Monday, December 27, 2010

How should an education be viewed?

To start off, I will inform anyone who reads this that I am a teacher and so many of my thoughts are educationally based. Hopefully, however they will be broad enough to bring from many points of views from many fields.

My question is "what is the purpose of education?" If it is so one can get a good job, then hasn't the past two years of job losses and lack of employment for highly educated people thrown this idea out the window a little bit? An education serves as a vehicle to gainful employment only if there is a employment to be had, correct?

UNESCO has predicted that in the near future more people in the world will have a college degree than ever before. If everyone has a degree, it suddenly loses all its value. However, college has almost become compulsory, yet guarantees nothing in ways of job employment.
So then, what is the purpose of education?
Educational requirements at the beginning of the 1900's were to meet the needs of the industrial age of the time.  Does that mean that today's education is to meet the needs of our service industries since manufacturing and agriculture have lost their market share in this country? Are banking, economics and insurance the only options our graduates have to chose from? If so, why not just teach to the service industry, like generations before did with manufacturing? Why is so much school needed before you go get a job with a company who then spends the next six months training you to work for them? Is a college degree really necessary to sell insurance?
For me, my interpretation of the word education is broad. But I define it as gaining knowledge or information that enhances the living experience.  Getting an "education" doesn't always just mean going to school and getting a very expensive piece of paper. When you visit a different city or country, you might get an education on culture. When you volunteer at a soup kitchen you might get an education on perspective. When you are able to struggle through an experience you might get an education on perseverance and attitude.
What I see today is a country interested in having higher test scores than other countries. This serves no purpose, provides no future job training, and most certainly is not an education.

If you are comfortable enough, please share your thoughts on what an education means to you and how you formulated your thoughts.

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