The education system. Going to school, followed by college is thought to be the necessary path to educating a child; without said institutions a person is thought to be uneducated regardless of any other qualities they might have. They might have read books from around the world but the mark of an institution bears heavily on their documents. A friend of mine knew someone who never went to college yet the books he would read made him far more scholarly than his peers who were studying. Yet family and friends would still think it wasn’t prestigious enough as he had not gone to a ‘proper’ college.
Why do we take this rigid education system so seriously? Because it has become a part of us.
It is something that is ingrained in our minds, we need to go to school, we need to have a degree, or at least a diploma. The question though is, do we really? For all of us out there, do we really require what we study?
We study subjects like chemistry, biology, math as compulsory to our courses, whereas the subjects we should be studying, like social sciences, psychology, maybe morality, are not considered compulsory in our courses. Is that not ironic, that growing up in a society where kids mourn going to school and studying is a burden, that kids are still forced, year by year, to study something they cannot comprehend? Something they have not the slightest interest in? Yes, for the basic years, by all means make the child study core subjects but then let the child seek what they feel capable of doing best.
Tests, exams, quizzes, marks, grades, all of these bear heavily on a student’s fresh mind. He is less excited to be able to learn something new, as he is always worried about his scores. Is that really educating a child? Should his marks determine where he should go to study and what? Why do a set of subjects together determine the score of the child and what subject he specialises in when the subject he likes best is the only one he can score in, the rest of the subjects bringing him down and hence not allowing him to pursue that one subject? Is that really fair?
Then our whole lives revolve around our academic system, we can’t make it to a wedding if we have an exam, we can’t go out because there’s too much to study, etc. etc.
Having gone through the process myself, I can say with certainty that with a lot of students this becomes a life and death dilemma. I have known some students who have committed suicide because of the pressure, they could not cope with the expectations from family, society, teachers and their peers. It was too much; education ruined them and scarred their loved ones.
Some ionic reactions or integrated equations didn’t save them. And nor will they grant security for a great future.
Schooling should be an enlightening experience, where fresh, receptive minds go to learn something new and grow. Unfortunately, the concept slowly changed. Now, we go to school to go to a good university, then go to that good university so we can have a good job. And a good job is pursued for a good life. But no! That is not the aim of our lives, we do not need good jobs to have a good life. Maybe someone starts something on their own, it might not be the successful at first but if the person invests his soul into something he loves I can guarantee the success rate will rocket to the skies. But not if he has a nine to five job doing something he dislikes, only for the money. Then he will only feel frustrated and annoyed, his brain and health deteriorating in a rapid spiral.
Education should nourish minds, make them feel healthier. Our systems should not be based on such a ridiculous grading system in which everyone is considered the same. That is not fair and I don’t see students going to this school system in the future if this is how it remains.
Another problem is how the education system is more about business than welfare. Schools and universities charge fees beyond affordability and students and their families are forced to seek loans, only for a ‘respectable’ and ‘accepted’ education.
Well guess what. The definitions of respectable and accepted aren’t constant either. What basis do you use? We’ve never had the same conditions for normalcy or acceptance, so why here? Why not speak out and say, I’m sorry, I disagree with how you choose to define my acceptance. If it isn’t wrong, then why is it not accepted? Why must we have such regressive social pressure coercing us into doing things we would never have otherwise done?
Revels is a Pakistani student, blogger and contributing writer at The Conversation Room
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