In my childhood and teenage years until these days, parents strongly advise their children to study, to finish a degree and get a diploma. Elder folks believed that through education, young generations would have a better life and would get rid of poverty. To a marginalized family, such faith is a great motivation that keeps the promises of a decent life and a brighter future.
Being said so, diplomas, honors and medals among other school awards are prides of the parents who worked hard for their children’s education. Each medal of achievement represents a single step in the ladder of family’s success. More so, obtaining a degree from college or university is a status symbol in the community, an advanced stride in the echelon of social recognition and reverence.
Education, an intangible and genuine wealth that could never be stolen or could not be taken away from anyone, is indeed the most invaluable inheritance parents could give to their children. Such education develops to be more meaningful if cultivated with humility.
During graduation rites, also called commencement exercises, graduates receive the prize of their endeavors. In this event, graduates formally accept new challenges in their lives ahead. Awaiting outside the sentry of their academic parapets, the optimal challenge upon them is their readiness to adapt to or to acclimatize to the undercurrents and torrents of an intensive social realities.
Directly or indirectly, all schools assert to have the best and quality education for their students. The present-day quality of education, as I see it, merely focuses on two things, employability and leadership capability of the graduates. Certainly, schools laud and advertise their high caliber graduates as products of a topnotch learning institutions. Accordingly, education reveals to be an innovative business where everyone is a competitor. Anyone could imagine that education per se is one of the most marketable and most profitable businesses of our time.
In this representation, it is very disappointing that with enormous number of graduates (educated individuals), social problems continue to persist and create one more problem after the other. In fact, education should mitigate social problems and educated individuals do not just contribute to the solutions of these social hitches. Instead, they must be conscious enough that they are the collective solution to the existing problems. Therefore, either educated people are part of the solutions or they are becoming part of the problem. For that reason, I could not avoid asking: Does today’s education responsive to the social problems or challenges of our time?
Credibly, most graduates are simply equipped with knowledge on their crafts and only few were truly educated. My impression of an educated person is an individual holistically trained academically with a strong blend of values, good manners and right conduct, discipline and positive attitude towards others. Otherwise, without these characteristics, such person is simply knowledgeable of something. Deliberately, knowledgeable persons could only use their knowledge for their own gain, never for the common good. Just imagine those computer scammers and hackers, the creators of online games and the immoral websites to name a few, they are earning millions of money without considering the unscrupulous effects of their craftsmanship to young and old people alike and to the entire community.
Lack of moral conduct is a devaluation of a person’s education and subsequently loses public trust. A concrete example of this is a lawyer who was disbarred or a teacher whose license was revoked. To be educated means to embrace greater responsibility of upholding the righteous ways of life and implanting the seeds of moral values in every human encounters. Validation of our education is outside the sentinel of our academic institutions, our lifelong placement in the highest and most genuine school – the school of hard knocks. In this school, we need to triumph over the rough life experiences where fortitude and modesty would be a constant practice and happiness is the only passing benchmark.
Education – whether formal, informal or non-formal – is a process of strengthening our character, which I believed, the heart of education. While this process started and ongoing at home, it is being refined in different learning institutions. For this reason, knowledge uncoupled with values and character is nothing and it would be better to be ignorant than to be a knowledgeable hypocrite.
The holistic learning process of nurturing the four domains – the cognitive (knowledge), affective (emotional) and psychomotor (skills), social (common good) domain must be equally developed. The social domain, being mindful of others, is commonly untapped alongside with the affective domain. Desperately, educational institutions become arenas and fortresses of life competitions instead of being a home of holistic, secure and joyous learning. As a result, comparison exists contrary to acknowledging uniqueness and individual differences, a start of social stereotyping.
How educated we are could not reflect in the printed titles on our diplomas, rather, it reflects on our moral character nurtured and shaped in every learning processes. Sadly, those who self-proclaimed educated are most likely becoming arrogant who do not understand other’s life struggles. Educated people never exalt themselves but simply act and show inspirations to others. Most of all, they convey positive impact to their communities.
Educated individuals humbly admit their ignorance, accept their mistakes, take responsibility for their actions and learn from them, relate to and interact with others in the best ways possible. Let us not forget that education is a lifetime process. Every day we learn simple lessons of life which are more significant than the academic lessons we learned from schools. Educated people know their boundaries and they see the acumen and lessons of pains, mistakes and failures in everyday life. In the truest sense of education, even those who do not have formal schooling yet exhibit wisdom and humility are actually educated.
In today’s most advanced educational system, the preceding notes could be a point of discernment to one and all, whether our education is continuously growing to bear fruits of wisdom or does its value wither in time. Once and for all, are we truly educated? For a second time, think about it.