I was watching “56 Up” on TV the other week. The documentary that started life as “7 Up”, in which the producers picked a handful of children and interviewed them every 7 years to see how they got on in life. The participants are 56 years old this year (2012).
One of the participant made a comment that the best thing he could give to his children was a good education, because they will always have it with them that no one can take away. This struck a cord with both my wife and me.
So what is education? How is it measured? Is it just how well you did at school? How many degrees you have or how many professional exams you have passed?
I think the answer is no. Passing exams is only a measure of qualification, not education. Someone can be highly qualified with more letters after their name than the name itself, but if they live their life blind to the world then arguably they are uneducated on many things.
I once worked for someone who claims to have a PhD, get gets letters addressed to Dr blah blah blah. However, I believe I’d be accurate in saying that everyone else in the company thinks he’s an uneducated idiot, because he has no idea of how to behave in a professional setting; no idea how to treat our suppliers; no idea what being a manager means.
I think it was in the book Think And Grow Rich, it was mentioned that Henry Ford had little schooling, never finished high school, but he was nonetheless a highly educated person. I think these days we call it educated at the University of Life.
If you search the internet for the best gift to give your children, you will stumble upon some articles about education being the best thing – just like this one. Then there will be remarks from people saying education is no good if the person can’t learn to be civilised and humane with other people. The commentators are making the classic mistake of thinking education equals qualification.
What I say Education is the best gift you can give to your children, I mean more than just qualification. Yes, I want to give my children the tools, the schooling, the qualifications. However, I also want to teach my children how to judge right and wrong for themselves; how to interact with other people and the importance of continual learning, to better themselves constantly not just at school, but in every day life.
What do you think?