I blasted through 8 hours of “We don’t need no education” while writing this (if you haven’t heard it, then first listen to it and then come back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAe_w9a_IN8).

It’s actually a pretty good song, to be honest, and tons of people managed to relate to it as well. But a song like that getting this level of popularity made me think:

Do we really need no education?

First of all, let’s try and understand why we think we need education. One of the major reasons is that it helps us lead a better and successful life. “Bas 12th karlo beta, fir life set”, is something that we hear very commonly. So let’s keep that as an aim of education: success.

In order to understand why we don’t need education, let’s try and understand what it really is. One of the great ways to do so is to look into its history. So let’s go way back in time.

The Notion of “Correct Education” – The Divorce Child of Slavery and Learning [1]

In the beginning of our civilisation, our ancestors were primarily hunters and gatherers, who went from place to place in search of food. The children during that time period learned most things during their journeys by a simple device called curiosity. What came next was the birth of agriculture, which, in a way, forced people to stay at one place (near their crops, that is). This led to most people seeing the same thing every day and the discovery of new things became kind of hard.

Still, there was so much that people could learn while staying in the same place– heck, I learn weird things about Amity every single day. So what changed this?

The rise of agriculture also led to the rise of a clearly defined status system, which previously never existed. The wealthy lived in bigger houses, while the poor roamed around homeless. This slowly led to the creation of several terrible practices such as slavery. Not only adults, but kids too were dragged into this wretched system. Education was no longer about learning new things through curiosity, it became centred around teaching ridiculous values like obeying lords and masters.

As Peter Gray, a popular writer on education writes:

All this culminated with feudalism in the Middle Ages, when society became steeply hierarchical, with a few kings and lords at the top and masses of slaves and serfs at the bottom. Now the lot of most people, children included, was servitude. The principal lessons that children had to learn were obedience, suppression of their own will, and the show of reverence toward lords and masters. A rebellious spirit could well result in death.

Slowly, things changed and people began to realise how ill these practices were, but they realised something else as well:

Children are awesome (and easily exploitable as well)!

Children were the biggest resource ever because they were like impressionable pieces of clay that could be modified into whatever kind of workers one wanted them to be. Slowly, people began supporting education for all– but for different reasons. Employers in the industry saw kids as exploitable labourers; they felt the skills required for them to perform this labour are the ones to be taught. National leaders, on the other hand, saw them as soldiers who were only required to learn the glorification of their fatherland. Even the reformers had their own agenda, they wanted to turn kids into scholars of science and literature. Harsh methods of education, where the only aim was to somehow force these values into the kids, gradually grew prevalent. One of the headmasters in Germany kept a record of the punishments inflicted upon students, which read as follows:

911,527 blows with a rod, 124,010 blows with a cane, 20,989 taps with a ruler, 136,715 blows with the hand, 10,235 blows to the mouth, 7,905 boxes on the ear, and 1,118,800 blows on the head [2]

Even though things have become considerably less harsh, the basic idea of education has devolved to nothing but a divorce child of slavery and learning: children have to learn everything which can be used as a skill for them in life. Not should, not can–but have to– by mugging up everything out there.

In layman’s terms, the current education system kind of sucks. It doesn’t give you all the freedoms you want.

But do you have any other option? Of course you do, there are numerous alternatives, so let’s talk about two of them.

Option #1 : Dropping Out – Skydiving or Jumping from a Moving Bus

One of the first things that come to mind as an alternative to education, is dropping out. So what is dropping out?

Dropping out is basically quitting school. Simple as that. Traditionally, some of the greatest and most successful people out there are dropouts, for example, Bill Gates. Bill Gates dropped out of college and made heaps of money from a company called Microsoft. And he is just one of them, here’s 84 others: https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-high-school-dropouts/celebrity-lists

Dropping out gives people freedom– they can do anything they like. There is no one telling them what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. Hence, they are able to do the things they like and learn the way they like to.

So, should you and I just hand out our transfer certificates? We’ll clearly be successful, right?

Well, no. As it turns out college dropouts are 71% more likely to be unemployed (this includes self- employment) [3]

This is primarily because once people drop out, they have no idea what to do. One of the major reasons people succeed after dropping out is because they actually did something after dropping out. If you don’t have that zeal inside you to do something or learn something after you drop out, and you are just going to sit all day hoping for success, then there is a very rare chance that you’ll be successful.

Option #2: Alternate Education

In recent times there is a steady increase in alternative forms of education, such as open schooling, homeschooling, etc.

These forms of education focus primarily on learning in an unconventional way, as well as place. Kids are made to learn by just one driving force– curiosity. Kids learn what they want, the way they want to.

For example, Prakrit an open school located in Noida talks about cultivating a love of learning, where kids learn only through curiosity.

Conclusion – To School or Not to School

In conclusion, all I (a student of class 10th, studying in a conventional school) can say is that nothing really matters. Whether you stay in school, drop out or explore a totally different way of learning, it doesn’t matter– as long as you are happy doing it. Just remember to keep learning, and don’t shut yourself from it.

While you focus on learning, also try and remember that all of us are different, and as we do things differently, we learn differently as well. Lastly, don’t go ahead screaming, “We don’t need no education”, go ahead screaming for the

Freedom to learn.

Please, please, please tell me in the comments below what you think of this article. Both constructive criticism and trolling are appreciated (actually, I prefer trolling).

Also, if you liked “We don’t need no education”, then check out “I don’t want to go to school” too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RffAHV3tcgM


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200808/brief-history-education
  2. Mulhern, J. (1959), A history of education: A social interpretation, 2nd edition.
  3. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/the-myth-of-the-successful-college-dropout-why-it-could-make-millions-of-young-americans-poorer/273628/




Picture Credits : Pixabay

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