Education – a boon or a curse

Education – a boon or a curse to an educated individual? My analysis will make you wince.

Education is on top of everyone’s list. There is a notion that without education you either perish or fail to succeed – leading to a myth (?) that education is a boon that we must not ignore. I too believed in that strongly, until recently though. You may wonder what did really turn that belief around.

Thanks to my research into this specific field of  21st century earning, and, coupled with observable experiences in my recent years have pursued me to take a different stance towards the current form of education – indeed quite an opposite one. A curse, putting it strongly. 
If my master’s degree in engineering along with couple of bachelor degrees and few other certifications are under scrutiny, I should be highly educated and flying high. But I have noticed that I have become a dead wood, in terms of earning any income for myself, in a relatively short period of time. How is that possible for an educated man with multiple degrees under his belt to come to such a depressive conclusion? Why even his global experience in ICT has given him such a dark outlook? Has his research on education uncovered a truth that no one has realized it yet? My answers to these questions will make you quite uncomfortable.

I think many professionals in the workforce or those who are just entering the workforce cannot fathom such a turnaround happening within a span of few years of leaving the workforce – whatever may be the circumstances. But let me assure you that there are many untold stories of the systems that we have put in place that will prove to be the main reason for such a 180 degree turnaround in my outlook. I know that there are many out there who share my view. I witnessed that in one of the Grattan Institute forums in Melbourne. The story versions may be in hundreds, but the underlying message is still the same as mine.

I believed in many things. I believed in the fact that my background with one science degree and two engineering degrees should be attractive enough for any system to embrace me and my new found skills should propel me into deep and satisfying discussions with the intellects that I will be fortunate to interact with. I was hoping that I continue to contribute and reap rewards. But I was so wrong.

There are checks and balances in place in each and every system to ensure that the best qualified person occupies the jobs that open up in each of those systems. I think it is good. But when something is new and not tested is revealed, you can easily convert anyone to be a cynic – even those who do not call themselves intellects.

I have worked hard for years now to push a new learning theory that I hope one day will shine a bright light on the inefficiencies of the current education systems and pedagogies that are sprouting out of those systems like mushrooms. My analysis of the papers submitted at TALE2014 conference held in New Zealand discovered 40+ learning methods and pedagogies and similar discoveries later on at other conferences and still growing, never aggregating to any one solid way of moving forward. If these grow to serve a few thousand and claim success as a result of it, we would be probably looking at needing million such pedagogies to serve a larger humanity seeking education. This begs a question to be asked: why such mushrooming when learning needs to be intuitive and self-serving? Some fundamental issues in the current education system are to be dealt first to answer that.

We have seen that the basic structure of the education system is cemented into two sets, a curriculum set and a delivery set, to manage education. If these two sets don’t respond organically and with agility, are not in tune with each other and are unaware of the teacher-student interactions that are bound to change as the learning landscape changes, we will have problems with pedagogies and infrastructures to support a ‘proper’ education to serve the existing and growing communities such as governments, businesses, charities, services and universities.

When we hear unemployment rate as a percentage of people not working, those figures should not be even there as a percentage of something. The perception that those who are working should be having an income of some sort is the myth that is pulling down the education system horribly. If the same metrics were applied to medieval or prior, one could be saying that unemployment rates carry no meaning.

A high GDP nation is not necessarily a happy nation or a highly educated nation, and is true vice versa. Highly educated should not mean high incomes should be in order, or vice versa (most celebrities will fail this test).

I hope by attacking job rate and GDP and celebrity myths, I might have unraveled some issues with the current educational systems. Either we should change the metrics or should change the way we perceive education.

More on this in my next blog.