Published on May 2nd, 2014 | by Belicia Ranti Setiamarga0
Education as a Whole
When I started making drabbles for this writing, I was super aware that I am not an expert in education, nor am I friendly acquinted with it, since I would say that we (education and I) have a rather bittersweet relationship (and definitely not a romantic one, for sure). That left me confused on what to write, and in the end led me to a bigger questioning phase of education and people’s thoughts of it (NO, it’s solely my thoughts, who am I kidding, really).
So, I decided to start with a very general fact. Education is something that I have acquinted with for years, as I have attended school since kindergarten to high school, and currently still attending university. So roughly, I have been ‘educated’ for at least 14 years or so. In my amateur mind, I associate education with being obliged to study, in school to be precise. From what I’ve heard, the first thing that comes in mind when you are served the word ‘education’ would usually be: ‘school’ and ‘study’.
People associate getting education as going to school and studying certain subjects, attending classes, listening to teacher’s ramblings, and partly, that is true. But in fact, education is much broader than that, and those things does not represent the meaning of education as a whole. Aside from ‘school’ and ‘study’, education is a grand process of enlightment, where an individual gains or receive knowledge of something they didn’t know before. This ‘something’ includes a whole lot of things, either it be scientific knowledge nor non-scientific knowledge, such as values, manners, character, moral ethics, etc.
One thing about education is continuousness. Education starts from the moment you learn to survive in the society. And the purpose of the whole education thingy would be to help you familiarize and adapt to a life mechanism way different from your comfort zone. So, education is a ‘tool’ to shape you into a human not much different from the others around you. In sociology we identify that function of education as “socialization”. Socialization entails an internalization of values and norms, primarily from the family, and also from the society and other institutions including school.
A complete education, should be a combination of formally, informally, and non-formally educations. Each and everyone of them is equally important, but people tend to pay more attentions the the formal and informal aspects, while the non-formal aspects are cast aside. Although actually, non-formal education is where the non-scientific things, such as the dynamics of interacting with other people, adapting to a new environment, values and norms in the society. Those are not generally included in the formal or informal education, and is not something theoritical, but rather something you have to experience by yourself.
Formally, students are taught to generally have the same knowledge, in order to put them in a same ground, and let their talents and hardwork do the rest. That’s why kids learn alphabets and numbers, writing, basic mathematics, and later the big guns, such as the oh-so-frustrating science and its army (physics, chemical, and biology). These subjects ‘direct’ students to a common understanding and knowledge, where ‘2+2=4’, ‘the sun is actually a gigantic star’ (did you know this? I did! So, yay me!) and so on. Subjects such as citizenship and ‘budi pekerti’ will teach students about what is regarded as a good or bad act, what are your responsibilities as human and a good citizen. Religion will teach students on who to believe in (God, obviously, but it differs on which one) and why you should believe in that. Those are some the ‘seeds’ to be ‘planted’ in receivers of education. On whether they really understood it or are merely memorizing it is up to their ability. While informal education are similar to the formal ones, just that they are more focused per subject (english courses, swimming courses, etc.).
To make it easier to understand, formal education is linked as a system, a vital one, and in most places, are mandatory. Yeah, because it is THAT important to ensure the shaping of the younger ones. People then think that as long as their kids go to school, get extra courses, all is perfect. Let education do their job, and all they have to receive is a good and smart kid with a good future as a result. If one goes through this system, then they will be shaped with the same ‘ingridients’ as their fellow students are.
On the other hand, non-formal education would be lessons from life to you. For example, try to remember the moment when you first entered school, that slightly awkward first meeting with your friends, you’re being shy, or rather, shamelessly making friends with other kids, the moment when your teacher scolds you about not paying attention in class, you’re trying to gain upperhand on your enemy, strategizing on how to win your crush’s heart. Those are few of the things that shape you on how to act with others. You learn about those things with life as your teacher. This process will be going on and on, and when it will stop isn’t entirely clear. The learning process you formally go through a.k.a school ends when you graduate, but the outside of it, you never know.
Ending this rant, I would like to emphasize again the importance of a complete and whole education. I’m not saying that school and studying should be less important, but people or more importantly parents should realize the importance of the education obtained outside the school, which really should not be neglected. Those awkward introductions on the first day of school, scoldings, fights with peers, and all the ‘adventures’ along your life really counts. Those are the things that will shape you into a ‘person’, and you will carry that along your life journey. In short, when life gives you lemons, learn to make something cool out of it, like a sorbet (I don’t know, this just sounded cool to write). Ciao!