THE BLOG
13/07/2018 06:05 SAST | Updated 13/07/2018 06:05 SAST

OPINION: Schooling Is Not Education

'The school system doesn't pursue tapping into individuals' natural abilities,' says Nicky Verd, and education should equip us to earn a living 'in the real world'.

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The world has changed, but the school system has not changed with it. Students spend many years in an obsolete system studying subjects they will never use and preparing for a world which no longer exists. School prepares people for jobs in a world where machines are employable. The school system offers a one-size-fits-all that doesn't work for everybody.

There isn't much on offer in the school system for a curious mind or someone who yearns for something different; it teaches different minds the same things. Hence Einstein said, "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it's stupid." Schooling is more about memorisation, standardisation and conformity.

The school system doesn't pursue tapping into individuals' natural abilities, and that's where it has missed its effective mark. Schooling prepares you for what society expects you to be. The school system programmes students not to fail — and if they fail, they are punished, criticised and even ostracised. In an effort to avoid failure in the real world, people tend to play it safe and tiptoe around opportunities; thereby pushing many to sleep-walk through life.

Education, on the other hand, is about growing an ability to learn, to think, to understand, to do and to take action. Education is about preparing yourself for life and for whom you wish to become. No matter what you may have been told, education is not synonymous with schooling. Schooling is done in school, but education can happen anywhere.

The truth is that education can happen without schooling — and schooling can also happen without education! The school teaches you "what" to think, but education teaches you "how" to think. Never mistake getting a certificate for getting an education. A lot of us assume we've been educated because we attended some school, college or prestigious university. They are so many uneducated graduates in our world today.

You are not educated if all you got from school is a certificate. Real education should help solve problems; if not your country's problems, then at the very least your own personal problems.

There is a need to disrupt the status quo. The world belongs to thinkers and learners. As you know more, you achieve more. We are at a point in history when we need to put the focus on learning rather than schooling and acquiring certificates. The best option you have is to become the master of your own education. Strive to get an education, not just certificates.

Education happens almost every day. Education could happen as soon as you read this article or watch an iconic movie or listen to an enlightening podcast or attend some seminar, workshop or training. There really is no formula for getting educated. Now don't get me wrong, I am not against schooling and acquiring certificates. Schooling is essential.

It teaches us the language, facts, figures, grammar, and writing. Schooling teaches the kind of basics that you need to exist in your everyday life as an adult. In fact, I advise everyone to have some sort form of schooling.

There is so much more to life than the classroom, textbooks, lectures, exams and certificates, however. Schooling and certificates can earn you some cash at a job, but education makes the world a better place.

The school system should create assets to society, not liabilities waiting on the government, their families and friends to support them if they are unemployed.

If what the school system offers cannot be applied to solve societal problems, then education has not taken place. If what schooling offers cannot instigate change in your own personal life, then education has not taken place. If what schooling offers is for you to graduate and still depend fully on the system, then education has not taken place.

If what schooling offers cannot help you stand on your own two feet, then education has not taken place. If what schooling offers is for graduates to come back home with certificates, yet still look to their parents for daily bread, then education has not taken place. An academic qualification is just a piece of paper until you can channel it and employ it (leverage it) beyond the scope of the school syllabus.

You are not educated if all you got from school is a certificate. Real education should help solve problems — if not your country's problems, then at the very least your own personal problems.

The school system should create solution givers, innovators and disruptors. The school system should create assets to society, not liabilities waiting on the government, their families and friends to support them if they are unemployed.

An extract from my upcoming book 'Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted'