At a career development and leadership training program that I attended recently, to practice public speaking skills, people were put in pairs to choose a topic and to give a presentation on it. The topic that my partner and I chose was "Does learning really take place in school?" Part of our presentation aimed to criticize the holes in this so called schooling or educational system.
To start with, in reflection of my experience, it annoys me to know that I will finish a semester and two weeks after the vacation, I can't remember a single thing that I learned from the classroom. So the routine continues, pay a huge sum of money in the name of "tuition," go to class, cram what the teacher explains, at the end of the semester, pour what you crammed on the "final" paper and forget about it. So what is the point of paying so much money "to learn to remember and then forget?"
The worst part is taking the classes that you don't need. Pursuing my education in USA gave me a better understanding of the drop-out rate in colleges and why many people suddenly lose interest in schooling. For example, to attain an Associates degree in Psychology, 3/4 of the classes I have taken so far, has nothing to do with psychology. I have taken Spanish, modern history, art history, probability and statistics e.t.c Compared to other countries like Nigeria where your courses will be concentrated with whatever it is you are studying, the educational system here, makes you go merry-go-round that you will feel dizzy mentally, and emotionally along the way. Although the positive side is that you get to explore but it could be frustrating taking 5 classes and only loving the one that really pertains to one's interest.
Another point that my partner and I raised for this presentation is that, we don't specifically learn important life lessons in school. For example, how to form relationships or parenting skills or financial management or even common sense, and by this I mean the norms in the societies that we live in.
At the end of it all, does a degree guarantee a job? Nope! Maybe degree plus experience coupled with some other social factors can guarantee a job. Except you are destined to be a Bill gates, exiting the school system or educational system without graduation or earning a degree, doesn't so much promise a manageable future. In my opinion, it is up to students, to make experiences and develop life-long skills outside the cramming and pouring. Although it will be nice if the authorities in charge of education incorporate new means and styles of learning, I think that it is our individual responsibilities to develop our skills outside the knowledge we gain in the classroom. I also think that when it comes this so called education, knowledge without practice or skills can be bullshit most of the times. On the other hand, it is possible to graduate with a degree and highest possible GPA and still not know anything from what was taught in the classroom, so should grades or degrees really define us?