Thoughts on Education: Why Education is Mostly Useless

1382316372iut0zHello fellow readers!!

This is my first post and its on my thoughts towards education.

There have been a few things on my mind when blogging. The one most important thing is “Fair Use” that pertains to legal matters on copyright etc. I’ll explain that in another post. For now, I have to limit what media I can use in my blog posts and use free sources for pictures.

Now, on to the topic at hand. As this is my first time blogging, feel free to comment on my writing style or article. Thank you and enjoy!!

a) Introduction

“I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.”
~ Natalie Portman

Education is something everyone has been through. Most people who I have met and know tell me directly or indirectly how they feel about education.

That it is necessary. That it is indeed a waste of time. That they are doing it for that piece of paper needed for a job.

Simply put, very few people honestly like education (myself included).. we can all relate to Natalie Portman’s quote in that learning and studying are two different things altogether. Unlike many other people who do not think or are indifferent to the status quo, I ask myself.. why do I not like it? What is wrong with the education system in place? What is education in the first place? We’ve all heard so many people advocating for education but do they ever wonder what it is they are truly advocating for?

Many people claim the education system has failed. In my opinion, it hasn’t. It’s been doing exactly was it was meant to do. It has fulfilled its purpose in providing corporations the workforce it needs. Everything else is ultimately secondary.

It’s been a wonderful journey to be curious and in understanding the reasons. A famous educator named Sir Ken Robinson, asks these questions too about education.

 

 

https://tedcdnpi-a.akamaihd.net/r/tedcdnpe-a.akamaihd.net/images/ted/172559_800x600.jpg?quality=89&w=800

I recommend that when you have the time, watch the video to familiarize yourself with why education is not what most people say how great it is. If not, feel free to skip it. Sir Ken Robinson challenges the conventional wisdom of pursuing education and that it is not enough to have a degree for people in today’s world. One can cynically say that education are “knowledge factories” that train the workforce that corporations need to fuel it’s growth for profits and expansion. It’s worth every minute of your time.

 

b) Why is Education Useless?

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.”
~ Bertrand Russell

There are many reasons why I am not an advocate of education. I strongly oppose it. In his video, Sir Ken Robinson gets to the root of all things regarding education.

Forget what people have told you about education. That it’s necessary for success. That it’ll make you a more intelligent person. That it’ll teach you how to grow and be a better person in life.

Why do I say education is useless? Looking back at capitalism and corporations, we can then understand what the purpose of education is. Cut that evangelism about how “education is for making us into better people”, “giving us skills for life” and more. Let’s see for the moment why education is so bad, that the “good” it does is negated by the bad.

The main purpose of education is to provide skilled labour for corporations and the economy. This insidious indoctrination begins at a tender young age when children are at their most vulnerable and malleable. Society, adults, relatives, family, friends, teachers and so on tell us that education is so important and everyone is taking it seriously. Very few people tell us to explore, find and pursue what we want to do in life or take up a worthy cause in life. Instead, most people tell us to conform to society and the current reality, whether directly or indirectly.

When we put this in mind, everything about the hell we all have been through makes sense and makes us despise education even more.

Why aren’t we allowed to learn what we really want to learn? Why aren’t we given the freedom to explore and find out what we love? Why do we have to learn according to a syllabus? Who influenced the design of the syllabus and cui bono? (To whose benefit?)..

We are taught to be obedient, to obey a rigid mechanical system, punished for straying beyond the flock and path, use the tried and true road because it has always been done that way, made to do overwhelming amounts of work we don’t give a damn about because the teachers tell us we’re supposed to do it and that they need to show something to the boss instead of actually teaching. Education becomes an ends to itself rather than the means to the end.

If you think about it, wouldn’t this system be perfect to produce employees for corporations that are smart enough to solve problems posed in their line of work but not smart enough to really think for themselves? Additionally, why do you think classes are so boring in the first place? It’s to numb our minds to boredom. Why do you think we need to learn to obey orders and authority? So we become so dependent on orders and the need to be ordered around that we can do nothing else. We become unthinking mindless masses. Why do you think education is becoming more and more expensive? To exploit the masses. A good example is the student loan and debt crisis that most US students are facing. Education is simply becoming more expensive to create indentured workers by means of wage slavery and the fact most educational institutions are a form of business. What does that mean? More profits are needed. Where do they get that profit? That’s obvious enough.

higherEducation

Simply put, you may think education is good. But the way I see it, education is responsible for perpetuating a destructive cycle and creates a depressing dependency in society for it. It is similar to Karl Max’s saying towards religion, instead I would attribute it to education. It is the opium of the people. Of course, there are better arguments against education and what I have said is to merely provoke the thoughts of readers and incite change.

c) The Future of Education


I’m going off-track a bit to make a point. I once did a subject at my university called “Service Marketing”.. I remember discussing with my lecturer in class regarding my university’s library (the picture on top is not my university’s library).

I conveyed my thoughts in that I thought the library suffered from a service design failure in that, the library stuff always hushed students while enforcing the no-talking rule there. I argued that students are still going to talk because of the way the university’s library was designed. Sofas and chairs seated in such a way to encourage talking. Bright colourful hues alongside a trendy modern building design. Moreover, the roles of libraries in the 21st century has changed with the times.Although students come to the library to study, most do not read books from the library unless it is for assignments as the Internet has greatly superseded libraries.

Back on track now. Simply put, although the facilities have been modernized for the 21st century, but the paradigms underlying the purpose of libraries still remain the same.The same applies with education.

With that being said, what do I think is the future of education?

The system which we once call education will become obsolete and unsustainable sometime in the future.  With the advent of the internet and with all the knowledge of humanity and the world right before us, people already have the capacity to learn beyond what they are being taught in school and educational institutions. In my opinion, it is a matter of time before people adapt towards self-learning and break of the shackles of thinking that they need education.

Nevertheless, from the remnants of the old system of education, a new form of will education emerge. Although I am not a fan of education, education is still and will be an immovable and world changing force due to how technology changes how we learn and interact with each other. Khan Academy and Code Academy are examples of websites that offer free learning to users. Other websites such as Coursera, an educational website, are offering online modules that are certified and credited so workplaces will recognize these qualifications. A more revolutionary educational institution known as University of the People is taking the world by storm by offering tuition free education to everyone around the world  (aside from registration, administration and exam fees). They are currently offering two degrees and even an MBA. Their course material is top notch while the lecturers who teach are from world-renowned educational institutions, that teach part-time or on a voluntary basis. Imagine how world changing these ramifications could be. In fact, the change is already happening now.

Much of this form of education is catered to self-learning which I believe is already something in us all. Salma Khan in his article and video on Big Think explains with the Internet and our self-learning, we can replicate the framework that education provides, all through our efforts and many times less the cost that current education courses require today (1). Additionally, Luis von Ahn, also from Big Think, explains one-on-one learning whereby a student is being taught by a tutor will replace batch learning that is predominant in educational institutions such as school, colleges and universities. The tutor can be either human or even software found in devices (2).

This implies that our self-learning will happen at our own pace and whether we’re rich or not, have full access to it. All this is happening through technology. However, more specialized forms of professions such being doctors, engineers, scientists and more will still need dedicated physical institutions to teach the next generation.

 d) Conclusion

“The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. Those who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.”
~ Albert Einstein

Suffice to say, it is clear to say that the current system of education is unsustainable in the long term from the rising costs of education, the need to increase profitability by businesses, the rising supply of educated workers against the demand from corporations and more.

By understanding what the current system of education is about, we can learn to free ourselves and think for ourselves what truly matters in life. In that, I hope this article makes you realize that there are avenues for learning if only we teach ourselves that we believe we can so long as the heart is willing.

So, thank you for reading my first post and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to comment and ask your friends to subscribe.

Till the next post.

Signing off.
Sol.

Acknowledgements

  1. jmiltenburg apple dictionary j.peg
    http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/872873
  2. Sir Ken Robinson’s picture – TED
    https://tedcdnpi-a.akamaihd.net/r/tedcdnpe-a.akamaihd.net/images/ted/172559_800x600.jpg?quality=89&w=800
  3. higher education.jpg
    http://ced.berkeley.edu/bpj/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/534200_418559681526187_240718358_n.jpeg
  4. kk_metro_library_07.jpg
    http://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/c/click/preview/fldr_2008_11_08/file0002012634619.jpg

References

  1. You Don’t Need College to  Get a College Education:
    http://bigthink.com/videos/the-key-to-online-learning-with-salman-khan
  2. The Future of One-on-One Education, with Duolingo’s Luis von Ahn:
    http://bigthink.com/videos/duolingos-luis-von-ahn-on-the-future-of-mentorship
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