The function of education

By Harish Ramakrishnan, of Mumbai, India. Harish, 25, studies at the Madurai Kamraj University. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

We must agree to give more importance to education than just earning money. We mean, what about those of us who don’t see “the Money only” as our primary motivator? What about art and music and the love of nature? What about creativity and ethics? Doesn’t education have some inherent value apart from future earning potential? There is something we can find that makes educational invaluable.

To reach heights otherwise unattainable. Sure, you can earn more money and yes you can fit in better but there’s a far greater benefit in education altogether an intangible benefit. Education empowers you to change yourself to change your mind. Through education we can exceed what our parents achieved. Through education we can overcome the limitations of our class or social status. Education is a great equalizer for the disadvantaged. It is the tool by which each of us can forge a new and unexpected future for ourselves. I cannot recall a single student who stood out from the rest simply because they memorized all the facts or had the highest grades. The students who separate themselves from the pack in our mind are those who can think. They are the ones who are intuitive, inquisitive and are developing insight. With education we can change the way we think and that is a powerful force indeed.

A single idea can change a mindset. One new notion can reshape our thinking. One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. And there it is. Once you know something, you can never un-know it. We can never go back to the way we thought before. The mind is changed by new ideas and as it changes, it is capable of new things we could have never dreamed. A new idea is the tiny pebble that sends ripples out to all corners of the mind. We open ourselves up to new potential and limitless possibilities. Education opens our eyes to the world around us and the way it works. It changes the lens through which we view the world.

We can excuse inaction from those who are ignorant. We can forgive complacency in those who are unaware, but the educated among us cannot hide behind such excuses. When we are educated we are held to a higher standard. With education comes the responsibility to act. Education does many things well, but it fails to genuinely communicate the most important lesson to students that education is not the memorizing of dates and formulae, but the development of the mind. In order to truly learn something, you need to develop your mind. Certain things need memorization, but you also have to put them into context and understand why things are as they are. Don’t take things for granted. Actively involve yourself in analyzing information in your mind. Question things. Immerse yourself in the subject and consciously absorb information. It takes more time than memorizing concepts, but it’s the only way to become a true expert.

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