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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Education vs Reality: What is the real value of education

We all grow up longing for the 'dream life' that awaits us once we grow up, finish our education and can finally start earning enough to help our families, chase our life goals or even to overcome past misfortunes and disadvantages. 

The 11 year journey through school, the 2 year bridge at college and then the 3 to 4 year hurdle to secure that 2:1 degree that is pretty much life or death when you get to the end of the second year and start to worry your life away over a bowl of cornflakes and a maxed out student loan.

I've been challenging a few thoughts in my head about how valuable education is really seen in today's society. Throughout the journey of school, college and university, we are constantly told to 'elaborate', 'expand', 'describe', 'explain' and when completing any assignments the only way to pass is often to balance two sides of an argument and finish off with a conclusion or to reach a set word limit by structuring our work in a lengthy but succinct way. So my question is this: Why are we taught to be 'articulate', 'in-depth', 'professional', 'precise' and to have 'high standards' for about 16 years of our lives (5yo-21yo) and then when it comes to the "real world" in an every day environment, we are told to 'keep it brief', 'cut it down', 'don't be too elaborate', 'you don't need to be too wordy' 'just get to the point', 'it doesn't need to be perfect' etc. This is something that I have constantly questioned since finishing education. 

How valuable is education in a world where getting to the top of the ladder is often dependant on strength of character, who can shout the loudest and popularity?

I then go on to question why we are taught to be polite, respectful, articulate and 'politically correct' in a world where swearing is a common occurrence in most professional offices, 'banter' seems to have now replaced meaningful conversation and the quietest or most introverted person gets left out or 'socially outcasted' from a team of people just because they are seen as 'boring', 'upset', or 'non-engaging', when this is usually the person with the most analytical and observant mindset. After all, in school, we were taught to think before we speak not to speak before we think.

Furthermore, in terms of people's skillsets, I scratch my head again in despair as opportunity and advancement often comes down to 'who you know' as opposed to 'what you know'. 

I once heard about a situation where two ladies applied for the same job. One was fully qualified and the other candidate had very little skills for the role. The individual who was fully qualified only secured the role as the other lady rejected the offer. You may now hold the question; Why did she get the offer first? Rhetorical of course as one candidate knew the hiring manager personally and the other did not.

Although this is not always the case, it is a taste of the unseen reality that occurs every day, despite the 'equality' monitoring laws that are in place today.

A further point in relation to qualifications brings me to a bold change that a major corporation made to their recruitment process a couple of years ago. EY, a multinational global corporation and one of the UK's largest graduate recruiters recently removed their degree classification requirements stating, "It found no evidence to conclude that previous success in higher education correlated with future success in subsequent professional qualifications undertaken". (EY.com, 2015)

These points may indeed stir your thoughts...

To be continued.


1 comment

  1. I think it is important to expound on a subject matter, in essays, at length in order to ensure we get 'everything out'. This way, when we are asked to be succinct we can do so whilst ensuring we have all of the main points expressed. If we, in our university years only ever wrote in synopsis,it would be a disincentive to explorative the learning of our subject matter.


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