Schooling vs Education


Many people confuse education with schooling. Schooling is what you learn in school/college. On the other hand, education is a life-time process and includes skills that you learn outside of school. As Mark Twain once said, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education". Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs all are dropouts from school, but all turned out to become very successful. These individuals are life-time learners by constantly accumulating new skills and reading books.


The problem with the schooling system is that it kills the creative mind. Younger kids usually are very curious and constantly asking questions. However, as time passes, the schooling system kills that curiosity and encourages memorization over critical thinking. To revive this curiosity in adulthood, we need to practice that childhood characteristic (constant curiosity). The schooling system treats every student the same and assume that they all have the same potentials and talents. As we know from biodiversity, this assumption is not correct. Nature has created diverse minds with different potentials.


Elon Musk, the famous inventor and businessman, said “people don’t need college to learn stuff”. Elon Musk points out that jobs in his companies do not require college degrees but require relevant skillsets. Elon also said, "Don't confuse education with schooling, I didn't go to Harvard, but people who work for me did"?


Robert Green, the American Author, and bestseller talk about how to reinvent yourself by constantly questioning everything. In his book, "Mastery", he provides a step-by-step process to master a specific field or niche that is connected to your deepest interests. In his opinion, one of the quickest ways to fail is not following your passion.


Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian and philosopher that talks about the new model of education. The skills that are necessary for the 21st century. In his book, "21 Lessons for the 21st Century", he emphasizes the skills that we will need to succeed in an ever-growing competitive world. In his education model, there is no place for information memorization. Harari believes that, in the future, constant re-invent will be essential by developing a flexible mind and an emotional balance. Harari emphasized 4 C’s including Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical thinking.


Ray Kurzweil, is an American inventor and polymath, that also believe in the power of cultivating a creative mind. He is co-founder of Singularity University that operates based on this principle. He advocates acquiring new skills and creatively combining them. At Singularity University, many startup ideas related to real-life problems get started every year that go to have a lasting impact on the world. A few examples of skills taught at Singularity University are Critical thinking, Problem-solving, Collaboration, Adaptability, Entrepreneurship, Communication, Curiosity, and Imagination.


Here are a few selected quotes that emphasize the importance of education over schooling:

  • “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler

  • “Our rapidly moving, information-based society badly needs people who know how to find facts rather than memorize them, and who know how to cope with change in creative ways. You don’t learn those things in school.” Wendy Priesnitz

  • “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” Albert Einstein

  • “Just as eating contrary to the inclination is injurious to the health, so study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” Leonardo da Vinci

  • “Do not train children in learning by force and harshness but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” Plato

  • “The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on – because they are dysfunctional to the institutions.” Noam Chomsky

  • “School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” Ivan Illich


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