Rethinking education

  • Every aspiring learner must have his own customised syllabus which will propel him toward excellence that he seeks.
- BIKASH KHATRI, Kathmandu
University education is the best fit for the ones who haven’t yet figured out what they actually want to do in life

Jan 27, 2017-There is a viral picture that has been floating online which satirises the current education system as a whole. The picture portrays a competition where a fish, an elephant, a rabbit and a monkey are competing against eachother. The competition is to decide who climbs the tree faster, regardless the inherent nature of the competitors. The picture sees the tree as the evaluation criteria and the animals as the students who possess unique natural inherent abilities.

Since, a fish cannot climb the tree no matter how great a swimmer it is, it’s deemed as a failure under the prevalent evaluation criteria and raises the question of how an education system should be designed.

After all, there are many successful people around us who do not possess any formal education or excellent record of the degrees but have become great leaders, personalities and entrepreneurs. Surprisingly, legends like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet, among others, did not pass through the standard structured pattern of the education system in order to succeed.

 It then puzzles most people: why and how did these people succeed more than the people who are well educated with proper university degrees.

We are aware of the fact that every university or education board has a well defined syllabus for each course. The syllabus attempts to create a foundation for various subjects among students.The higher the level the more opportunities the students get in conducting comprehensive and detailed study of a topic belonging to their area of expertise. Even so, the students securing great grades often feel the hollowness of not being able to become an expert in their field of specialisation.

How did the successful people do it then? They did it all by not sticking too close to the inflexible syllabus given by their university or the education board. They built their own personalised syllabi. All the successful people have a unique and peculiar way of gaining knowledge. They choose what they need to know and acquire skills that are useful for achieving their vision.

Do you know that Warren Buffet accredits his success to books like Security Analysis, The Intelligent Investor and How to Influence People and Make Friends. None of these books were prescribed by the university syllabus. These books were handpicked by Buffet because he had immense thirst for understanding and excelling the security market. The lessons that he couldn’t find inside any textbooks was supplemented to him by his experience.

Bill Gates dropped out from Harvard University because he figured out that something that has not been invented yet won’t be covered by the university syllabus; and that he has to wander off and find the stuff he needs for building an operating system by himself. Steve Jobs was one of the greatest communicators and visionary this century has seen. He also had his own customised syllabus: observation. His communication skills were harnessed by his obsessive love of books.

How good, then, are the predesigned syllabi of the universities? A predesigned syllabus provides students with a 360 degree view of a particular world and serves as a road map. University education is the best fit for the ones who haven’t yet figured out what they actually want to do in life. Such education equips students with a number of alternatives. College education increases the aptitude of students towards macro analysis rather than micro analysis.

Every aspiring learner must have his own customised syllabus which will propel him toward excellence that he or she seeks. You first need to understand your goals and then make sure that the means justify the ends.

Thus, the next time you wish to learn and excel at something, be aware which syllabus best suits you. If you are a fish, make sure you educate yourself with swimming lessons irrespective of what your education system imposes you to learn but if you are a monkey, it’s ok to learn and compete at climbing faster—just the way your education system teaches—without any resentment.

Like Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Khatri is pursuing MFC at SOMTU

Published: 27-01-2017 16:00

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