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Is school and University education really needed in life?

Is it a waste of time for those that work to their best ability in school and University to get top grades? Are those guaranteed to get a good job and wage or is those that know the right people and talk the right bull? To the older visitors of TED can you say from experience that education helped you to a better life, and for the younger visitors what do you think?

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    Apr 17 2013: If a society cannot uphold the same level of civilization, it will decline.

    We need education, and we need a lot of it at great quality.

    Is it "needed"... no, not in a basic Maslov way. But we need to learn a lot of things. Some turn out to be usefull, and others not.
    I would recommend you learn some things in your life. It will be advantageous.
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    Apr 17 2013: Yes it is needed. Without schools and universities one can never realize that real education happens in life outside.
  • Apr 17 2013: First of all I would like to thank everyone that answered my question, being the first time that I have asked a question on Ted I am very impressed by the thought filled answers given by nice people. I have got a lot of information here that shows me education will take you places but applying it in scenarios will take you more places. Also, that teaching or learning doesn't just happen in the classroom. Go raibh maith agaibh uilig for your time. Thanks :)
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      Apr 17 2013: Go raibh maith agat, agus cuirimid fáilte roimh duit TED:>)
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    Apr 17 2013: Yes I think the education system is very flawed.
    It kills creativity, doesn't encourage original thought!
    Has never encouraged intrinsic motivation, nor 'flow'.
    Also it encourages a form of elitism, and crushed potential.
    For expectations are essential to school life, many studies have been done on this. How if a teacher doesn't acknowledge a students work, he will perform worse. And if the teacher has out spoken negative expectations, then this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    And the Chinese ethic toward making mistakes is far better, than we have in our education system!

    I mean was Einstein good at school? Was Darwin good at school? Was Churchill good at school?
    All of these people were failures at school! Yet look at them now!

    Yet is an eduction worthwhile?
    It goes a bit like this :
    You do we'll in GCSE's to get to A-Levels, then you do we'll in A-Levels to get into Uni, and then do Uni to get a good job. An then have a good job to get money, and get money to be happy. (While if you get good A-Levels GCSE's don't matter these days!)
    This is a fundamentally flawed formula.

    Yet there is a lot of focus on 'willpower' in our current education system! Which to some degree is good. :)
    Hope this helped!
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      Apr 17 2013: Einstein did great at school, particularly in math and science. There was one school he attended that he did not like and left it. His having done poorly is, I believe, a romantic myth.

      Darwin did not like his early schooling, because the focus there was on rote learning. When he then entered medical school, he disliked that also, because he found the lectures boring and could not stand the sight of blood, which was a necessary part of medical training.
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    Apr 17 2013: My education has undoubtedly had immeasurable benefit for me. I think their educations have done dramatic things for my children as well in terms of cultivating their abilities to think critically, to think originally, and to evaluate evidence and ideas.

    I think what you get out of it depends to some extent on having a positive attitude toward learning from all sorts of people and in different settings, an acceptance of sometimes being wrong and of other people sometimes having ideas with greater leverage, and a willingness to try new things.

    There is evidence from developing countries that every additional year of schooling through twelfth grade makes a significant difference in quality of life, with the ability to read making the first great difference.

    The second part of your query is different. Getting the best grades of anyone in the class is not the most important thing, and there are no guarantees about career trajectory or wages. Two people with the same amount of education and same grades will not lead the same lives, as other attributes and situations enter the picture as well.

    I believe that in the US, those without a high school education on average fared much worse in the recession than those with more education.

    What I would advise is focusing on what you personally learn to understand and to be able to do rather than keeping your eye on how you compare to others.
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    Apr 17 2013: Dear Dáire,
    You would like comments from the "older visitors of TED" I am!!! LOL:>)

    NOTHING in the life adventure is a waste of time unless one perceives it to be a waste of time. It is a choice to explore each and every opportunity in life, and you, as an individual will take from it what you want.

    Top grades are great, and in my perception, applying the information may be more important than the grade. If one gets top grades, and never uses the information provided with the experience, it doesn't make much sense to me.

    There are no guarantees in life, to the best of my understanding. Good grades and a good resume may contribute to a person GETTING a good job, then, as I said, it is important to apply the information gained from an education.

    That being said, I do not have a formal higher degrees.....diplomas...etc. However, I have a full enjoyable, interesting life filled with MANY lessons, including guest lecturing at institutions of higher learning. I have used the life adventure to learn, grow and evolve, which we can all do whether or not we choose to do it with formal education, or by simply living the life experience with curiosity and intent to learn:>)
  • Apr 17 2013: The answers to these questions require knowing the person and their options.
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    Apr 17 2013: .

    Hi Dáire,

    Education is not just about running through the program and achieving good grades. Education is about venturing into different subjects, discovering your interests, and networking. Nothing is guaranteed but taxes and death. Grades are an indicator, one of many. If you are currently in school and are unhappy with the process, I suggest looking into the opportunity of creating your own major (if your university has that option).

    Good luck,