and statistics show that there is a direct correlation with the escalation of youth violence with the relaxing of acceptable standards by public forms of communication.

Our youth are very impressionable and are not fully capable mentally of handling the responsibility of today’s freedom of expression. A good example is noted in the book ” Lord of the Flies.” Education is the best approach but along with education has to come with it’s own natural maturity that comes through the aging process from infancy through young adult. Each phase of aging comes with it’s own physical, mental, and emotional progressions. If we skip from adolescence to young adult with-out going through the natural aging progressions these individuals will not be equipped in all aspects to handle the responsibilities that are imposed on the life cycle they are thrust into.

The youth of today are continually being exposed to ideas, situations, and material items they are not yet equipped mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially to effectively uses. This causes great harm not only to themselves but to society as well. What needs to be done is to reestablish the standards of conduct and speech that were enforced back in the middle of the 20th century. The rebuilding of ethical standards is essential for the continuation of our society. What happens when a society reverts to rampant disregard for themselves and others is a destruction of freedom everywhere.

When we talk of education reform we do have a responsibility to our youth to entrust in them the ideals and principals along with the moral ethics that were the basis on which our whole society was founded on over 200 years ago. Integrated with the technology coinciding with a lifestyle that encourages a passion for the arts, athletics, and academics is essential for a balanced society to flourish and prosper. That is education reform. To accomplish this it takes a whole conceptual approach. From financial security we come away with food security, With food security of our nations youth equals more economic opportunity for our future. And, the only way to achieve this is through passage and implementation of National Economic Reforms Ten Articles of Confederation.

Making Online Education Attractive

All over the world, the numbers of people in school at the different levels takes pyramidal shape. There are huge numbers at the elementary, but as they progress, the numbers decrease, leaving just a few in higher education. In the United States, some 65 million students were expected to enroll from K to K12 in the fall of 2015. In the same period, it was expected that 20.2 million would be attending Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that 25% of fresh high school students in the U.S.A are not able to graduate. For fresh students who enter colleges or universities 1 out of 3 are likely not make it to second year. This dropout out rate hinders national development, because many people do not receive the full training they need to be functional in society. National development would be hugely fostered, if more adults receive education, in order that they become functional in society.

I am not saying that all adults who were not fully educated are not playing important roles in society. There are very prominent individuals in society who dropped out of school at some level. Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, for example, at some point dropped out of school. Though this list is not exhaustive, the number of people who dropped out of school or decided not to gain higher education and yet became successful are relatively few. For the majority who dropped out or discontinued education, and could not become successful in their careers, it was because they lacked the knowledge they needed to develop their potential. If you check the history of those who in spite of dropping out or discontinuing schooling have become successful, you would find that appeared to have found their life’s purpose and so pursued those goals and, more importantly, they received some kind of education later.

Education as we all know is a life-long activity. At any point in time, whether you dropped out of school or got honors at your graduation, you would need education. The school dropout who has found himself a vocation or gained employment needs education so he/she can be more productive, the dropout who has realized the need to school but has ‘grown past school going age’ and desires to school obviously needs education, managers as well as employees need further education in order to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world and gain increased wages and status respectively. Somehow, the traditional education dependent society we have created for ourselves and considers the ‘best’, limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ended the day they dropped out or graduated from High School, College or University, even though, technology makes it possible for us to sit in our houses and still get quality education.

When technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaced physical classrooms and made it possible to study by distance in real time, it appeared the issue of continuous education for everyone, including the dropout and the working class have been solved. It appeared, and still does, that now the teacher need not leave his students, apply for study-leave or leave of absence to pursue further education. It appeared the fifty-year-old woman who dropped out of school several years ago could now school from home and it appeared the father could learn what his daughter is learning at College using the same device he uses to call her. That is what it appeared. Those who dropped out of school due to issues of finance and have not since had a breakthrough would not benefit, and those who have the money would not want to put their money into a certificate employers and academicians alike would frown upon. So little appear to have changed for these two groups of people, though online Colleges and Universities abound.

Two prime issues are to blame. First, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners and second, there is the perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like the traditional Colleges and Universities. As indicated by Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123, the cost of on-campus University for undergraduate is estimated at 42,000 dollars while for the same group it cost around 21,000 dollars for online universities. By comparison we would say that it cost far less to study via online. But we need not lose sight of those who mostly enroll in online University. It is those in the middle and lower classes who opt for online universities. They include; the employee who has sacrificed pleasure for higher qualification in return for better wages, the unemployed who wants to gain employable skills, the dropout who wants to get back to school in the hope that there will be a brighter future, and the people living in the remote part of the world, especially in the developing world, who don’t even have the money to pay fees and so would have to learn and work simultaneously. To these 21,000 dollars is money so huge, it is very difficult to raise. There are people of the higher income class who enroll in online universities, but online learning is not popular among these due to low prestige and the myths associated with online education. The online institutions will tell you, they would not put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education. This kind of advert speaks of how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way of getting ‘watered down’ education. Online Colleges and Universities were until recently considered diploma mills. This perception still exists, though empirical evidence tells us there is no disparity in quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. The online Universities and Colleges are doing their best to make online learning prestigious and bring down study cost, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention online learning can become prestigious and lower and middle class friendly.

Government should provide a national framework for online education, subsidize accreditation, and grant scholarships and student loans for students in online Colleges and Universities. A national framework to guide the operations of all online colleges and universities should be instituted by the state, through the Department of Education or the relevant government agency. This framework, which would be descriptive and not prescriptive in nature would describe, for example, the minimum courses to be taken at a given level, and the general mode of operation of online universities and colleges without prescribing specific courses or mode of operation. Accreditation is not just laborious for online Colleges and Universities; it is also expensive. This cost is passed to students, souring up program fees. If the government decides to absorb half the cost of accreditation, though there is no guarantee the program fees will be halved, the program fee would be reduced somehow. Lastly, most of the students who opt for online colleges and universities do not receive scholarships and student loans from the state. Those who receive something do not get huge scholarships and student loans like their counterparts in traditional Colleges and Universities. Government should make scholarships and students loans available to students of online Colleges and Universities just as it does for students in traditional Colleges and Universities.

The ramifications of these interventions would definitely be awesome. Providing a national framework for online education would take away the false negative perception people have about online learning. Many think online learning is easy and also the number of credits taken are far less than those taken in traditional learning settings. This thinking exists because there are some poorly designed online courses in which certificate are awarded after just a couple of assignments have been submitted. Such practices can be stopped, when a national framework is developed and operationalized. A national framework will give credibility to online learning, because a national standard for online would have to be adhered to and so no online college or university can just sell certificate. Subsidizing Accreditation will yield three results. The most obvious is that, it would reduce program fees because amount to pass to the students would be less. Subsidizing accreditation fees would encourage online Colleges and Universities to seek accreditation from accrediting bodies recognize by the Department of Education or the appropriate state agency. Even though accreditation is not compulsory in some parts of the world, like the united states, some occupation that require state licensing would not accept degree from non-accredited Colleges and University. Prospective online learners are, usually, worried about whether the can easily work with their certificates. Government intervention would remove this worry and remove the negative perception people have about online education as well. Government interventions in the form of scholarship and loans would ease the financial burden and make it possible for those who hitherto would not be able to school to do so. In sum, government intervention would go a long way to produce an enlightened society by permitting many people to receive higher education.

There are many people wanting to get higher education through online Colleges and Universities so they gain knowledge and skills, or enhance their knowledge and skills but cannot do because of either the cost or the uncertainty of the acceptability of the certificate. Government intervention in the form of national framework for online universities and colleges, subsidizing accreditation cost and providing scholarships and student loans would open the door for those who want to study from home. Government intervention can give the assurance that online learning is as good as traditional college or university learning, and that their certificate would be accepted jobs that require state licensing. It would ease the pressure on facilities in traditional Colleges and Universities, produce the well-educated citizenry needed for national development and convert the current pyramidal shape into a ‘near’ cylinder.