Skip Navigation Links

Survival guide for students & educators

WHAT DOES it mean to be educated and successful in today's world? Do you consider yourself educated? Are you on the way to success?

The fact that you read this far shows that you are part of a select group with potential for real success. Perhaps you did not know that nearly one billion human beings today cannot read or comprehend this or any other written sentence. And many more have barely mastered the basic skills of reading and writing. They are lacking real potential for success in this present life.

Does this mean that these people are inferior by nature? Absolutely not! What it does mean is that people who cannot, or have trouble, reading and writing, are at a distinct disadvantage. The ability to communicate in written form is an essential key to success and to true education.

The fact that so many are unable to read points up a major flaw in this world's educational systems. But it's only one symptom of a major crisis — a crisis largely ignored worldwide — in modern education.


Today's Situation

The 20th century has experienced a virtual knowledge explosion. Within the span of a single human generation, men and women have gone from horse and buggy transportation to interplanetary exploration. Communication cables line the ocean floor; microchips put vast computer technology at the fingertips of the common man; and complex probes from both the U.S. and the Soviet Union plunge deep into the solar system.

But, at the same time, starvation and squalor grip vast areas of the earth. Through sophisticated television networks, people in the developed countries can watch contemporary continuing arises in Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Persian Gulf and many other areas.

But why this contrast between man's scientific achievements and his moral and social failures? There must be a cause for every effect.

And the cause is wrong, misguided education!

When is education, education? And when is education faulty and erroneous indoctrination?

Unfortunately, the word education has lost its meaning in today's world. You hear of "receiving an education," or the place where one "gets" an education.

Neither definition is true. Richard Franko Goldman, in an address at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Md., said: "It is certainly not possible to mass-produce educated men and women. They have to produce themselves, and this is a concept highly unpopular in our times. Education is not something that one receives. One has to desire it, and to work for it" (emphasis his).

Read widely with understanding; don't limit yourself to one field.

Today's higher so-called education resembles a mass-production factory. It has been reduced in most instances to mere certification. One enters an institution certified to disseminate knowledge by members of that and other institutions, and proceeds to qualify for a certificate that signifies that the individual has completed certain classes arranged to expose him or her to selected fields.

Develop your communication skills so that your education will be of benefit to others.

It's a simplified process, and one basically recognized throughout the world. The conferring of a higher degree has become tantamount to official certification by society that one is an expert. Dr. Goldman comments: "This is of course an aspect of another superstition: that expertise is guaranteed by the possession of a degree, or that such officially sanctioned expertise can function in place of intelligence."

John R. Silber, president of Boston University, regrettably adds, "The quality of education that graduates get today is substantially inferior to that of students 50 or even 20 years ago."


The Nature of Education

The tragic consequence is that society measures its depth of education by the number of capital letters one can add to the end of his (or her) name, or titles (as in Europe). A false sense of security in an institutionalized educational system develops.

The tragedy is compounded further by the fact that much of institutional education is falsely based!

Higher education cannot answer the questions of why man is here and what is his purpose.

Knowledge learned at the vast majority of institutions is totally materialistic. Young people generally learn how to make a living, but by no means do all even learn this, and most certainly they don't learn how to live!

As values shift in society, the popular degrees sought shift also. This mirrors a society groping for answers to seemingly unanswerable questions.

In the late sixties, psychology, sociology and political science were popular degrees. In the seventies many shifted to law. Now the master's degree in business administration (MBA) is popular. As one official characterized it, the shift worldwide is once again toward materialism. People want to make as much money as possible and get as much as they feel they deserve.

All the while, feelings of emptiness accompany the average person pursuing education. Many institutional participants (also known as students) experience deep loneliness, depression, anxiety. To help spot problem students, college applications often ask whether the student has mental and/or emotional problems. Counseling centers dot campuses in an effort to help students "cope" with the pressures of academic life.

"What is the hope of the future?" is the often expressed question.


Don't become institutionalized; keep studies in perspective.