GRE Issue Essay 200

“It is often asserted that the purpose of education is to free the mind and the spirit. In reality, however, formal education tends to restrain our minds and spirits rather than set them free.”

A child learns whatever is taught to him by either his parents or his teachers. The knowledge being imparted to a child conforms to the facts and figures which have already been established. It is seldom seen that children are given the time or the space to explore their inner selves and free their minds. This is because the pressure of doing well in school in order to earn high grades is so much that children often have no option but to stick to their school books. When the same children grow up into adults and they are well settled in their careers, the formal education imparted to them plays on their minds all the time and they are unable to think outside the realms of formal education. Therefore, formal education that has been acquired over a period of time succeeds in restraining our minds and spirits instead of setting them free.

The importance of learning in a formal classroom environment has assumed a great significance in the modern world because the grades that you get in your high school or college can determine how your future will shape up. Children do not have the freedom to learn aspects that interest them as they are under constant pressure from their parents to get good grades in school. Moreover, the children themselves are conscious of the performance of their peers in school and so they try their best to keep in step with their friends who may be doing better than them. The fear of failing to score the passing grade makes them concentrate on their studies.

Even if students are able to secure good grades in school, the story does not end there. After completing high school, there is stiff competition for securing admissions to reputed professional courses and only a few students are able to join a program of study of their choice. This is because there are various standardized tests which test your competence in the field in which you wish to carry out your higher studies. If you want to succeed in a career of your choice, then it is essential for you to earn degrees that endorse your skills in the fields related to your career.

Once you are settled in a career of your choice, you are again limited to utilizing the information gained from your formal education because it is this knowledge that will help you rise in the hierarchy of your career. Therefore, it is evident that the life of an individual constantly revolves around his formal education. A person’s thinking ability is largely influenced by the formal education that he has received and this education restrains him from thinking otherwise, unless he does so by risking his career and a successful future. A person will have to make a substantial effort to tear himself away from the norms of formal education if he wants to free his mind. The rewards for doing well in your formal education are manifold and these rewards deprive people of the motivation to set their minds free. The end result is that people do not have the incentive to set their minds free as their minds are restrained by the formal education that has been imparted to them.

In view of the above, it is evident that formal education assumes immense importance in the early years of life. The pressure exerted by the importance of formal education is such that there is little or no time left for anyone to allow their minds to be free and to think of something outside the realms of formal education.