I started school a year younger than most of my peers. I had a high IQ. I was allowed to skip two classes that the ‘average’ kids were supposed to take
compulsorily ( is that a word?). I was an intelligent kid so I breezed through school. Academically, school was never a challenge to me.
But when I got to the university, the different learning structure which mostly involved research on my own time and a lot of freedom had me barely graduating as a C student.
Today, as I was reflecting, an epiphany came to me. Why did I go to school? Well, obviously learn how things are. That sounded really dumb so I tried again: to learn how to think? Ok better but then, is that all school is meant for I queried myself? So I started rattling off:
to learn how things operate
to be cultured
to learn how to communicate
to get a qualification/certificate.
OK. Enough, with superficial reasons, I told myself. Consider the following reasons for going to school that probably was assumed that my smart self already knew:
Gaining a skill. A marketable skill, that will be useful to others.
Gaining mastery in something(s). Gaining knowledge about something/ anything. Knowledge which will be useful to others.
Iya, I asked myself, do you see how the world works? People offer their services to institutions, governments or even to their self-owned businesses to make the soceity coherent and progressive. Consider that these people did not have these services, of what use will they be to the soceity? And the most glaring fact I missed while going through my education was this: I was supposed to gain those skills which will give me the ability to offer service to the soceity during my education opportunities!
Only a dumb person will go through school, waste time and resources and come out with a qualification/certificate without the mastery of a marketable skill or more.
My viewis this: I think we (parents, students, schools, etc) need to be strategic about education. Before you embark on it, get your intentions straight. Are you offering/gaining skills that are useful to the soceity or are you just churning out “educated people”?
Thinking about our intentions should be taken seriously. We should research, get advise and have some clarity as to why we get educated. The basics outlined earlier, are a no-brainer, we all need to have those basic skills that school easily offers. But the mastered skills that can actually be valuable to the smooth functioning or evolution of the soceity? Those, we need to strategise about.
To me, in the early days, going to school meant I got to meet friends, to learn and most of all, fulfill the requirement of ‘going to school’ . Perfectly fine from a child’s point of view. But upon getting into the university, I wish I had had a strategising session, so that I could know that after graduating from the University with my Bsc., it was not automatic that I get into the workforce, like moving from one grade to the next as I had always moved on, but rather I needed to have orientation that then was the time to choose how to start my career, which involved knowing how to do something well. Even if only in theory.
If only I knew that university offered me the opportunity to gain a skill that will be beneficial to the soceity so much that I could be paid a salary in exchange for it! These ideas may seem obvious to you, but honestly, I believe awareness on career shaping should start latest upon arrival at higher education.
Absolutely nothing gave me that knowledge. I believe that in countries in the Western world they have CAREER DAYS but in Cameroon, what I know is that we are educated either blindly (going with the crowd) or according to the choices of our parents. The youth should be more intentional/aware about their choices, don’t you think? Or rather they should take the time to get informed by others who ARE already working.
Please leave me a comment so I know I am not lamenting on just an idea.