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  Education, everyone knows, is the key to a future. But what if education could do more than just fill our heads with facts? That’s where “nation-building education” comes in. It’s about going beyond textbooks and lectures to create citizens who are active, engaged, and dedicated to making their country a better place. So, how do we do that? As we celebrate the International Day of Education, here are 8 ways education can be turned into a tool for nation-building.
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  1. Hands-on Learning

Forget the dusty history books and take students out! Let them dig for fossils, volunteer at local charities, or build mini-communities in the classroom. Experiential learning makes history come alive, teaches responsibility, and sparks a passion for social good.
  1. Problem-solving Power

Math becomes more than equations when students use it to solve real-world problems like managing a school budget or designing earthquake-proof buildings. Encourage critical thinking, teamwork, and innovation to tackle challenges that matter, not just for exams.
  1. Citizen Science

If the aim is nation-building, education can turn students into citizen scientists! Monitor air quality, track endangered species, or map pollution in their neighbourhoods. Connecting science to local issues instils environmental awareness and empowers them to be responsible stewards of their land.
  1. Global Connections

The world is shrinking, so let’s shrink classroom walls too! Connect students with peers across borders through virtual exchanges, cultural performances, and online projects. Fostering understanding and appreciation for different cultures builds bridges and future global citizens.
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  1. Civic Engagement 101

Teach students about democracy, not just its definition. Organize mock elections, debate local issues, and encourage volunteering at government agencies. Hands-on civics makes them understand their rights, responsibilities, and the power they hold to shape their communities.
  1. Local History Heroes

History isn’t just about big names in books. For nation-building to be achieved through education, let students research local heroes, forgotten stories, and the unique history of their town or region. This not only connects them to their roots but also teaches them that everyone has a role to play in shaping the country’s narrative.
  1. Future-Focus Skills

The world is changing fast, so education needs to keep pace. Teach students digital literacy, coding, and critical thinking skills that will prepare them for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. Equipping them for the future is equipping the nation for the future.
  1. Celebrate Diversity

A nation is strong when its people are strong and united. Celebrate diversity in the classroom, not just tolerate it. Let students showcase their cultures, languages, and traditions. Building empathy and understanding between diverse groups creates a more inclusive and cohesive nation.
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Final Thoughts

These are just a few ways to turn education into a nation-building force. Remember, it’s not about churning out robots programmed with facts, but about empowering active, responsible citizens who care about their communities and their country. So, on International Day of Education and beyond, let’s open the classroom doors to the real world, and build a nation stronger, brighter, and better, one lesson at a time.
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This article was first published on 24th January 2024 and updated on January 26th, 2024 at 6:31 pm


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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