Why Going Through Formal Education is still very Important

fake graduation smile
Regular readers here will have noticed my particular distaste in korean education here in Korea, especially the lack of proper classes for foreign students in universities. I have even gone on to write how the degree [HERE] I have attained over the past few years of difficulty merely represents a piece of paper and that it doesn't reflect the level of education I wanted to receive, was received. 

This being said, I still vouch for formal education. It is important for students and learners alike to sit down in classes and listen to boring lectures and not-so-stimulating classes besides listening to classes that are worth spending time on. 

But why do so right? Why waste time on classes that hardly come in handy?

The argument here is not because students have to learn a bit of everything that is important but to learn how to learn that should reign supreme. Learning how to deliberately learn what you don't like is interestingly and counter-intuitively useful if the student has the patience to sit down and go through the course. 

So is this all an act of deliberate practice?
(Read about deliberate practice [HERE])

Think of it in a way how our education system has been in Nepal, or particularly at the school I went to. In grade eight, we had to sit through some completely useless subjects such as agriculture, sanskrit and accounting, study for the exams and pass them with flying colors. That was what was expected of us. I guarantee, nobody, except for a handful few who liked the aforementioned subjects...had fun studying them. 

What the teachers failed to mention however, was that that this was all a hardened training regime for the brain, a way to build discipline to go through subjects that students aren't really familiar with. It is true that some are naturally gifted at the art of learning and that they pick up the subject matter with relative ease but given enough time and patience, everyone, and I mean everyone,  can take up a relatively unfamiliar subject and become fluent in it. 

Fluency? as in language?

The way I see educating oneself through formal education is similar to way I see learning a host of different languages. Some are going to be useful, some not so much. To put things into perspective, each subject can be taken to be a language with its own set list of basic and advanced vocabulary, grammar and cognitive technique. What formal education forces students to do  is to memorize, adapt, tackle and overcome challenges that each "language" has in place allowing students to develop such cognitive skills as pattern recognition, speech practice, hand eye coordination that are quintessential for learning any desired skill outside the boundaries of formal education. 

Then you mean it's capacity building for deliberate practice?

Yes. Formal education is a deceptively clever way of teaching students the art of deliberate, sustained practice. Most teachers or professors or educationists will already know that 90% what is being taught is never going to be useful in student's life. Never. But what they do know is that if a student through that system and are able to strive in that environment, the likely hood that the student will stand up on its feet to become a productive member of the society is pretty strong. 

Sleeping in classes won't do any good then.

What I believed in my undergraduate and graduate studies (which I still have a year left of), was that sleeping in classes that don't matter much was fine and didn't matter at all. What I thought was a waste of time did  eventually become waste of time because I didn't take that chance to learn that something that was starkly uninteresting and unfamiliar. Missing out on that meant missing out on the capacity to discipline myself to learn and understand that was uncomfortable and very boring. 

So getting a degree is important?

While i still think that going to the right school is important regardless of the school's reputation, getting a degree is important. Not because it validates you as an engineer, doctor or any of those assigned shit but because it validates you as a person who went through enormous hours of labored, thoughtful, painful and deliberate practice to study and dissect things that you weren't comfortable to begin with. 


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