‘Education should only be concerned with what is useful in life.’ Discuss

YES: Education presently is misaligned to the needs of society and favors the teaching of either irrelevant or even harmful knowledge, making it imperative that we refocus our concerns on learning processes and outcomes that are authentically useful to life.  

  1. The political values and ideologies embedded in some educational systems may advocate unwarranted nationalism and antagonism towards countries, making it necessary for their governments to review the relevance of such beliefs and if necessary, replace them with political worldviews that are less inimical to international peace and security.

  2. Some societies may need to prioritize economic development over other outcomes, making it necessary to direct education exclusively to the teaching and development of economically relevant skills over other skills that are less relevant.

  3. Some educational institutions and systems may have been excessively enthusiastic and incorporated unnecessary teaching pedagogies or subjects that dilute their capacity to develop the nation’s intellectual and innovative capacities, making it necessary to reverse the trend and redirect education towards meaningful learning.

NO: Society has a misconception on what is useful in life and this has unfairly prejudiced educational institutions towards reducing or partializing human knowledge, making it imperative that we be concerned with redirecting education towards learning processes and outcomes falsely perceived as being useless.   

  1. A diverse range of political values and ideologies may be deemed unacceptable by political elites and educational institutions would have an ethical obligation to teach such unconventional subject matter and ensure independent scholarship as a means of rejecting political monotheism.

  2. Although the constraints imposed by dire economic circumstances are valid, society should still devote a small proportion of resources to the teaching of economically irrelevant skills as they may be vital to fulfilling other long-term societal goals.

  3. With proper attention to and the refinement of the curriculum, peripheral subjects that are perceived as irrelevant or inimical to developing a nation’s intellectual and innovative capacities can be brought back into the mainstream and made relevant to the needs of society.