Education and educating people is in the real sense a lifelong project in the life of not only the individual involved, but also that of the society within which the individual lives.
In general terms, education involves both formal and informal aspects. The more formal aspects include teaching/learning in a classroom, laboratory, studio etc settings depending on the peculiarities of a given subject area or discipline and usually with a planned curricula.
The informal aspects involve everything outside the formal aspects including anything we learn anew especially through socialization as a member of society. In fact, education is daily living; it is a way of life. It is a process of acculturation.
This brings to mind that succinct definition of culture given by Kroeber (1953, P.12) as a mass of learned and transmitted habits, techniques, ideas and values and the behavior they induced, and that of Taylor (1891, P.36) as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, customs, and any other capabilities and habits learnt by man as a member of society.
The critical irreducible element is therefore learning whether in a formal or in an informal way. Consequently, whenever learning takes place, education has equally taken place.
In reality, there is no watertight division between formal education and the informal aspects of education. Sometimes, we find that even within formal education settings there are informal aspects. Those who pursue the informal aspects along with the formal become complete products while those who are strictly concerned only with what is written out in the curricula end up as defective products.
Most tertiary institutions are as concerned with the formal aspects as much as they are with the informal. This explains why the University of Nigeria, Nsukka awards certificates not just on the basis of excellent learning of what is contained in the curricular, but also on significant extra curricula domain which has to do with character, thus the magic words are worthy in Character and Learning boldly written on the certificates issued to graduates of most tertiary institutions.
Incidentally, most aspects of the informal education and the extra-curricula activities of students fall on the laps of the Student Affairs Department, usually charged with or expected to perform regular functions. It is a common knowledge that without students academic and non-academic staff do not have any business to be in any institution. According to Professor Eyiwumi Falaye, Student Affairs Department in the University has the oversight function of all students’ general welfare. This department provides direction, guidance and encouragement on extra-curricular activities and services, including all aspects of life in halls of residence. Students also receive valuable assistance from this unit on different matters including:
- Orientation for Fresh Student
- Hostel Accommodation allocation
- Hostel Services and Management
- Students Associations Registration
- Student Union Government Elections
- Student Union Government Elections – Executive, Parliament & Hall Governors
- Counselling and Career Services
- Special services for Students with Special Needs
- Regulations and protection of students rights
- Computerization of Students’ Records
- Issuance of Clearance to graduating Students
- Audio Visual Services
- Assisting Students in Deferment/Withdrawal Processes
- Secretarial services
- Students disciplinary matters and
Security of Life and Property