If you are in the professional world you’ve likely been invited to, attended, participated in, or at the very least heard of a conference related to your industry. I work in education and our high-level district staff and board members attend a conference every year that gathers people together from large, urban districts around the country to share ideas and best practices. Conferences are great opportunities to network but are often out of reach for small businesses, non-profits, or individuals due to the cost of attendance.
For some time, the focus of education has been squarely on collecting the skills required to obtain a job. I think that this lacks vision and is dismally underserving society. How can we expect our education system to be effective, when that system cannot agree on what the purpose is?
Yes, it is important for students to have core skills. It makes sense to have a focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math). Especially, when that is where we predict the greatest growth potential for future jobs exists. We do want students to get and retain quality jobs. But, I would argue that if the purpose of education is only to get a job, then we end up with members of society who settle for the standard set for them.
What is the true purpose of education?
It is my opinion that education is a civic duty.
We need societal members who challenge the status quo, who think critically about our world’s problems, and are equipped to solve them. Not people who can just work a job.
Every person in an institution ought to be well versed in ethics and their individual responsibility. Each should question what they are told and understand the implications of the choices they make. If the purpose of education were only to get a job, it would seem that all that society wants us to be is cyborgs. Human, but just robotic enough to not cause trouble. But, trouble (something that instigates change) is what we need! We need people who are willing to challenge the way that things are in an effort to make them better for
Because the way that things are isn’t sustainable!
Education develops individuals into contributing members of society who are equipped with the tools necessary to make life better for themselves and others. Ultimately, those who are educated can give back.
Educated individuals should give back through payment of taxes, contributing to lawmaking and the legislative processes, and returning to the education system as teachers, and as mentors to those newly entering the work force. This is how societies progress… But, it can happen outside of the institution(s).
While jobs are a necessary component of this process – without which the process fails – acquisition of the job is not the end of one’s line.
We learn… We grow… We progress… We give back.
This ought to be considered in the pedagogical and andragogical models of education.
To those who have received, it is your duty to society to give back.
This passing on of knowledge to future generations is what will cause us to progress forward or fall behind as a society. It is each of our responsibilities to learn as much as we can, so that we are well equipped to give back.
What do you think?
Tell me in the comment section below.