Education & Qualification

There is a Chinese saying that states, "No matter how poor you are, your state of poverty must never be at the expense of education".

We all know that education is the one single thing that can change lives. It turns fate around. Nothing can have more major or positive of an impact on a person's life than education and training. And nothing is more devastating on a person's life than the lack of it.

History shows us that great men do not necessarily always graduate from great schools with high academic qualifications. However, history does show us that the individuals who demonstrate elements of greatness are always the most avid learners. They are not necessarily 'graduates', but they are all 'educated'.

"So what is education?" one may ask. "And what about qualification?" another may add.

Well, education certainly differs from qualification.

Education can be either formal or informal. Most people go through formal education in primary and secondary levels as compulsory education. In fact, this is the norm in most countries. Informal education is far more abstract. It is about learning from life's encounters and experiences.

In this day and age everybody needs a qualification; it is no longer merely advantageous to have a diploma or a basic degree. Everybody else has it! It is now considered a basic prerequisite for any career entry, and not an added advantage.

So in order to have an edge over others in the 'paper chase' mania, the young people of today require post graduate qualifications in order to be 'competitive'. And if these qualifications are granted by 'branded' institutions of higher learning, the more 'gold-plated' these young people become.

But let's ask ourselves this: "What is education really about? Why do we need to be educated?"

As far as I am concerned, education is not just about scoring straight A's, though I agree academic performance does measure academic success. Without a scoring system it is difficult to quantify success in education.

However, education is really about an accumulation of experience, wisdom and know-how. So education is supposed to help to make you a better person and live a more successful life.

However, some people are highly qualified yet lowly educated.

They use foul language conveniently and comfortably, despite all the A's they scored in their language papers.

They plant themselves firmly in their seats in the bus while they are aware someone else may need the seats more than they do, despite scoring an A in the moral paper.

They disrespect their parents and treat them like dirt, despite earning a PhD in education.

You see, academic qualification does not necessarily make one educated.

The truly educated manifest their educatedness in ways they may not even be aware of. Some of these people do not have posh degrees and so they are not highly qualified.

However, they respect their elders, love their children, care for the less fortunate, have genuine interest in people's wellbeing, speak gently and politely, volunteer their time to do community work, bless friends who do well, share happiness and sadness with those whom they care about, bring up their children in the most appropriate way possible, give unfaltering love to their wives or husbands, etc.

These people are indeed highly educated people. While some of these highly educated folks are also highly qualified, some of them are not.

So choose to be educated AND qualified, and then, you will be whole.

"Life is about constantly going beyond limits!"
- Erican Chong


  1. Nice article, keep up the good work. Education is the number one priority.

  2. Audrey BoudvilleJuly 4, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    I enjoyed reading this article very much. Academic qualifications are important but there are other things in life that are important too. Among them are how we respect other people, how we care when a loved one or friend is sad or facing disappointment in life, how we consider the feelings of others, how we regard our parents and those who care for us. Being academic qualified without these traits is like being a walking skeleton...without a soul. Imagine if we all have both academic excellence and a caring, respectful and emphatic nature. What a wonderful world this would be! I know of such wonderful people and knowing them is indeed a privilege and honour. You know who you are! Therefore, who says we can't have it all?


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