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Why Education Matters

Recently, Tyler, Na’ama, Jonathan and I had a discussion on education. Unfortunately I don’t remember much since I have a terrible memory, but Tyler did take notes.  The most interesting topic we debated about was what is the purpose of education? There was quite a bit of philosophical discussion regarding

  • how does one learn?
  • what is knowledge?
  • are humans intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to learn?
To try and keep things simple, I will focus on the practical aspects of education in this post and future posts. The answer I proposed then was people learn so that they can make beneficial contributions to society. However I left that room not 100% satisfied with my own answer because I felt something was missing, but couldn’t pinpoint what exactly it was. After watching Ken Robinson’s TedxTalk (thanks Tyler for sharing the link), I have a better idea on the purpose of education.


Ultimately I believe the purpose of education is to prepare ourselves so we can live a life. I know it is a very general statement and I have only one premise: life is long. It is complete bullshit when people say life is short. After all that’s like saying the glass is half empty (more on that on a future entry). Everyday you will have to socialize with people, react to different situations, solve various problems and make many choices. Those are just a few dimensions of living a life and how you approach that is a reflection of your education whether that comes from school or not.

To quote Mahatma Gandhi: Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Categories: Education, Philosophy
  1. December 13, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    “The answer I proposed then was people learn so that they can make beneficial contributions to society.”
    If you took out society (eg. if you woke up stranded on an island), would that eliminate the need for education?

    I’d like to pick apart your second proposal of education is so that we can “live a life”. It is, as you say, a very general statement and as it is stated, it doesn’t really mean anything. Life would exist without education (not necessarily in the same form, but it would exist nonetheless). So what about living does education target?

  2. December 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    “If you took out society…would that eliminate the need for education?”
    Definitely not, you still need to learn in that situation which is why I wasn’t satisfied with my first answer lol.

    Yes the way I generalized “live a life” doesn’t mean much now. “So what about living does education target?”
    Education targets pretty much every aspect of living. To expand on what I wrote earlier, some dimensions of living a life include:
    1. How you treat other people around you
    2. How you take care of yourself (eg mentally, physically)
    3. How you handle different situations (eg what do you do when the government implements the HST system or how do you react when you didn’t get into med school)
    4. The choices you make and what you base them on (eg what do you wear to a business meeting or what career do you want)
    All that…and more requires education to some extent one way or another. Like I said, that reflects your education.

    I started this blog so I can share with everyone else how I live my own life. There’s too much to say in one posting. As I continue blogging, hopefully it’ll be implied that education is important in most, if not all, aspects of not only my life, but everyone else’s too.

  1. January 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm
  2. September 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

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