At least a quarter of our lifespans is dedicated to securing a good education. The fundamental question is does this education prepare us for our lives ahead? Or instead, have we designed our lives to prepare us for education?
The difference seems subtle, but those are very different paradigms.
When education prepares us for life, schools and universities are laboratories for ideas that push the boundaries of conventional wisdom. This learning is calibrated by the real world. Their curriculum faces the future rather than cling on to tradition. Regardless of the class, gender and social status of its students, it equips them with the skills to grow into the best versions of themselves.
On the other hand, when our life prepares us for education, educational institutes are elite. As soon as a child is born, parents work hard to ensure that her grades through school are excellent and put her on a rigourous extra-curricular schedule. All of this is centered around a strong admission letter. Students attend coaching institutes that are rigged to push them through standardized tests. The best education is reserved for those who can afford a high fee. The institutions themselves are warped in the past, banking upon a legacy to attract the best students and faculty rather than develop them.
A good education is one that helps every student make their best contribution to the real world. It isn’t one that is reserved for the best or the elite, riding on the coat-tails of an age old legacy.