The Controversies Of Formal Education and Skills

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve undergone at least one form of formal education. Formal education is a structured and systematic form of learning. This is the education of a certain standard delivered to students by trained teachers. Formal education is classroom-based, meaning everything a student learns comes from books and other educational materials to educate students. All teachers are trained and licensed to teach children, and they’re the same teachers the students will see every day to keep their education and training consistent. However, there have been some controversies about formal education. You wonder why there should be any and what they could be. 100% of these arguments may not be justified, as individual perspective differs, but considering some of them would help the formal educational system hit a striking balance.

Some Of The Controversies Are;

  • As against the popular belief that schools are a citadel for learning, it’s otherwise thought of as prisons and turnkeys in which children are kept to prevent them from disturbing and chaperoning their parents. It is being argued that the school’s primary purpose is merely to relieve parents from the nuisance of children. Parents don’t mind going the extra mile paying for after-school lessons for their little children to engage them till they close from their workplaces. It would have been great if they meant well for these young ones, but as much as I hate to say it, they need their time and space. As a result of being forced into something they have no interest in, students end up showing resentful attitudes towards attending schools and intellectual and artistic culture. On the contrary, it is believed that it is at its best when schooling is completely voluntary.


  • Enormous strain is being put on existing systems due to the vast increase in the school-going population, inadequate educational planning about national requirements, rise in the cost of education per student, and financial constraints. As opposed to the popular belief of students acquiring practical knowledge and skills, they are loaded with bulky notes, which may not even be explained or, if they are, not to the student’s understanding, and yet, still bombarded with take-home exercises. At the close of the day, students have little or no energy or drive left to read what they have been taught; some doze off right on the reading spot and are helped to bed till the next morning.


  • Schools are supposed to teach students to share, discuss and have fun together when they learn. But the reverse has become the case, and the teachers instil self-centrism in kids, which continues to grow outside the schools. If kids are taught the importance of sharing knowledge and discussing it with friends, they would realise the benefits of teamwork and understand that knowledge grows by sharing information and debating about what they know. And as they grow up, they will look to become part of bigger teams or groups with similar interests and achieve things together. This will create a society where individuals become groups oriented toward social goals rather than remain individuals focused on selfish goals.


  • Formal education has never been a promoter of choice and personal decisions. At some point or the other, you’re compelled to study something else, at the expense of what you derive so much joy and satisfaction, studying. Parents pressurise their kids to learn what parents want, not what the kids are interested in. The real talent of the kid never gets revealed. Of course, they stop enjoying their work because of all the pressure. Before they can digest what they have learnt in one class, they are already attending the next class! Children can freely display their talents and abilities during extra-curricular activities, like inter-house sports, cultural days, and other special occasions. How much more would it have been if these activities were done regularly and not the usual once in a blue moon?


  • There is a hugely negative psychological impact on every student; after all, at the end of the term, parents only look at the scores on their marks sheet and are not interested in their real understanding and knowledge of the subject. The only goal of the student has become to score more marks, not to earn more knowledge. While preparing for exams, teachers make students read this and leave that, leaving a big question on why the topics were taught in the first place. Of course, the students have adjusted so well to the inefficiencies of the formal educational system. The only way to truly earn knowledge is not to read for personal understanding, not examination marks


  • Students are being cajoled into believing that personal level achievements are the only thing that matters. Everything else either comes next or doesn’t matter at all. The modern education system has been churning out self-centred individuals who have no time for the well-being of their society. Individual aspirations take precedence over social well-being. Success is measured in terms of what “I” achieved rather than what “We” are up to. This attitude creates a society where the majority cares very little about the society’s overall well-being and only worries about “me, mine and myself”. The result is a lack of innovation, restriction of knowledge use, chaotic society, failure of democracy, increased corruption, the plundering of natural resources, etc.


  • A survey of school children who were quite capable of reading, writing and computing nevertheless showed that they could not comprehend the meaning of a short text or resolve basic problems. Grades have little correlation with life achievement in any profession. Learning from lectures and books is dry and dull; children and students have become passive and unable to think for themselves. The cultural setting of both the literature and the mathematical problems is alien to students, so their basic skills are being rendered useless.


There have been several controversies over the years concerning the impact of formal education and its skills on children and youths. None of this is aimed at criticisms regarding the obvious advantages of the formal educational system but helps the system function better.


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