Where does passion come from? I ask this because it seems to me that the current education system does not cultivate passions that follow through into our working life.
The topics we grow to love as children – the things we are taught, paths we follow in traditional education – do not seem connected to what we go on to do in the working world, and particularly not in the modern working world. We are informed that education and work are separate; that one is fun, and the other is, usually, not. As someone who takes endless enjoyment from life in the working world, I feel this is a tragedy.
In the education system, our career paths – a vital component of how we define ourselves, how we live, whom we surround ourselves with and the goals we set – are often left to us to figure out. Where we receive guidance on the basics of maths, literature, scientific reasoning, many of us are left in the dark when it comes to our career options; on how the skills we have and the things we have learned can translate into a passionate livelihood. A lacklustre and occasional chat with a careers guidance counsellor is not good enough.
More than ever, we need young people to feel passionate about their futures – to feel that the passions they develop at school and university can evolve into a satisfying, interesting and genuinely worthwhile career path. We need the next generation of workers to not only take jobs but to create them, too. We need them to understand that in an ever-changing and increasingly interconnected world, there has never been a better time to follow their passions.
Instead, what we have is a generation of young people who are unsure of themselves and their value, dumped by their educational systems in a world that is fundamentally different from how it was 50, or even 10, years ago. For anyone who doesn’t want to be a lawyer, doctor or accountant, for anyone whose career path was never going to be solidly and firmly defined, it’s difficult to know where to start.
It’s my belief that the only solution to the current graduate paralysis is to blur the lines between education and experience. We must look at changing our schooling models to take into account what happens to a person once he or she is no longer enveloped by a system. We must link students’ natural passions such as teamwork, leadership and technical understanding to practical ways they can follow those passions when released from education.
Earlier introductions to the world of work – exposure to more work experience and apprenticeship schemes, an overhaul of the way we teach technical skills (Chancellor George Osborne has already begun this battle, with his decision to have computer coding taught in UK schools as of 2014), assurance that our curriculums can and will translate to real-world talents, an acknowledgment of the alternative career options now – will not only help students carry their interests into later life, it will also mean they understand their options better.
The childish joy of learning for learning’s sake cannot be underestimated. But why stop there? After education comes the world of work – and it’s about time we channelled that joy into the rest of our lives.
This blog is part of a series of articles lending context to the World Economic Forum’s work in the field of European entrepreneurship. Click here to read Nicholas Davis’s introduction to the series.
For more articles on entrepreneurship in Europe, click here.
Author: Rajeeb Dey is the founder and CEO of Enternships.com, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader community.
Image: Students sit during an exam in Nantes, France REUTERS/Stephane Mahe