The definition of success differs from person to person and field to field. One could take economic success as a touchstone to label a person successful in life, ignoring his of her other failures, like divorce, health, inefficiency, etc. Others may look at a capacity for overcoming challenges, irrespective of what someone earns and the nature of their private life. So who is a successful person and who is a failure? Do school and college grades and examination results provide a way of predicting or ensuring future success? If that is true, then we should encourage as many young people as possible to go to university and work hard to gain formal qualifications. But is it true? Aren’t some college drop-outs like Bill Gates and Richard Branson hugely successful icons of success? And should we automatically consider the millions of young people who have not had the opportunity to gain academic certificates to be failures in life?
|Whether one is proposing marriage, applying for a job or looking for a new business partner, the first thing people ask is, "what do you do?" In other words they judge you by your academic qualifications. No bio-data résumé or curriculum vitae is acceptable without the inclusion of education qualifications. Therefore it is an unannounced rule of both the corporate world and the social world that a man's acquisition of academic qualifications is a giant leap towards opportunities in every walk of life.||Success never depends upon grades. If success and opportunities were measured by grades then the corporate world and potential marriage partners would not ask for biodata in résumés, where other qualifications are also mentioned. Nor would they interview the prospects in order to find out what they are like as people, rather they would give a blind appointment to the people with the best paper qualifications. So qualifications alone are never enough, success depends upon physical characteristics, personality, and a willingness to work hard.|
|Academic qualifications ensure you have the basics in learning. If your basic grounding in Maths, Science and Languages is strong, you can get success in life because mastering these subjects allows you to calculate, to innovate and to communicate. These essentials for success cannot be learned without professional help – in schools and colleges. And in order to prove that someone has acquired this knowledge, they are tested. If their learning is satisfactory, then they are given a certificate to indicate their competence – an academic qualification.||Success is not getting a grade or a degree, if that was it then why aren't all the graduates from Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge uniformly successful? The rule of success is hard work and destiny of course. If a student of engineering gets good grades but he is not practically effective in relationship-buildings and solving crises or proper planning, even though he may be successful in getting a job but it will not lead him far. On the way he is sure to fade out.|
|There may be a few people like Bill Gates and others who have made it, in spite of their drop-out background and lack of academic qualifications, but can this be generalized? Should I tell my child to leave schooling because if Bill Gates can do it they can also do it? A few exceptions cannot be taken as a general rule. |
And even for those few high-profile people who have made it without academic qualifications, let’s ask a simple question - if you look at a global directory of successful people you might find a few hundred like Bill Gates, but what about those millions of doctors, engineers, IT professionals, lawyers, and advocates who rely upon their formal education? Can you run a country without them? And could even Bill Gates have prospered without the skills of these IT professionals and engineers?
|If you look into a directory of successful people who are doctors, engineers and IT professionals, then you will notice that many of them dream to be employed by people like Bill Gates or Richard Branson, who are prosperous despite not having college degrees. In other words, prosperity does not depend upon academic qualifications but upon opportunities provided by entrepreneurs who may not be necessarily be highly educated. Successful entrepreneurs even benefit from not having academic qualifications, because going to college and taking examinations forces people to learn and think like millions of other graduates. This actually makes it less likely that they will come up with the truly mould-breaking insights and “disruptive” ideas on which successful innovations and new business models are built.|
|We spend ten years of schooling and several more years of our precious life in college, and then one fine morning someone comes and says that this is not required for success. When asked for proof, they say "look at Bill Gates!" But success isn’t a just matter of building a huge firm from scratch and making billions of dollars – by that definition, only a tiny number of people in the world could be considered successful. No, success is about making the most of your talents and abilities, and that requires dedication and study in academic institutions that will stretch you intellectually.||Unfortunately the materialistic world has changed the concept of success. It has become a rat-race where every student chases grades and therefore the entire perception of success and prosperity has changed. Rather than studying to reach our full potential, we do it because we think it is necessary for a successful career. So we spend ten years in school and a few more years of our precious life in college to get educated, then more time is passed in hunting for jobs. Even after that we may find ourselves in the wrong profession and lacking job satisfaction. And then recession comes along, when we are told that our wealth has been blown away by the foolishness of expensive fat-salaried CEOs. Now comes a time when we go to work with a constant fear of losing the job we don’t enjoy. Is this the correct understanding of prosperity? So now the definition of success is changed. If you are able to save your job then you are successful!|
|An academic education gives people a rounded experience of life, with opportunities to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds and to consider the importance in life of values and culture. These are necessary things required to label a person successful in all aspects of life. More broadly, widespread further education makes us a civilized nation. It uplifts our morals and ethics by exposing us to the great thinkers of the past. It makes us aware of our rights and liberties, and helps entrench a liberal democracy with active citizens and a lively media.||Can academic qualification stop us from becoming a civilization of drunkards, rapists and war-mongers, marked by broken families, domestic violence and crime? If you look at countries where the largest number of people have higher academic qualifications, they are the ones most affected by social breakdown. And would you call the conduct of the US wars on Iraq and Afghanistan a successful example of the superiority of the US economy and society? In fact true success is shown in having the moral courage to speak out against atrocities and injustice, showing generosity towards the poor, and respecting our parents. These are characteristics which are found in people from all social and educational backgrounds, but often absent in many educated Americans and Europeans, in spite of the universities they have been to and the grades they have achieved.|
|Academic qualifications may not be enough on their own to ensure success, but they indicate that their possessor has got what it takes. Imagine a new world order in education, where people don't study but join their business or look for jobs straight from school, with no qualifications to prove their worth. How would employers choose between them? Academic grades are important, because in order to gain good exam grades or a degree, students have to work hard, master demanding skills and learn a great deal of specialist knowledge. These are valuable attributes for success in any field of endeavour, which is why employers value academic qualifications. Simply getting into a good college indicates to a future employer that the student is out of the ordinary.||Often academic qualifications have no real relevance to the jobs graduates are employed to do. A few decades ago employers in areas such as banking, engineering, management and government service recruited people straight from school at the age of 15 or 16, training them on the job and promoting them to higher levels of responsibility according to their ability. Today none of these jobs has changed very much, but all now require applicants have a university degree. Why has this changed? One reason is that the upper and middle classes are trying to protect their own jobs – demanding new recruits have expensive academic qualifications excludes many talented young people from poorer backgrounds.|
This House believes that academic qualifications ensure success in life