It's all about Amelioration

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Knowledge is NEVER a means to an end

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The endless pursuit for paper qualification in our little red dot has triggered me to question the essence of an education, as in a formal one, as compared to self-education.  When I state formal, I refer to institutions that provide structural learning, and hand out certificates at the end of the stint. Self learning, on the other hand is about the endless quest to pursue knowledge that interest us, and have a passion about.

Both forms of education are great in terms of enriching one’s self. However, the intention of attaining education is a more critical aspect to be studied.

“Are we seeking education because we love to own, or because we love to ask?”

Singapore, as we all know strives to be an education hub for regional students to gain an opportunity to acquire a credible source of education. It is evident with the throngs of students from China and India in our national and private institutes. Our very own citizens are also in a mad pursuit of attaining degrees from alternative sources if our local ones shun them. In the wake of cases where a handful of private institutions turn out to be  phony ones, I can’t help but grin.  It never fails to puzzle me whenever I see a shady building or office of a private institution, always affiliating themselves to western universities and offering a wide range of courses at a substantial fee. Firstly, the physical location would have already failed in my books. It’s always some run downed building of previous occupants, or an office tucked away in some obscure building. Secondly, how do we question the validity of its affiliations and more importantly its lecturers? In spite of all these doubts, such private institutions still thrive as it’s a lucrative business. The insatiable demand of education is still there.

Another issue is the process  of attaining a formal education. There is no point in attaining a degree if the mere aim is to pass an exam. We need to be involved in the projects, debates, discussions, interactions to learn. The life skills of analyzing, presenting, structuring and most important questioning are critical elements that we pick up in formal education, that a lot of people overlook.  These skills cannot be fully acquired and appreciated if all we desire is that piece of certificate.

I attribute this demand to such shady private institutes and our paper chase mindset to how meritocracy and materialism that is  in our society, enslaves us. Through my conversations and readings, it is really disheartening that as we grow older, we lose our curiosity as a child. Most of us are chasing that degree as a stepping stone to that coveted job in a Multi-national corporation (MNC) or for that pay increment or promotion, which all leads to our desire of ownership of material wants.

Who is to blame? Our government that drives its citizens to be their GDP generators? Our parents for pushing us to educate ourselves with extra tuition, linguistic classes, piano lessons  since young that we somehow lost our way in the process? Or, basically our ignorance?

Its time for all of us to take a step back from all these madness and question our real motivation behind our education.  Of course, we need that job to feed our families and pay that 30 year mortgage and car loan (talking about slavery to our system, gees). Friends and strangers can call me idealistic but hey, before you come to that conclusion, make it a point for once in your life to take up some thing, any form of education, from baking, designing, financial planning because we WANT to and not because we NEED to. Bring back that inquisitive child in all of us and I can guarantee that the freedom of learning will make us alive and appreciate life even more.


Written by Nabs

March 22, 2010 at 4:47 am

Posted in MIND, Ramblings

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