The thought of which subject I would eventually decide to write an essay about has orbited my mind for quite some time, and I have finally landed on the topic regarding education. I made this decision because I believe education is the most important asset in creating a basic understanding about the world that surrounds us. There are some negative associations towards school, which I personally do not think is properly justified. I am a strong believer in education for everyone, because not only, as assumed by some, does school teach us to cram. It provides us with the knowledge that is crucial for society, national and international, to function as an organic unity. In my opinion, creating equal educational opportunities is a major step towards a brighter future and a well-functioning international society. In this essay, I will attempt to share my opinion on how to further today’s education in developed countries in order to do what’s best for the majority.
I believe education is an institution where the older generation teaches the youth important assets of survival, but also progress, initiative, and compassion for others.
As an individual residing in Norway, I do not believe the Norwegian youth is adequately encouraged by their parents and society. To explain, the priority of education has been abandoned in favor of prioritizing our leisure time, which does not consist of pragmatic and future-oriented goals that eventually would improve the lives of all of us; not only the less privileged Norwegian citizens but also the numerous lives of those living in less privileged countries. Due to our increasing freedom, we no longer deem education a necessity. I believe we must bring the philosophy of utilitarianism back into Norwegian schools in order to become a conscientious nation that cares for others. This will, in turn, build a strong and supportive national community that does not fear to help the ones living in less privileged countries.
Education is indeed not a simple task without the right apparatuses, however. Numerous young individuals do not have the access to the education enjoyed by some, as proper and adapted education today is a privilege. Norway, we enjoy a great government-funded educational system. However, not only must everyone have access to quality education. The public not directly in charge of the educational system must also be directly involved in the process of creating well-functioning educational institutions.
To explain, the promotion of education will not be of major significance unless it is accompanied by encouragement* within educational institutions and society at large. The actions of society must reflect our belief in the importance of education in form of conscious action, such as encouraging the youth to achieve excellence.
(*I would also like to clarify that force is not equal to encouragement, but attempts to invigorate the same outcome. The difference is that force doesn’t necessarily emphasize on igniting the natural passion of the individual the force by proxy is imposed upon, in contrast to the effects of encouragement, which attempts to create the basis for understanding why education is important, and thus revitalizing a student’s voluntary commitment to society, the nation and an integral conscientiousness.)
In relation to bringing utilitarianism back into the schools, the Norwegian citizens have to acknowledge that education isn’t something that is offered to us by our government as a means for us to add even more to our own wealth. It is also offered to us because it is necessary for industrialized countries to commit to education for the sake of humanity and the international community. In other words, the countries in possession of wealth and thus opportunity, should not let these resources go to waste. Not everyone is as privileged as us, and we must subsidize the power of these privileges for the sake of decreasing major issues such as poverty, gender inequality and economic collapse on a worldwide basis. The concept of our government offering its citizens a quality education demonstrates how the state trusts its citizens to do the right thing, and we must make ourselves worthy and deserving of this trust.
I acknowledge that mobilizing an entire group of people (in this case, predominantly the Norwegian citizens) is a difficult task to take on. However, I believe it is manageable. For instance, a step towards public encouragement could be more focus in the media about the importance of schooling and easy access to information about career options and higher education, as well as volunteering and extra-curricular opportunities.
However, encouragement must be accompanied by suitable challenges adapted to the students’ level and potential. Encouragement itself has no value unless there is something that is encouraged, or more precisely, there is a means to the end that in turn symbolizes the desired outcome. The end result should be to give to others what we have deemed as obvious, and education-wise, this could be achieved by allowing excelling students to take subjects beyond their grade level as a means, which is not a common practice in Norway. This project would push us out of our bubble of comfort, and we would thus be encouraged to make a difference in the world. Of course, meritocracy should not be the driving force of education, but it is necessary to achieve excellence, and in turn, what is good for all of us. By “what is good for all of us”, I’m referring to the improvement of international issues. Citizens of industrialized countries should not take their privileges for granted, and it is necessary to position our power in such a way that it serves others, and not only ourselves.
Another significant asset is the fact that even though our parents are our role models, they are not supposed to do all the hard work for us. The youth is the future, and hence, we are the ones that must support our elders and respect our teachers and the work they do by not allowing ourselves to only enjoy the results of their hard work, but also by giving back to them what they deserve.
The youth must aim towards improving the living standards of the ones living in poverty by working hard and be committed to our education, and not take our privileges for granted, as aforementioned. After all, the hard work of the Norwegian ancestors should not go to waste. As they worked hard for the next generations to prosper, so should we.
In conclusion, I am in favor of the current Norwegian educational system, however with certain modifications of surrounding environment that is more centered towards pragmatism and future-oriented goals. We must unite as a nation to better the world, as we have the power to change it. I hope that the commitment to education and society will become more prominent by encouraging the youth to take a turn towards a brighter future in favor of the greater good, the next generation, the elder generation, and ourselves, the youth.
Written by Solveig Bergby Olsen, dedicated to the CSR Matters essay competition