Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What is the true value in knowledge?

Proverbs 1:7 says, "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." (New Living Translation)

Don't blame the student.

With the economy continuing to slip and the rising percentage of people seeking a higher education, there has been a lot of talk about higher education losing its value. It used to be that less than 20% of the U.S. population obtained collage degrees and even less obtain master's degrees. Now that so many people are getting laid off, people are going back to school to ensure employment. In my experience, education isn't what employers are looking for anymore. It's all about experience and who you know. These days, you can't afford to be picky. When you get a job, no matter how menial, you hold onto it for dear life.

The statistics speak for themselves, but I do not believe that the value of education and knowledge should be weighed only on what kind of job it can bring. To God knowledge is priceless. God hates foolishness, and knowledge separates the wise from the fools. The problem here isn't the people who want more education. 

The problem is the quality (or lack of) of the education available to us and the price tag that comes with it. Another problem is the low standards of high schools. It boggles my mind the kind of low academics they allowed to graduate, especially in English. Many of the essays I peer-reviewed were mediocre, certainly not graduation worthy. It was actually what inspired me to seek an editing career. Schools need to be more selective about who they graduate as well as improve the quality of their curriculum. Also, institutions need to work on better ways to ensure higher education that won't oppress their students' finances and job security, whether that means taking a pay cut, being more selective in admissions, or offering more financial aid.

I can't credit my grammar skills to my high school, which leads me to my next point. Parents should be involved in their children's education. It was my mother who refined my reading and writing. She assigned creative writing and critical thinking paragraphs, read books aloud at dinner, and gave us a word of the day. She also taught geography off our Worldbook Atlas. She invested herself in our education, and that gave me the tools to move on to college.

My advice is not to give up in your pursuit for knowledge. It is no more the solution than it is the problem. Find an institution that is right for you and your budget. Don't allow anyone to assume the value of your degree. Only you and God truly understand its value in your quality of life. What I do know is that things aren't working the way they are. Colleges need to rethink their priorities. We need to step up before the U.S. truly becomes the stupidest country in the world, which is where we're rapidly heading.

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