A Revisionist View On Today's Education System

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The problem with education is a broad one. What is wrong with our education system? Why don’t students see the significance in it? Why do they not take it seriously enough?

These questions, being presented to economists to politicians to teachers to parents and students themselves, would still not yield any single valid answer. The root of the problem is one that splinters into many different alternatives, starting from the mindsets of the students and their teachers. If the two parties in direct correlation of our educational system don’t have the motivation to put their best in every single day, and turn down challenges when they get hard, progression, by default, is already halted. Hence, while the root of the problem cannot necessarily be traced down to one or two factors, most definitely it can be stated that it is still a present conflict in today’s society. For proof, all that needs to be done is googling “conflicts in today’s education system” on the News forum of Google, and hundreds to thousands of results will come up on everything that is wrong with educational systems around the globe.

Since it goes hand in hand with employment and economic growth in the long run, the question in existence is: how can we strive to help each student gain a better education experience? Basic macroeconomics suggest that specialization occurs as an end product to education, creating more efficient workers in our economy. Refer back to the graph on the right.

It is evident from this graph that unemployment rates increase with lower educational attainment. The median usual weekly earnings are also skewed quite significantly as one goes up the educational hierarchy. Clearly, this is basic and common knowledge. However, an aspect most people fail to see is that education is so significant in terms of saving on government funds. Without education (which of course is an investment as you go higher), students don’t gain the necessary skills needed to work a specialized job. They would ultimately work as low-skill laborers, and although the next statement is biased, I don’t personally believe a career with an hourly wage close to the minimum leads to a fulfilling and happy lifestyle. As a result, a generous percentage of that lowest revenue group choose to live on government welfare instead. By this cycle, we are regressing rather than progressing as an economy.

However, perhaps if we were to push students to want to go to school, want to develop skillsets to their interests, and want to better society with their skillsets, not only would we produce more economic growth and excess government funds, we would also be in a generically happier society. We should push the building of general and non-cognitive yet relevant skills that are practical to the student to prepare them before entering the workforce. These skills include: learning how to effectively read and write, how to speak articulately, leadership skills, teamwork (how to work in groups), enhancing emotional intelligence, how to build healthy relationships, and promoting individualism rather than group identity. Students would grow to value effort, progress, and conscientiousness more than predisposed intelligence.

Students must learn how to set goals for themselves and learn how to measure them. Psychologically speaking, if someone has a clear, measurable, and attainable goal as well as a plan to achieve it, that person is more likely to achieve said goal. Furthermore, it will make the student feel like they are progressing toward something, rather than like having to do a chore they are expected to excel at completing.

Not only that, but social issues start to become addressed when there is evident economic stability. Imagine, in this realm of possibilities, the conflicts we could resolve as a stronger, more productive society. It’s clearly not this black and white, but it is a step.

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