Failures of the education system

This post is mostly a rant to do with the failings of the education system as it stands. Therefore, I have included the philosopher Habermas alongside Ragnaros from World of Warcraft. An unlikely duo. However, I believe Habermas is correct in his stance upon the education system and the ties it has with Capitalism. He believes that we take exams in order to achieve grades and the grades have become a commodity which is “spent” when taking on a job. He says that education is no longer about learning but is more about gaining this commodity to be spent on big business.

As a student, I can completely relate with what he is saying and wholeheartedly feel unfulfilled by the education system. As it stands, we go to lessons and learn material that is on the curriculum. After a year, we take the knowledge and sit an exam on it. Once we have taken the exam, the knowledge becomes a useless piece of defunct space in our heads. We no longer need this knowledge and it no longer attributes itself to our life. There have been many times (in GCSEs and at A-level) where I have asked the teacher for further knowledge upon a certain subject. The usual response is “Why?” and “But it’s not on the syllabus.” I don’t care if it’s not on the syllabus, you should be proud I want to know more because it shows inspiration and enthusiasm. Now, not all teachers are like this and I have a couple in mind who do not mind discussing topics that are outside the curriculum in order for us to better engage with the subject and more importantly, learn something.

The true reality is that grades are all that matters and you can try to get into University with a great understanding of the philosophical movements throughout the 20th century, but if you don’t have a certificate explaining this, it doesn’t really matter. Education shouldn’t be about remembering the key points on the syllabus, it should be about enjoying and engaging with a topic in the grander sense of things.

There appears to me to be a distinction to be made within the system of teaching. There are those people who want to be educated and those that want to learn. This distinction may not be so apparent to some so I’ll try to explain it as I see it. Being educated is merely having the grades and certificates that say that you have achieved academically upon a particular topic. Learning is so much more than that. Learning is like being incredibly thirsty and having that instinct and drive to drink knowledge. However, once you take a sip, you want some more and you keep drinking and learning until you feel completely satisfied. There is no end to this process and can leave you in want and need of the next delicious piece of knowledge for you to savour.

Although this may sound incredibly pretentious and condescending, I do not mean it in such a way. I currently feel as though I belong to the group of learners and I want to know things for the sake of knowing things. Exams are a cold and detached way of assessing someones capabilities and do not show who is truly intelligent.

The intelligent people are not those that want good grades. They are the ones that want to keep on learning.

[EDIT: I’ve updated the screenshot page. Be sure to leave comments with your fileshare.]

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~ by robertftaylor on June 12, 2008.

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