I have a lot of thoughts on education! I went to college after I finished school and then went on to university afterwards and am a few weeks from completing my 3-year degree.
In my opinion, education is deeply flawed with too much of a focus on the rating the institution gets after the exam period. As I’ve grown up I’ve directly linked my grades to my self-worth which has caused an alarming amount of stress. My experience of education, particularly from GCSE up to university level, is that I was never taught so I could learn things, I was taught how to do well in exams so the institution could get a good rating. I remember at school when Ofsted visited teaching assistants would run round the week before putting up motivational posters and we were all told to be on our best behaviour so the school could do well in the observations. If any observers were in our classes and asked us questions, the teachers would grill us when they left.
Not only is education ridiculously stressful but it’s also expensive. University is 9k a year but most of the time you’re expected to do your own teaching, so you’re basically paying 9 grand to read a few books and teach yourself. On top of that 9k, you’re expected to buy your own books, pay for your own printing, your graduation robes, a photo of you in your robes and then for accommodation and the expenses that come with that. Not only this but now higher education students don’t get maintenance grants, they get more loans.
The education system isn’t very accommodating either. Exams, coursework, and even teaching operate on a one size fits all basis when all students learn and do things differently. We’re taught for weeks on a few topics and are expected to memorise it all and regurgitate it in an exam that lasts for two hours at the most. To me, that’s not a test of intelligence or how much you’ve learned, it’s a test on your memory. And the worst part about these exams and coursework is that your whole future depends on them. The rest of my whole life is defined by the last 6 weeks I have in university education and that is so so stressful.
I don’t think any of this is the fault of the institutions themselves, I think the whole system of is at fault. I wouldn’t change anything about my experience with education, I have loved every second of it and have gotten so much out of it! So I guess it’s not all bad.