Givology Staff's Blog

What is Education?

Education. We talk about it, criticize it, extol it, promote it. Sometimes it’s perceived as an cookie-cutter process; other times, we see education as a holistic and enlightening experience. Some of us have easy access to it, others none at all. And with so many discrepancies in its applications-look [url=]here[/url]-it’s different to determine what education’s ideal implementation looks like.
So, when it comes down it, what exactly is education in the first place? Can we define it at all?
[font="Times New Roman"] Like a lot of other things, the answers to these questions aren’t exactly simple ones. Different people, who are educators themselves or have received arguably successful educations, all have different opinions on what education’s main purpose is.[/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] For example, journalist Sydney J. Harris once stated: “the whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” So, if one were to go with Harris’s opinions, education is an apparatus for individuals to empathize with others-something that encourages one to look outward rather than inward. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] In comparison, psychologist B.F Skinner once described education as “what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” Well, now, education is-according to Skinner- essentially the knowledge or information that most deeply impacts an individual on a personal level. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] But then there’s the ancient Greek historian, Plutarch. He once stated that “the very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education.” Education is also, apparently, a vehicle to greater morals and ethics.[/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] Even the dictionary isn’t sure how to exactly pin education: Oxford first defines education as “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university”, but also as, very simply, “an enlightening experience.”[/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] So, moral of the story: humans can’t seem to pinpoint what the main focus of education should be. Should education be about observing others? Improving one’s morals? Chances are, if you were to factor in the many other opinions about education, doing so would only broaden the scope of answers to that question. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] But- when examining [/font]the the nuanced[font="Times New Roman"] perceptions about education, there’s one overlapping similarity. Education always encourages positive development in the individual lucky enough to receive it. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] As Harris described, education encourages empathy with others, as opposed to a vainer concentration upon oneself; according to Skinner, it gives an individual the ability to outlast the shortcomings of memorization; it makes one more ethically sound, like Plutarch noted; and as the dictionary would say, it just gives you a greater understanding [/font]of[font="Times New Roman"] important topics.[/font]
All these developments are, objectively speaking, pretty good things. Possibly the one idea all educators- or education-receivers- would agree upon is that education is simply positive. It should benefit the individuals it reaches.
And, materialistically speaking, education has benefited individuals. In general, the more education one receives, the more money one tends to make; one additional year of schooling typically translates to a 10% increase in the pay of future jobs.
[font="Times New Roman"] But the opposite logic is also true: in general, the less schooling one [/font]recieves[font="Times New Roman"], the less they are projected to earn during a year. [/font]
For those in developing countries, effects are possibly the most drastic. Girls in lower-income countries who have completed secondary education are expected to make twice as much as those with no education. And when only one in three girls in such countries complete lower secondary school, the implications turn troubling- a majority of girls in developing countries make half the pay of their counterparts, purely due to missed educational opportunities.
[font="Times New Roman"] And don’t be fooled into thinking that this trend only applies to those in developing countries. Individuals who have less schooling in the United States also typically earn less: the median pay of Americans who have associate degrees is just over 41K. In comparison, those who never graduated high school typically have a median pay of just over 25K. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] The thing is, 25K can only go so far. That sum might just be able to cover minimum living costs, but still be insufficient for retirement costs.[/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] Based on this, it’s logical to conclude that the less education one has, the greater obstacles one might face in life. Focusing on education can help one attain greater prosperity, and even potentially break out of poverty. Simply put, education is good- because it benefits individuals’ personal lives.[/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] But the reverse is also true. If we take a look at the bigger picture of the process outlined above, we can see that education can also benefit entire communities and societies. [/font]
[font="Times New Roman"] If numerous individuals attain education in a society, and more education correlates with higher pay, then this development essentially implies that entire societies can experience increasing production. Consequently, the whole economy grows. This is precisely why education has been nicknamed “human capital”- educating humans can play a key role in economic development. [/font]
In the end, education is good; it positively impacts students, and tangibly benefits both the individual and the community. It can provide a way to break out of intergenerational poverty, and strengthen one’s chances at prosperity. Perceptions about education may differ, but perhaps there’s one thing we can all agree on: education is something we cannot afford to give up.
[font="Times New Roman"] That said, there have been- and maybe always will be- variations in what education’s exact nature is. Some believe [/font]it ’s a[font="Times New Roman"] pathway to stronger morals. Others may view it as a way to hone societal comprehension and empathy. [/font]
What type of education do you believe in? Click [url=]here[/url] to donate, choose an organization or student you want to help, and show your support!


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