Stereotypes in Education - Ibra Aamir
Updated: May 18
In the last phase of your high school, thoughts and possibilities are racing in your mind on what to pursue as a career. Choosing the right field that suits your talents and capabilities is the first step towards your professional success. When you ask a child what they want to be in the future, more often than not, their standard reply will be doctor or teacher. Is it a coincidence that every child’s answer is synonymous? It could be.
Nonetheless, let’s take a deeper look into the matter of choosing a career from an obscure and neglected angle. During the socialization of children, it is drilled in their minds that medicine, professorship, and engineering are the lone options they have. Their mind is restricted from exploring other prospects, to find their passion and enthusiasm in order to pursue it.
It is a typically found mindset of many that these professions are superior to all other fields. That these professions are more respected. That these professions are more stable. A similar outlook is acquired by the future generation and they race against one another to get admissions in top universities that offer these degrees. Even in high school, students are discouraged from opting for arts and business subjects. They are pushed towards science fields by their guardians. This technique of nurturing and brainwashing suggests that even in the modern world, art is perceived as a vocation for failures. Those who failed to obtain high marks in matriculation or O-levels, opt for art subjects in college because they were not able to match the merit as they did not score high enough. Since art and design fields do not require substantial perusing and stacks of books, they are not considered as acceptable degrees, rather it is viewed that those incapable of handling the pressure of bookish learning take the easier path to build a career.
A non-scientific survey conducted by Perspective has suggested that 90 percent of students are not pursuing their passion due to either societal or parental pressure. A few of them also believe that it was the decision of fate. When asked what comes to their mind when they hear about stereotypes in education, a variety of responses were received. One of the responses that really struck me was from a sociological viewpoint. It said that the students from a working-class background are bound to be underachievers with a few exceptions, of course. Those students do not have a study-friendly environment at home. They are not trained to hold high aspirations for their future. Having huge ambitions for their career would push them to engage in studies in a better way and actually explore different fields. Another response said that our educational system molds the minds of students to always obey a certain authority. Their thinking is shaped to always be under the supervision of someone to whom they will report. Due to this, we don’t see a lot of young entrepreneurs in the business sector.
Furthermore, the survey also had a question related to fairness in our education system. It does not come as a surprise that all the responses called out the faulty system. To give a combined conclusion of the responses, Pakistan requires talented people who are specialized in their own fields. Forcing children to go for professions approved by society not only kills their passion and enthusiasm but also terminates their ability to think out of the box. Such children end up being 9 to 5 robots.
Apart from parents, most teachers are also huge contributors to stereotypes in education. They advise their students to opt for scientific fields and hint that these occupations are better. Meanwhile, the little portion of daring students, who decide to pursue their interests, easily gets into universities. A stereotypical person might tell you that it is because the merit of art schools is low. However, I would like to shine a light on a different aspect. Admission to educational institutes that promote creativity is easier because they defy rote learning. In such fields, vertical education is proffered to pupils with the opportunity for practical implementation.
Furthermore, medicine and engineering fields are overwhelmed with competitive candidates. Regardless of how hard admissions are in these so-called superior fields, students still fight for a seat in the batch. What they don’t realize is that going for an overrated degree is career suicide. Career suicide is any action that will limit or eliminate an employee's ability to find jobs in his/her own field. Thereby, going along with the herd even though you lack interest in the field is one way of committing career suicide even before you have stepped into the practical world.
They are dragged on this path by the misconception empowered by society. Their desperation to prove themselves to be noteworthy results in abandoning their true passion and joining the rat race. It is high time that we acknowledge the significance of pursuing our passion and do what we actually love rather than doing something that society would happily approve of. No man in history has ever reached the pinnacle of success by bowing before societal pressure. Once you accomplish your goals, nobody would question your choices; they will be blinded by your success. Bravery is in challenging these stereotypes and paving your own way to triumph with passion.