GRE Issue Essay 175

“For better or worse, education is a process that involves revising the ideas, beliefs, and values people held in the past.”

Education is a process of teaching and learning which seeks to improve knowledge and skills. In other words, education can be called a step towards progress and development since it aims at making the society knowledgeable and skilled. In the process, education involves changing some of the long held ideas and beliefs. I agree with the statement that the values, beliefs and ideas of people in the past get revised as the society gets more educated. It may or may not lead to a better society in future, but it is a slow and continuous process in which the old beliefs get replaced by new ideas that are more practical and convincing.

In the primitive times people were not educated. They would believe anything that they would see without understanding the logic behind it. If there were something that was unexplainable to them and beyond their knowledge, they would relate it to the supernatural and form ideas and beliefs regarding those phenomenons. However, as science progressed and explanation was found behind most of the things happening around us, the shallowness in these beliefs became exposed. This is how new ideas and beliefs replaced the older ones. Therefore, it is only with the increase in knowledge that the older beliefs get replaced with new thoughts in the minds of people.

In the previous ages, when man did not know the art of cultivation, a natural phenomenon like rain was considered a heavenly fury instilled on mankind. However, slowly as man got the knowledge of cultivation, this heavenly fury changed into a blessing for farmers. They would depend completely on rain gods to water their fields. This saw a change in the beliefs held towards a simple phenomenon like rain. As times progressed, people came to know about the facts like scarcity of water, contamination of drinking water and global warming. This has changed the whole perspective of people towards rains. Now, people do not only view rains as a natural phenomenon, but they are also knowledgeable about the factors that control rains. Therefore, there are increased efforts made by environmentalists towards planting more trees and stopping deforestation.

Similarly, there have been many versions of people regarding the origin of the solar system. While earlier people had no idea about the outer space, they believed that earth is the center of the universe. Slowly, the theories like big bang came to be known which shattered the older beliefs of people. It is only with more awareness that people shun their previously held beliefs and adjust to the changing times.

Most of this change brought due to education is for a better and advanced future. However, some changes in values can also prove to be dangerous. For example, with education, the world is coming closer. As a result, there is a greater influence of developed countries on the young minds. Children are more exposed to an open culture where their traditional values get replaced with these western values. Such a change makes them take to bad habits like drinking and drug addiction at a younger age. It has been seen that the more developed a nation is due to its advancement in knowledge, the more its children are involved in drug abuse.

In the end, I would like to sum up by saying that with advancement and progress, the change in ideas and beliefs of people in inevitable. I agree that education, which leads to this advancement of a society, involves the change in the way people think and also the way they believe.