Should the role of Education be to prepare students for working life or broaden their mind?

By Collins Okoth. Collins, 30, is a teacher at Bamburi Great News Adventist School. He lives in Mombasa, Kenya. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Education is the process of giving intellectual, moral, and social instruction to somebody. It can also be defined as training or giving information on a particular subject. To me, I say education is the art of equipping learners with knowledge and skills that they will use in their future life.

Education has been widely used to prepare the learner for work. This kind of attitude has been experienced in my country. People got to school to secure good jobs. Learners are trying every way possible to pass so to acquire a certificate which in turn will help secure good jobs. This has brought even cheating, bribing and giving sexual favours in order to obtain good grades by lecturers. Education, as we speak, has been tailor-made to fit each and every occupation. Thus education has become more than an instrument of livelihood to more people. Education has also enabled people to play a productive role in the society and great emphasis has been placed on education as a ticket to good jobs. Though education has played an important role in preparing learners for working life, most people are still not well equipped.

We are living in a society that is characterized by change. Scientific evolution has changed people’s perspective and way of life. Life has become more about dealing with emerging issues rather than work related issues. Education now needs to be broad rather than focused on a specific target. So education (that learners should be taught) is to be more vigorous and broaden the scope of the learners’ thinking. I advocate that education should be holistic in nature. According to Wikipedia, Holistic Education has been defined as the philosophy of education based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning and purpose in life through connection to the community, to the natural word and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace. The purpose of Holistic Education is to prepare students to meet the challenges of living as well as being academics. Holistic Education is important for young people because they learn about themselves, about healthy relationships and pro-social behaviour, social development, emotional development, resilience and to see beauty in everything around us.

For thousands of years in traditional African society people were taught about the great adventure of human beings; their trials and tribulations, their challenges, and the huge possibilities for human goodness and even greatness. But when formal education came with the purpose of preparing learners for the working life; to equip them with the necessary sets of skills that would help them to climb up the ladder of material success, there was a setback. Negative social influence has been on the rise ever since its inception. Crime has increased, suicides and all sorts of evil deeds have cropped up because people cannot handle the pressure that comes with work related issues and emerging issues. This is when you realize that we need an alternative measure, to have an education to counter such issues. It should be education that gives the leaners opportunity to solve issues as they come. This means that education can no longer be just for working life but it should modify how we think and feel about others and ourselves.

In conclusion, I say that the role of education should be to broaden the mind of the learners. Education that is not geared toward a particular thing but to diverse situations. It should give learners knowledge on possible ways to come up with solutions to different situations. This will help in culminating all the perennial challenges and to make them people of reputable character.

56 comments on “Should the role of Education be to prepare students for working life or broaden their mind?

  1. Nelson Buamba on

    I also conquer with you sir that education is to broaden the minds and thought for idividuals, and and enable them cope with the daily life situation/challenges.

  2. Callen Kimori on

    Well done colleague. Education should be geared towards making learners research oriented and to discover more information on their own. This is path towards achieving the 2030 vision. Keep it up.


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