Are you an 'educated' predator?

No word is as grotesquely misunderstood as 'education'. We are being taught rat-racing, throat-cutting competition.

ali.syed June 12, 2011
Education - slick, elite, expensive education - for which, I attend classes, take exams and tap a phenomenal fraction of my parent’s hard-earned money.

Education - there is no word so grotesquely misunderstood.

No idea so ill-expressed.

Little does anyone realise that the mad rat-race to score better grades does not ‘educate.’ On the contrary, the cut-throat dynamics of the relative grading system merely give us a taste of the usual rat-racing, throat-cutting, leg-pulling and back-stabbing competition that the corporate culture is characteristic of.

Relative grading gives you the grade, but it ingrains in you the idea that your success is tied to another student’s failure. It exists today as a disgusting remnant of economic interpretations of Darwin’s Natural Selection Theory: those at the top of the curve are more likely to survive the capitalist challenge than those at the bottom.

Better grade equals better education?

Better grades are universally thought to be reflective of a ‘better educated’ student. The premise is utterly ignorant of the idea that grades are a measure of ‘employability,’ not education.  Better grades are indicative of a student’s ability to survive competition and his/her skill of regurgitating textbook knowledge.

Education, however, is not the skill of passing exams or surviving the scars of the corporate world. Education is a measure of wisdom, critical thought, sophistication and aesthetic sense. These are traits which can never be estimated or inculcated through any standardised test or university grading system. By this logic, the ‘employable’ may not necessarily be educated.

Upon observing the current state of affairs, one is met with the revelation that the ‘employable’ are often the least-educated.

Scarring paradox, no?

Grades vs education

The mad clambering for grades is detrimental to the process of acquiring education. I myself have been witness to a score of ‘competent’ men and women, who graduate with flying colours, get hired by the cut-throatiest corporate biggie, yet remain uneducated. The constant crunch of numbers in the calculator wins them a five-figure opening pay at Citibank, but deprives them of the benefit that wise books, good music and hearty conversation offers. Their aesthetic sense remains crippled while their imagination remains boxed. All this, owing to the lack of focus on art, philosophy, literature and the theoretical domains of natural science.

The disregard towards literature, philosophy and theory does not come as a surprise. Our capitalist economic system dictates that private interest is tied to wealth and wealth only. Thus, all activities and endeavours that are not conducive to the acquisition of wealth are discounted as irrelevant. The result is that our institutions focus on producing graduates who are competent enough to fortify themselves from the dark, ghastly outside world by making money. Professional success gets married to financial security.

Young men and women study business, economics and engineering in order to be monetarily successful. They shy away from graduating in the social sciences or humanities as these disciplines are not thought to be economically rewarding - the usual dilemma of a developing country obsessed with improving the standard of living through material success, and material success alone.

Not understanding the virtues of education has led our ‘educational’ institutions to produce scores of individuals who win respect owing to their dexterity with the calculator. More lamentably, they win respect owing to their skill of making money. The very skill of making money that requires the rat-racing and back-stabbing which the relative grading system teaches them to be proficient at.

Thus, ‘educational’ institutions focus on economically rewarding curricula. As institutions are seen to place less and less emphasis on art and theoretical knowledge, graduates are seen lacking the characteristics that reflect ‘education’ -  the characteristics of wisdom, aesthetic sense, insight, and above all morals - the very traits that elevate man from the lowly status of a self-seeking predator.


Atif Iqbal | 12 years ago | Reply I always wanted express the feeling that things are becoming more and more commercial, and education is just being used an instrument of making money.. I couldn't have said it better than this.... this is so nicely written!!!
Khalid Rahim | 12 years ago | Reply @M Ali Khan: As a student from early age I always found myself in trouble with my teachers and some elders for asking critical questions on a subject being taught or under discussion. As a punishment for insisting on critical analysis about not being allowed to study other authors on a subject and write your paper. I lost one year being detained in the class and if I tried to appeal it would fall on deaf years. The situation has hardly changed from the late 50s.
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