Examine the relevance of philosophy of education to national development
Concept of philosophy, we can adduce two broad senses of philosophy: common or universal philosophy and systematic or academic philosophy. Let universal or common philosophy be a reference to the philosophical attitude present in the human person, whatsoever the culture or milieu; and let academic or systematic philosophy be a reference to philosophy that has condensed into systems that are now taught in formal institutions of learning. We reiterate the fact that philosophy is the love of wisdom. It is the rational search for the ultimate unity of all reality.
Philosophy, in both of these senses, is useful for national development. How this is the case would be shown shortly. By the role of philosophy in national development, we intend to mean simply: philosophy at the service of national development. The point at issue here is the usefulness of philosophy to national development. It is a reference to the question of whether philosophy is valuable to national development.
The definition of development given by M. P. Todaro is apt for our purpose here. He conceptualizes development as “a multi-dimensional process involving changes in structures, attitudes and institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and eradication of absolute poverty.” Moreover, development is “an ever-changing step towards achieving some goal and the optimum realization of the well-being of people in their communities.” It is a stage by stage improvement of a person’s or a peoples’ well-being. With these, it becomes evident that development is an integral part of the sane life of a people. And one can fittingly say that a people who do not develop are not normal.
The relevance of philosophy of education to national development
This is the heart of this paper. Philosophy is useful in national development in terms of the drafting of workable development plans. As mentioned earlier, philosophy is considered as the love of wisdom and the philosopher is the lover of wisdom – the wise person. Accordingly, Aristotle notes that it is the office of the wise person to order things to their end.
Philosophers know what the best thing to be done is. This is because they have a broad and perspicacious view of things. In this connection, philosophy would enable the working out of practicable development plans after the merely wishful ones have been laid off. To be able to do this, philosophers should be incorporated into the actual planning process. With their presence, whatever choices of development strategies are laid down would be the ones possible, given the Nigerian context. Hence, their presence is to question the legitimacy of the choices for national development plans, and in so doing to show the ones that are best suited.
Moreover, philosophy provides proper training for good leaders. Not one person would look at the situation in Nigeria and not finger bad leadership as a bane of its political life. There is great need of good leaders. The cry for the elimination of corruption and the culture of waste is a testimony to this.
Following the Platonic maxim, if Nigeria must develop politically, her kings must become philosophers and her philosophers, kings. It is rather strange that in Nigeria, as it is unfortunately so in many other nations, people who have never had a class of political theory would be admitted to high public offices of profound political significance. What ideas are such people supposed to put to practice? This is not to say that possession of theory necessarily means ability to practice. But the real question is: what is a mechanical engineer doing in a bank as a cashier? This looks more like a misplacement of priorities. No one is doubting the fact that one can have academic knowledge in one field as well as competence in another field. But, let those whose task it is to do something do it.
More to this, philosophy ensures the integral development of the human person. So, the true philosopher is a person who values the moral life and who shows concern for the good of the society. Having such a person at the helm of political affairs can ensure nothing but greater good for all.
Additionally, philosophy furnishes people with requisite autonomy and confidence to raise questions about their fundamental human rights. A nation where human rights are violated indiscriminately is not bound for development. In Nigeria, there are many human rights violations committed by the many in the helm of affairs and many Nigerians are not even aware of which of their rights are violated on a daily basis.
The terrible situation is such as can best be described in Emeka Ojukwu’s words: “Followership has become such that our leaders are seduced and tyrants are made of them. We are sycophants. We even applaud executive imbecility. We genuflect to mediocrity and defend the indefensible executive indiscretions.” A philosophical attitude gives one the confidence to rise up and question such violations. Put simply, philosophy helps people to think for themselves and not slave around. They know when to ask for what they want and demand for accountability from the nation to which they legitimately belong.
Philosophy that is true to its name therefore, culminates in positivity. It culminates in truth. It makes life easier. It clarifies existence. It is ultimately, the love of wisdom. So, such a philosophy would bring about development in Nigeria. And it ought to be allowed to do so.
In this regard, there is urgent need to allow philosophers to have some more leverage on the development planning of this nation. In some ways, philosophy enters into so many fields as a second order discipline to question their presuppositions and demand of them solid grounds for their claims. It is in this way that we can speak of a philosophy of economics, philosophy of law, political philosophy, philosophy of education and so on. Specialists in such fields as economics, law, political science, education and so on. should avail themselves of the efforts of philosophers in clarifying the concepts used in these areas. A greater cooperation between philosophy and these specialties would yield positive results that would yield grater indices of national development in the long run.
In the final analysis, philosophy contributes to national development in Nigeria in that it provides national development planners with the requisite skills to critically choose which plan suites the Nigerian context. Besides, since leadership is a major setback to development in Nigeria, philosophy enables the proper training of good leaders by its emphasis on integral development. And more so, philosophy ensures the autonomy and confidence of the citizenry and offers them the opportunity to exercise their rights.