We all know the drill, study hard, get good grades, go to a good college or university, get a degree and viola. That’s our current system of education. Work hard, get a piece of paper, and you get to go places.
But so far, is it working? What does that piece of paper actually mean? It means you’ve paid the money. You’ve gone through the process and you’ve been recognized or accreditated. It’s also a requirement if you want to apply for jobs, employment visas, and whatnot.
That paper doesn’t necessarily mean you’re competent. It doesn’t necessarily mean you know what to do, it doesn’t necessarily mean you now have valuable skills other people would pay for. It just means you’ve paid the money and gone through the process.
Companies hire people based on these papers and what do they do? They train them again. Most companies have these ‘graduate development programs’ where they train university graduates, with either company courses or on-the-job training, so they actually know how to do their job.
What the heck did we spend all that time and money in university for? Just to get a foot in the door? Just to get filtered out so companies will actually consider hiring us? Unemployment rates are climbing year after year and we now have more degree holders than ever. What does that tell you?
That our current education system doesn’t work? Our system for ranking and assessing students are mostly based on tests and what do these tests test them on? Memorizing facts that can easily be looked up online? Solving difficult math equations that serve no real purpose in everyday life?
We don’t teach our students on useful real-life skills like basic survival skills, how to cook, managing our finance, understanding social situations, understand cognitive biases, proper time management skills, how to make decisions, how to negotiate, how to learn new skills, or even how to earn a living. Why? Because these skills can’t be tested, they have no right answer.
But those are the skills that are highly valuable in the society we live in, yet we don’t teach them in formal education. Instead, we teach history, plant reproductive system, Faraday’s law, river formations, calculus, and so on. Not that there’s no value in learning such topics, they just aren’t as useful. Do you still remember those topics, much less apply them at all?
What exactly is our education system for? I don’t think we’re getting what we want out of it. The next question is, can we change it?