Whenever I hear a student or any graduate asking this question, I always think that the right question they should or ought to ask themselves in place of this is ‘Did I allow my school to prepare me for society?’
School is described as an organized environment for the purpose of adding values to the lives of members of a society through teaching and learning. What society does through schools is educating, that is, making known to the people of the society something that is previously unknown to them. So, knowing the unknown is what we call ‘knowledge’, and that is the essence of going to school – to possess knowledge, skills, minds and virtues which one needs to survive in the society, (and which hitherto going to school is completely unknown to them). If you say, ‘did your school prepare you for society?’ my question for you is, ‘everything you know today, do they come to you by chance, without ever going to school, without any contribution from your schoolmates? Your teachers?’ if your answer is NO, then it means your school has performed or is performing its duty of making know to you; the problem might probably lies with you.
Whatever is credited to your brain are those things that you know – your knowledge; whether you like it or not, society rates you based on your knowledge, and your chances of getting job or you creating jobs yourself is based and determined by that knowledge of yours. This is because all about school is society! Whatever you have come to discover about your society from school, whether good or bad, are all knowledge. Knowledge can be the discovery of a problem and it can also be the discovery of a solution to a particular problem. But whether problem or solution, all is called knowledge – and both are still parts of the same society and both can become money for you.
Schools are not there to help us discover only solutions to problem, they are also meant to help us discover problems as there might have been. There must be problem before solution. Your participation in learning age – whether through formal or informal means – is to know and discover something about something; what you want to know and discover something about is in the society. Society is the inspiration behind all its schools; it is the foundation for all of them and the reality of their existence and the reason for their establishment.
Society doesn’t establish school without having reason for it. The need must be for it. Society needs people for some specialized services for its people’s sake; it needs those that will be managing its technological services; it needs people who will be protecting the lives and properties of its people and its territory; it needs people that will be helping it managing the financial issues – the cash flow, so that there won’t be inflation or the other; it needs those who will be teaching its people how to access instruction and information, and the help of those who can stand between its people and the spiritual entities. And for these people to be qualified to handle such services, there must be a means of training them – and that training centres are schools of all kinds. That is the essence of establishing schools – training people to serve people for a benefit. And to ensure that the people to be trained are well equipped before their training period (learning age) elapsed, society arranges and organizes the last step of the period (university and other higher institutions) to look just as the society itself – that’s why there are different kinds of religious bodies, organizations and associations within higher institutions with lots of chances and time for students to participate in some activities, such as doing student-based businesses, rendering volunteering services, watching educational movies, having time for group discussions, etc.
Then let me answer the question with Malcolm London’s statement in his 2013 Tedtalk which he gave while he was still an undergraduate. He said, “I hear education systems are failing, but I believe they’re succeeding at what they’re built to do – to train you, to keep you on track… ”
The truth, dear, is that your school is succeeding in its purpose of establishment. I don’t believe there is any school that is failing in that aspect. If you have been seeing graduates out there who say their schools fail to prepare them for society ask them these questions as I’m asking you, now, ‘How do you study while school?’ ‘Do you study both theoretically and technically?’ ‘How often do you put into practice on your own, aside assignment, all that you are being taught in classroom?’ ‘Are you only exploring the library or exploring the whole school in totality?’ ‘In your exploration of the school, do you explore it consciously or unconsciously, with aim of learning or with aim of flexing?’ ‘What can you confidently say you have allowed the school to change in you?’ etc.
The reason for these questions is that while schools prepare for students both academically and practically, most students (larger percent) only prepare for schools academically. Only few prepare for schools in both studies and these are the students society celebrates in truth.
I don’t know how you’ve been going through your school or how you did while still there, but I do know that exploration of classrooms, library and lesson-notes only can give you as much as course or discipline knowledge, while it’s only your self-teaching and school totality exploration that can give you elements of education such as outspokenness, confidence, inner strength, ability to decision, taking risks, knowledgeability, creativity or ability to improvised, etc which society needs. If your discipline knowledge gives you job; elements of education help you stay and grow in the job.
The only reason society allows the features of real society in higher institutions is to give you the elements of education. It is their exhibitions that will tell society and its people that you have really been to school because those elements will activate your knowledge, lift it up, direct it, sharpen it, position it, protect it, expand it, sustain it, advertise it and most importantly make you happy that you have acquired such discipline knowledge.
One of the reasons most graduates consider their course or discipline knowledge irrelevant and not useful in their society is because they lack those elements of education which can help them position it to the right place. As a matter of fact, these elements of education are what make a difference between two personalities of the same academic qualifications, and they are what most employers want to be sure of first in their prospective employees before considering their academic standard.