The Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor(Administration), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Registrar, Librarian, Provost of the College of Medicine, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Deans of other faculties, Dean of the Postgraduate School, and of Students, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. Introduction That I am deeply humbled to be called upon to deliver this series of university lectures which ends the first decade in this third millennium is saying the obvious. Although I am not a sportswoman in any sense of the word, my observation of university lectures since I came into the employment of this university has led me to deduce that it is like a generational academic Olympiad—where a faculty can only be called upon to field a candidate once in about ten or more years, especially now that our university has a 13-faculty structure. While checking the record of scholars from the Faculty of Education who have been privileged to deliver university lectures from 1962 to date I found that Emeritus Professor E.A. Yoloye (Institute of Education) delivered in 1979, late Professor C.G.M. Bakare (Guidance and Counselling) delivered in 1986, late Professor J.A. Adedeji (Physical and Health Education) delivered in 1992 while Professor M.A. Omolewa (Adult Education), who is Nigeria’s current Ambassador to the UNESCO, delivered in 1999. It then follows that this is the first series to be presented by the Department of Teacher Education and also in the discipline of Philosophy of Education. To be called upon to step into the same shoes as these intellectual patriarchs is to say the least, intimidating. It is intimidating to follow the same paths traversed by one’s masters, mentors, and motivators—those who were already on the uppermost rung of the ladder of self actualization in their academic career even before I earned my Ph.D degree. But intimidation gave way to comfort when I realized that in this olympiad, I am a marathon runner without a competitor. This allows me to be myself in the race to give my best in my academic discipline in a way that will make an impact on my audience and on my discipline—both in theory and possible application of theory to practice.
Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, I also find the opportunity of these lectures gratifying for some reasons. Firstly, the discipline of philosophy of education which I have been teaching in this university for some years now is one in which everybody here is a practitioner of some sort. As thinking adult humans, all of us here are practical philosophers. Socrates, the father of modern philosophy, was reported as saying that the unexamined life is not worth living for man. We all at different times subject our lives to examination either in part or as a whole, consciously or unconsciously. It is my hope that nobody drifted to this lecture venue today without giving a thought to the decision—“to come or not to come”. There are many important things crying for the attention of busy people like you, giving each of you several possible ways in which you can invest this hour and make it count for eternity. That you have chosen to put in one hour of this precious day to listen to this lecture is therefore a philosophical decision which hopefully will be justified. Secondly, it is further gratifying to present these lectures in the discipline of education, a subject in which we all have a stake and which therefore is our cultural commonwealth. In man’s time-bound journey from the womb to the tomb, he is either educating or being educated—either formally, informally, or non-formally. Either as beneficiaries or providers of education therefore, everybody here is affected by the subject matter of today’s lecture. Let me therefore quickly say, Mr. Vice-Chancellor and distinguished listeners, that my mission in these lectures is to make presentations which should make us reconsider our assumptions about education and ultimately, rethink our practices, all in our collective interest as a nation and as stakeholders in education. As a person and as a scholar, my philosophy of life is so simple that any attempt to make it complicated further simplifies it. It is therefore in this attitude of simplicity of ideas and of language use that I intend to deliver these lectures in philosophy of education while having recourse to other foundational disciplines in education, and indeed, other relevant subject areas as occasions may warrant.
1 WHO NEEDS EDUCATION ANYWAY? This introductory lecture will attempt to answer the question: Who needs education anyway? Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, one does not start a marathon race with a sprint. Therefore, the lecture will focus on definitions and clarifications of two key concepts in the title of this yearâ€™s series of lectures: What is man, that we should educate him? These are the concepts of education and the concept of man. Education studies are understandably multifocal and the concept of education is in itself polymorphous. The focus of its study at a given time, to a large extent, depends on the definition which we give to the concept. A definition of education can be descriptive as we have in: Education is nothing other than the whole life of a community from the point of view of learning to lead that life1. This definition to a large extent fits the practice of traditional, especially pre-colonial African education as we shall see more fully in the course or these lectures. A definition can also be stipulative as in: All education can be regarded as a form of socialization in so far as it involves initiation into public traditions which are articulated in forms of thought2. 1
M.V.C. Jeffreys (1972) The aims of education (Glaucon), Pitman Publishing. 2 R. S. Peters (1972) Education as Initiation. In philosophical analysis and education, Reginald D. Archambault (ed), Routledge and Kegan Paul, P. 89.
A definition can also be programmatic i.e. take on a moral dimension in stating what it should do to benefit society. An example is, “Education should prepare its beneficiaries to be of good behaviour”. Granted that we can have several perspectives to the definition of education, Ira Steinberg on his part painted this utilitarian picture of education: People have aims and purposes. Education is not a person; it is not a thing. However, like a thing it has its uses. The purposes of education are the uses that people would have for education3. He went further to submit that we can give several uses of education at a time but that we cannot give a true meaning of the concept, and we should not seek to give one meaning for it. So he concluded: Education has no more true meaning than it has true purposes. And it has no true purpose.4 Mr. Vice-Chancellor, if philosophical studies were subject to gerontocratic opinion, this lecture would end at this point. It would not make sense to expect man to be concerned with or spend a life time in an assignment without a purpose. The Yorubas of southwest Nigeria say, “enu agba l’obi ti ngbo” (literally, the mouth of the elders decide the maturity of the kolanut). This is to say that the elders have the final say. Philosophy and philosophy of education are exceptions to this rule. What makes philosophical discourse both challenging and enduring is that no scholar can claim to have the answer to any question. We all give possible answers and usually one scholar’s answer provides a springboard for another question. It has been submitted that all philosophies from classical times to date have been only footnotes to Plato. It is 3
Ira S. Steinberg (1968) The Aimlessness of Education in Educational myths and realities, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, p. 3. 4 Ibid p. 18.
true that Plato, the worthy student of Socrates, thought and wrote about practically every subject matter of philosophy known in our times. But the footnotes are not only allowed, they are celebrated because they have continued to fan the embers of philosophical dialectical tradition and keep aglow the intellectual admiration and awe of the discipline up to our times. Therefore, from Steinberg’s position that education has no more true meaning than it has true purposes, we can look at the meanings of education as given by philosophers and other scholars of education. From these meanings, we can then attempt to explore why man needs to be educated. Very frequently, education is interpreted as schooling. We often hear people say for example, “He had primary education at Staff School” or, “He had secondary education at King’s College”, or “She had University education at the University of Ibadan”. In each example, a person’s education is being equated with the process of daily school attendance for a given period of time, depending on the level of schooling. This interpretation of education would be of interest to development planners for whom the population of school age children is an index of national development. For example, our country has just adopted the 9-year basic education system over which the nation’s Universal Basic Education Commission has supervisory and funding responsibility. Part of the law establishing the programme is that parents are liable for conviction and imprisonment should they fail to send their school age children to school. If a child is sent to school just to avoid parental conviction by the law, is that a process of education? It would appear not, for if that was the reason for schooling, the child of school age could simply check into school in the morning and check out after school later in the day without having any personal expectation. Following from that, it is possible to go to school, roam around and return home, depending on the tone of discipline there. It is also possible to feign going to school totally i.e. 5
leave home in school uniform and return home later without having been to school. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, I had one such experience as Acting Head of Department about 10 years ago. A concerned guardian came to me to find out what had happened to his ward who should have graduated that year but whose name was absent from the list of graduands at convocation. When I sent for the student’s personal file, I found out that it contained only his registration form at 200 level and there was no evidence that he sat for any examination at that level, nor at subsequent levels. According to the guardian, the young man always reported to him at the beginning of every semester to collect the amount of money necessary for his upkeep. He also returned home during the holidays like other normal undergraduates. He was “schooling” so to speak. But he was not being educated. Another critical truth is that not all schools educate. The process of education is an attempt which may succeed or fail. Schooling is part of the process of education. Just as it is possible to succeed in schooling and fail in life, it is also possible to fail in schooling and succeed in life. Bill Gates and John Major are two world examples of people in this latter category. All this notwithstanding, the need for schooling remains mankind’s important index of cultural advancement since the popularization of education in the era of European Renaissance. In our days, we can submit that whereas it is impossible for everybody in the society to be either a banker, lawyer, engineer, or doctor, it is expedient that every child goes to school for purposes of cultural and intellectual growth. This is why any society that truly wants to develop will deliberately pay the price for and ensure quality education for children of school age. Succeeding in schooling also brings in the question of the emblem of school success which is popularly called a certificate.
It is often the case that the category of employment open to an applicant is dependent on the kind of certificate fielded by the prospective employee. The employment market generally values certificates according to their educational level. This then gives the impression that a certificate can be equated with education. But, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, on Tuesday 17 February 2009 at the 7.00 p.m. full news package on BCOS television, a man was paraded in a lawyer’s robe, charged for certificate forgery and impersonation. He claimed to be a lawyer and a pastor. In his possession were found two LLB degree certificates—one from our University of Ibadan and the other from Obafemi Awolowo University. That a certificate cannot be logically equated with education becomes evident from this example. Moreover, while I cannot be said to be educated if my certificate is forged, a loss of (as can unfortunately happen) my certificate does not mean a loss of education. Education is also often interpreted as literacy. To the man in the street in Yorubaland, the educated man is “alakowe” (the one who is adept at writing) while the learner is “onkawe” (the one whose occupation is reading). Without doubt, literacy is a significant portal to the lifetransforming experience of education. Like schooling, literacy is also a ready index of national development. Development experts use a country’s literacy level as an indicator of national well-being over a given period of time. For example, the All-Africa Global Media report for 2008 read as follows: According to UNDP Human Development Report 2007/2008, Nigeria still rates very low in human development assessment. The report states that 69.1 percent adult Nigerians are illiterate… . The theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Literacy is the best remedy’ is a call on the various levels of government to recognize the key
role of literacy in combating the ills suffered in the area of health, interpretation of instructions on usage of drugs, child mortality rate, HIV-AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, break of traffic rules leading to loss of lives and other civic rules and regulations.5 From this quotation, one sees that literacy is not only relevant in education but can find ready importance in politics, the health sector, the law enforcement agency, and other such significant social institutions. However, suppose one can write, but does not know what one is writing or has written? It is said for example that the man who wrote The Redeemed Christian Church of God did so without knowing what he wrote until literate church members read it out as the name to be given to the church at inception. On the contrary, one may also not be able to write due to physical disability. As for reading, one may be able to read and not understand. For example Latin is one language that many educated people can read but not every reader of Latin can understand what is read. Literacy, however, is the primary skill which we learn very early in the process of education. However, one needs to point out that both within and outside education studies, literacy is no longer limited to the acquisition of the skills of reading and writing. It has come to be used to mean both understanding and ability to apply special knowledge or skill to life and thereby, enhancing the quality of living. Scientific literacy and computer literacy are specific examples of such usage. Within education studies literacy has become a special area of study that is of global interest. In the process of formal education, ability to write becomes a tool for encoding the subject learnt. This skill is focused upon, especially in the early years of primary education. 5
All Africa Global Media (2008) This Day, Lagos, All Africa. Com, â€œNigeria: Invest in Adult Literacy, Govts toldâ€?. Retrieved 2/11/2009.
The application of the skill of literacy to facilitate learning takes us to another significant meaning of education, i.e. knowledge. Even with our contemporary ICTdependence, knowledge is still largely encoded and needs to be decoded from the written format. Therefore, in this part of the country, “iwe” (i.e. the book) is the conventional medium of knowledge storage. The school is called “ile iwe” and the person of learning or vast knowledge is referred to as “omowe”. Book knowledge is therefore associated with education and readily serves as a guiding map in charting the path to a clear conceptual analysis of education.6 But is every book an educational resource? Just as books can be used to educate, they can also be used to miseducate, misguide, misinform, or even brainwash. Moreover, it is very limiting to assume that I can only know from a book. Media of communicating knowledge are now more accessible via the Internet than the written medium. Talking of knowledge raises the question of “knowing” or “ability to know”. We all, educated or uneducated, adult or children, young or old know one thing or another. We know that the sun rises in the morning and sets at night fall in our part of the world. We know how to help ourselves to a good meal when we are hungry or why a little child should not be allowed to play with a dangerous object like a razor blade. We know this whether or not we go to school. But we may not all know that 75% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, or how to produce kerosene from crude oil or why an egg would not sink in a jar of brine water, and so on. These latter examples of knowing is accessible to those who pay more attention to book knowledge than the generalized kinds of knowledge which have been earlier cited. It could lead us to conclude that book knowledge is the hallmark of education. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, allow me to differ from this latter submission by referring to two episodes. As a young 6
O. A. Bamisaiye (1985) A concept of responsibility and its implications for Nigerian education. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of Ibadan p. 83.
teacher awaiting the results of my H.S.C. and subsequently, university admission some years ago, I knew a man in the town called “doctor”. His pronunciation of some English language words readily gave away his level of attainment in formal education. For example, he pronounced “high fever” as “ha fifa”. But he had a clinic in town where he provided primary healthcare. People also readily patronized him because the government hospital was very far away and therefore, financially out of reach of the people as well. This “doctor” was said to have served as an attendant in a hospital in one of the major towns for years from where he picked knowledge of common ailments and commonly prescribed drugs. He never formally learnt any aspect of medical science or healthcare delivery. By the community standard, the “doctor” was knowledgeable, but our definition of knowledge in this lecture would exclude him. A second example is an anecdote that was shared with me while I was an Associate Professor in the University of Venda in the Republic of South Africa—very early in the tenure of former President Nelson Mandela. The story was told of a young man who had been working in the motor vehicle licensing office (with computerized operations) who secured admission into the university to read computer science. On graduation, he was gladly reabsorbed as a senior employee in the licensing office, considering his high knowledge of computer science. But the knowledgeable young man sat to work by using his computer knowledge to steal cars. It took time before he was caught. From these two examples, we can see that equating knowledge with education would be like equating a traveller’s vehicle with the destination. It is possible to travel and never arrive, or arrive in a different place altogether unless the vehicle is consciously driven to arrive at the desired destination. Still on the component of knowledge in education, let us quickly look at related concepts which would not count as part of our concept of education. Firstly, education is not training. We can be trained to acquire a skill, but this does not
count as education. R. S. Peters distinguishes between education and training as follows: Education is not a concept that marks out any particular type of process such as training, or activity such as lecturing, rather it suggests criteria to which processes such as training must conform. One of these is that something of value should be passed on. Thus we may be educating him while we are training him but we need not be. For we may be training him in the art of torture. This perhaps explains why teacher training has become teacher education in our times. Secondly, education is not drilling. If people are drilled daily in preparation for an attack on a human community in order to exterminate it, the drill would not conform to the criterion that we would expect in education. Thirdly, education is not the same as brainwashing. While education is expected to be a process of liberating the mind from ignorance and error, brainwashing takes the mind captive and denies the victim the freedom to think and freely hold opinion even when it means being different from everybody. Finally education is not indoctrination. The indoctrinated person acts on the platform of belief. The educated person acts on the platform of reason. One needs to quickly add that knowledge may not be the exclusive preserve of man. Many of us have pet animals like dogs, parrots, cattle, or even poultry that “know” the difference between their owners and other people. Even the Holy Bible records that: The Lord appointed the moon for the seasons; the sun knows the exact time of its setting (Ps 104:19–Amplified Bible).
If we can observe that other creatures “know”—apart from man, what then is man that we should educate him? This takes us to our second assignment in this lecture—an examination of the concept of man. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, this second part will be limited to answering the question, “what is man?”, rather than, “who is man?” As what, man would be seen as substance, existent, instinct reduction, organism, and so on. As who, man would be seen as rational, social, ethical, and so on. The “whatness” of man is material, projected reality, or object. The “whoness” of man is author, originator, initiator, or subject. Ethology, a scientific study of the behaviour of all living creatures, including man, focuses on what different animals do spontaneously, rather than from domestication or conditioning. In this regard, Konrad Lorenz, a famous ethologist, submitted as follows: Without a trace of doubt, human beings exhibit the smallest range of endogenous-automatic motor patterns found in any higher organism. Apart from motor norms of food uptake (seizing, placing in the mouth, chewing and swallowing), mating (frictional movements) and possibly automatic elements in walking and running, an adult human being appears to have virtually no centrally coordinated motor patterns based on endogenous automatisms7. Christopher Berry tried to portray human nature as “given” i.e. from a purely biological cum evolutionary perspective. He said: The human genotype shares 99 percent of its history with that of the chimpanzee. The distinctiveness of human kind derives from the 7
Konrand Lorenz (1981) in The study of human nature, Leslie Stevenson (ed), Oxford University Press, P. 222.
fusion of two chromosomes so that the twentyfour pairs in the apes became the twenty three pairs in man.8 Berry therefore joined Edward Wilson to submit that: Human nature is a hodge-podge of genetic adaptations to an environment largely-vanished, the world of the ice age hunter-gatherer.9 He went further to argue that human life after the ice age has been cultural rather than natural, but that this does not connote a total disconnection of man from his natural leash. Still referring to Wilson, Berry continued: The leash is very long but inevitably, values will be constrained in their effects on the human gene pool.10 Desmond Morris, author of The Human Animal, shares the same view with Edward Wilson and submits that â€œour (human) instincts and behaviour are still rooted in our animal pastâ€?. He upholds the evolutionary scientific view of man but does not stop at the reductionism of human nature to alimentation, reproduction, and locomotion as submitted by Konrad Lorenz. Desmond Morris had not only traced human nature as given by evolution but has elaborated on this to show that our animal nature is still very obvious in our modern lifestyle. On his part, Konrad Lorenz submitted that: It is quite definite that the disappearance or expansion of certain innate releasing mechanisms
Christopher, J. Berry (1986) Human nature, Macmillan Education Ltd., Houndmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG 21 2XS and London. P. 98. 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid.
is an indispensable prerequisite for the versatility and cosmopolitan nature of man.11 But Desmond Morris has shown in The Human Animal that every aspect of cosmopolitan lifestyle is traceable to the animal in man. He argued: Man uses body language for non-verbal communication as a heritage from an animal past. His hunting ape origins have caught up with him in contemporary fast food culture. Although living in skyscrapers as opposed to mud huts, man still exhibits animal hierarchy in social clubs and still defends his territory either in fenced buildings or mounting of body guards. No civilization has been able to affect the biology of love and reproduction. Human beings still hold their children close, to establish trust even as primates do. Dummies and pacifiers are used to replace motherâ€™s breasts. Human babies still cry for mother to secure attention and protection from dangerâ€Ś12 Philosophy however has also foraged into the scientific theory of human nature as a basis of human action. Thomas Hobbes, a British social and political philosopher started his ideas with a scientific theory of human nature. Hobbes saw human nature as comprising of vital motions and animal motions. Vital motions are involuntary invariant motions of life like the functions of the body systems and organs. The animal motion also known as endeavour, is given expression in voluntary motions of mobility, speech, and movement of different parts of the body. Endeavour can be towards something and so it is called appetite or desire. When it is from something it called aversion. Endeavour can also be 11 12
Stevenson. op. cit. Desmond Morris, The human animal, http://www.factual
shown as contempt. Therefore what endeavour attracts a person to is good, what it repels him from is evil, and the object of contempt is vile and inconsiderable.13 Being good, evil, or contemptible however does not proceed from the object but from man that judges a thing to be so. Such individualist totalitarianism makes man as “what”, a law unto himself seen from this perspective, man is in a way a savage, because his actions are only driven by inherent biological endeavour. Hobbes solution was the establishment of the leviathan by which human action would be directed by laws when he has freely given up his right to exercise his instinctual endeavour. The leviathan turns good or evil from personal judgement of that which suits an individual into consensual acceptance of overall good. It would appear that the leviathan is another footnote to Plato, the latter having earlier declared in his Republic that justice is in the interest of the stronger party. The leviathan has only institutionalized the stronger party whom Plato had personalized in Thrasymachus, an ardent defender of despotism in governance. Nevertheless, the leviathan has been re-enacted down the generations in many totalitarian regimes from Russian totalitarian communism to Europe’s various monarchial despotisms, apartheid South Africa, Napoleon, Hitler, Mobutu, and our different military dictatorships at home in Nigeria. All these examples show a scientific human attraction to power. Even though the leviathan was meant to provide a check on this human animal attraction, it has not stood the test of time and neither have the different manifestations in human behaviour. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, I have so far attempted to show that human “whatness” is essentially scientific, and especially biological—noting the ostensible connection with man sociocultural behaviour. Let me now show aspects of man’s “whatness” which have become part of human culture in
Leslie Stevenson, op. cit. p. 88.
three ways. These are in our use of language, religion, and practical life. In our use of language across cultures, man associates with other animals by figurative expressions like similes or metaphors. Examples of similes are: • •
He is as bold as a lion. She is as proud as peacock.
Examples of metaphors are: • •
He is a toothless bulldog. She is a snake under the green grass.
It is noteworthy that in the similes, basis of comparison of man with animals is not scientific since “bold” and “proud” are not biological components but human dispositions. The metaphors do not imply that a person has changed into a toothless dog or a green snake. They only transfer a deeper surface meaning from human life to the outward appearance of the animals in question. Our ethological studies so far have not shown that these attributes are genotypic to the animal (i.e. non-human) species. Still on metaphors, Olateju (2005) alluding to Yoruba poetic use of language has this to say: One of the most striking aspects of animal metaphors in Yoruba … is the anthropomorphism of animals. Through anthropomorphism, metaphors are created by ascribing such human characteristics as thoughts, emotions and feelings to animals. The essence of this, ostensibly is to create a parallel between animals and humans, a condition considered necessary for a proper understanding of the nature and emotions of humans through animals.14 14
Adesola Olateju (2005) The Yoruba animal metaphors: Analysis and interpretation, Nordic Journal of African Studies (14) 3, p. 375.
This Yoruba worldview is vividly expressed as â€œiseniyan niserankoâ€? i.e. like humans, like animals. The Yorubas have many ways of comparing humans with animals in daily use of language. For example: Odara bi egbin (beautiful as a gazelle) O laya bi inaki (broad-chested/daring like a gorilla) Onika bi obo (cruel like a monkey) It also appears to throw overboard the theory that animal influences have disappeared from cosmopolitan human lifestyle. After all, that we domesticate animals show their compatibility with human lifestyle and their adaptability to meet our human needs. These can range from the physiological need of food to the safety need of protection (dogs, geese, and ostriches are examples). Animals are also valuable acquisitions of status symbol (peacocks, horses); providers of cheap labour (oxen, donkeys, camels); and direct sources of revenue at circuses, zoos, amusement and game parks. Human-animal compatibility and dependence therefore strengthen this worldview. According to sociological studies, language is an important component of culture. If in our use of language we find such ready reference to animals in describing human nature, we are upholding the theory of the leash of nature on culture as submitted by Edward Wilson. This cuts across cultures and civilizations. Let us now take a look at religion. In an attempt to define religion, Bamisaiye (1989), quoting Miller (1967) said: Religion is the effort to bring together all the disparities and even contradictory fragments of life so as to articulate the mystery of their mutual dependence â€Ś15 15
Remi Bamisaiye (1989) Sociological foundations of Nigerian education, Ibadan, AMD Publishers P. 65.
This effort at bringing together disparate forms of life is manifested in human spiritual connection with animals as evidenced in religious totemism. Quarcoopome (1987) says that totemism is: The relationship that is supposed to exist between a person or group of persons and an animal or object or a group of animals or objects. The practice of totemism appears therefore to be an acceptance of spiritual co-equality or even supremacy of chosen animals over their human affiliates and thereby, an acceptance of their influence over the people that have chosen them as totems. Totemism is spiritually deep in meaning and animal totems exert great control over the life of people. The following excerpts show this: â€˘
Totemistic relationships have diverse origins. In some cases, the belief is that a clan might have descended from the totem. For example some Yoruba praise names like omo ekun, omo erin, (i.e. child of leopard, child of elephant) show this belief in descent. In other cases it is held that the totem might have done something beneficial to the clan. Some riverine tribes in Nigeria see the Python as protective father. They feel safe leaving their children to the python to look after while they attend to other business. When the python dies, these tribes give it a befitting human burial. Some totemistic associations have their origin connected with the myth of creation. The python is treated with reverence among the Fon because from their myth it was the python who opened the eyes of the primeval pair.
Some animals are chosen as totems because the animals are said to have qualities which the clan members would want to emulate â€Ś the Oyoko clan has the falcon, a symbol of patience; the Ekoona, the buffalo, a symbol of uprightness; the Asenna, the bat, believed to be a symbol of diplomacy; the Aduana, the dog, signifying skill; and the Agona, the crow, symbol of wisdom.16
Again, for whatever reasons these totemistic animals have been adopted, one can see that these reasons are not due to genotypic, or instinctual animal behaviour of the totems. The animals have been adopted for reasons transcending the physical. It then shows that animals are accepted as partaking not only in human nature as matter/substance but find relevance in human spiritual realm as well. In practical life, humans also affiliate with animals and use this affinity either positively or negatively. For example when a Yoruba says: Enikan o gbebi ewure To fi bi were Enikan o gbebi aguntan O bi ti e laa ye â€Ś (the goat has no midwife but delivers with ease the sheep has no midwife yet brings forth a live offspring) and then goes on to pray for safe delivery for a pregnant woman, such a person is making positive use of humananimal relationship favourably. On the other hand, when a confident trickster, popularly called 419 begins with: Owo olowo leegun nna. 16
T.N.O. Quarcoopome (1987) Totemism and secret societies, West African traditional religion. Ibadan, African University Press, p. 176.
Aso alaso l’oga nwo. (the masquerade spends other people’s money, the chameleon wears other peoples’ clothes) and goes on to command an absolute stranger to part with money and other valuables, the dupe has exploited the spiritual force of animal-human dependence negatively. This is why the Yoruba elders also invoke this prayer as a blessing on younger people: Obo’niyan ko ni ba ori re je. (may a human monkey not mess up your destiny). To crown it all, King Solomon, by the wisdom of the Ancient of Days, used animal imagery to show the futility of pronouncing curses when there is no basis for such and said in Proverbs 26:2. As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come (i.e. upon man). Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, in this first lecture, I have made an attempt to examine the concept of education with reference to four other concepts i.e. schooling, literacy, achievement, and knowledge. A fifth one will be addressed in the third lecture. I have also tried to examine the concept of man, dwelling essentially on his “whatness” i.e. man’s humanity as a biological entium. Much as I have tried to do this, I have been drawn to allude to humanity as transcending the physical, even as I have limited my examination of man to his animal nature. In all these, man seems not to need education in any of the examples of education thus far discussed. Who then needs education? Certainly not the scientific man, for his nature is given and unchangeable. Man must be more than “what” to need education. Therefore, we shall continue in the
next lecture by attempting to look at man as homo sapiens. Thank you all for your attention.
2 HOMO SAPIENS AND EDUCATION Mr. Vice-Chancellor, this second lecture titled ‘Homo sapiens and Education’ takes us to an examination of man at a higher level than we did in the first lecture. In that first lecture, we focused on an examination of man in his “whatness” particularly his animal nature. We ended by drawing out animal human typologies and analogies in our use of language, religion, and practical life. We also pointed out that these latter affiliations were not limited to genotypic descriptions of man, but had also impinged on spiritual and cultural realms of human life. However, human ability to extrapolate these affiliations from the fact of human coexistence with other living creatures ostensibly justified the scientific appellation of man as homo sapiens i.e. “wise human” or “knowing human”. Scott and Heron (2007) describe homo sapiens further: DNA evidence indicates that modern human originated in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection and problem-solving.His mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the forelimbs (arms) for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species. Humans are distributed world-wide, with large populations inhabiting every continent on earth except Antarctica. The human population on Earth is 6.7 billion as of July 2008.17 17
Human—Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human, retrieved 2/19/2009.
While homo sapiens is translated as “knowing human” or “wise human” i.e. the one who knows, philosophy has been given literal meanings as “love of wisdom” or “love of knowledge” both derivatives from the Greek words philos (love) and sophia (wisdom). Who then would be a lover of wisdom or knowledge if not the wise human or the knowing human? The dominance of philosophy as knowledge one can aver, started with creation. It had to be a reflective and allknowing God who found the confused cosmic environment unacceptable and knew how to speak new alternatives into reality, according to the Holy Scriptures. In classical times, Plato regarded philosophy as knowledge and although his student Aristotle was an accomplished botanist, he upheld that the life of philosophical study was the highest a man could aspire to attain. When the epistemological status of the sciences became more pronounced, science was given what can be considered in retrospect, the “privileged” name of “natural philosophy”. The 17th century French rationalist philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, painted the picture of knowledge as philosophy as follows: INSERT THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE. Philosophy as a whole is like a tree whose roots are metaphysics, whose trunk is physics and whose branches which issues from this trunk are all the other sciences.18 Moreover at these initial stages of knowledge development, science was not the cluster of disciplines as we know today but a system and method of knowledge attainment. Hence, King and Brownell submitted that:
A. R. King Jr. and J. A. Brownell (1966) The curriculum and the disciplines of knowledge, John Willey and Sons Inc. p. 43.
There is only one science, a universal one with a universal method. This single system is a deductive system resting on a small number of causes or principles.19 For Giambattista Vico, science is the individual’s cognitive access to the environment and to learning. So a person can have a “scienza” of whatever he makes or does. Vico said: The inner structure of this existence is accessible and open to the human mind because the human mind is the creator. Myth, language, religion, poetry—these are objects to which the human mind is truly commensurable.20 Vico’s allusion to an “inner structure” of existence of reality as well as the “human mind” which creates it marks a progression from an understanding of man as a corporal natural entity to a non-corporal, metaphysical entity. Our former discussion of man suggested a monism of human nature, as we presume for other creatures. Our assumption of man with a mind takes us to an acceptance of dualism of human nature. Natural man is tangible but the mind of man is not. According to Vico, what we recognize as content or heritage of knowledge are products of the mind. It therefore follows that we can suppose that man knows with the mind— or perhaps another component of the mind. No matter what portion of the tree of philosophy is our specialization (roots, trunk, or branches), we all know to varying degrees, due to another peculiar human attribute. This is the attribute of intelligence. It is necessary to examine this attribute now in order to facilitate a clearer understanding of knowledge, which is our focus of discussion in this lecture.
Ibid p. 46. A. R. King Jr. and J. A. Brownell, op. cit p. 50
SHOW BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM According to Phillip Vernon, intelligence is: Not a thing or entity in the brain or mind, but just a label which we apply to actions or words, which to us seem clever, efficient, complex, and difficult21 Another definition of intelligence is: The dispositional property or properties of an individual that function in the determination of efficiency and quality of cognitive behaviour and adaptation to the individual’s experience.22 Quoting the famous epistemological psychologist, Jean Piaget, McNally (1974) submitted that: The development and functioning of intelligence is just as biological a function as digestion … it is the progressive development of logic within the child which enables him to understand the biological, social and physical worlds … .23 Discussing intelligence brings us to a convergence of philosophy and psychology of education, two disciplines that focus on human behavior from two complementary approaches. From the philosophical point of view, Walter
Phillip Vernon (1975) Heredity and Environment in the Growth and Decline of Intelligence, Journal of Educational Thought 9(2), p. 83. 22 John Watson (1976) Early Learning and Intelligence in Origins of intelligence, Michael Lewis (ed) John Wiley and Sons p. 200. 23 D.W.McNally (1974) Piaget, education, and teaching, New Educational Press Ltd, p. 2.
Babin discusses intelligence both qualitatively and quantitatively in four modalities. They are: •
Intellect, which is quantitatively expressed in mathematical, logical, and related forms of thought. Aristotle, Kant, and Spinoza are examples of exponents. Practicality which is expressed as pragmatism, utilitarianism, and existentialism. In real life, it is the product of technology, architecture, scientific weapons of construction and destruction.
Qualitatively, intelligence finds expression as follows in our; •
Emotion, as expressed in naturalism, romanticism and in real life in poetry, music, drama and the creative arts. Philosophers like Rousseau and selfproclaimed naturalists like Earnest Nagel and Sydney Hook are relevant here. Intuition which is embodied in idealism, religion, metaphysics and highly influence religion, politics and theories of life and being. Plato, Hegel, and Gottlieb Fitchte and others are in this group.
Babin submits that each of these modalities is present in every human being to varying degrees but that: “The height of intelligence is to have all attributes in equal proportion as well as ability to use them”24. From the psychological angle, Paik quoting Eynseck defines intelligence as: Success in problem-solving, ability to learn, capacity for producing noegenetic solutions,
Walter Babin (2009) Intelligence and Philosophy, http://www.Babinnet/babin/ introl.htm
understanding of complex instructions or simply, all-round cognitive ability (Eynseck 1982, p. 8)25 Paik also submitted that: A common thread in all of these definitions of intelligence is that they all require the nervous system, especially the brain, and sensory organs to be functioning properly?26 From these definitions and explanations of the nature of intelligence, we can submit as follows: • • • • •
Intelligence is a human attribute, a capacity for knowing. It is biological in origin, although it is not a given biological entity like a cell, tissue or organ. It is epigenetic i.e. can progressively develop apart from hereditary trait levels, depending on the environment. It is noegenetic i.e. originates new knowledge. The capacity of intelligence may not be actualized if not exercised.
These attributes of intelligence, though not exhaustive, are of critical importance to educational practice. Psychological theories of intelligence that complement the philosophical are those concerning the debate of the oneness versus multiplicity of intelligences. Psychologists who submit that human intelligence is one general construct, i.e. g are Galton, Spearman, and Eynseck among others while Thurstone, Gardner, and Sternberg submit that humans possess multiple intelligences.Proponents of one general intelligence anchor their position on the assumption that: 25
Hans /S. Paik. One intelligence of many? Alternative approaches to cognitive abilities, http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/paikhtml, retrieved 2/19/2009. 26 Ibid.
Speed of information processing is the essential basis of g and one possible neurological basis of speed of processing is the speed of transmission through nerve pathways.27 This assumption of intelligence apparently serves as the rationale for the different aptitude tests for people of different age groups from primary school children to university graduates in our times. The aptitude tests are usually designed to test peoples’ general intelligence during a stipulated limited time. Speed of response and accuracy become the criteria for assessment of ability and intelligence, whether for purposes of school admission or for securing employment. General intelligence is therefore valuable in educational measurement and later, evaluation. Howard Gardner appears to have a theory of multiple intelligences which is valuable to a better understanding of man as homo sapiens. He believes that human beings do not just have one intelligence but multiple intelligences. Therefore a problem can be solved from as many perspectives as there are multiple intelligences. The domains of multiple intelligences according to Gardner are: • • • • • • • •
Linguistic i.e. “word smart” Logical mathematical i.e “number/reasoning smart” Spatial i.e. “picture smart” Bodily-kinesthetic i.e. “body smart” Musical i.e. “music smart” Interpersonal i.e. “people smart” Intrapersonal i.e. “self smart” Naturalistic i.e. “nature smart”.28
Ibid. Thomas Armstrong Multiple Intelligences, http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/ multipleintellegences.htm, retrieved 7/31/2005. 28
Permit me Mr. Vice-Chancellor, to illustrate the theory of multiple intelligences from my early life and the lives of others around me. My earthly father, late Solomon Olympus Adekanmbi (1900-1983) was able to master two subjects, English language and mathematics through self study during his military service in the Second World War. In his discharge certificate, his superiors described him as having “a good head for figures”. When I was a school girl, it did not take my father long to see that I preferred literary subjects— history, literature in particular, to mathematics. Because he wanted me to learn mathematics, he started writing notes for me as my history and literature teachers used to do. Certainly, my fear of disappointing him helped me to obtain a credit pass in O’ level mathematics. This meant that I had to learn some theorems and formulae by heart in case I needed to use them during examinations. My father applied his linguistic intelligence to help me use my own linguistic intelligence to understand mathematics. Coming home to my department, my former student and now my colleague at the career grade, Dr. Ayotola Aremu is another example. With a B.Sc degree in Electronic/Electrical Engineering, she soon came to terms with the reality that the toys with which she was brought up were now part of her life and that she liked to continue working with them. She came to earn a postgraduate diploma in education before getting admission to do a masters degree in childhood education. For her Ph.D, she worked on using ayo game to teach geometry to young children. At present, she is doing research on using story telling to teach arithmetic. This is an example of application of multiple intelligences to educational practice. Ayotola’ photo slide
Again, looking back into the 1970â€™s and visualizing Segun Odegbami in action, it is now clear that the soccer star combined bodily-kinesthetic, mathematical and spatial intelligence in playing soccer. This three-fold combination made him stand shoulder higher than his peers on the field, even though he is a professional engineer. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, one can see here a convergence in the philosophical and psychological theories of intelligence. The quantitative dimensions of intelligence as deposed by philosophers can be identified in the psychological variants of spatial, naturalist, bodily-kinesthetic and interpersonal intelligence. The philosophical qualitative dimension can also be reconciled with the psychological variants of linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical and intrapersonal intelligence. These favour introspection and creativity while the quantitative favour productive measurable activities. These do not remove the fact that human beings can combine any of the modalities of intelligence. This is what makes man both exciting and unpredictable. It is what makes both philosophers and psychologists to submit in different ways that man can know anything depending on how it is presented. If homo sapiens, the knowing human, depends on intelligence in order to know, what then is it to know and what is knowledge? Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, if each person in this audience should look at his neighbour sitting to the left and to the right, each would either see that he/she knows the neighbour or that he/she does not or is not sure if he/she does. Should you say that you know your neighbour, you could buttress your claim by saying either of the following: - Oh weâ€™ve been friends for a long time, Or, - Weâ€™re colleagues in the department, Or, 30
- We’re neighbours on campus, and so on. If on the other hand your neighbour says he/she does not know you, your neighbour is not denying that he/she can experience your presence beside him/her, right now. He or she is only saying that he/she cannot remember meeting you before now. When your neighbour is not sure that he/she knows you, your neighbour can see or feel you right there on your seat. You’re surely sitting beside him or her. Only he or she is saying, I cannot recall having an earlier experience of you that is similar to the present one. From these three cognitive possibilities, i.e. I know, I do not know. or I am not sure, one can submit as follows: Knowledge is a cognitive experience which we have of a person, thing, idea, place, and so on. • Such an experience is retained in the mind, or internalized. • When the experience is repeated, it becomes recognition. • If the experience is not internalized, recognition may not be possible and one may not be able to ascertain knowledge. Philosophers, at different times, have propounded several theories of knowledge but a few of them will now be identified and aligned with the archetypes of intelligence which we have just discussed. While examining the theories, we shall take cognisance of the fact that each major theory has its variants or other related theories. For example, while discussing idealism, one is also conscious of variants like rationalism. One can connect realism with empiricism and naturalism while pragmatism has variants like experimentalism, instrumentalism, and even constructivism. •
Idealism and its variants upholds that knowledge is an experience of inner illumination. This means that knowledge is inner light or insight by the person that knows. Plato, the major proponent of this theory, gave it practical demonstration in the MENO by leading a slave boy who never went to school to prove Pythagoras theorem through systematic questioning on the subject.
Plato submitted that since the boy was never taught before, the reason he could correctly answer the questions that led to the proof of pythagoras theorem was that the slave boy had the knowledge in him in the world of the Forms before he came into his world. So, if you feel familiar with your neighbour that you have never met before, it could be that you have both met earlier in the world of the Forms before coming into this world! Subjects which would be compatible with the insight theory of knowledge include the pure sciences, creative writing, religious studies and philosophy among others. These subjects essentially make use of reasoning and creativity. Idealism would not accept vocational disciplines as knowledge. Therefore, Nigerian parents who resist sending their children to vocational education institutions are supporting idealist epistemology even if they are not conscious of it. Unlike idealism which claims that reality is not physical and can only be encountered by contemplation and reasoning, Realism, spearheaded by Aristotle, Platoâ€™s outstanding student, upholds that the world exists separate from the mind and that we can have objective knowledge of the world via the senses. Empiricism aligns with realism with the submission that knowledge is a product of perception via the senses. The focus of interest in this theory of knowledge is the culture of society, how to pass on this culture from generation to generation and how to find out more about the 32
culture. Therefore, knowledge is the culture of society learnt by its members from various perspectives. Economics is culture from an economic perspective. History is culture from a historical perspective. Religion is culture from a religious perspective. Science is culture from a scientific perspective. Realism considers vocational subjects supplementary but necessary to knowledge. Our curricula of general education at the secondary school level would reflect realist epistemology if they focus on appreciation of our culture . They would also be valuable in for a to show our learners that culture is not limited to the performing arts but that it is encapsulated in the total lifestyle of the people Pragmatism, its variants and other related epistemologies like existentialism, focus more on human experience as the source of knowledge. The major proponents like John Dewey, C. S. Pierce, Stanley Hall and other followers uphold a scientific viewpoint of knowledge that truth is part of the nature of knowledge i.e. “tested, verified, and found effective” in solving problems. According to C. S. Pierce, “The opinion which is fated to be agreed to by all who investigate it is what is meant by truth.”29 Compatible subjects with pragmatism and other related theories are the following: • •
the sciences, to explore and discover new knowledge, the humanities and languages, which enable the learner to see his/her society’s advancement in civilization, communicate in language and promote creativity, and the social sciences which enable the learner to know the way of life of his/her community and function effectively as its member.
This theory, one can say, positions man as “homo sapiens” more than others because man is the determiner of 29
J. A. Akinpelu (1981) Introduction to philosophy of education, Macmillan Publishers, London, Basingstoke, p. 146.
what is knowledge. The individual makes knowledge for himself and the process is for him/her a process of growth. According to pragmatism, knowledge is growth, growth, growth and nothing but growth. For the existentialist, the process of learning is a process of ascertaining learner’s authentic self. One can see from the following table the relationship between these identified theories of knowledge and the psychological, philosophical, archetypes of intelligence.
Table 1: Knowledge and Multiple Intelligences Theories of Knowledge Idealism and Variants Idealism – focus on the human mind and intellectual development. Subject: History Geography Literature Religion Philosophy Art Pure Sciences Realism and Variants Realism – Focus on Reality independent of the mind – society’s culture Subjects Economics History Religion Geography Science Humanities
Psychological archetypes of Intelligence Linguistic Naturalistic Intrapersonal Interpersonal
Philosophical archetypes of Intelligence Qualitative Emotional Intuitional Quantitative–logical–mathematical
Linguistic Spatial Naturalistic Musical Bodily kinaesthetic Interpersonal Logical– mathematical
Quantitative–logical–mathematical Qualitative Emotional Intuitional
Art–sculpture, painting, drama and so on Pragmatism and Variants Pragmatism – Focus on develop the problem solver
Subjects Applied Sciences Social Sciences Humanities & languages Arts – drama, history, literature, music, and so on
Linguistic Logical-mathematical Interpersonal Intrapersonal Bodily kinesthetic Naturalistic Spatial
Quantitative–logical–mathematical Practical Qualitative Intuitional
From this table, we can see that while idealism focuses on knowledge as non-material reality, the other two theories which dwell more on scientific, social and cultural realities show that both philosophical and psychological archetypes of intelligence are compatible with access to knowledge. This again presupposes the complementarity of different branches of knowledge. It also implies that very often, knowledge skills in different disciplines facilitate access to knowledge in others. For example, in his inaugural lecture presented on Thursday, 19th February 2009, Bankole Oke (2009) said: I realized very early in the anatomy class that my best strategy for understanding and easily recollecting things in the dissecting room was to do a sketch of the details and label instantly. That way, it became permanently ingrained in my memory.30 Oke demonstrated quantitave intelligence philosophically and spatial (i.e. picture-smart) intelligence psychologically. Depending on his kind of personality, Oke in his secondary 30
Bankole Olusiji Oke (2009) Form and function: The inseparable twins in veterinary medicine, University of Ibadan inaugural lecture. P. 3-4.
school days could have taken delight in drawing his teacher or other classmates thereby retaining the thrust of the lesson. Unfortunately, other classmates may just think the intellectual artist is being rascally. However, our lecturer’s story showed that he used his picture-smart intelligence to advantage and not for mischief. In sum, intelligence is our cognitive access door to the inner chamber of knowledge. We do not know without it— moronic idiots are good proofs. However intelligence does not automatically guarantee knowledge because one may not be exposed to the experience necessary for knowledge. It is therefore possible to make learning and the development of our intelligence a lifelong experience since there is always something new and useful to learn. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, our discussion of knowledge and intelligence so far has curricular implications for our educational system. For us who are practitioners in the tertiary education sector, we may need to rethink our curricula to be more learner-centred. This means that we should consider integrating the following into our curricula in our different areas of study in higher education: • • •
the interest and abilities of our students, the nature of our disciplines, and the relationship of our disciplines with others in terms of compatibility and especially complementarity.
These factors if combined, would help us to help our learners to learn best—according to their own natural intellectual ability. This would also serve as a favourable provoker of creativity both in learning and knowledge creation. For example, could a language student offer courses in geology, or a science student offer courses in music? Could an economics student offer courses in health education? Or could an engineering student offer courses in literature? Perhaps these disciplines, from our theories of
knowledge and intelligence, can combine to harmonize the personality of our learners and make them greater assets to themselves and to humanity. After all, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, many of our graduates these days are not employed to work in their areas of academic specializations. Most of banking employment have been taken up by our engineering graduates. We have doctors who are now fashion designers— in a highly enviable sense. We have education graduates who are efficient farm managers. Could our higher education curricula exploit our learners’ multiple intelligences more than we are doing at present? In the light of this lecture so far, I would answer the question in the affirmative. These complementary avenues of self expression could also have implications for our hidden curricula in higher education. Our environment of academic freedom allows our students to give freer expression to their natural endowments than at the lower levels of education. Unfortunately such freedom can, and often gets chanelled into unproductive activities or unhealthy and destructive associations. Opportunities of positive self expression in divergent knowledge areas could sanitize our hidden curricula thereby making life on campus more congenial and less violent. Furthermore, curricula which take our learner’s multiple intelligences into account by implication accept that there are many ways to learning. This also implies that there are many ways to teaching, one of which is to lecture. Then, it places the challenge on us as higher education teachers to make use of other methods, skills, strategies of teaching so that we can empower our graduates to face the contemporary life and the workplace more confidently. We should therefore seize opportunities to learn new skills of teaching with zeal. Our ICT generation compels us to learn continuously. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, distinguished audience, granted that “knowing man” has intelligence, does he always know what he can know? This takes us to another brief look at the concept of human potential, to conclude this second lecture. Human potential, like the concept of intelligence, is very
topical in education studies. It is also very topical in philosophy of education because potential is ingrained in human nature. Educational processes can make it flourish, or otherwise leave it untapped. In other words, the processes of education may develop a learner’s intelligence and knowledge without fully developing the learner’s potentials. If this should happen, and it seems to happen a lot in our generation—a learner may be very intelligent, very knowledgeable and yet unfulfilled, first in schooling, and or later, in life. In his book titled Of Human Potential, Israel Scheffler (1985) defined human potential as, “The seeds of possible changes in his powers and attainments.”31 From this definition, we can identify the following about human potential: • • • • • •
It is a seed, already planted. It can be nurtured/killed depending on the environment—social, intellectual, political, and so on. The person in whom the potential is may or may not recognize it. The person may not know how to actualize it, thus needing a mentor, guardian, teacher, counsellor, and so on to “discover” himself. Potential is nature’s open door of opportunities. Whereas intelligence is essentially cognitive, potential may be cognitive, affective, or psychomotoric.
From the philosophical point of view, let us now examine three modalities of human potential. Firstly, potential is human capacity. In Israel Schefflers’ words, “lack of this condition would prevent the person from becoming or acquiring something.” In other words, potential as capacity 31
Israel Scheffler (1985) Of human potential, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.
describes a present condition which can facilitate a person P’s becoming Z. Therefore an eloquent undergraduate of this university, irrespective of faculty of specialization may be a potential actor, teacher, politician, journalist, lawyer, or public relations practitioner. Here, eloquence is the favourable condition, which is human quality or latent ability. Secondly, human potential can be considered as propensity which, according to scheffler: Presupposes circumstances in the state of knowledge, in the set of values and in the policies governing the person which will allow him/her to develop a certain skill or application.32 This represents a two-dimensional perspective of potential. The first is the locus of capacity in the learner, which may be identified only by external people like teachers, advisers, parents, and so on. The other is the set of values and policies which govern the learner’s life. These can be social, cultural, religious, or personal conviction. For example, a student may be very good in nursing but out of fear of night duty, may choose another profession. On a personal note, I did not collect my letter of appointment into the diplomatic service even though I performed very well at the interview because the conditions of service then were at variance with my chosen value of family life. So, my personal value killed the potential diplomat in me Another student may be good in drama but because his or her religion insists on particular ways of dressing, may drop the subject. Still, another student may secure university admission but poor economic circumstance may prevent him/her from accepting the offer and thereby, hinder potential actualization. In this last example, a scholarship award, if available would constitute a favourable “policy governing the person”, thereby facilitating development of potential.
I. Scheffler (1985) Ibid.
In this regard Mr. Vice-Chancellor, the efforts being made by the present university administration to supplement efforts of the government and other well-meaning organizations to give minimal support to financially handicapped undergraduates of this university in different faculties deserve commendation and encouragement. As we have seen, potential is a seed. As we nurture the potential in these learners now, they can grow up to become unequalled agents of national development in the near future. This is an investment that pays far more than any stock market transaction because of its social multiplier effects. Whereas stocks may lose value, our investment in human development can only appreciate as we consciously nurture the intellectual and potential development of the future generation. Here lies the effectiveness of education in effecting social change according to the desire of educational planners and practitioners. Thailand did it for her adult population and increased her level of literacy. Germany, after suffering humiliation from Napoleon, used education to produce a new generation of patriots who have unflinching sense of national superiority of incomparable sense of national superiority. We also can develop the potentials of our learners to a level that would propel Nigeria to become a world power in our generation. Finally, potential as capability, depends on â€œa personâ€™s effectiveness in promoting a designated outcomeâ€?. It is a skill which a person is able to demonstrate whether or not it is demanded. For example, a student may be able to solve ten mathematics problems in one hour whether or not she is actually asked to do so. But she may not be able to solve twenty problems in one hour. Thus, her effectiveness in solving ten problems in one hour may make her a potential quantiity surveyor but not a potential aircraft pilot. Another factor in capability, is efficiency. A student may be able to solve ten problems in one hour but another may be able to do so in thirty minutes. The latter student would have combined efficiency with effectiveness. As earlier pointed out, selection
procedures of candidates for employment and for admission into higher grade institutions consider these factors because speed of response to intellectual challenges is a determiner of intelligence and potential. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, we can now have a picture of homo sapiens, the knowing man. He is a biological specimen, having the biological property of intelligence by which he can know as well as create knowledge. With intelligence, man can reason, and in the process of reasoning man can exercise freedom, will power, judgement, and make choices between alternatives. Intelligence facilitates progression from “what” i.e. matter, object, to “who” i.e. thinker, author, originator. But above all, homo sapiens is also a potential who can learn anything, become anything, and create anything. When homo sapiens as an intelligent being has actualized his intellectual potential he becomes a highly knowledgeable person. But is he educated? We shall attempt to answer this question in our third lecture . Thank you all for listening thus far.
3 THE LEARNED MAN OR THE EDUCATED MAN? Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, let me say, for the benefit of people who are here for the first time today, that in this year’s university lectures, we have a simple question to answer— What is man, that we should educate him? In the first lecture, I tried to address the question, “Who needs education anyway?” In the second, I tried to paint a picture of homo sapiens, the knowing man. We saw homo sapiens as a human being with intelligence and potential. When these attributes are developed, homo sapiens becomes a learned man. In this lecture we are asking another question: Is the learned man the same as the educated man? Though I have been raising questions from the beginning of these lectures to now, I am not trying to present a parody of the Ancient Mariner by asking “questions, questions every time and not a single answer given” As pointed out in the first lecture questions give philosophy its resilience and dynamism down the ages. No question is ever finally answered because questions of philosophy are questions of human life. Let us start this last lecture by discussing another interpretation of education which has been deliberately deferred from the first lecture because of its logical relevance here. This is the interpretation of education as personality development. This interpretation is both generally assented to and more presumed than other interpretations. Not only that, development, though a favourable word, is more nebulous than for example, schooling, literacy, knowledge, or certification. When we interpret education as personality development, are we referring to development from a toddler in preschool to a young adult on graduation?
If this is all, then, all human beings develop in this physical sense. Midgets are exceptions, and just as the process of education cannot make a midget grow into a giant, the lack of it also cannot reduce a giant to a midget. Physical development may be affected by education, but we are not interpreting education here as physical development. In the second lecture, I have shown that mental or intellectual development though of biological origin, depends on conscious efforts made to actualize it in the environment. The concept of development connotes growth. In their ordinary interpretations however, growth and development can be either positive or negative. Just as we can talk of positive development in any situation we can also refer to an ugly or undesirable development. Similarly, growth connotes increase of any entity and such growth can be desirable like for example, growth in school attendance and success rate. Growth can also be undesirable, like growth in crime rate or failure rate. On the other hand, personality development here is meant to connote beneficial or desirable outcome, both in the context of an individualâ€™s life and in social life. Growth is quantitative. Development is qualitative and value-laden. When we interpret education as personality development, we mean that education makes a person become better than she would be without it. Education is not an acquisitionâ€”either of a skill or a material possession. Education is personality transformation. It is not what we have, it is what we become. This value dimension of education serves as the basis of our discussion in this lecture. Education as development i.e. personality transformation leads us to examine societyâ€™s goals or objectives of education as the case may be. Development is not only qualitative, it is also a judgmental word. Before we can pronounce a person educated, the person must have attained some expected level of behaviour since we are focusing on personality development here. Our professional benchmark becomes the major educational objectives as given by B. S. Bloom and these are:
• • •
cognitive development, affective development, and psychomotor development.
Having established the biological origins of our cognitive i.e. intellectual abilities in the second lecture, we also submitted that our intelligence can grow and can generate new knowledge. This then makes cognitive development a realizable educational objective. But as we asked at the end of the second lecture, is the learned person the educated person? If this were so, knowledge would be a sufficient criterion for education. But on its on, knowledge is a neutral construct. One agrees with R. S. Peters who said that: …the knowledge which a man must possess to qualify as being educated must be built into his way of looking at things. It cannot be merely inert. It is possible for a man to know a lot of history, in the sense that he can give correct answers to questions in classrooms and in examination, without ever developing a historical sense… . We might describe such a man as “knowledgeable” but we would never describe him as “educated”; for education implies that a man’s outlook is transformed by what he knows.33 The psychomotor development as an educational objective also has cognitive origins. Though it is essentially a demonstration of practical skills, such skills need some theoretical knowledge background to actualize their meaningful application. I need to know some principles of the highway code before I can be trusted to drive on the highway. The factory machine operator needs some theoretical knowledge of how the machines function before he can be 33
R. S. Peters (1979) The concept of education, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, p. 7
practically entrusted with their operation. R. S. Peters submits that in the learning of skills: Constant practice is absolutely essential especially under the eye of a skilled performer who both corrects and provides a paradigm of the performance. Skills are difficult to master so, extrinsic forms of motivation usually have to supplement the intrinsic motivation provided by the desire to achieve or get something right.34 The affective component of educational objectives however is more discreet. It deals with development of attitudes and values. These are not as easily measurable as the cognitive and psychomotor objectives. It also takes more interconnected cognitive and psychomotor processes. Again, R. S. Peters shows the difference between skill acquisition and attitudinal development thus: It is conceivable that something like swimming could be just picked up or caught by practice and imitation … . But a habit like that of honesty which is not just a kind of ‘know-how’ or knack could never be picked up just like this.35 Just as a positive disposition is not just “picked” up by chance so is a negative disposition. Again, Peters paints the picture graphically as follows: Consider, for instance, what a child has got to know before he can develop a habit like that of stealing. He must be able to distinguish between himself and others and must have developed the notion of property; he must also grasp that people have a right to things and that these things must 34 35
R. S. Peters (1979) Ibid R. S. Peters (1979) Ibid. P. 15
not be appropriated without permission… . He cannot learn what ‘stealing’ is just by watching others … . To realize that something is a case of theft he must, therefore have developed a conceptual scheme without which theft is an unintelligible notion.36 Therefore although we classify educational objectives, each is not exclusive of the other. Each is ingrained deeper into the personality than can be easily measured. All need to be achieved for our complete understanding of the educated person. At this juncture, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, permit me to ask two questions: Did we have such a thing as educational objectives in traditional Africa? Did we in Nigeria have educational objectives for westernized education when we embraced it either during colonial government or after? Like pre-hellenic Greek education, traditional African education was mainly informal, home-based but having the goal of character development primarily. In this part of the country, J. A. Majasan identified the goal of Yoruba traditional education as development of Omoluabi (literally a person of excellent character). Home practices therefore promoted socially acceptable habits that were considered befitting of Omoluabi. They also condemned those habits which were considered unbecoming. Fafunwa, cited by Akinkuotu (1999) listed the objectives of African traditional education as development of: • • • • • • 36
morals latent physical skills intellectual skills respect for elders healthy attitude towards honest labour sense of belonging
R. S. Peters Ibid p. 15-16.
understanding, appreciation, and promotion of the cultural heritage of the community at large.37
African traditional education was therefore closely tied with community life, and was “multivalent”, gradual and progressive in accordance with the African child’s “successive stages of physical, emotional, and mental development”.38 Adeola (1999) identified vocational aspects of traditional African educations as follows: • • •
Agricultural education—farming, fishing, animal care and animal rearing Trades and crafts—weaving, sculpture, smithing Professions—priesthood, justice, military, medicine, governance, and others.39
Moreover, there were formal educational institutions in traditional society—like the Poro in Sierra Leone, the Sande in Liberia, the Dipo in Ghana, the Fertility House in Calabar.40 These “special schools” taught advanced knowledge in governance, home care and management, military strategies, among others. The objective was however clear— the African was expected to be of exemplary behaviour in society even as he carried out his social professional functions. Violation of this principle could lead to community decision to sell the culprit into slavery or diplomatically send him on an errand of death. Coming to western education in Africa, Ikejiani et. al. (1964) reported as follows:
37 Y. A. Akinkuotu (1999) Sources of knowledge in Traditional African Education. In Philosophising About African Education, Ayo Adewole and Oluremi Ayodele-Bamisaiye (eds) Ibadan, Macmillan Nigeria Ltd. P. 80. 38 O. A. Adeola (1999) Avenues of formal learning in African Education. In op. cit Ayo Adewole and Oluremi Ayodele-Bamisaiye (eds). p. 71. 39 Ibid. p. 72 40 Ibid.
…the British rulers did not want to educate Africans for positions which provided jobs for themselves. Many of them knew that if they intensified the education of Nigerians they would hasten the end of occupation. So they rationed education cautiously, hoping that it would be many centuries before Nigerians would be able to govern themselves.41 Under colonial rule, the first moves were made by Christian missionaries who sought to spread the gospel. But this was not possible unless the people could read and write. Therefore the church schools started to teach the Bible, catechism and other Christian doctrines. The colonial government later saw the need to train clerks and skilled artisans who could be employed into the lower cadres of the colonial civil service. This was good reason to support the schools founded by the missionaries and even to start funding them. When it came to higher education however, the colonial masters were not enthusiastic about providing this in the colonies. As Adewoye recorded: … in Nigeria, indications of the desire for higher education existed in the nineteenth century, when local merchants, mainly Sierra Leonean immigrants in Lagos, were sending their children overseas to train as professionals… . Significantly, the higher education the children pursued was professional in nature: medicine, law, and engineering. By 1913, eight doctors had qualified; there were about twenty-four lawyers and two civil engineers.42 41
Okechukwu Ikejiani (ed) (1964) Nigerian education, Longman, Nigeria Ltd P. 4. 42 Adewoye (1973) The Antecedents. In The University of Ibadan 19481973, J. F. Ade Ajayi and Tekena N. Tamuno, Ibadan University Press, p. 5.
It is clear that the reason why westernized education particularly higher education was “wrestled” from the colonial masters by Africans had nothing to do with character development or inculcation of social values. It was primarily the acquisition of material well-being. Closely following this was the more esoteric aspiration of “elevation of the black race.” Adewoye said further: A corollary to the growing race-consciousness among the educated Africans was an awareness of the technological gap between their race and the white race. This awareness was at the bottom of the desire for higher education. For true emancipation of the black race, and for the purpose of raising the status of the black man, and of making him contribute his quota to human progress, higher education … was invariably considered to hold the key.43 Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, it is clear that while traditional African education can be rightly considered as an end in itself, westernized education was accepted as a means to an end of especially material well-being and racial emancipation. Traditional African education operated in collaboration with the social institutions that constituted the life wire of the African child i.e. the family, especially the extended family, the community and its religion, the system of government, the judicial system and others. Westernized education on the other hand, was provided in schools/colleges which were physically detached from their communities and were run by people who were not necessarily members of the communities. In the days of missionary education, children were discouraged from practising community values because these values were considered either “pagan” or “barbaric”. I recall that I was suspended from the boarding house for one 43
week in 1967 because I spoke Yoruba while doing my laundry on Saturday afternoon. This meant that my language which is the social and psychological expression of culture was excluded from the process of education. Since attitudes and values are embedded in a people’s culture, western education cultivated cognitive development to the exclusion of a conscious attempt to positively transform attitudes and values as well. All these not withstanding, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, it is recited at every graduation ceremony in this university and others worldwide that graduands have been found worthy in character and in learning … and therefore qualify to graduate. It is also noteworthy that part of our mission in the University of Ibadan is “to produce graduates who are worthy in character and sound judgment”. Granted that we all have courses of study that we either teach as teachers or learn as learners, where and when do we offer any programme on character education? In our contemporary times, our National Policy on Education (2004) states seven goals of primary education, two of which are to: • •
give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society. mould the character and develop sound attitude and morals in the child.44
Among the seven goals of tertiary education one is to “develop and inculcate proper values for the survival of the individual and society”.45 But at the senior secondary school level, there was no mention of values or moral behaviour among the two broad goals and the eight specific goals for 44
Federal Government of Nigeria, National Policy on Education, NERDC Press, p. 14. 45 Norman and Sheila Williams (1972) The moral development of children, p. 62-85.
that level. The gravity of this omission will evolve later in this lecture. Values education which is inclusive of character and moral education is a deliberate effort to develop a person intellectually in such a way that this also develops the personâ€™s moral outlook. Values education is based on ethical theories in education while the practical application of ethical theories in educational practice is moral education. It is significant to know that a person does not naturally develop morally unless one consciously makes him so, just as one does not also develop intellectually unless a conscious effort is made to achieve this. The famous Swiss philosopher, natural scientist, and psychologist, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), has developed some psychological theories of intellectual development side by side with that of moral development which deserve examination at this point. He identified four states of human development in the child from childhood to adolescence.46 These are: the sensori-motor, the pre-operational, the concrete operational, and the formal operational stages. Using his studies in the games of marbles among children, he also identified four stages of moral development. These are: the motor stage, the egocentric stage, the stage of incipient cooperation, and the stage of codification.47 The sensori motor stage spans the first two years of life. The childâ€™s universe at this time centres around himself and the objects that are immediately perceptible to him. At this stage the child has no concept of any rules, moral or otherwise. The pre-operational levels spans the ages of two to six years. At this state, the child can take part in the game of marbles from a purely egocentric stage. He imitates others but cannot yet cooperate at play. As from the ages of seven and eleven years, the child can operate at the level of incipient cooperation in the field of play. The child plays to win and regards the rules of the game as inviolable, even 46 47
Ibid. p. 36 Ibid.
sacred. These rules of the game are enforced by older children and adults and are thus, externally imposed. Piaget said further: Moral constraint is akin to intellectual constraint and the strictly literal character which the child tends to ascribe to rules received from without bears … a close resemblance to the attitudes he adopts with regard to language and the intellecttual realities imposed on him by the adult.48 Therefore, this age group typically equates “good”, “right” or “wrong” with strict obedience to rules, with a moral realism that induces an objective conception of responsibility. Intentions of actions are not considered, but the actions themselves are considered as they conform to or violate rules. It follows then that parents are doing untold harm to the moral development of their children at this age if they violate existing rules in their children’s presence. This violation can range from breaking highway rules, not paying school fees when they are due or even breaking rules within the home setting. For example, if parents make it a rule for everybody to be home by 8p.m., it would be doing violence to their children’s moral development to come home at later hours without any explanation from the parents. Significantly, this is also the age group of children’s transition from primary to secondary school. One recalls some years back when the son of a (now) retired professor did not make the cut off mark to be invited for interview for admission into the International School here on campus. Because the professor was very vocal on campus and was also a member of the ISI Governing Board, the school authorit decided to invite the son for interview “so as not to look for trouble”. But that was when they got into trouble because this professor went to ISI and threatened to take them 48
Jean Piaget (1966) The moral judgment of the child, (Trans Marjorie Gabain) New York, The Free Press, P. 110.
to court for inviting an unqualified candidate for interview. He then took his son back to Staff School to spend an extra year after which the child passed—according to laid down rules. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, that professor may or may not have known it but he was promoting the moral development of his son at that age. During the same period, another professor of that generation wanted his very intelligent son to be given admission into this university. Unknown to this professor, the son had filled his correct age on his JAMB application form, so, a sworn affidavit to say that he was older was no longer admissible. When the admissions officer (also a professor’s wife) refused to let in the under-aged child, his professor father made for the Vice-Chancellor’s office to “press for his right”. On being summoned, the admissions officer quietly explained that the child could not be admitted because the rules said so. As she turned to take her exit, the ViceChancellor called her back, “Madam where is your son who was one of our highest JAMB scorers last year?” “He’s at home learning computer skills Sir. He will be able to resume in October since he’ll be sixteen in August”. The Professor could not press for his rights beyond this point. That admissions officer who retired many years ago, may just be doing her work, but she was consolidating the moral development of her intelligent son, and contributing to the moral development of the professor’s son. From the stage of objective i.e. externally imposed morality, Piaget submitted that a transition follows to subjective, i.e. self-directed morality, making two distinctive even if not successive stages of moral development. He stated that: Even if the objective and the subjective conceptions of responsibility are not, properly speaking, features of two successive stages they do at least define two distinct processes, one of which on the average precedes the other in the
moral development of the child although the two partially synchronize.49 Piaget’s agent of transition from objective i.e. heteronomous morality to subjective i.e. autonomous morality is the company of peers. This suggests that peer influence is always positive and naturally beneficial. However, too many examples abound of negative peer influence and our campus is no exception. However, good company provides invaluable reinforcement for moral development. Just as bad company can negatively influence good behaviour, it also happens that good company can reform bad behaviour. Piaget’s submission on peer influence could be realistic either positively or negatively. While Piaget’s studies focused on the development of children up to their pre-teenage or early teenage years, other developmental and moral development theories have gone beyond this age bracket. A complement to Piaget’s ideas is another scientist, philosopher, and psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987). His ideas were built upon those of Piaget and so, both of them considered together would provide an adequate picture of the moral development of the child in this lecture. Kohlberg’s theory started with a philosophical justification for moral judgement as follows: … any conception of what moral judgement ought to be must rest on an adequate conception of what is… therefore conception of what adequate or ideal moral judgements should be rests on an adequate definition of what moral judgement is in the minds of men50
Jean Piaget, op. cit. p. Lawrence Kohlberg (1976) From is to ought: How to commit the naturalistic fallacy and get away with it in the study of moral development. In Cognitive development and epistemology Theodore Mischel, New York, Academy Press. 50
Kohlberg’s argument is based on a naturalistic fallacy, but a defensible one. It is impossible to dream without a comparable or contrastive reality, no matter how shadowy. Morality is more realistic than pure logical thought because it deals with principles that should govern our lives as they ought to be in comparison with principles that govern them as they are, especially if observable behaviour, as they are, differ from how they ought to be. Like Piaget, Kohlberg identified two levels of moral behaviour i.e. the objective and the principled levels. He also identified three levels of general moral development, that is: • • •
the pre-conventional, from age two to seven years, the conventional, from pre-adolescence to late adolescent years, and the post-conventional, from late adolescence onwards.
Unlike Piaget who submitted that moral development evolved as children developed, Kohlberg submitted that internalization of moral principles is consecutive and cumulative i.e. it gets built into the outlook of the child. While Piaget concentrated more on what children do, Kohlberg focused on how they think. Kohlberg’s philosophical assumption was based on his theory of human nature which states thus: The picture of human nature which Kohlberg begins with is that humans are inherently communicative and capable of reason, they also possess a desire to communicate with others and the world around them. The stages of Kohlberg’s model relate to the qualitative moral reasonings adopted by individuals and do not directly translate into praise or blame of any individual’s actions or character. In order to argue that his theory measures moral reasoning and not particular moral conclusions Kohlberg insists that
the form and structure of moral arguments is independent of the content of those arguments…51 With this background as the basis of his studies, Kohlberg focused on the moral concept of justice as his index of moral development and came up with three levels of moral development as follows: Level 1: Pre-conventional 1. Obedience and punishment orientation (How can I avoid punishment?) 2. Self interest orientation (What’s in it for me?)52 He found that children at this pre-conventional level of moral development are largely motivated by consequences of their action in their behaviour. If an action is positively rewarded, then it is good. If it is followed by disapproval, it is bad. This means that if a child is commended for bringing home other peoples property from school, then the child thinks that it is good to do so. A higher stage of this level is that the child graduates from egocentrism to egoism, that is, if there are things to distribute, the child first takes his own, then, he asks to be given for his friend or classmate. At the egocentric level of reasoning he may take his friend’s pack because he expects to be given part of it. At the egoistic level, he is helping his friend because he expects his friend to help him some day. Translated into Yoruba wisdom sayings: the egocentric, when given a hoe, clears his own farm portion first (Ko si eni ti ao fun l’oko ti ko ni roko sodo ara re). For the egoist, there is no lost deed, we only have “saved/invested” deeds (Ko si asedanu, ase pamo lo wa). 51
Kohlberg’s stages of moral development w.http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg%275stagesofmoral development, retrieved 3/6/2009 52 Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, Wikipedia, the Free Press, retrieved 3/6/2009
Level 2: Conventional 3. Interpersonal accord and conformity (social norms) i.e. what is socially acceptable. 4. Authority and social order maintaining orientation (law and order morality).53 Kohlberg’s conventional level of moral development is also identifiable in different phases. At this first phase, obedience to legal and established authority is the child’s moral standard in securing social approval. It is significant that this stage is generally attained from early to late adolescent years i.e, the period of secondary school education. If a child learns the values of obedience to rules and internalizes it at this stage of life, he/she is on the path to principled morality if properly so guided. The higher level of this second stage starts when a child begins to appreciate the relativity of social practices and begins to develop his own values or philosophy of life, as long as these do not hurt others around him. Since this level of moral development is attainable at the secondary school age it is a gross omission for our senior secondary school curricula to focus only on intellectual development to the exclusion of a purposeful moral education programme. Research has submitted that by age 16, a boy is either a saint or a sinner but that girls are capable of further moral development till later. The secondary school age which is period of the efflorescence of a child’s intellectual powers is also the ideal time for focused moral education.
Level 3: Post Conventional 5. Social contract orientation 6. Universal ethical principles (Principled conscience).54 53 54
Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, op. cit. Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, op. cit.
The post conventional level of moral development is regarded by Kohlberg as the level of true moral behaviour, the other two being only preparatory to it. Here, a person is guided by moral principles which he has chosen to live by, and he is ready to defy the law of his country in order to show his commitment to such principles. He does this in full understanding of the implications for doing so and he is ready to face the consequences of his action. At the next level, he is prepared to make his life principles a universal law, like the famous Kantian imperative. At this level of moral conviction, a person is prepared to lay down his life to uphold his moral conviction after the order of the Sartrean existentialist hero. Humanity has a good number of people in this group. The late Mahatma Ghandi of India, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and late Dr. Martin Luther King of the United States are world examples. In Nigeria, we have examples among the living in Gani Fawehinmi and Wole Soyinka. Those who are now dead include Tai Solarin, Dele Giwa, Bala Ibrahim, Akanu Ibiam and Ayodele Awojobi. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, and respected audience, after comparing the number of the living with the dead in this list, I got scared at the thought that our moral gadflies in Nigeria were becoming an endangered species of humanity. So, between 17-18 April 2009, I sent the following text message to selected 120 educated Nigerians in different parts of the country: “Kindly name one Nigerian alive who would be prepared to die for a cause he/she believes in. Kindly reply urgently”. By 6.30 p.m. on 18 April I had received 44 replies. I got 3 more on Sunday 20 April. I hereby present the results: •
Out of the 47 responses, 13 people chose Gani Fawehinmi—11 people from the southwest, 1 person from the southeast and 1 person from the north central.
• • • • •
5 chose Professor Wole Soyinka—3 people from the southwest, 1 person from the southeast and 1 person from the north central. 3 people chose Jesus—all from the southwest, with one of them saying that Jesus is from the southwest. 2 people chose Professor Dora Akunyili—1 person each from the north east and the southwest. 2 people from the southwest chose Adams Oshiomhole. 8 persons nominated themselves, including 3 who nominated others before nominating themselves. These included 6 people from the southwest, 1 person from Abuja and 1 person from the northeast.
The following Nigerians had one nomination each: • • • • • • • • •
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo Mr A.G.Garba Alhaji Balarabe Musa General Yakubu Gowon Olubadan of Ibadan Oba Odulana Odugade Mr Femi Falana Tony Enahoro Bishop David Oyedepo Professor Omotoye Olorode
Other responses read as follows: • • • •
There’s only one Nigeria and it cannot die for itself— from southwest. I posted your request to ten others and I’m still waiting—from northwest. Tough!—from southwest. I doubt there is. All I know is that I hate injustice and decry it wherever I am—from southwest.
It is gratifying that my humble survey has established our two living examples of Nigerians who are perceived by their countrymen and women as having attained the principled level of morality. It is even more so that other names have featured that one might not have thought of about a decade ago. Even more so are those who nominated themselves. Of the 8 people, there are 5 professors, one press man, one medical doctor, and one peace practitioner. As one of them said (after nominating Gani Fawehinmi): Iâ€™m also prepared, but yet unknown (I laugh!). Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, I choose to take these highly educated Nigerians at their word while waiting for their opportunity to prove it to the whole country whenever the occasion arises for them to do so. Research ethics would not permit me to disclose the identity of any respondent. Anyway, that one is prepared to die for a causedoes not mean that one wil actually die. It only confirms the saying of the philosopher-statesman Obafemi Awolowo that it is not life that matters, but the courage you put into it What then follows from our appraisal of these two complementary theories? Firstly, cognitive development and moral development are interrelated. Jean Piaget submitted in The Psychology of the Child as follows: Affectivity constitutes the energetic of behaviour patterns whose cognitive aspect refers to structures alone. There is no behaviour pattern, however intellectual which does not involve affective factors as motives; but reciprocally, there can be no affective states without the intervention of perceptions or comprehensions which constitute their cognitive structureâ€Ś55
Jean Piaget and Barbel Inhelder (1979) The psychology of the child (translated by Helen Weaver), Routledge and Kegan Paul p. 159.
Secondly, Lawrence Kohlberg’s studies present verifiable proofs that moral development can continue till late adolescence. It then becomes clear that moral development cannot be assumed to have taken place but has to be consciously developed. A person can fixate at a lower moral level and continue to grow intellectually. While it is possible to have continuing education for intellectual development later in life, it is not so with moral development. Therefore, a person may be intellectually gargantuan but morally lilliputian, Thirdly, Kohlberg’s studies have been proved to have universal application. His studies in moral reasoning and moral development covered the USA, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Turkey; and the trends in moral reasoning were found to be the same—with variations according to the stage of civilization of each country. How applicable are Kohlberg’s findings to us? In this university for example, a student can be made to face disciplinary action on two major grounds. These are examination malpractices or other counts which are categorized as gross misconduct including indecent behaviour, squatting in halls of residence and stealing to mention a select few. Students who engage in examination malpractice do so in order to pass when they know they deserve to fail—thinking that they can get away with it. This shows egocentrism, a disposition to satisfy one’s desire only for personal gain. People who think and act at Kohlberg’s stage two of level one would not be involved in such misconduct under normal circumstances. It represents a classical example of egocentrism. The different offences under gross misconduct show a refusal to obey institutional rules and regulations. Students who think and act at level two would also be able to cope. This means that moral demands on our students are very minimal: any student who cannot meet them needs close attention and counselling. Still referring to our highly educated community, people seem to think and behave at Piaget’s moral level of
heteronomy and especially egocentrism. People obey the law to avoid being punished or being embarrassed and break the law when they are sure they would not be caught. With the permission of the university authorities, I was privileged to look at disciplinary cases involving members of the senior staff (academic and non-academic) in this university from 2002 to date. Out of 78 cases, there were 28 cases of pursuit of self interest at the expense of institutional interest under different guises (finances, sharp practices, and misrepresenttation). This reflects egocentrism/egoism. Moreover, 38 cases had to do with disregard for procedure in one way or the other. Yet, the Kohlbergian studies show that the conventional level of obedience to rules is just preparatory to true moral development. This means that if only we all operate at this latter level of morality, we would have been spared 66 out of the 78 cases which were brought before the committee during the period. If we think of the investment of time, human and financial resources to hold committee meetings all these years, or alternative ways in which committee members could have invested their time to benefit the community, we would appreciate the high negative cost of being learned without being educated. Many times, people do their duties, especially what they are paid to do with the question “what’s in it for me?” as their motive for work. Therefore, in government offices, officials tell you they are carrying out their duties “just to help you”. The implication is that when they “have helped you”, you should thank them i.e., give them some gratification. Moreover, the few people who stand up for their moral convictions are either labelled “radicals” by their opponents or they are called names by even the people who stand to benefit from their moral position. Many Nigerians would rather operate from the comfort zone when faced with a moral dilemma. The fear of becoming a byword for daring to be different on moral principles have bred many moral cowards. In our educational system, from colonial times, the tendency has been to equate moral education with religious knowledge.
But morality is not necessarily religion. Some religious practices can be immoral, as can happen when a religion promotes the killing of people of other faiths. Morality is derived from human well-being, although religious conviction can also result in moral transformation. At all levels of education in Nigeria, the focus of our educational system has been to produce learned people while giving mental assent to the need for character education without making any concerted effort to actualise it. Society on its part expects that after certification, a person should have access to employment that would guarantee his/her material well-being. If such a person suddenly begins to live above his/her visible income, the explanation is readily provided that “he/she has arrived” or “his/her money has arrived”. Yet we express surprise when learned people are caught behaving immorally. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, all is not lost. It has also been established that unusual traumatic experiences, either personal, social, or religious can make a person experience a moral turn-around for the better. Looking back in history and philosophy, Plato was jolted into commitment to social justice by his face-to-face encounter with injustice which led to the execution of his master Socrates. Rousseau was provoked by prevalent social and moral laxity of his days to start the gradual social enlightenment that culminated in the French Revolution. Lawrence Kohlberg himself was jolted into commitment to moral education by what he experienced as the aftermath of the Second World War. He said: The Holocaust is the event in human history that most bespeaks the need for moral education and for a philosophy that can guide it. My own interest in morality and moral education arose in part as a response to the Holocaust, an event so
enormous that it often fails to provoke a sense of injustice in many individuals and societies.56 Like the Holocaust, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has also driven some people to commit themselves to sexual morality both globally and individually. One can also hazard that the current global economic meltdown could result in a new philosophical order especially from an economic perspective. On a spiritual note, we also have examples of people whose moral lives have changed for the better as a result of their spiritual encounters. Biblical examples were Zachaeus (the tax collector) and Saul of Tarsus who later became Apostle Paul. In church history, St. Augustine of Hippo was an example. In our own country, the self-confessed former armed robber, Evangelist Kayode Adams is a living example. This shows that there is hope for our own society as more and more people experience spiritual encounters either by being born again as Christians or having similar experience in other religions. With our traditional background of moral codes of respect to authority and fear of punishment by deities or ancestors or traditional authority, operating at a level of obedience is at least a step higher on the moral ladder than egoism and egocentrism. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, so far, I have been making an attempt to answer the question: what is man, that we should educate him? In the first lecture, I submitted that man is a living creature and therefore has scientific, biological attributes of other living creatures. In the second lecture, I built upon this to submit that man, homo sapiens or knowing man, has the natural capacity to know. This human capacity called intelligence has biological origin and can grow progressively to generate new knowledge. In this last lecture, I have been trying to show that the value component of education is the development of a disposition to uphold moral principles in human behaviour. I have also shown that moral 56
Lawrence Kohlberg, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence - Kohlberg, retrieved 3/6/2009
development can be consciously facilitated even as we promote intellectual development. Man is therefore by nature endowed to be educable and I add my own footnote to good old Plato in the area of ethics and education to say that man should be educated in order for him to be of value to himself and to humanity. Human value, I have submitted and hereby reiterate, is not just in his knowledge acquired, it is the disposition to use that knowledge for construction rather than for destruction, for self and social advancement rather than for self advancement at the expense of social well-being. It is therefore left for me, Mr. Vice-Chancellor to briefly show my humble efforts at promoting moral education in my career as teacher and scholar in this university. For my Ph.D thesis which I defended on July 25 1985, I focused on: An Examination of a Concept of Responsibility and its Implications for the Nigerian Education System. As my contribution to knowledge, I proposed a two-dimensional curriculum for education for moral responsibility which would enable Nigerians to overcome what I called a “crisis of responsibility”, a situation where each person pursued his/her own interest without considering the well-being or needs of others in the process of such pursuit Two years later, my teacher, father, friend and mentor, Emeritus Professor J. A. Akinpelu was approached to write a set of books on moral education for the Junior Secondary School level. My mentor directed Macmillan Publishers to me, because according to Professor Akinpelu, I was a better person to do the work than he was. I place on record here my great admiration for this gesture. He could have made me write the books (which I would have done gladly) and submit to Macmillan or at best make me a second author but he did not. Professor Akinpelu continues to be for me a shining example of humility and simple honesty and I am most privileged to be called his protégé any day. Perhaps it would interest the audience to hear that since 1987 when the books were written and 1989 when they were published, there were no appreciable sales until I got my royalty statement in 2008
signifying that at last, we are beginning to patronize the efforts at promoting moral education in this country. I commend Macmillan for their patience. Show the books slide Moreover, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, most of my postgraduate students at Masters level have on their own chosen to write projects on ethics and education or moral education. Two past Ph.D graduates have written their theses on ethics and education. I have two others among my current set of Ph.D students. It is also remarkable Mr. Vice-Chancellor that our National Policy on Education right from the 1977 edition states that education would make Nigerians to develop among other qualities: • • • •
respect for the worth and dignity of individuals, faith in man’s ability to make rational decisions, moral and spiritual values in interpersonal relations, and shared responsibility for the common good of society.57
But now our new education curricula has specifically accorded civic education the status of a core-curriculum course like English and Mathematics throughout primary, and junior secondary schools.58 Curiously, the senior secondary school where learners’ intellectual abilities can optimally be developed with their moral outlook has been omitted. Perhaps our curriculum 57
Federal Government of Nigeria (2004) National Policy on Education, NERDC, p. 8. 58 Federal Republic of Nigeria (2008) The 9-year basic education curriculum at a glance (to be implemented in September 2008) and, Frequently Asked Questions (FAO) The New Senior Secondary School Curriculum (to be implemented from September, 2011 NERDC).
developers were limited to theories of moral development up to pre-teenage years. If our children are helped to develop morally to full adolescence before coming into the university, we would only be consolidating their moral outlook rather than fighting deviant behaviour in higher educational institutions as we are doing nationwide at present. So, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, we at the higher education level still have the question before us: What curricula shall we design for higher education that would make us honestly declare on graduation day that “our graduates have been found worthy in character and in learning?” In the absence of a fourth lecture , I leave this as an assignment for another philosopher of education to address,Meanwhile, Mr. ViceChancellor, permit me to give the following acknowledgements. Acknowledgements • I give glory to the Almighty God, by Whose Spirit I was given the topic of this lecture several years ago after Professor Femi Kayode’s presentation of the first in the series of his own university lectures. This made me expect that I would deliver these lectures as a kind of intellectual “swan song”. However, that I have the privilege of delivering it at this stage of my career confirms to me that I am a child born in due time. •
I appreciate my earthly father, late Solomon Olympus Adekambi (1900-1983) who brought me up in the strictest discipline possible. I certainly owe to him, next to God, a lot of gratitude for ensuring that I had university education even when he could not afford it. My mother, late Mrs. Alice Adefunke Adekambi (19182008) who taught me to be diligent and to wake up early. I benefited from this as a young mother and I still benefit from it a lot.
My special appreciation goes to my husband, late Mr. Timothy Ayodele Bamisaiye (1940-1999) for being a 67
friend, husband, brother, and confidant of my lifetime and for ensuring that I came for postgraduate studies when I did. By encouraging my career pursuits as a scholar, he has worked in partnership with the Almighty God to ensure the fulfilment of my destiny. He sleeps. But he speaks still. I am grateful to God for our children who gave me a new reason to live after my husband’s sudden exit from life. Now they give me reason to be continually thankful for the valuable gift of a family. My grandchildren, have given me fresh moral strength as I share in their joy at play, mealtimes, and prayer times. I dedicate these lectures to them and to others who are yet to come. •
I also express my gratitude to the University of Ibadan, that employed me just before the gates were shut on employment in 1984. The next intake after me came into my department in 1993, and so, my seniority is very clear. I thank Professor Taju Adedokun Balogun, my teacher, who decided to employ me even though he was told he should not, BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN. Professor Balogun is unmistakably my divine connection in actualizing my career as a scholar.
I appreciate retired Professor Segun Odunuga, together with my undergraduate classmate and friend, Professor Aduke Adebayo, former Dean of Arts. While awaiting my letter of appointment as temporary Assistant Lecturer in 1984, the Vice-Chancellor at that time passed away. I chose to continue working without pay until God’s appointed time and, with the assistance of these two (one, my well-wisher and the other, my friend).The time finally came and all is now happy history.
I thank Emeritus Professor Jones Akinpelu, for being the exemplary teacher, father, and mentor that he is to me up till this hour. 68
I thank the Department of Teacher Education, University of Ibadan, for being an enabling environment for me to work as a scholar and for every encouragement given me to continually strive to do my best for myself and my students. I appreciate all my past students who are now my colleagues.
I appreciate the Faculty of Education for being my larger family. Teaching a faculty course all these years has meant relating with departments apart from mine and developing much cherished rapport with former students who are now my colleagues in the different departments.
I thank my Dean for calling on me “from the throne” to deliver these lectures this year, and my past and present students from whom I continually learn and whose responses in class continually spur me to find out more from the intellectual fount of philosophy of education. I am sure they will actualize the moral education of the future generation of Nigerian students especially at the primary and secondary levels.
I cannot but appreciate my natal and extended families who have been there for me in fair and stormy weather and who accept me as I am.
I also appreciate my church family especially in Living Faith Church Ibadan where I run to God as my Strong Tower and I am safe; my past and present pastors; and other men of God.
I thank members of Resurrection Morning Stars, of the Chapel of the Resurrection, University of Ibadan, who have given my family moral and spiritual support especially from 1999 to date—these ten years have passed by very quickly because you have always made time to care for us in the family. 69
My gratitude goes to all members of the production crew of these lectures (both for presentation and for publishing).My department’s educational resource and to all who have found time to attend these lectures from May 7 to date. If you were not here to listen to them, then all preparations would have been in vain.
Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, I thank you most sincerely, and everyone here present, for making my intellectual marathon so memorable. God bless you all very richly.
Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.
M.V.C. Jeffreys (1972) The aims of education (Glaucon), Pitman Publishing. R. S. Peters (1972) Education as Initiation. In philosophical analysis and education, Reginald D. Archambault (ed), Routledge and Kegan Paul, P. 89. Ira S. Steinberg (1968) The Aimlessness of Education in Educational myths and realities, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, p. 3. Ibid p. 18. All Africa Global Media (2008) This Day, Lagos, All Africa. Com, “Nigeria: Invest in Adult Literacy, Govts told”. Retrieved 2/11/2009. O. A. Bamisaiye (1985) A concept of responsibility and its implications for Nigerian education. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of Ibadan p. 83. Konrand Lorenz (1981) in The study of human nature, Leslie Stevenson (ed), Oxford University Press, P. 222. Christopher, J. Berry (1986) Human nature, Macmillan Education Ltd., Houndmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG 21 2XS and London. P. 98. Ibid. Ibid. Stevenson. op. cit. Desmond Morris, The human animal, http://www.factual Leslie Stevenson, op. cit. p. 88. Adesola Olateju (2005) The Yoruba animal metaphors: Analysis and interpretation, Nordic Journal of African Studies (14) 3, p. 375. Remi Bamisaiye (1989) Sociological foundations of Nigerian education, Ibadan, AMD Publishers P. 65. T.N.O. Quarcoopome (1987) Totemism and secret societies, West African traditional religion. Ibadan, African University Press, p. 176. Human—Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human, retrieved 2/19/2009. A. R. King Jr., and J. A. Brownell (1966) The curriculum and the disciplines of knowledge, John Willey and Sons Inc. p. 43. Ibid p. 46. A. R. King Jr., and J. A. Brownell, op. cit p. 50 Phillip Vernon (1975) Heredity and Environment in the Growth and Decline of Intelligence, Journal of Educational Thought 9(2), p. 83.
22. 23. 24. 25.
26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37.
38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.
John Watson (1976) Early Learning and Intelligence in Origins of intelligence, Michael Lewis (ed) John Wiley and Sons p. 200. D.W. McNally, (1974) Piaget, education, and teaching, New Educational Press Ltd, p. 2. Walter Babin (2009) Intelligence and Philosophy, http://www.Babinnet/babin/ introl.htm Hans /S. Paik. One intelligence of many? Alternative approaches to cognitive abilities, http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/paikhtml,retrieved 2/19/2009. Ibid. Ibid. Thomas Armstrong Multiple Intelligences, http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/multipleintellegences.htm, retrieved 7/31/2005. J. A. Akinpelu, (1981) Introduction to philosophy of education, Macmillan Publishers, London, Basingstoke, p. 146. Bankole Olusiji Oke (2009) Form and function: The inseparable twins in veterinary medicine, University of Ibadan inaugural lecture. P. 3-4. Israel Scheffler (1985) Of human potential, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul. I. Scheffler (1985) Ibid. R. S. Peters (1979) The concept of education, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, p. 7 R. S. Peters (1979) Ibid R. S. Peters (1979) Ibid. P. 15 R. S. Peters Ibid p. 15-16. Y. A. Akinkuotu (1999) Sources of knowledge in Traditional African Education. In Philosophising About African Education, Ayo Adewole and Oluremi Ayodele-Bamisaiye (eds) Ibadan, Macmillan Nigeria Ltd. P. 80. O. A. Adeola (1999) Avenues of formal learning in African Education. In op. cit Ayo Adewole and Oluremi AyodeleBamisaiye (eds). p. 71. Ibid. p. 72 Ibid. Okechukwu Ikejiani (ed) (1964) Nigerian education, Longman, Nigeria Ltd P. 4. Adewoye (1973) The Antecedents. In The University of Ibadan 1948-1973, J. F. Ade Ajayi and Tekena N. Tamuno, Ibadan University Press, p. 5. Ibid. Federal Government of Nigeria, National Policy on Education, NERDC Press, p. 14.
45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.
51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58.
Norman and Sheila Williams (1972) The moral development of children, p. 62-85. Ibid. p. 36 Ibid. Jean Piaget (1966) The moral judgment of the child, (Trans Marjorie Gabain) New York, The Free Press, P. 110. Jean Piaget, op. cit. p. Lawrence Kohlberg (1976) From is to ought: How to commit the naturalistic fallacy and get away with it in the study of moral development. In Cognitive development and epistemology Theodore Mischel, New York, Academy Press. Kohlberg’s stages of moral development w.http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg%275stagesofmoral development, retrieved 3/6/2009 Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, Wikipedia, the Free Press, retrieved 3/6/2009 Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, op. cit. Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, op. cit. Jean Piaget and Barbel Inhelder (1979) The psychology of the child (translated by Helen Weaver), Routledge and Kegan Paul p. 159. Lawrence Kohlberg, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence Kohlberg, retrieved 3/6/2009 Federal Government of Nigeria (2004) National Policy on Education, NERDC, p. 8. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2008)The 9-year basic education curriculum at a glance (to be implemented in September 2008) and, Frequently Asked Questions (FAO) The New Senior Secondary School Curriculum (to be implemented from September, 2011 NERDC).
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Published on Sep 1, 2009