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Education is the strength and foundation of any developed or developing society. Why list out many examples to describe the importance of education – I’m able to write this article, and you are able to read and comprehend it, only because we have been privileged to be educated! Yes, it’s certainly a privilege to be educated, because India is home of largest population of illiterate adults in the world – 287 million, amounting to 37% of the global total. India’s present literacy rate is 74.04%. which means over 25% of people are ignorant in this 21 century of such socio-economic-techno sophistication.

Do we have reasons to worry about the uneducated 25%? Yes, we do, because the consequences of illiteracy are many and harmful in several respects. In this fast-paced modern world, uneducated individuals are deprived of the ability to obtain and understand even essential information. It results in unemployment, lower income, lower-quality jobs; results in precarious financial position, low self-esteem; which in turn leads to isolation, ill health, misuse of drugs, engaging in crimes, etc. A society with uneducated individuals find it hard to be competitive in the new global knowledge economy. Also, the difficulty in understanding social issues lowers the level of community involvement and civic participation.

Education opens one’s minds and abilities. It is fundamental to development and growth. The dormant human abilities are unearthed through education, making possible all development and achievements, from agricultural inventions to health advances to efficient public administration and private sector growth. In order to unleash the potential of human mind there is no better tools than education. It is the magic wand to eradicate social injustices like poverty, inequality, discrimination and exploitation. Educating children is the highest investment parents can make; the strong foundation of society and pride of the nation. Education makes a person complete and it lays the foundation of a stronger nation. Education is important for the country to grow. Educated people are aware of the socio-economic scenario of the country, its laws and regulations, dreams and wants, and can help in the progress. Whether it is a simple thing like following traffic rules, using water sparingly, taking preventive health measures for oneself and family or voting for worthy leaders, the educated mass somehow or the other knows how to contribute towards the country’s well-being.

In today’s post-modern world it is important for every individual to be educated, because unlike olden times, human beings today need to have a specific set of skills to survive in this competitive world as well as progress. The process of acquiring this set of skills, therefore, can be referred to as Education. As Maimonides said, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him (and his family and society) for a lifetime.

Not to be mistaken, education is not only targeted for economic stability, but also advanced as significant in bringing about changes in attitudes, behaviour, beliefs and values. Education destroys the narrow domestic walls that divide and depreciate and makes one capable to understand, respect, adjust and empathise with the other. The potential of education is enormous. Education is not only for personal enlightenment, but for cultural renewal and transformation of society.

As I began with, those of us who have been privileged to be educated also have the responsibility to contribute in our little ways to take the less fortunate along – the responsibility to make the world a better place by endowing and not just taking from it.

– Primal Sebastian

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