The Cost of Education

Chaos in Print

So, I won another scholarship. $750 from the good folks at CFCW. All things considered, I’d much rather they give me a job once I finish rather than money to help me find a job with one of their competitors. Which just goes to show you how pointless the whole concept of a scholarship is.

I’ve hated the whole concept of the scholarship for a long time now. I mean, it’s a great example of very flawed logic. We all know that our education system is under-funded; even more so when we get to the post-secondary level. This is where education goes from being a right to a privilege. We often hear about how we need to get more kids into college and university. We hear how most kids want to go, but just can’t afford to. So what do we do?

We throw everyone into a pit and make them fight over the money.

Seriously, that’s all a scholarship is. By only giving money to those with the top marks, all we’re doing is adding greater pressure on students to achieve higher. They’re all in this pit, fighting with each other, trying to raise that meaningless number in red on the top of their exam from 92% to 93% all so they can get $50 to buy a textbook at the U of A.

I don’t buy into the theory that competition of this manner breeds excellence. I’ve never, ever believed that competition is how to get better at something, especially in something like this. And what about the nerds and geeks of the world? Those who just seem to have a natural talent at excelling in all things academic? Are they really more worthy of a few extra post-secondary education dollars than little Jimmy, who works his ass off studying every night but can still only manage to pull off a 60% average? I mean, it’s Jimmy who’s doing all the real work, while the geek just walks off the cash? It’s not fair.

The system is flawed. This whole concept of competition to breed academic excellence is doing nothing but stuffing cash in the pockets of the geeks of the world. It’s little more than a way for colleges and universities to buy the brightest students, so said university can boast higher averages and thus recruit more of the brightest students. Scholarships do nothing but breed an elitist class and keep those truly worthy of further education from getting their further education.

If I could give my scholarship back, I would, but I can’t. I tried with the one I won last year. But the head of my program started going on this rant. It would be very embarrassing if he had to go back to the organization that gave this out and he had to tell them that the student didn’t want it. So I was stuck with it. God, I wish I could turn around and just give this money to someone else who really needs it.

This is just symptomatic of a larger problem. I’ve loathed the whole concept of marks ever since I was halfway through university and realized that no employer will ever give a fuck about how well I did in Introduction to Political Thought. All they’ll care about at the end of the day is that I have that piece of paper that says I’m certified. So, scholarships do nothing but reward something that’s completely and utterly pointless.

I’ve been saying this for years now. A new system has to be devised. One that gives out the money by truly rewarding hard work and just not handing it off to the teacher’s pet. There are so many more worthy people in the world; so many more worthy causes. Quit lining the pockets of the geeks of the world.

Besides, at the end of the day, being smart gets you absolutely nothing in this world. So, they should quit paying kids who are nothing but smart.

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