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Reflection on Education
If you were to fund the education of an 18 year old...
In Wisdom Letter 48 - The one about education, we chose a question to reflect upon to help us formulate our own opinion on education. Here is the question, followed by our reflection on the same-
If money was no bar, and you were entrusted to fund the education of one 18 year old student, how would you go about it?
What criteria would you choose to select a child for the scholarship? Will it be based on their financial condition? or merit? or a mix?
What subjects would you encourage him/her to study further? Would some subjects be out of bounds?
What outcomes would you expect from the student? How would you measure his/her efforts? and lastly how would you know that your scholarship actually made an impact to the individual, as well as to the world?
As David Ogilvy famously said - “Education is a Priceless Opportunity to Furnish Your Mind and Enrich Your Life”. But education does come with a cost - apart from cost in terms of time and effort - there is a lot of financial cost involved.
Of all the three things, the finance can be outsourced but time and effort is seeker’s own personal investment.
As a body who can take the responsibility of the finance - we would want to do it for a kid who can take complete ownership of putting in the required time and effort .
For that we would evaluate kids on their grit. This evaluation is often made possible using a mix of psychometric tests and in-person discussions.
If the kid faces shortage of financial resources he is far more likely to value the financial investment than someone who does not really need it as much. So we would keep their need for financial support as one of the criterion. The definition of “who is in need” varies heavily with location - country, state and city and should be seen subjectively.
We would definitely not choose some score to be a selection criteria. Most of the scores that we see around are more indicative of the preparedness for that exam on the D-day rather than measurement of the perseverance of the student.
Subjects to study
If funds are no bound, we would invest time and resources to allocate mentors to the students getting the scholarship (even if it means giving fewer scholarships)
At 18 yrs of age, one needs mentoring and guidance for higher education as much as the economic support, if not more. In absence of appropriate guidance at the right time, students often end up wasting the time and resources acquiring skills that are neither valued in the market nor match the aptitude of the students.
A mentor can help choose subjects that match student’s talent and market needs. No subject are out of bounds - None.
How do you measure
We would follow the sponsored students lifelong to see the their quality of life.
We expect their education to help them lead a life of financial, physical and emotional stability. And while leading good lives for themselves. if they are able to bring their fellow people out of poverty, then we would know that the scholarship indeed had an impact - both for that individual and for the world.
Do share your answer with us. We would love to have a longer discussion about this idea. We really appreciate all the responses that we get and are hungry for more. Hit reply or leave a comment or connect via WhatsApp.
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Aditi & Ayush