On holistic education

After approximately 20 years of education characterized by seemingly average results, I could probably say with certain conviction that my Bachelor of Science will be waiting for me in September. Of course, gone are the days where a scholar would return to his homely village on a horse, to a standing ovation in the midst of glitzy firecrackers and gongs. Instead, the truth revolves around inflation. Degree inflation, that is.

By now, everybody knows that everybody else has a degree (I’m overstating it but I tell you, this is the general consensus). There is value in scarcity, which in this case is not reflective of degree holders of this decade. The truth is, the average worker has a salary cap pegged to his/her educational level. Some will never be earmarked for promotion because he/she does not fulfill an educational requirement, severely restricting one’s career path. So, and, in tandem with an improving quality of life, the market recognizes the demand and offers, to people with cash (including rejects from local universities) a degree. Bam, you have degree inflation.

We generally view education as static, and this is largely due to flaws inherent in our educational system. Most of us were spoon fed from young; even at the varsity level, we are guilty of memorizing text, instead of working around the fundamentals of the topic in question. Theories we study arduously, most of the time, might not even be close in representativeness in relation to our real environment. However, we fail to recognize that theories are in fact backbones, or templates as you would call it, of observed phenomenon. If you recognize the fundamentals, you can tweak variables and arrive at perhaps a conclusion.

Regrettably, we often view a problem as static, rather than having spatial-like quality to it. If we have had a different approach to education (ie. Harvard students are told to think like the masters of the universe), I would boldly state that many drop-outs/rejects could have discovered their potentials; at age 14, do we really know what we want to achieve in life? Instead, a significant portion drop out at O-levels, while another do not make the cut for local universities due to Gaussian laws.

Clearly, some guy in the education ministry must have recognized the inert aspect of our education system, which is why the curriculum is constantly tweaked (tutors of my age know best, they go like ‘wah I also don’t know how to do’), and the cohort is statistically sampled and compared with the previous population. It may be too late for the current crop though; if you were a victim of the local education system, you will on average be acclimatized in being unresponsive to variables and the environment (did you ever raise up your hands and questioned the lecturer?), and you would sorely miss the competitive edge others hold over you, should you not adapt in due time.

It’ll be good news if employers are to shift their focuses towards the holistic aspect of your education. Just to cite, probably everybody who enters SIM does so with gloom normally associated with earthquakes and tornadoes. There are ample opportunities for them though, to hone various dimensions of their character through the many activities and workshops available. After all, if you had a relatively quiet life, chances are you wouldn’t have learned as much as you would have through the local education system. Should we choose the status quo, we would be subjected to the same Gaussian laws as per mentioned above. If not, you could at least try and give the branded institutes a run for their money.

In short, beat the bell curve!


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