Above is the link to a video I recently watched, which seems to have grabbed a lot of people’s attention. The British poet Suli Breaks tackles the education system, commenting mainly on the downsides that emerge from it. I highly recommend that everyone watches it.
Yes, society and parents do tell their children to go to university and get a degree, because for years this has been the accepted path to success. He paints a negative picture of university, but what Suli forgets to mention is that now, there are other pathways to success that are being presented to many youngsters. He also forgets the rebellious natures that teenagers often possess, and the fact that nowadays, the internet is within reach – research can be done to discover alternatives to university. We are pushed towards a degree because like it or not, it is usually the first thing employers look for when they decide to hire someone. This is the reality of life, and this is why we strive for higher education. What is wrong with wanting what is best for yourself?
What I found quite irritating was the use of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as those people without a degree who made it big. They are so overused that they become a cliche, only serving to remind us that these people are a minority. I’m a cynic, and am slightly apprehensive to accept the idea that everyone who chooses to reject school or higher education will achieve the same heights these people did. Granted, it could happen, but personally, I believe it isn’t such a frequent occasion. If it was, education wouldn’t need to exist at all, we would all be raking it in.
In response to the “I don’t do it for the money assumption”, I do, in part, agree with Suli. We enter higher education believing we will get a good job and earn a good salary. Those who say they don’t are lying to themselves and others. Honesty always goes down well so just admit you want a large salary. However, we have to remember that some people complete a degree because they actually love what they are learning. Personally, whether that degree comes to use doesn’t matter, I know I will emerge bursting with knowledge and cherishing the three years spent studying the subject I love. I don’t think everyone is so selfish and money-orientated.
As for school not expanding one’s horizons? Well Suli, how did you manage to discover you wanted to be a poet? What about all those social skills you picked up and the imagination, experiences and hardships school provided you with? If that isn’t horizon expanding enough I am not quite sure what is. Of course exams are supposed to be passed, that is why they are exams. They are the key to progression…the proof that we have achieved, that we are worthy. I myself am a believer that exams aren’t a true reflection of our ability, but when they allow you to progress, they sort of do become that. Our education system does need reform, especially regarding examinations, because we really do regurtitate facts like Suli says, and that’s really sad.
However, not all of us forget straight after the exam what it was that we learned, and not everyone spends their university days in the library with a can of red bull, dying. Suli’s argument is a generalisation. Individual differences really come in to play here.
Suli Breaks makes some good points, and I do find myself agreeing with some of what he says. However, a bigger part of me debates with him too. His intentions are good, but I find myself thinking that he slaughters education in a way it doesn’t deserve.
We can reasses education all we want, but we can’t change the fact that what is will remain, and that reform is not in our hands.