Of course Bill Gates had a formal education and so did Mark Zuckerberg—the latter went to Harvard and the former graduated from Lakeside School in 1973 with a National Merit Scholarship. In fact, Bill Gates smashed the SAT, scored 1590 out of 1600 and also enrolled at Harvard College.
Even if it was actually true that Bill Gates did not have any formal education, it wouldn’t still make the assertion; education is not important true—as I have heard several Ghanaians ignorantly and boorishly throw out there.
I have stopped pointing it out to persons I come across who sought to balance their bigoted understanding of the essence of education on the argument that some of the world’s richest people did not obtain any sort of higher education—and wrongly, they go in for Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
Even if the true essence or end product of formal education camped in the accusation of knowledge is richness as some loosely argue, averaging the riches of the formally educated individuals in the world as against that of those who did not pursuit any sort of formal education would clearly show that, education is indeed important.
My greatest worry with the increasing braveness with which some Ghanaians throw out the statement; formal education is not important and quickly cite some rare examples to back their assertion springs from the fact that, they forget the most important ingredient of comparison—which is; the floor on which the battle is taking place.
It’s possible that Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg could still have achieved all that they’ve obtained today without any sort of formal education but sitting in the West African third world country-Ghana without the sort of opportunities, connections and support these two may have had in America—and proclaiming that, education is not important on the back of these people clearly shows why education is important because such people need one.
My mother does not have a first degree, let alone a master’s degree or a P.hd—and I don’t think she is generally less intelligent for not having these qualifications or the opportunity to have learnt certain things. But the fact remains; she would struggle on several levels compared to someone of her kind who had the opportunity to study further when it comes to certain things.
Closely related to above, I do not think less of my mother or regard her as not having gotten what it takes to be successful in life—but if she wakes up one day and honestly proclaim with the greatest conviction, that formal education is not important, I would probably not hesitate to contemplate on subjecting her to a psychiatric evaluation.
Charles B. Rangel was not drunk on some fine wine when he said “quality education grants us the ability to fight the war on ignorance and poverty.” It’s therefore not by coincidence or any sort of curse that many of the poorest countries and perhaps majority of the countries serving as the motherboard of ignorance are all packed in Africa, a continent packed with overwhelming numbers of illiterates…
According to a recent Center for Global Development study, in developing, low-income countries, every additional year of education can increase a person’s future income by an average of 10%—and yet, we have some Ghanaians boldly downplaying the uncontested position of education in personal and national development as well as in our quest for wealth.
You do not need any sort of research to realize the direct correlation between illiteracy, ignorance and poverty—and to some extent stupidity, because as William Gaddis puts it “stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of ignorance”. I’ll add that ignorance takes its strength from dogmatism—and dogmatism is mostly a product of lack of education.
It’s true that education is expensive but in this case, I would say try ignorance…
Our failure as Ghanaians when it comes to the state of our country is grounded in the increasing disregard for education, well rooted in the diminishing status of formal education in the minds of our generation.