Youth from the Goodwill Secondary School
Youth from the Goodwill Secondary School

Today our educational system is wonderful. When I compare what is offered today, in the 21st century, with what was offered 60 years ago, I marvel at the progress which has been made. There is so much to learn that it truly baffles the mind and defies all reasonable expectation. There is no doubt that tremendous advancements have been made in the march of history. Who can predict what is still in store for us?

Even more fundamental for human progression is the availability of knowledge to everyone in every sphere. Thanks to technological development, even poor people are given access to valuable information. Indeed, we may truly speak of democratization of education. Additionally, people of the developed world have been willing to share their resources with the developing world. Promoting this thrust is the recognition that not only does education unlock for us the secrets of the world, but that it has the answer to our basic problems.

With all this in mind, there is a certain assurance that we are on the right track. Our hopes are justified. This is so, in spite of all the troubles which exist in the world, some of which have come to us precisely as a consequence of our developmental thrust.

However, there is an area of life that appears to elude our consideration, as we plan further strategies for development. It is apparently disregarded in our educational system. It is something personal. Yet, it has tremendous implications for national development.

Our society is producing many learned men and women, who can take their rightful place in various walks of life. For this, those who direct our educational system must be complimented. Knowledge is destined to lead to creativity and excellence in every sphere. However, nothing is apparently done for the proper emotional development of students.

Our post-modern world has shown us the dangers existing in the lack of direction given to our emotional system. Lives have been damaged and even destroyed, not by a lack of knowledge, but by the failure to discipline feelings, dispositions, innate tendencies and passions.

Excellence in academic performance is no guarantee of psychological balance. A mass of knowledge, no matter how valuable it is for human development, does not guarantee the making of reasonable decisions in life. Indeed, a man who is very learned may be very immature and insecure. Consequently, he may prove to be a burden to himself and to others. He may make a mess of his life.

Some of our writers have been able to bear this out most forcefully. In this novel, 'The End of The Affair', the English writer, Graham Greene, states:

People don't demand that a thing be reasonable

if their emotions are touched.

A man's emotions, unless disciplined, may prove to be so powerful that it is virtually impossible for him to make proper judgements and to live a balanced and productive life. Increased knowledge will not help him; it might merely increase his problems.

Our emotions in themselves are not bad. They are not meant to lead us astray. They are gifts to us to be used for our personal development. But they need to be trained; they must be given a sense of direction.

Some of the greatest achievements and successes in life have been obtained by persons, at that time, devoid of any emotional experience. They were made in the face of much inner turmoil. An awareness of a sense of duty and responsibility is not necessarily accompanied by nice feelings and personal gratification. As the English author, C.S. Lewis, puts it:

Emotional is perhaps the last word we

can apply to some of the most important events.

As we proceed with the education of our youth, and as we devise plans for the successful pursuit of the welfare of our people, we need to bear in mind that there are areas of life which are not addressed by our present perception of the human person. This awareness is critical for the balanced development of our people. If we do not do this we may reap a harvest of frustration and disappointment at the poor results of all our national efforts and schemes.

It is of fundamental importance that we bear in mind that education involves much more than an amassing of knowledge. Education consists in offering people the opportunity of securing an ideal place under the sun. For this, a thorough understanding of the human person and his potential must be embraced and inculcated.