The value of the education system is something that has been debated over for a long time now. Is it really worth it to go through 3 years of kindergarten, 12 years of schooling, 4 years of undergrad and 2 years of post grad? (And if you’re pursuing medicine, god help you) Are you really carrying forward and implementing all of this knowledge in your daily life or are you just a slave to society, following the norm?
As a result of this ideology that has been ingrained into our brains, dropouts have to face the harsh reality of life. As society looks down on them, companies don’t offer jobs because every job opening involves an eligibility criteria that says ‘Bachelor’s required’. Unless you have some sort of brilliant startup idea, a family business or a sh*t ton of money, you will most likely remain stuck.
The reason why most people feel uncomfortable in their school life is because of the way the education system is built and the value(s) we receive. Especially the Indian education system. Due to its academic rigour and narrow mindset, students never end up learning any practical/soft skills. Most students are required to memorise most of what they learn and spit it out on paper when it comes to the exams. They devote their lives to school and school only. Another reason why students have this view is because of their parents. Most orthodox parents will follow the typical system and will try to enforce the ideology that education is the most important thing in your life and you must dedicate its value to yourself to it. So, we chase numbers. We compare numbers. We let ourselves be reduced to a number.
While school does offer many positive things like, gaining discipline, maintaining a routine, creating a social life and preparing you for the real world, it is only applicable to an extent. When you reach a point where you feel like you are unable to apply what you learn and genuinely feel trapped spending 5-8 hours of their day in a place where they don’t want to be, and believe that they could be doing something greater, the value that they could be adding to their lives and the ones around them could be greater than the value added while staying in school/college.
Some examples of the Unconventional
- Richard Branson: a British billionaire who founded the Virgin group that controls over 400 companies currently. He was dyslexic, did not go to college (dropped out from school at 15) and his headmaster said that he would be in prison by the time he became an adult.
- Kunal Shah: the founder of CRED. He dropped out of NMIMS while pursuing an MBA degree. I think dropping out should be normalised, especially when you feel like you can be maximising your potential doing something else.
- Bill Gates: The world’s most successful dropout dropped out, not once but twice, from the same university to focus on his software company Microsoft.
However, there are curriculums like the IB that focus on more than just academics. It ensures holistic development. It not only involves exams but also research, extracurriculars, oral tests, real-world application and much more.
But when it comes to college, it is a commitment that you are making to a potentially unknown realm. While the stigma of dropping out may last for a while, one thing that can change is the way colleges function. When people decide what they want to pursue at the age of 18, they often realise later on that this is not where they want to be. When you enroll yourself in college and dislike it at an early stage, they either end up spending the next 4 years in an environment where they are not growing or learning, or they drop out and find it hard to cope. Rather, colleges should provide the option where if students decide to leave, they receive some level of qualification rather than being labelled as a ‘drop-out’. Perhaps a certificate for completing the first year, a diploma for the second and so on.
“Investing in your education” has always seen to be a noble thought. Students easily grasp the concept that education is always valuable, a way to be praised and to gain status in society. But it is important to acknowledge that not all feel this way and to accept those who have a varied mindset. Because gaining skills, ambition and a future doesn’t always involve being enrolled in a reputed institution, it involves having an open mind.