4 Reasons why the current educational system can kill you
We are facing a crisis. The educational system is supposed to make independent, enthusiastic men and women out of boys and girls. But what is the system doing today? Creating mostly dull overworked, stressed out humans without a real sense of purpose. Of course, there are always outliers. People who break out from the vicious cycle of fear and anxiety and go into the productive loop of mastery and satisfaction. But these are only a handful out of a hundred.
So what went wrong?
1. You are not allowed to master anything
“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”
- Alfred Lord Tennyson
The rigid curriculum imposed on most schools and colleges requires that all students know everything. When you do follow that pattern, you are just one among a million other mediocre people who know the same thing. This system of education made for the industrial era worker, where you are supposed to fit in, where you are a mere replaceable part of the clockwork is not working anymore.
The intense feeling of dissatisfaction, difficulty to get jobs are problems students face. While the market, on the other hand, is in dire need of specialist people with very particular skill sets. This cannot possibly be taught in schools because there are just so many specialties out there that the only way to master it is through self-directed learning. And schools don’t make the majority of the students love the subject. As a result, they start hating the learning process altogether, no realizing how it will jeopardize their career later on.
2. You are driven by fear, not passion.
“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.”
- Karl Augustus Menninger
Exam fear. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of people committing suicide before exams. If you have not, listen, they do exist. And it’s really depressing. The system of social acceptance and honor is such that failing an exam means you’re a disgrace to the entire family. Your friends will start looking down upon you if you don’t score great in that one single exam. You are not taught how to not care about what other people think and do what you love.
The fear of examinations and the fear looked down upon, drives you to learn. To study those tough subjects and pass. But in the process, you lose out on something extremely valuable. The passion for learning what you love.
That feeling of waking up in the morning and deciding for yourself what to do with the whole day and feeling good about it. Instead, you wake up with guilt, anxiety that you have not studied enough of what someone else wants you to study. The bigger problem is that you actually get used to it. This can lead to disastrous consequences later in life. I have personally seen many friends who are still their head deep in the rat race and don’t really know what really makes them happy. They don’t live for themselves. They don’t live.
3. You are not allowed to experiment, fail and grow
In school, everything is made to look like if you do as your higher authorities tell you, everything will work out perfectly. If you disobey, you will perish. This mindset is extremely toxic for any citizen. Not questioning customs and popular beliefs lead to everything from the stagnation of progress to crashed planes to war. Experimentation and challenging status quo in today’s world hold much more value than, obeying the ones above you. We have machines and scripts to do that. You are better than a machine because of your ability to rebel, to question, and to create solutions.
In real life, you realize that even if you completely perfectly study a situation and do all that you possibly can to succeed, sometimes you just fail. It’s inevitable. Failure is a part of life. The notion given in schools that failure is for the people who don’t work hard enough, and making “Failing” a taboo word is insane.
You are going to fail. In something. Guaranteed.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
- Robert F. Kennedy
Learning to deal with it and making it a learning experience and growing is what makes the difference. A depressed student who failed an exam and a lifelong learner who knows that each failure has taught him more than any success can, are attitudes which are worlds apart. And schools are teaching the wrong attitude to tender vulnerable students.
4. You are not taught about the basics of life
Do you learn in school about acceptance? About synergizing with people with different beliefs than your own? About why religious and national groups exist? And how and why they can go haywire at times?
About saving money? About investing? About paying taxes?
About the opposite sex?
Or how to communicate effectively to people? How to listen? About basic psychology of people’s minds?
Before starting a tough subject, are students taught the art of how to learn?
We have a lot of syllabus to cover in advanced Integration, the different type of igneous rocks, and Sanskrit grammar. Sorry. No time. Exams are coming up.
Teach children the basics of life. Before forcing upon them the knowledge that will not make a difference in their lives.
Here is my humble request: Study the basics from school. Then go pursue your passion. Go deep into it. Feel a sense of reward that comes upon learning from the best in the world. Most international universities upload the lectures online on a “free to learn” MOOC platform. Colleges, please stop imposing upon people humongous wide syllabus to study. And stop trying to control student’s behavior through ‘exams’. Teach students about personal finances, investing, how to run a business. Teach the basics of everything that people would miss out otherwise. Not the 300 different types of complicated math problems that would give them an inferiority complex over the nerd who has a passion for math.
Let them Learn with love, not fear.
Let them learn to create.
Let them learn to fail.
Let them learn to grow and
Let them learn to keep learning.