Schooling vs Education

The debate on whether or not school "is a scam" has been on the rise amongst students in various educational institutions and therefore this article (which was formerly a material for a speech presentation), seeks to provide a basic understanding of both concepts while elaborating on their differences as well as their importance to the growth of an individual and the community at large.

Schooling and Education are both an integral part of an individual’s development but over the years we’ve been made to believe that the latter is solely dependent on the former. Although, both concepts actually have a common relationship which is that they are both methods of learning and sources of knowledge, they also take on different meanings and outcomes. This topic is meant to enlighten students on the difference between both concepts, highlighting their importance and also to help students understand their motives in school and re-assess their educational aims.


Schooling is the process of imparting knowledge and skills to individuals through curriculum and instructions, experiential learning and work-base learning. It is a formal method of learning which usually takes place within a specified period of time and in an educational environment called school. Some of its importance includes;

  • It plays a vital role in helping one to work as a team
  • It provides an avenue which teaches how to compete or chase after ones desired goals
  • Many valuable lessons are taught at school like how to read, write, speak and communication skills
  • It teaches one to develop his/her social and moral responsibility
  • It helps one to develop a disciplined life.

Education on the other hand is the culmination of facts, experiences and thought that is gained over a lifetime. It can either be a formal or informal way of learning that can happen anywhere and at anytime. Once a child is born, learning begins for that child and never stops till the day he/she stops existing and that’s because “Education is not preparation for life, Education is life itself” (John Dewey). Some of the importance of education includes;

  • It empowers the mind to conceive good thoughts and ideas
  • It enables one to analyze while making life decisions
  • It is important for the personal, social and economic development of a nation
  • It provides a better earning opportunity.

Consequent upon recent findings, it can be argued that education has a higher priority than schooling, since schooling can also serve as a channel through which education can be communicated and it can also be argued that education and schooling are inseparable but education comes from more than just schooling and one can be educated in more things than just being smart. In view of this, some debatable questions may arise such as; “Can a person be educated without going through school?”, “Is schooling a waste of time?”… All these we’ll discuss as the paper progresses.

Can a person be educated without going through school?

Yes, it is very possible and this is because education is about inspiring the mind and not just filling the head. It is the whole process of self-development and also on a specific skill. For instance Picasso was educated in creating arts, William Shakespeare was educated in the art of all things written, Mark Zuckerberg is educated in writing codes, David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo are all educated in soccer, Michael Jackson was educated in creating music and stage performance, Alhaji Dantata was educated in business and sales, Folorunsho Alakija, Innocent Idibia (Tuface), Ellen DeGeneres and the list goes on. Most of these men and women may not have gone through schooling in the way that we know in order to become superiorly educated and successful in their respective fields.

Does that mean that schooling is a waste of time?

No, l’m not saying that school is bad and that there’s nothing to gain from it because most times, students complain that nothing that is taught in school will be useful to them in the real world. First off, that’s not true, many important skills are taught in school if you open your eyes to see them. In other words, if you go through school blindly, just to try and follow the path that has been defined for you, you won’t get as much out of schooling. It may interest you to know that some respectable names in the world today such as Elon Musk, Alhaji Dangote, Warren Buffett, Femi Otedola, Mike Adenuga e.t.c, are products and graduates of a schooling system in their respective fields before proceeding to build their careers.

In 1939, Dewey argued that the primary purpose of education and schooling is not much but to prepare students to live a useful and purposeful life not to teach them how to live pragmatically and immediately in their current environments by contrast and counts but in today’s society, too much time is spent fussing over grade and standardized test scores that countless opportunities are missed in everyday life.

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