What is Education?
Effective education is a learning experience. Education brings about an inherent and permanent change in a person's thinking and capacity to do things. Many people have a superficial concept of education; equating it with doing a particular course or obtaining a particular qualification. Qualifications and courses however do not always equate with effective education. People can undertake courses without any significant permanent change People can achieve qualifications without changing.
How Good is a Qualification?
There's no escaping the fact that good learning takes time. Reading a book and understanding what you read, does not mean that you have been educated (or permanently changed), if you don't integrate what you read into your attitudes and memory. Similarly, attending a course and hearing a lecture doesn't mean you have changed or been educated.
Real education is very different to just having access to (or being exposed to) information about something. Real education embeds things into one's brain, and anyone who understands learning will understand that this comes from repeated exposure and use of information or skills.
Sadly, in today's world, people want to fast track everything: but learning is something that cannot usually be fast tracked.
Benefits of Education are Societal and Personal
1. Healthier Lifestyle: People with better education tend to live longer and have healthier lifestyles. According to research, people with higher education have a one-third lower risk of heart disease. Degree holders are also less likely to smoke and more likely to get regular exercise.
2. Experimentation and Diversity are a Benefit of Education: A personal benefit to getting an education is the opportunity to grow as an individual, experiment with what you are passionate about and find yourself. You will be exposed to a diverse set of people and ideas which expand the mind.
3. Socializing and Networking are Personal Benefits of Education: Education provides students with the space and the opportunities to meet like-minded individuals, either on a peer or mentor basis. In school, students meet leaders in their field, top professionals, and make contacts through extra curricular activities as well.
4. Pursuing Your Passion: When you feel passionate about something, you want to immerse yourself in that topic. Education gives you the space to do so. In addition, you may find new passions, or new areas of interest within your field of study.
5. Personal Development of Skills: Students are required to go through many types of assignments, discussions, courses, and more during their time in education. Therefore, they end up with a wonderful skill set that translates into the workforce.
6. More Employment is a Benefit of Education: Degree holders have access to more jobs. For graduates of bachelor’s programs or higher, the unemployment rate is cut in half.
7. Career Entry and Advancement: College degrees prepare students for a career, or for advancement within their current field. Higher education gives the training and skills necessary for success in a specific area. In addition, many positions require a degree for entry. Some may not even look at a resume where the applicant has no degree.
8. Economic Growth: When an entire society is educated, productivity increases, average income increases, and unemployment decreases. This leads to the economic growth and stability of a society as a whole. It starts with education.
9. Environmental Benefits: Climate change is a large part of the conversation today, and society needs to work together to find ways to reduce impact on the earth. Educated individuals that enter the workforce will put their knowledge of climate change into company policies, leading to increased sustainability.
10. Societal Benefits: A society that is well educated feels a higher sense of unity and trust within the community. Educated societies lift up the weak and bring a feeling of togetherness among all parts.
Benefits of Higher Education:
1. Career Preparation: Some people know exactly what they want to do once they enter the workforce, and some people may need higher education to get to where they need to be. A college degree is a required prerequisite for a growing number of jobs. Even if you aren’t sure what you want to do after graduation, it is a great benefit to go to college. Higher education will help narrow your interest and refine your skill set, showing you exactly what you are good at and what field you may want to enter.
2. Broader Practical Benefits: Getting a higher education has some practical benefits too. When you look at income research, the evidence is clear that college graduates make much more than their high school degree counterparts. College grads tend to be healthier as well, with lower risk of heart disease, tendency towards healthy eating and exercise, smoke less and live longer. College graduates also tend to have higher rates of participation in political and community affairs, volunteerism and charitable donations.
3. Personal Development: Students go through a lot of personal development in college. Things such as critical thinking skills, time management, perseverance, communication, and presentation skills are all great assets not only for future work but for personal life as well. College grads get further in life, not just because of the degree they’ve earned, but the experiences they went through.
4. Pursuing a Passion and Desired Field: Pursuing your passion in the form of a college degree is the path that some people take and there is nothing wrong with that. If you really love music, studying music, then find a way to make a career out of it. College will help you get a deeper and more theoretical understanding of your passion and will also open your eyes to possible career paths and mentors.
5. Cognitive and Communication Skills: College students study hard and they study often. They are taught to think alternatively and creatively to solve a problem. As a result, college students have high cognitive ability. Courses often require group work and presentations, resulting in better interpersonal communication skills for grads.
6. Social Experiences: Don't forget that college isn't all studying. The friends you make during college will be the friends you have for life. They can also act as a social net, lifting you up when you are down and encouraging you to do your best in your studies, your profession and in your life. Learning to live with others and work well with others enhances your social skills as well.