The Value of Education

Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 02:29 pm
I haven't been very active on this forum over the past few weeks owing to the fact I have had to study for exams, and, of course, sit those exams.

I've been wondering recently the value of what I have done, now the exams are over. For instance, a Law exam I sat just yesterday consisted of me spewing facts and case law references onto the paper. I had taken so much time and effort to remember these things. But that's all the exam consisted of really - remembering things. The only thing which entailed actual intelligence, rather than the mindless remembrance of facts was the so-called 'analysing' of the law; which I could find in a law textbook, and remember that too!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel there isn't much to be proud of in gaining this qualification. Its only value is the granting of me going into further education (assuming I pass the exams, obviously). Granted, all courses are not like Law. Some do actually require more than a good memory. But, on the whole, institutionalised education seems to me like you need a good memory to do 'well'.

Any thoughts are welcome Smile
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Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 02:33 pm
Well, a good education might not keep you out of the soup line, but at least you will understand why you are there.

That's a paraphrase, of I don't remember who. An economist named Samuelson, I believe.

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de Silentio
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 07:49 pm
In my opinion, sometimes you do what you have to do and what you learn is secondary. Sometimes you get to actually learn what you want to/need to learn.

All in all, do what you need to do first, then do what you want to do. I had to finish my first BS in Information Technology so I could get a raise and support my family. Then I was able to go back to school and get a BA in Philosophy. It turns out that now I am in a better position because I have multiple skills... and more importantly I got the chance to excercise my philosophical ability prior to taking classes towards a philosophy degree... which made me a much better philosopher compared to my peers.

Good luck, and always see the glass as not being just half full, but being as full as it needs to be. Smile
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Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 07:57 pm
But memorized facts are important. Doctors have to memorize a lot in med school and you see how that helps them, right?

patient: "doctor I've been having such and such symptom"
doctor: *remembers several things that could have caused this, asks follow up question*
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Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 08:05 pm
Congrats on graduating. I always thought of education as a means to learn how to learn, open one's perspective, and develop a habit of thinking for oneself. In a way I am saying what roger said, it lends the ability to understand why you're in the soup kitchen.
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Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 08:43 pm
I feel there isn't much to be proud of in gaining this qualification.

Maybe a better way to think about it is that the final exam isn't supposed to be a demonstration of the value of the education. Perhaps the exam is just part of the procedure for obtaining the qualification, and the real test of its value lies in what you do with it. It may still be the case that you're right about your education's value, but if you are it'll be for reasons other than that one exam. That's my guess, anyway. But in the meantime, congratulations for finishing.
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