For years Ive heard that in order to succeed one has to receive a quality education. Its kind of funny though, with all the talk about the need for this great quality education nobody ever says exactly what it is. While examining this strange phenomenon Ive discovered the basic universal elements of a quality education. Ive also learned that everyone has different standards by which they judge what is and what isnt a quality education, different groups are treated differently, the importance of home education and the effects that my own pursuits of education have had on me.
Depending upon who you ask you will almost always receive a different response as to what the qualities of a good education are. However, most will agree that there are four basic elements to a quality education. The first and most important to our survival is the ability to compete in the job market. Without this many, if not all of us would find it impossible to play a significant role in society. Also included, but often ignored element of education is our ability to interact with others. Every day of our lives we will be required to interact with another person or many people. School provides us with the perfect opportunity to learn how to get along with others with minimal conflict. This could perhaps be the single most element of education. Education also provides us with an education of our own culture. In a school setting the extent of the information often varies depending on which culture is being studied. Much of the time, if not all, the primary focus is on European and Western civilization. Asian, African, Indian, and South American civilization ten to be ignored in comparison to European cultures which we are required to learn from the time we enter school and many times beyond the time we leave school. Since these cultures are often ignored much of the cultural knowledge for minorities is provided by family and passed on from generation to generation through oral stories like corn mother and through artifacts.
The standards of a quality education are defined by many different institutions, each of them having their own definition of what an education should be. Take the employer for example. The employer sees a good education as having the proper training to perform the job correctly in the workplace, we place a significant amount of importance in the knowledge of ourselves. This is valued so much that often one who is ignorant of their history can be labeled a sell-out or something similar. People from other culture have their own standards of education. For instance, if one were to meet a person from culture and were insensitive to their customs, disrespectful, and showed no appreciation whatsoever for their culture, they could very easily be viewed as ignorant. In essence everyone makes the rules of what a good education is. Many of these rules differ which is why it is so vital that everyone of us receives the best education possible. No matter where we turn our education is constantly being scrutinized and tested.
Many groups are treated differently under the different standards of education. Women often have to acquire an education that is twice as good as their male counterparts in order to accomplish the same goals. The same also goes for minorities which are many times provided with sub-standard learning facilities. One group that I personally am guilty of treating differently are those who speak languages other than English. Often I encounter people who speak little or no English and many times I have to remind myself that they are not stupid, instead they just dont speak my language just as I dont speak theirs. The elderly and youth are also very often treated differently. Both are many times viewed as being ignorant to the world around them and not in touch with the current state of the world.
I personally find home education to one of the most important elements of education. As a black male, most of my life was spent in predominately white school systems. If it werent for the education I received at home I would most likely have very little sense of self. Ive grown to deeply appreciate the accomplishments of my ancestors, many of whom were never mentioned in school. The basic principles of language were also learned at home. By listening to the conversations of others and trying to speak myself, I became fluent in English before I attended school. Home education is also important in the teaching of customs. Many schools do not teach the customs of other cultures, however this is being corrected. A Bid To Redefine Indian Education illustrates this. By operating schools which emphasize the cultural need of Indian students that have long been ignored, the students are finally being given a chance to learn in a structured environment without having to feel ashamed of their culture.
My own pursuits (non-pursuits) of education have effected me significantly. Until recently I have never pursued education very much feeling that it was forced upon me. During elementary and high school I never felt the need to do homework feeling that I have much better things to do than homework and studying, but wouldnt be able to do any of them if I didnt study.
There are many different opinions of what a quality education is, who has one, and where one can be obtained. I guess that all a quality education really is depends on your lifestyle, culture, and who is judging it. Education is relative. What might be great to one person could be useless to another.