Lately, I’ve been examining the education space quite a bit. While examining this space, I naturally turned to the question: why education? What’s the purpose it serves and why it is useful? What difference does it make if I know 16’s table or not? Why my elder daughter has to learn drawing, why I need to develop deeper knowledge of some technologies, why someone should attend Digital Vidya’s training on social media marketing? In general, why person X should be educated in Y to the extent Z?

After a while, I came up with 5 different areas where education fits in. This is not the only way to frame it but it made sense to me. Here they are:

Education that enables you to have routine transactions with the world around you. Basic knowledge of language & mathematics comes in here. Basically, you should be able to talk t o people around you and carry out basic stuff that you need to carry out for survival. This is kind of primary education.

Education that enables you to start earning money. This is the vocational training or the professional college. Your BE, MBBS, MBA fits in here. This doesn’t have to be formal edu cation. After all, I don’t think farmers go to some college of agriculture before hitting the farm.

Education for your professional growth. In a simplistic model of the professional world, you start earning money at some position/role in the industry and than over time, you “gro w” and play a “bigger” role, handling “more responsibilities” that also happens to translate into more earning. Majority of this education is on job learning. There are very few o fferings in this space and most of them are in the form of short term trainings (like 2-3 days kind).

Education for quality of life. This category is pretty interesting. At the end of the day, all you want to do is lead a good quality life (whatever that means). And that actually doesn’t happen automatically for majority of people. The objective here is to understand what makes people happy; what makes you happy; and how you can do more and more of that. The education here is mostly by experience and partly by self-help books, spiritual organizations and a few others like Landmark Forum.

And finally, education for hobbies. Learning a sport or a musical instrument falls under this category. People don’t necessarily make it their profession (in fact, most of the times, they don’t). In some way, it impacts the quality of life but then, everything impacts the quality of life, so, I’ll keep it as a separate category.

So, what does this model mean? Frankly, I don’t know as much. But it surely makes me look at the current academics or education system in a different light. And it also makes me q uestion it.