Home > The Monday Musings Column > the importance of being educated

the importance of being educated

I always find it sad when I hear people say that they’ve never used anything that they learned at school, because I have found what I learned in my school days to have been a help in so many ways.

My formal school days ran from the late 50s to the early 60s and over the years since I have been back in the formal education system a few times, but that first period of general education laid the foundations for me.

Maths is always a useful tool for someone who needs to understand figures and English is a given for someone who has had to write a lot in the jobs that I have had over the years. Learning our times tables by chanting them in primary school may have become a derided practice, but I can still flash them up into memory and use the little tricks we were taught for going beyond 12 times 12.

Woodwork and Metalwork taught me about using tools, measuring, planning and general engineering principles together with more about safe working practices than any of the risk assessment nonsense that we have to endure these days. They also both reinforced maths by practical use of numbers and angles.

And then there are History and Geography, for these two gave been a grounding that I have used often when travelling and have helped me open doors that would otherwise have been closed. The type of work that I have done over the last 30 years has seen me pitched into the company of people that I don’t know, for I have been the man from HQ and their attitude has ranged from indifference through obstructiveness to outright hostility at times, but a question, based on something that I remember from school, about the area’s history or landmarks has almost always got a positive reaction and on many occasions has opened doors to things that I might often never have had the chance to experience.

Certainly there are things that I learned at school that I haven’t been able to use much, but they are far outweighed by the stuff that was useful. I could go on, but you get the gist, even Religious Knowledge (or Religious Education as it was called at one school) has had its moments in some situations.  Over my later years at work thousands of pounds have been spent on educating and training me and kept my thirst for learning satisfied. I still try to learn something new every day if I can, even at my advanced age. My own desire to keep on learning is one of the key reasons for me talking such an interest in bringing on the next generations through things like professional qualifications and apprenticeships.

The basic education is the foundation, but practical experience builds on that, but guidance is necessary too and that is where coaching and mentoring can be so important. Helping the next generations as they come through the ranks is fundamental to our future and so the more that any of us can do to encourage them brings benefits all around.

I am one of those who believe that the basic education these days is much worse than it was in my day, ironic that the two worse declines have come as a result of Socialist policies, but perhaps that is one if the reasons some people complain about not having been able to use what they were taught at school. Whatever, helping them develop is something that all of us with experience can be part of. What can you do?




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