By Cosmas Steven Mvula (Augment the Argument)
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything”, Warren Buffett
As I sit on my desk reminiscing the good old school days I laugh after chancing upon a grasshopper and its parts that I committed to memory. Then, I thought I would use what I memorized in my lifetime but alas! It appears I won’t need it any more. Of course am not the only one who underwent such a process; all of us did. Those were the days when we got lost in memorizing the things that didn’t make any sense, and still don’t even now, like “kapandamneni”. If one is an engineer or a mathematician for example it’s very unlikely that they may use the complex lessons of Chichewa in their communications. This drives me into thinking why the education system was designed the way it is.
The education system subjects us to learn everything more especially in our primary school level regardless of what we are good at. We live in an environment that accords kids little or no choice at all of what they want to do in their future and we tacitly force them to follow the path we took. We end up forcing a pilot for example, memorize the Bible verses learned in Bible knowledge just as we force a linguist to master the content meant for geographers. Am not in any way trying to look down on Bible Knowledge as my example depicts but is it something in line with the needs and wishes of every other person? Obviously no. I find this something one can learn in our respective bible studies at church and not to be taught in every class we humble ourselves in.
In line with the previous example, one self-made Malawian entrepreneur I had a brief meeting with appreciates that entrepreneurship brought, and still brings, many lessons including the power of focus in everything he does. And when he thinks hard on the topic at hand he comes to terms with the buckets of benefits that slipped through his hands because of focusing on too many things in his childhood with a feeling that he would luck out in one of the specific things. He has come to realize that the very thought of doubting ourselves on our abilities coupled with the fear of the unknown treatment our friends and family will pour on us having realized that we defied the set ways of doing things makes us fail to muster the courage to take the paths we want.
This business tycoon imagines himself being taught of entrepreneurship from a tender age. Mind you he doesn’t mean just learning the contents of Business Studies but he means the ins and outs of the business that aren’t taught in schools. Much as he appreciates as well that he wouldn’t have learnt everything from the onset deep down him he feels that he would have been much better than as he was when he joined the entrepreneurial world.
We all know that our primary and secondary school libraries stock little or no books to drill us on the nitty-gritties of investments and the better side of following our instincts. This is the reason we end up misfiring in our lives. Imagine what one child would have become had they been introduced to tourism industry in their childhood days! I remember vividly that I learnt of the existence of Tourism and Hospitality Management after the release of MSCE Exams. The university application forms were like a complete new world with too many things to learn and I still was expected to make a choice that befits my abilities. As I was subjected to all this, I was living in Lilongwe, Chinsapo in particular, all that time and I felt sorry for someone who lived in the ends of Malawi, Chisinga for example, and still had to make a good choice from the least information they had handy. What a test that was!
Our education system was designed to make us “Jacks of all trades” which is the very reason we lack focus in the pursuit of our education much earlier in our lives. We live a life of maybe-this-maybe-that and that lack of certainty deprives us of the skills and opportunities we would have gotten hold of in our teenage times.
I propose we start learning things we want to do in our lives earlier than later. This is something that can be done by parents in conjunction with the teachers of their children basing much on their children’s abilities. Otherwise this habit of learning things