By Raj Paneken

«Personne ne peut dire que nous avons une société éduquée» unless he does not know the meaning of Education and he confuses the word with Instruction dished out at school. «Nous avons plutôt une société instruite» because of the compulsory schooling. After 50 years of independence, the education of our society is on an irreversible decline «Nous avons une société en panne d’éducation,» otherwise how can we explain our law and order which is deteriorating day by day with an upswing in crime, violence, armed robbery coupled with the growing indiscipline of our young at school.

Many people have a misconception of the word Education. They associate education with going to school and passing examination obtaining certificates and degrees. They fail to grasp the meaning of Education which means training, bringing up. To Educate means to teach someone what to do, what not to do and what needs to be done to enable him stand on his own feet to become an exact citizen in the society. But when we look at our law and order in the country today, can we say that we have «une société éduquée?» No! A thousand times no! It is clear that the parents of yesterday have lamentably failed in their roles as educators. The children of yesterday have not been brought up properly and today we have a rotten society bankrupt of education. A society without education «est une société malade» liable to all kinds of ills and evils.

The society of tomorrow depends heavily on the kind of education dished out to the child today. The educators (parents and teachers) have a crucial role to play behind the informal education of the child which is none other than his manners. If the child is stuffed with rubbish, he will think and feel rubbish. The child gets his first education from his cradle at home. As he grows up, he learns from his parents what to do, what not to do and what needs to be done. He is taught to accept others, to share what he has with them, thus he is being inculcated with the spirit of tolerance and generosity. He is taught how to behave vis-à-vis his elders. His behaviour in the street, in the bus, in class is stoked up with education. He is taught to accept what is good and to reject evils. It lies with the educators to bring home to the child that manners will make him an exact man and will build up his personality. Because without it, he will be an outcast of the society.

It is that Education which makes the society livable where people will be able to live in peace and security. Today when we look at our society which is being gnawed away with all kinds of ills and evils, we can say without erring that the educators of yesterday have pitifully failed in their tasks. Had they played their roles yesterday, today we would have had a better society« où il fait bon vivre»

Recently someone who returned from Singapore told me that there a child who is walking along a pavement will not stoop down to pick up a note on his way. Because he has been told that the money is not his, and so he should not pick it up. This is Education! When will our society reach that level?

Education can help create a better environment and a healthy society. It is a mighty weapon which can be used to combat the many evils which are causing an untold harm to our society. We can use it to beat down the rate of crime, violence and robbery and reduce the number of rapists, hooligans and vandals. It can stand as a bulwark against drug-trafficking which is destroying our young. The child himself will be able to live a better and fuller life, and avoid the many pitfalls where a lack of education of would have led him into. Many prejudices can be ironed out, many barriers can be pulled down, many prisons can be closed down with a judicious education. Just imagine what a force Education stands for!

As In Singapore

How can we equip the country with a livable society as in Singapore? First of all we shall have to follow in the footsteps of that country. Very often Education in itself has proved highly inadequate if it is not backed up with a deterrent. If Singapore has a livable society today where people can go anywhere and at any time without having to look over their shoulders for their security, where young girls wearing shorts attend evening courses without the least fear of being molested, where taxi-men drive their cars round the clock without any assault on them, it is because of its formula which has worked wonders― Education plus rigid laws along with a Dobermann called Death Penalty! Can we copy the Singapore model with a population of more than six millions inhabitants? First we don’t have the political will to do it. Second we are the obsequious slave of Human Rights. Therefore we will never be like Singapore in terms of security.

Our leaders should know better that it is sheer stupid to have a high-income and sophisticated society where there is a crying absence of law and order, where at any moment you can see your mobile wrench from your hand in broad daylight in the heart of the city, where you are at risk when you go out with a gold necklace round your neck, where you can be an easy target on leaving the bank with your money on you.

A livable society must be imperatively endowed with Education. In a society where there is a bankruptcy of Education people simply exist but do not live. We must begin to believe in Education and give it all its importance to save our society from an inevitable degradation.