As early as kindergarten, your parents may have been reminding you about the importance of education and the reasons why you should wake up early to go to school. In the end, your parents know best. One of the key roles of getting educated is to gain knowledge of things you won’t be able to discover otherwise. Although education can come in various forms, such as self-study, homeschooling, and traditional school-based programs, they are all important to one’s personal development. This article explains the importance of education for young kids, teenagers, college students and even professionals.
Benefits of Preschool Education
Preschools, nursery schooling, or infant education is given to children from month-old to five years old, depending on local educational standards. Contrary to popular belief that preschools only teach social skills to kids through playtime, preschools may have one or two teaching methods used (such as Waldorf, Montessori, Head Start, The Creative Curriculum, High Scope, Bank Street, Reggio Emilia, High Reach Learning, and Forest kindergartens, among others. All of these teaching methods provide students with:
- Educational gain – Numerous studies and surveys have shown that kids who attended preschool had better results when given standardized tests and increase their chances of success in school. More than 5 studies have demonstrated these findings, one of which stating that four graders who attended preschool earlier passed math assessments and literacy tests with higher grades than their classmates who skipped preschool.
- Social learning – An important aspect of preschool education is it allows kids to socialize with other kids of the same age. This helps young kids express emotions verbally and develop a sense of humor, learn basic rules and routines, show independence, and play well with other children to encourage collaborative learning.
- Develop advanced skills – Children who had preschool education developed advanced skills in important areas such as problem solving, group-based learning, following directions and communication, among others.
- Reduce chances of Failure, teen pregnancies and committing crimes as adults – Different studies have shown that children who attend preschool perform more effectively in regular classes and avoid failing grade levels. Another study done in North Carolina suggested that those who had preschool education had lower rates of teen pregnancy. Based on U.S. crime rates, adults who went to preschool when they were young had fewer and less severe crimes committed as adults.
Importance of Primary Education
Primary or elementary education is the first several years of a child’s formal education. Some schools or countries require up to 7 years of structured primary schooling, while others consist of 5 or 6 years. Children attend primary schooling at age 5 or 6. Some educators believe the elementary levels are the most important part of a person’s educational background. Here’s why:
- Basic Educational Foundation – Children learn about the basics skills, such as reading and writing, as well as the concepts of language, math, science and culture, among other subjects.
- Develop Life Skills – Many of the important life lessons are taught in primary education. Children learn about choosing right from wrong, how to set and reach goals, how to appreciate diversity, make good decisions and develop social skills and a solid moral character.
- Gain resources and opportunities – Attending a school allows children to be part of a community and get access to the libraries and computer courses, bands and chorus, sports facilities, school counselors, and lab rooms, among others. These resources are particularly important to kids of poorer families who would not have access to these opportunities if they were not in school.
- Prepare for Adulthood – Some children get jobs after taking primary education. Although this won’t be enough to find a good-paying job, having basic education makes the process of employment a bit easier. In addition, kids who value education become great contributors to society as adults.
Advantages of Secondary Education
In most educational systems, secondary education occurs during a child’s adolescence. It is also known as middle school or high school, depending on the system and country. In Canada and the United States, primary and secondary education is known together as K-12 education. In New Zealand and other countries, grades 1-13 are used. The purpose of secondary education include preparing teens for higher education (or college), providing them with common knowledge, or training them directly for a profession. Regardless of institution, kids who attend secondary education reap these benefits:
- Social Benefits – Although social skills are developed since a child attends preschool and primary school, getting secondary education is important to a teenager’s development of interpersonal communication skills. Since adolescence can be a trying time for teens, having friends at school to relate at this age is extremely important.
- Employment stability – A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that full-time adult workers who hold a GED or high school diploma are 37% less likely to be unemployed compared to those with less education. This is because many employers prefer to hire people with high school education since they have developed career skills and work habits to prepare them for the workforce.
- Better Salary – Those with a high school diploma earn an average of $555/week (or over $8,500 a year), compared to high school dropout workers who earn about $400/week.
- Entry to College, University and Continuing Education programs – A GED or high school diploma helps students seek higher education in college, university or other special schools.
A side note: It is a common misconception that a GED (General Educational Development) is equivalent to a high school diploma, but be aware that the GED exam is not a direct alternative to a high school diploma, even if they are usually grouped together. The GED exam includes 5 parts – social studies, mathematics, science, writing skills and interpreting literature. If you pass this exam, you will not earn a high school diploma, but a GED certificate. While many HR managers look at GED holders as high school graduates, not all colleges accept applications with only a GED certificate.
Importance of Higher Education
Higher education is also called post-secondary or tertiary education. It is a non-compulsory educational level taken after high school. The term “higher education” may include studies in colleges, universities, vocational schools and graduate (postgraduate level) schools that results in obtaining a diploma, certificate or academic degrees. Regardless of what career path a student prefers to take, completing tertiary education provides the following benefits:
- Skills and Overall Development – Even if tertiary school students take different subjects as majors, they all develop necessary skills in communication, reflection, tolerance and reasoning, which are important in solving future problems in their personal and professional lives. The availability of extracurricular activities in colleges helps in molding an individual’s personality and character. Students who live in campus (and are separated from their families for the first time) usually develop independence that cannot be gained elsewhere.
- High Income – College graduates earn nearly twice as much compared to their salaries in jobs taken as high school graduates. In comparison with workers without college degrees, those with undergraduate degrees earn around 25% more, those with master’s degree earn up to 45% more and those with doctoral degrees earn up to 70% more. If you compute an adult’s working life, the average lifetime earning of high school graduate workers is $1.5 million, a bachelor’s degree holder $2.7 million, a master’s degree holder $3.2 million and a doctoral degree holder $4.5 million.
- Gain Practical Experience focused on Chosen Fields – Since college programs provide lessons focused in one’s major, getting a degree in a particular field could open doors to careers you want. Employers usually hire a person with educational background related to the company’s industry, since certifications or diplomas serve as proof that you were taught practical skills needed for that field.
- Networking – College exposes students with hundreds of different people each day. Many college graduates believe that networking is one of the top benefits of getting tertiary education because the contacts they made in college usually help them find entry-level jobs.
Benefits of Education to Society
It is not just the student and his/her family who receives the benefits of education. The society and economy also profits when people receive higher education and begin to receive better salaries. Here are the top advantages of education to society:
- Educated Individuals make Good Citizens – Several studies and history has shown that people who are educated rarely commit crimes. If they do, the crimes are less severe than criminals without an educational background commit. Many adults who have completed high school levels are usually devoted to their families and join community, religious or philanthropic activities.
- Tax and Government Assistance – High school graduates tend to pay taxes on time. A study conducted by the Ohio Economics Center for Education and Research suggests that high school graduates require less assistance than kids who were not able to attend secondary school or dropped out of high school.
- Trained Professionals – Adults with certificates or diplomas in higher education become an important source of trained professionals for a country’s economy.
Education is important to any individual for his/her professional and personal life. The higher level of education a person obtains, the greater chances he/she will lead a financially stable life.