The price of education

I’m a freelancer. I run my own multimedia business, currently working from home. Fortunately all my clients have so far been very happy with the work I’ve delivered, however I understand that if I take on a job that ends up being too much for me and I cannot complete it either because of a lack of skill or a lack of time then I’m not going to get paid, or at the very least my pay will be docked.

I can’t say I’ve done it myself or even been part of a party that has, but I’ve heard plenty of stories where people have walked out of restaurants without paying for their meal on the justification it wasn’t worth paying for.

When I first moved onto residence at University a new housing facility was being built. The building was late being finished and the work done was shoddy, with walls cracked and bad wiring throughout. There were some legal issues that were getting worked out and although I never found out exactly what happened (I was a student, it was none of my business) the point is the University was trying to get back some of the money it felt hadn’t been earned.

This kind of thing happens throughout the business world and I think it’s not only justifiable, I think it’s a good thing. It keeps businesses honest and pushes them to do good work.

There is one business where this mentality is never used and I think it should be. That business is education.

We send children to schools, sometimes at outrageous expenses but for some reason we’re okay when those children receive sub-par grades. Despite the thousands of dollars that gets spent on each child’s education not everyone gets good grades or even passes.

It is the very rare child that doesn’t want to learn. Nearly everyone is excited about their first day at school. Those that are a little nervous usually get over it fairly quickly once they start making friends and learning.

Education equals future

Despite this at some stage children stop enjoying school, their grades drop and at the very least they don’t get the most out of their education and sometimes have to repeat a grade at the expense of the parent.

But why is this? If you’ve paid several thousand dollars for a product (in this case an educated child), why is it that when you don’t get the expected results not only do you not get your money back, but by law you’re expected to pay for the same process all over again. This seems like a fundamentally flawed system to me.

Part of a teacher’s job is not only to educate, but to inspire children to learn. And as I said above children seem naturally engineered to want to learn. Surely we must be doing something wrong if that natural eagerness is being removed at some stage.

Unfortunately the way the education system is currently set up doesn’t really make this mentality possible. If anyone who didn’t get an ‘A’ demanded their money back schools would go bust and we’d have no education, which would obviously be worse than what we currently have.

I feel that the education system is in need of an overhaul. I have some ideas as to how it could be improved, however none of it will be cheap and right now I don’t think it’s feasible. I’m sure I’ll go into more detail about my thoughts in future posts, but for now I just want to introduce a different educational philosophy for people to ponder.

We assume that education is hard and that not everyone will pass. I feel that mentality is wrong. An inspired individual will push themselves to learn, even if the content is hard. And the only thing we need to do to allow everyone to pass is dispose of that evil bell curve system.

I feel the mentality that we start our education with (that not everyone will pass) is wrong and starts with a defeatist attitude. There is a lot we could do to improve education, but I feel that if we can start by getting over this we’ll do wonders for our children and many good things will follow from it.

The guys over at ‘Extra Creditz’ have done a couple of videos related to these ideas. Here’s their best one so far.

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/gamifying-education

-Ignorance is not bliss. Stay inquisitive.

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About Jamie D
I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner working in 3D animation and multimedia. I also have a keen interest in technology and education.

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