Education: A Failing System?

Education:

noun

  • The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge,developing the powers of  reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
  • An enlightening experience.

As you can see in the definitions above, ‘education’ has the ability to be a beautiful thing. It is a system that is valued worldwide and sought after in many countries where people can’t afford it. Why? Because the sharing of knowledge should be an enlightening experience. However, the education system is gone about and measured in a way that takes away this entire aspect.

Children enter education with curious, open-minds that are never scared of being wrong and then leave with that view completely destroyed.  In his Ted speech in 2006, Ken Robinson spoke about “How Schools Kill Creativity.” One part of his talk that truly stood out to me was this, “Picasso once said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe passionately that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather we get educated out of it. So why is this?”

This is because students are taught that there is only one right answer to a question. That being different or thinking outside of the box is ‘wrong’. We are taught simply to study and memorize for exams, only to forget everything months afterwards, with no real value taken from these 12+ years of education. And we are forced to spend these years being taught lessons that we probably won’t ever need to know unless we decide they are the career path we want to take. What about the skills that everyone will need in their daily life? Do we see any education in politics before college age? Any education in taxes? Or in buying homes? No. We have been taught how to sit exams, how to answer essays and multi-choice questions. How practical.

On top of all this, due to this flawed measuring tool, students are actually thinking less of themselves because of how they do in an exam; a measure of memory. Our education system doesn’t take into account the fact that some people have more creatively inclined brains and others more academic, especially at high school age, where students are forced to study certain subjects, but may be more talented in other areas. This results in them being stuck with the stigma of ‘stupidity’ and a ‘lack of success’ from these results. The reality of it is that if you don’t thrive academically or creatively, you shouldn’t have to be tested in the same way as someone that does. As Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Now, I’m no expert on education. And honestly, if I was asked to put forward a suggestion for a better system, I wouldn’t have an answer. I just want any students reading this that are stuck with any stigma from their grades to realise that it is the system that is flawed, not you. Don’t be scared to find your inner-child and just go and do whatever you want to do. Whether that’s down a creative or an academic route, just be passionate about whatever it might be and don’t listen to anyone that tries to look down on you for it. How you do in your studies doesn’t define you or your intelligence, and it never will.

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