The importance of an education over a qualification — Dharm Navaratnam

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AUG 13 — In the pursuit of academic excellence for our children and the focus on grades are we somehow missing the bigger picture of what an education really should be?  Are we so obsessed with sending our children to schools where we think they will get a string of A's that we forget the importance of an education over a qualification?  

There is a difference you know.

A qualification simply gives you a string of results and a certificate to prove it.  An education however is more holistic.  Other than providing academic knowledge, an education provides the recipient with life skills, teaches them how to be a better person and gives them experiences that will stand them in good stead in their adult life.   

Most importantly, an education builds character and this can only be learnt outside of the classroom.  It is the participation in extra curricular activities, be it in sports, clubs and societies or uniformed groups that teaches you things you would never learn in a classroom.  It also gives you new experiences and makes you realise that there are things you are capable off that you never even knew you had in you.

Somehow, a good education also involves a love for your school and a deep feeling of pride for your school.  There is also a sense of belonging and a sense of association and camaraderie, not just with your fellow students but all those that went before you and those who will go after you. A common bond so to speak.   This love for the school happens almost subconsciously because for at least 5 years of your life, you lived and breathed everything that the school had to offer.  Whether you knew it or not.  

At every opportunity you were inundated with stories of the school's history that filled you with awe. You were reminded of the legends that went before you and you hoped to somehow become a legend in your own right one day.  You were inspired by trophys that filled the trophy cabinets; you looked in admiration at the names on the honour boards that lined the school hall; you were impressed that text books were written by former teachers and headmasters of the school. You were filled with wonderment at the traditions that lasted over the years and that were passed on and upheld generation after generation.  

Most of the uniformed groups had mottos that were so well known and used so often that they inspired and instilled a sense of pride in each and every student.  You didn't have to be a Bandsmen to know that you should always "Rise to the Occasion", especially when faced with a difficult situation; You didn't need to be a scout to know that we were all "Second to None" and also the "Fighting First" in all that we did and you certainly didnt need to be in the Cadet Infantry to know that there is a hero within each of us. Gempur Wira! We also knew that it wasn't just the bearing of the prefects that defined the 'tone of the school'.  For we knew that any and all of our actions reflected on the school.  

You started off being part of the school and ultimately the school became a part of you. For after all, once a Victorian, always a Victorian.

This 14th August 2017, the beautiful and majestic school that sits proudly on Petaling Hill celebrates her 124th Anniversary of Founders Day.  The school has been providing generations of students with a holistic educational experience for more than a century. It has proven that an education is far more important than just producing students with a qualification but little else.  I think I speak for all Victorians when I say that we are thankful for the experience and for the impact the school has had and continues to have on our lives.

Happy Anniversary dear old Victoria Institution!

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.


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