Any reasonably hardworking person can earn a degree, but only a truly educated man can be of value to society.

In the traditional context, people are considered to be successful the moment they get a good job, which is directly linked to the degree they obtain. However, the question here is how they can actually help society. Do they need any form of characteristics before they are considered to be “valuable” people? We then have to understand what “value” means in this case. The value refers to the building of society, and this can be relatively broad, as it can refer to the physical help it renders, for instance the tangible building that is built by the person, yet it can also refer to the intangible help he renders, for instance in the form of cultural development. A person that is truly educated, in this case, would be a person who really learns from his education, not just the content, but also other skills that come along with the process of education. After much analysis, it seems that after all, it really takes a truly educated man to be of significant value to society.

Proponents of the plan that every person should have his significant value towards society, even if he was just a plain member of society that follows the laws set in the country. Why should he be seen as a person of lower “value” if he tries his best? Although this may seem like a good concept to be following, there are various things to consider at the same time. In most societies in the world today, what really matters are the real merits of the person. Without any of their extra achievements, then companies would not hire them. In today’s largely educated world, many more people are obtaining degrees, and it is simply not enough to define “value” as a piece of paper, but has evolved into the matter of whether any true results have shown to be made. In addition, the overall value of the person is also outweighed by the fact that the government still has to care for him. The citizen still has the different benefits that have been accorded to him by the government such as healthcare, and if the person does not have any significant contribution, then there is a net loss on the side of the government. Therefore, such a person who does not contribute significantly due to the fact that he is merely an inactive member of society is not valuable to society.

Critics of this thesis also claim that as long as the person has an education, then he has the potential to help the country. The degree is proof of the fact that he is capable of doing the job well enough. However, the contrast here is that a truly educated person has also picked up other skills such as leadership and teamwork. In today’s globalized world where communication is key, it is important for people to have these skills. Nowadays, not only the knowledge contributes to the person’s value, but also the person’s character and “heart”. When a person knows how to sympathise, work together, and help each other, that is when they can fully show their contribution to society, and increase their own value to society. For example, a teacher may have a vast resource of knowledge, but he or she has a lack of social etiquette. This weakness will then end up dragging the person down. As time passes, there is a need for the teacher to review her skills and teaching methods, and that is how she makes her students improve faster. However, if she does not know how to communicate with her students or colleagues to get their opinions and suggestions, then she is bound to become irrelevant in the future. Therefore, the potential of the person has shown to lie in the way the person behaves, not only in the content of understanding today.

Some also assert that the fact that the person is hardworking means that the person is able to pick up new knowledge to remain relevant, and that is what is truly needed. On the other hand, however, to be truly educated also means that the person totally absorbs the knowledge that he knows, and not just regurgitate the information that he is given to learn. Getting a degree or pursuing higher education requires one to really understand the context of the information, and to truly understand a certain job or subject means that the new knowledge gained must be able to be put to good use. Therefore, this is an important part of learning. Many students nowadays are spending majority of their time memorizing the facts, treating each sentence and fact as an object to be gained, rather than a building block towards understanding something new. They fail to put it into context and understand its relevance to them. Without the proper questioning of one’s knowledge, then a person is no more than a robot that quickly is being cast aside because of his lack of ability to adapt to new problems and situations to solve them efficiently. For example, the Xing Wei college in China is a liberal arts college which has been newly set up in the country. This new learning institution has provided the chance for Chinese students to learn a new type of skill – to think more broadly, and gaining the opportunity to express their opinion about sensitive issues in their country. Here, they can make good use of their newly gained knowledge in order to improve themselves, and to bring new light to other citizens in their country. Hence, people like these, who help themselves, other citizens and the country are considered to be significantly valuable to society.

Although we have to recognize that each person has a value to society, the question is the degree of this value. To be significantly valuable, it takes a truly educated person who is able to understand what he is learning, and use the skills and information gained to solve new problems. That is the key to the new generation. 

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.