Your editorial [Youth need to learn skills, Aug. 20 Opinion, TIMES] compelled me to dust off an old chestnut: distinguishing between education, training, and indoctrination, considering the subtle but important differences between terms, one of the many fruits of education.
You can be forgiven for not knowing that there even is a difference between the definitions of these terms, for even if you did research, a subject like this outside your area of expertise (research skills: further fruit of education), there are unfortunately many educational professionals who do not yet grasp that a)
indoctrination is the rote memorization of facts or opinions, b) training is the acquisition of skills necessary to accomplish a task or fulfill a role, and c) education is critically viewing the world around you (noting and considering seemingly disparate details), interpreting it accurately (considering context, bias, propaganda, misinformation, etc.), and communicating in an effective and sophisticated manner.
Obviously, some indoctrination is necessary for learning anything, and training often involves invaluably useful and blatantly practical lifeskills, such as riding a bike, fixing a leak, tying a shoelace, cutting hair, building a house, etc.
Many parents and corporations downplay the value of education in favour of training; the latter want unquestioning, skilled workers, while the former see it as a ticket to financial independence.
In fact, education is not meant to fuel a job, though often it indirectly does for all the beneficial critical-thinking skills it provides; it is meant to fuel a society.
I agree that “an uneducated population is definitely not a productive one,” but we may differ on our interpretation of the word “productive.”
Education is generally irrelevant when it comes to producing/manufacturing, but it is integral to “lead forward,” which is the meaning of the word, at its core.
Your title is, “Youth need to learn skills,” but the most important skill they/we need is thinking, which a traditional, academic degree (wherein one might take History 455) trains one to do.
Do not get an education for a job; get it for your life (a better investment) – you’ll not only be making great conversation, you’ll have something meaningful to say because you’ll understand your world better.
@ Copyright 2013